Prologue: Western Digital made big progress when it upped its ante and started making consumer friendly products, as opposed to just hard disks that were relevant only to IT administrators. I have been a user of Western Digital NAS drive, which has been running flawlessly for the past 4 years. I almost never turn it off, have almost 100% of all my data, including my priceless music library, in my drive and have accessed it without trouble this whole time. So when I reviewed MyBook World Edition II (I will call it the WE2), reliability was not one of my worries.

NAS is short for Network Attached Storage — which basically means if you have a WiFi network at home (tell me who doesn’t), you can use this device to centrally store data, wirelessly access it from a variety of devices — PC, MAC, even a Unix/Linux workstations. You can “map drives”, even print to a USB-based printer connected to the disk.You can change the size of an active volume and if you are a network geek, you can even it available on the internet.

What is new in WE2?

WE2 significantly upped its game by adding several features geared towards better reliability and better sharability.

  • It comes in 2 configs — 2 TB and 4 TB — but in each case, only half of that is usable space because of the mirroring capability. For techies, it is RAID 1. For non-techies, every single bit is written to 2 disks, so if one fails, another keeps you afloat.
  • It comes with free subscription of the basic version of what they call MioNet, which was originally a super-cool idea developed by a group of ex-Stanfordians, which lets you create cloud-like experience, without trusting your data to anybody. Basically you can access it from anywhere, without having to be geeky to implement it.
  • It is DLNA compatible — so you can pretty much access whatever you store here — pictures, music, videos using another DLNA-compatible device. Another cool thing is, you can use your iPhone or iPad to access the photos on this hard-drive from pretty much anywhere, as long as you have internet access.
  • I am not mentioning the usual — file and print stuff. 1 TB is a lot of space and it supports automatic continuous backup for multiple computers on your home network. At the back-end, it uses 2 low-power, but high-speed (7200 rpm) hard-drives.

For all the geekiness it has, it hardly requires any from you.

Epilogue: If you haven’t invested in NAS at all — this product or not — I suggest you buy one. You can’t trust your data to your computer or laptop, especially if you dont have backups. But more importantly, if you have your music collection in tapes and CDs, you need to convert them first. I can’t tell you how much good it is for the longevity of your collection. I had written a 4-part post on how to digitize your music collection (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV). But once you have done all of this, you can head straight to the store to buy one of these. At the time of this writing, the cost of this device is around $200.