OK, that's a pretty retarded name, it should be called "WD 1TB NAS" or something. But anyway, this post exists to answer the question: how is it?
Shopping For a NAS
I recently started shooting in RAW mode and with every frame out of my DSLR taking ~9MB, I needed some safe storage options. My attention was drawn to the Western Digital My Book World Edition II (dear god the name!) because at 340$ CAD for a 500GB RAID-1 NAS device [or 1GB if configured as a spanning array], it's really cheap for what you get. I was almost put off by its dismal rating on Amazon (2 out of 5 stars), but from reading the reviews, it seems many are complaining about the poor sharing software, not the drive itself. [An aside: a hardware device with piss-poor bundled software? Gee, what a surprise! If you want to setup a streaming media server, just setup your own service on a real machine; that the masses would be crazy enough to expose a mostly closed machine, with upgrade availability at the vendor's discretion, to the public Internet forces upon me the sad realization of how little people understand or care about tech. Ahem. Revenons à nos moutons.]
The product page isn't particularly helpful, as it doesn't really tell you about the modes you can configure the device for, or the storage protocols it exposes.
Here's the info you need
- 2 disks, 500GB each. ~455GiB available in RAID-1 mode, double that in spanning mode.
- Comes configured in a single 1TB spanning volume. For RAID-1 mode, you need to switch the mode and let it reformat the drives, which takes a few hours. (I went to bed after 2.5 hours, I didn't get to see the process complete, but it was done the next day.)
- Exposed Protocols: Storage is accessible through CIFS / SMB only. In fact, nmap tells us the only ports open on it are 80 and 139.
You'll want to configure it to use static IP settings rather than the default (acquire an address through DHCP). The setup can be performed through a web interface and it's pretty simple. Googling for how to mount it under Linux will point you to a few mostly unhelpful, ill-informed, blind-leading-the-blind-style forum threads [though to be honest I didn't peruse many of them], so here's what works. They seem to use Samba with CIFS unix extensions with everything owned by UID/GID 33, so I had to mount with noperm to get write access as an unprivileged user on my box:
mount -t cifs \
-o username=jp,password=,rw,uid=jp,noperm \
As an informal test, I generated a 100MiB file with dd and copied it to a Windows Server 2003 CIFS share and to the WD My Book's CIFS share, using time to measure real (wall) time. I'm only on a 100mbit switch, but I don't think the network is the bottleneck here:
- To W2K3 server's IDE disk: 34.8s (2.9 MiB/s)
- To WD My Book NAS: 23.4s (4.3 MiB/s)
Read speeds were very similar so I didn't include them. While not exactly blazing fast, it beats copying to other machines on the LAN, so it will do nicely as a storage box for RAW camera files. At that speed, you could probably even do HD video playback over the network, but I haven't tested that. There's an included disk with some sort of subscription service for remote access, and I have no desire to test that either.
All in all, don't let the negative Amazon comments spook you, it's a decent consumer-oriented storage box for the price.