Dashboard and Apps
Exploring the configuration options further, we see plenty of options and features. So many in fact that it's probably best to just walk you through a slideshow of notable highlights:
Shares can be added and removed easily. Pictured are the defaults that appear with all current apps installed. The TimeMachineBackup share is configured out of the box, with no tweaking needed.
Backups configuration is flexible, and can go to a number of places. Internal backups are convenient for when a duplicate copy of a folder is warranted, however users will typically backup to external or cloud based solutions. For those, choices are a connected USB device, network shares, as well as ElephantDrive and Amazon S3 for Cloud options. WD will likely add more Cloud options in the future via firmware updates.
Storage options are plentiful, with the ability to change RAID modes on the fly, view the status of all disks (including S.M.A.R.T. data), create iSCSI target volumes, and even volume virtualization, which lets the EX4 map other iSCSI targets from within the network. Those mapped targets will then appear under the EX4 as additional shares. This may come in handy for consolidating all iSCSI targets under a single device. An added benefit is that those shares will then be available while away from home via the My Cloud software solution.
The settings group shows a very granular set of configuration options. Various built-in services can be enabled or disabled, ISO shares can be created, DLNA and iTunes media servers can be configured, and disk / array scans and formats can be initiated. The EX4 is also capable of sending notification emails at varying levels of verbosity, if so configured.
One feature I'd like to key in on is the network configuration, which is extremely detailed for a consumer NAS:
I've chosen to expand the Link Aggregation option in the above screnshot. As covered earlier, the EX4 has dual redundant ethernet ports. These links can be configured in multiple ways as seen above, and Western Digital has made those configuration options extremely simple with their solution. It's worth noting here that the typical consumer router won't take advantage of channel bonding, which is more of an enterprise-level feature, so no performance improvement beyond single channel speeds will typically be seen. That said, if a user was so inclined, they could connect the EX4 to two different portions of their network, potentially offering real-time protection against cable and other various ethernet hardware failures.
Currently, the list of available apps for the EX4 is small, but WD expects that number to grow as demand increases. Here is an example as seen from within the configuration GUI, showing automatic FTP download configuration:
More detail on the available apps and capabilities are available at this link, and pictured below for your convenience: