Average user rating
- Includes enterprise-level features such as iSCSI support and VMware certification
- Supports Windows, Mac and Linux clients
- Compact and quiet in operation
- Some small businesses will not require, or want to pay for, the enterprise-level features
Iomega, now owned by storage market leader EMC, has launched the StorCenter ix4-200d, a four-spindle, network-attached storage (NAS) device aimed at small businesses, distributed offices and home office networks. The company reckons that it fills the gap between the bottom of EMC's enterprise range and the top of Iomega's small business series of products because its adds data protection and a suite of other features to the basic storage function.
Available in 2TB, 4TB and 8TB versions -- all with four disks -- the ix4-200d supports RAID levels 0 and 5, as well as level 10, which combines the performance of RAID 0 with the reliability of RAID 5 with the disadvantage that you can only use half the disks' raw capacity. Our review kit came with a somewhat miserly quartet of 500GB SATA II Seagate drives which, in a RAID 5 configuration, provided 1.4TB of accessible storage.
Iomega's 4-drive ix4-200d NAS box comes in 2TB, 4TB and 8TB configurations and supports RAID levels 0, 5 and 10.
The 200d connects via a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports, which can be bonded for either load balancing or failover, used for iSCSI emulation so the 200d can be integrated into an enterprise storage system, or daisychained to another NAS. Other features include three USB ports, into which you can daisychain other storage devices and plug in a Bluetooth dongle for wireless access.
You manage the Linux-powered device via a web interface using EMC-sourced file system and management software, Lifeline 2. In addition to Windows shares over SMB, the device also supports CIFS, AFS, FTP, rsync, Bluetooth and NFS, making it suitable for use in a wide range of environments. The inclusion of SNMP support means the device is manageable using enterprise-level systems management software. EMC Retrospect Express, which is part of the bundle, allows you to back up one or more PCs.
Time Machine support means it'll backup Macs too, and Iomega is keen to talk up the device's VMware certification, which means you can safely store your virtual machines on it -- EMC owns most of VMware. It supports surveillance cameras too, although only cameras from Axis are currently approved -- Iomega promises more in future.
The StorCenter ix4-200d is not just about the enterprise though. It will also integrate into an home or small business environment via UPnP, and supports Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), so it can connect to projectors and send video to devices in the home.
The software quickly found the ix4-200d on our local subnet, and connected it up to the Windows shares. The interface is clear and easy to use, and we had no problems configuring the device to fit into our small-office network, using DHCP initially to connect to it, then setting up IP addresses for the Ethernet ports and DynDNS support for remote access.
It comes set up with folders for backups, public access and multimedia files, while creating a user automatically generates a home folder with the correct permissions.
The device's 80mm fan runs quietly and power management of the SATA II disks means it uses 16W of electricity while the disks are spun down, 33W when spinning.
This is a neat device that will fit in pretty much anywhere and, given the added features, is good value compared to the competition. It costs £539 excluding VAT, which pushes the price to £619.85 (until VAT rates go up in 2010).