Your project files are a mess – here's how to take control and make your life easier

Make your project files easy to find from wherever you are – and keep them safe – with WD's My Cloud.

It's hard to be creative if you can't find or access the raw materials that make up your project. We capture so much: photos, video, our sketches and moodboards and anything else we think might contribute to that amazing final piece – but the sheer size of high quality media files often creates problems when it comes to effective storage, transfer and delivery.

These problems are exacerbated when highly active creatives, such as in photography or videography, seem to be constantly on the move, chasing the perfect shot or capturing the once-in-a-lifetime footage that makes them stand out from the competition.

Ensuring that this valuable content is stored safely can be a major concern, even more so when it has to be able to then be made available for editing or other postproduction tasks at the click of a mouse.

You need a centralised, organised and above all, secure, solution you can rely on from wherever you need to be. Throwing a hard drive in your backpack just won't cut it anymore, nor can you rely on cheap file hosting services which may not deliver the speed your projects demand – you need your own, personal, cloud storage.

Two new networked attached storage (NAS) solutions from WD aim to deliver such a service to creative professionals. The My Cloud EX2100 and My Cloud EX4100 come with a host of features ready to integrate with your workflow and make creative activities easier, all backed up by WD reliability.

Each system comes in four capacities, ranging up to 12TB in size for the My Cloud EX2100 and 24TB for the My Cloud EX4100. Storage is preconfigured using highly reliable WD Red NAS drives with vibration compensation, optimised power usage and the ability to protect your content in the event of a power loss or disruption. Each NAS can also be attached to an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) from a third-party, adding to the reliability of the system.

Content anywhere

There are many benefits of incorporating a NAS into a creative workflow. The ability to have your files stored and organised in a quick to access network location significantly reduces storage headaches.  You can store image collections for applications like Lightroom on an NAS, then edit on your Mac or PC. Increasingly applications from companies like Adobe are building in shared network capabilities for their software, where teams of creatives are able to edit centralised content stored on a NAS, leading to greater productivity. Solo creatives will find also benefits in drawing on stored media from this central location, being able to access and work with large files on their computers over a wired network, or over wifi.

These particular systems from WD go even further however, offering the My Cloud OS and suite of mobile and desktop apps. The OS is stored in flash memory on the NAS and features an intuitive dashboard that makes it easy to monitor your storage, set up user permissions and shared folders, as well as customise the way the system runs. With the desktop app for PC and Mac, you can easily drag and drop files, manage your content and share links to photos, videos or folders via email. The mobile app lets you to securely access your content using smartphones and tablets, use the built-in viewer to display it and easily share content with clients and colleagues. You can roam free while your content stays central and secure, but you're also able to access it anytime.

You don't even need a computer to get your files on to this personal cloud. With the built-in, one-touch copy button located on the front of the NAS, you can automatically copy all the photo, video and audio content you have stored on an external USB or camera to the My Cloud EX2100 or EX4100.

Seamless safeguards

Another key benefit of having a powerful NAS in your workflow is data protection. The My Cloud Expert Series is able to incorporate backup systems that sync the contents of all networked attached computers with the NAS for data security. For PC users this takes the form of WD SmartWare Pro which offers several backup options and flexible restore points; if you're on a Mac, you just access the functionality of Apple Time Machine to backup media and files to the NAS.

Once on the system, data can be protected by having the WD Red drives arranged as RAID systems, a process which the My Cloud OS makes simple. Some of the total storage becomes dedicated to data duplication, with increasingly reliability and fault tolerance available on RAID1, RAID 5 and RAID 10 systems, though the latter two are available only with the 4-bay models.

For even further data protection, users of the My Cloud Expert Series can also rely on commercial cloud solutions that provide integrated offsite backup. There's special pricing for premium cloud-based backup, sync and sharing solution platform ElephantDrive, which runs on laptops, desktops, smartphones and tablets as well as natively on the NAS. Alternatively there is a built-in Amazon S3 Backup and Restore feature which allows you to back up data directly to an account held with the AWS service.

Top transfer

Videographers and increasingly photographers are handling video files of a more substantial size and complexity these days. While this has led to an increase in quality, the streaming performance of such large media files often suffers from interruptions, while upload times can seem interminable.

Not so with these WD Expert Series NAS systems, which are powered by Marvell ARMADA dual-core processors. The My Cloud EX2100 gives high-performance transfer speeds of 116 MB/s upload and 114 MB/s download, while My Cloud EX4100 offers 116 MB/s upload and 116 MB/s download speeds. You can thus upload more content simultaneously, stream your HD media more smoothly, and exploit your creative content more efficiently.

Finally, if you want to display your media to clients or just for your own enjoyment, the built-in Twonky DLNA-certified media server turns the NAS into a network streaming centre. All HD videos, photos and music can stream seamlessly to media players, Smart TVs, gaming consoles and other DLNA-certified devices on your network. The enjoyment doesn't end when you're on the road, as the My Cloud mobile app can access your music library and let you access them on the go.

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