Monday, May 5, 2008

It has been a year...

Well it has been over a year since my last post. I wish I could say that I am still using the My Book World-II but, alas it died. It did so about 8 months ago. Not very long lived. I believe it was sensitive to heat and it was in a room that did not receive proper air conditioning.

Anyway, at this point, even if it had survived, I would not have recommended the device to anyone. The fact that it is a network device is a double edged sword. It is nice that I can access the data from any computer in the house without having to have another computer turned on. The transfer rate, though, pretty much negates this as a real benefit. And besides, I used it as a store for my video collection that was served up to my media server from my office computer. Without the computer being on, the data was not accessible to the one device that really needed it.

The more I played with Mionet the more I disliked the product. Before the device died, I had completely removed it from my system and relied solely on public shares. Mionet caused my machine to be unstable. It did not play well with remote desktop and flat did not work if two or more people had active "switch user" sessions running in the background. All in all it was a good idea poorly implemented. I had actually bought the first year and canceled it before it renewed. It was not stable enough to actually trust. I actually did try to play a song and a video remotely. It downloads the whole thing before it starts. NOT useful.

I have since purchased two other external USB 2.0 drives (1TB and 750GB) and I am happy with both. I will probably never purchase a network attached device again.

If you do have a My Book World and you like it. Great! Before mine died I found that it was running a distro of Linux under the covers and I was actually able to SSH into it and look around. I was able to start an NFS server and I had almost gotten a media server compiled and working on it before it finally bit the dust. This raised the "cool" factor for me quite a bit. If there was anything that would entice me to try it again it would be this capability. Search Google for "hacking my book world" for examples on how to get inside.

This is likely to be my last post on the subject, though I will continue to respond to comments. Seeing as how I have only had one comment in over a year, that is not much of a commitment :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I have it working

It has been a few days since my last post. I have been away at the LTC convention in Phoenix. It was wonderful and exhausting and exhilarating and completely off topic :)

I have figured out a few things and am getting to the point where I actually like the WD My Book World. I am still very disappointed with the transfer rate bit figure I can live with it.

Here are some of the things that I have learned.

First and foremost is that I do not have to rely on Mionet. It turns out that there is a web based administrative site hosted on the My Book World. On it you can define public shares and those shares are available as open Windows shares on the network. No Mionet required. This is very good!

I use a D-Link DSM-520 media server to access files on the My Book World. By making my "Videos" directory public I can access it easily through the Media Server software or externally on my laptop without having to sign into Mionet.

On the other hand, though, the Mionet software is actually pretty handy. I can create directories that are secured. Now, I don't have a lot of stuff that falls into this category but if I did I would create directories on my "K:" drive. These would only be available to Me because I am the only one that knows the password. Not a bad feature. I may, at some point opt in for the premium support from Mionet but for now I am happy with the basics.

More valuable, for me, than securing the data is the ability to access it from anywhere. I can not see myself listening to tunes or watching movies from the net. It guess it is possible but I really can't see myself doing it. I can envision there being some files , though, that I might want access to from anywhere. I don't know what these files might be yet but I am sure they exist :)

Transfer Rates

I decided to go to the source and see what Western Digital themselves say about the transfer rates I was experiencing. Below is a transcript of that request. It appears that 3.5Mbytes per second is the best I can expect. The GB NIC in the device is for marketing, not for faster transfer.

Transfer Rate for the WD My Book World
Discussion Thread
Response (Jeremy H.)04/10/2007 06:18 PM
Dear Poet,

Thank you for contacting Western Digital Customer Service and Support.

Your transfer speeds are typical for the MyBook World. Most of our customers do not see transfer speeds beyond 3MBps to or from the drive.

Jeremy H.
Western Digital Service and Support
Customer (Poet)
04/08/2007 09:49 PM
I have placed the My Book World II disk and the serving computer on a 1GB switch to isolate them from any other network traffic. The PC has a 100Mbit NIC so I recognize that 100Mbit is the max I could expect for transferring data to the WD My Book. However, try as I might, I can not achieve speeds that exceed 3.5Mbyte/second. This is only 35% of a 100Mbit connection.

