Dane Elec - myDitto Home Network Server review

The market for home NAS drives has seen explosive growth in the past few years, with more and more people seeking to store their multimedia and document files centrally. This allows simultaneous access to the files from multiple PCs at once and also means you don't have to continuously propagate copies of the same files across your various devices. Setting up and administrating a NAS box will be pretty simple for most computing enthusiasts, but it presents a daunting challenge to beginners for whom the terms ‘IP address', ‘FTP' and ‘UPnP' are a foreign language.

With the myDitto, French manufacturer Dane Elec is aiming to deliver a NAS box that is easily configurable, even for novices. It accomplishes this by giving each user a unique “key” that handles all of the set up, connection and login for you. The network administrator is issued with a master key with more options, while the rest of the users are given keys with limited functionality. The keys are essentially 2GB pen drives, extras of which can be easily created. To do this you can either purchase a 4-pack of blank keys from Dane Elec for £40, or use any other spare pen drives you have lying around.

As well as providing local network access to your information, the myDitto also allows access from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. Once again the key tackles all of the technical stuff for you, so you simply need to plug in and log on.

To test this we took a laptop with us on a short city break and were able to access the data on our myDitto just as easily as if we were in our home office. As you'd expect, performance is not as good over the web as it is over the local network, but we were still able to stream MP3s seamlessly. Streaming movies proved more problematic, with the myDitto supporting the streaming of only a limited selection of file types.

Initial setup of the myDitto is as elementary as you'd hope. You simply plug the device into your router and plug the master key into your computer. Next, create a login and you are good to go. Our myDitto came configured with a pair of 500GB drives as standard, though these can be upgraded. To see if the device could handle extra-large disks we fitted two Western Digital 2TB models and, sure enough, they worked without issue. The device offers plenty of storage mode flexibility; it allows single disk, JBOD, RAID 1 or RAID 0 options depending on your requirements.

Compared to the quickest NAS boxes the myDitto is a little on the slow side. It managed just 24MB/s read speed over our gigabit network and a write speed of a little over 13MB/s. This means that backing up our mixed file-size partition of 1TB took almost 7 hours; something you'll not want to do on a regular basis.

Nevertheless, for the kind of user the myDitto is aimed at, performance will not be of primary concern. Considering the device is designed to cater for novice users its feature set is impressive. It houses a BitTorrent client for download junkies while an FTP server and console-friendly UPnP only serve to increase its usefulness. A print server would have been icing on the cake, but you can't have everything.

Overall we are impressed with the myDitto. If you are looking to add a central storage solution in an environment where not all users are technically savvy it is a superlative device. We can see it being useful for both home users and in small offices, and the reduction in support overhead makes the drive worthy of its asking price alone.

Dane Elec - myDitto Home Network Server features - Verdict
An excellent network attached storage device for the beginner or for an administrator who wants an easy life with no support headaches.


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