WD MyCloud is Very Slow for Uploads



I take a lot of photos, so I need to backup a lot of photos. After each shoot I follow a routine to backup the photos to a network drive in my home as well as to a remote location.

I've been using a WD MyBook for local external backups for a few years and it has served me well. But the space was starting to fill up so I needed to purchase another drive.

I bought a WD My Cloud 4TB drive for this purpose, but found the upload speed to be much slower than expected. So slow that I had to buy a different product for my backups, and the MyCloud is just sitting there wasting electricity. Soon I will wipe it, unplug it, and give it to goodwill, as I have no use for it.

Some details on the tests I ran are below.

Test Setup

My WD MyCloud is running Firmware v04.01.03-421.

I have tried changing many of the settings, but here is the current lay of the land:

  • Cloud Access / Remote Access is off
  • Drive sleep is off
  • Mac Backups / Time Machine is off
  • Network mode is DHCP
  • SSH is on
  • Media Streaming is off
  • iTunes server is off

For my test, I am uploading a directory of raw photos (about 20MB each) from a Macbook Pro running Yosemite 10.10.2 over a local wireless router.

For comparison, I also have a WD MyBook 2TB for which the upload speeds are fine. I was told on the WD forums that this is actually a "MyBook Live", since it has an ethernet connection as well as USB. Both drives are hooked into the same switch with identical wiring. The switch is plugged into the router via ethernet.


Test Results

For my WD MyCloud 4TB I see upload speeds in the range of 50-200 kilobytes/second.

For my WD MyBook 2TB I see upload speeds in the range of 3000-6000 kilobytes/second (rougly 3-6 megabytes/second).

Uploading to WD MyCloud:

# rsync -aP /Volumes/plasma4/photos/2015/2015-02-04 /Volumes/photos
building file list ...
564 files to consider
     7372800  34%   79.83kB/s    0:02:58

The speed difference between the 2 drives is overwhelming - the MyBook 2TB is 10-20x faster for uploads.

Note that the download speeds for the 2 drives are roughly identical for this test - between 2-4 megabytes/second each.

When ssh'd into the MyCloud drive during an upload I see smbd taking up a large amount of CPU - typically between 70-99%. I have seen the same comment in other related threads but haven't seen a clear solution.

More Test Results

Once I decided the MyCloud was junk, I bought a Synology DiskStation to expand my local backup situation. So far it is working great. I don't have a lot of requirements, I just need something that I can plug in, mount in my OS, and upload files to. Support for UPnP and iTunes and all that is cool also. Plus I like that if one of the drives dies I can just open the enclosure and swap in a new one.

As a final test, I sshed into my Synology box and rsynced some files to the WD MyCloud. The speed was as in the same range as the upload speeds I saw from my laptop. This confirms that the slowness is not related to my Mac OS version, AFP vs. Samba, or wireless vs. wired.

# rsync -aP /volume1/photo/vault/2015/2015-07-24  root@$i:/shares/photos
sending incremental file list
       30724 100%    0.00kB/s    0:00:00 (total: 0%) (xfer#1, to-check=1473/1475)
     4915200  26%  111.52kB/s    0:02:04 (total: 0%)
esther rose


While admittedly technology is complicated, I feel that WD has made efforts to deliberately confuse people in order to make their subpar product appear less subpar. The root cause is probably that they decided to cut costs by using a cheaper network card or motherboard for the WD MyCloud product line.

The deliberate confusion isn't just in the forums, which is probably deeper in the weeds than most people would go anyway. What the fuck is "personal cloud storage". I work in software, where "cloud" generally means something running on hardware that you don't manage. It doesn't mean something sitting in your fucking living room. Unfortunately Synology uses the same terminology in the "Private Cloud NAS" Diskstation that I bought. But at least their product meets my needs.

The WD forums are actually pretty good for searching and asking questions, but the threads related to slowness are littered with discussions of OS versions, wireless vs wired, and so on. For me, none of these things had anything to do with the real issue.

Hopefully someone out there finds this page useful. If you enjoy naked girls, consider buying one of my books. Good day to you.

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