Are there settings that can be altered or configurations changed to raise this limit or is this the maximum rate at which the WD My Book World can accept data?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

More on throughput

I found another review that had a smidge of technical data in it. In it the author states that he was able to copy a GB of data to the My Book World in 4 minutes and 46 seconds. Let me scratch out some math here... (if you see an error, please point it out!)

(4*60)+46 = 286 seconds
Assuming a GB = 1024MB

1024/286 = 3.6MB/sec

3.6MB/sec ~ 36Mbits/sec

Hmmm that is the same number I am seeing. I would not bother upgrading anything to GB for this device. It only uses 1/3rd of a 100MB pipe.


I am starting to warm up to the My Book World II. I am even starting to think my earlier desires to drop-kick it back to Best Buy were possibly a little premature. The discovery of the ability to communicate with the device over a regular Windows share has improved my opinion greatly as it is now 100% stable.

I still have the issue of throughput, though. It is either the device or the NIC. I believe I have ruled out everything else.

  • HDD -> My Book World = 35Mbits/sec
  • HDD -> My Book World + reading from My Book World = 35Mbits/sec
  • HDD -> My Book World + HDD2 -> My Book World = 35Mbits/sec
  • HDD -> My Book World + HDD2 -> My Book World + DVD -> My Book World = 35Mbits/sec
  • All of the above and then I go and download a very large file from the internet. I see that I am downloading at ~900KB/s or .9MB or 9Mbits/sec (I think my math is roughly right). Network is clearly not saturated and I see utilization jump from 35% t 45%. This is consistent.
The 35Mbits/sec appears to be a hard limit right now. I don't think the choke is at the NIC, Switch or source device. I think it is the My Book World II. I will continue to poke at it to see if I can raise that rate.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Comments on the unit itself

As I searched for other's comments I read a number of comments on the unit itself, having nothing to do with the technology. I suppose I should share an opinion though it is only that.

I am not unpleased with the appearance. It is actually quite plain and unobtrusive. The big button in the middle of the front looks more decorative than functional. The blue light surrounding the button is soft and not very distracting. Again it looks decorative yet has a function. Good visual design.

Others have complained about noise. I am sitting next to a PC that is making so much fan noise that I can not hear the My Book World II. I suspect it is making noise but if it is it is not terrible. I am not a good judge of this though as I am not disturbed overly much by white noise.

The case itself appears sturdy. There is only a minor vibration that you can feel if you actually lay your hand on it.

When registering it I had to read the serial number. That is my only complaint. I have 50 year old eyes and even with a magnifying glass I had a lot of trouble getting it.

All in all I give it an A+ on design.

Day three - things are looking up

I left for work this morning without even looking at it. Well, I did look to see that the previous night's transfer had finished. It had.

Anyway, went to work and on the way home got a crossover cable. If it was my D-link I was about to find out. I plugged in the switch, moved the PC and My Book World II to it and connected it to the D-Link via a crossover. I was actually able to do this without any real burp. Both machines handled the move without issue.

Now, I open K: and C: and copy a file and .... still slow as the 7 day itch. No improvement at all. I am about to cry.

I have the Mionet manager open and for some reason, I wish I knew why, I decided to double-click on the MyBookWorld line and it opened a new window. It was a Windows share! The UNC was there with an IP address. I compare it with "K:" and they clearly point to the same place. "K:" shows more files (I think they are cached and not moved yet) but I can read and write to the new window. I decide to move another 8GB and it goes flawlessly and MUCH faster!! I am smiling again!

I open the task manager and I see it is not using the full 100Mbits bandwidth. Don't know why. There is a very clear ceiling at about 35%. This tells me that my 1GB switch that is due this week will probably be twiddling its bits for the most part. Bummer.

Anyway, I am copying about 120GB of data to it. I expect it to take a while but at least it is working. I will let you know more as I continue to blaze a trail here.