For small business, data storage without defeat

Backup storage is becoming more important for small- and medium-sized businesses, Iomega says. A new pair of NAS devices aim to make that case.


Iomega, the storage company, is on a crusade to demonstrate to small- and medium-sized businesses that backup is important.

Sure, everyone knows that redundancy is probably a good idea (and for some, a legal concern, too). But most SMBs aren't IT-friendly. Many don't know what "IT" stands for -- and that's the main hurdle.

This morning, the company announced two new products -- the "high-performance" two-drive StorCenter px2-300d and a refresh of its four-drive StorCenter ix4-300d -- that it hopes will attract smaller businesses looking to centralize their storage.

First, a quick rundown of the two models.


The StorCenter px2-300d (pictured at right) looks a lot like its two-drive ix2 sibling but employs server-class disks, a brawnier Intel Atom processor and more comprehensive software support -- for example, it can handle McAfee VirusScan Enterprise -- for double the performance. If the ix2 is entry-level NAS, the px2 is the "prosumer" version, aimed at small offices or advanced home networks.

Meanwhile, the StorCenter ix4-300d (pictured at top) replaces its predecessor with an upgraded ARM processor and software, bringing it in line with the rest of the family. It's aimed at slightly less intense use cases than the px2.

Both models use the EMC LifeLine operating system, which supports cross-platform file-sharing, RAID data protection, virtualized environment support, cloud options for offsite data storage, Active Directory integration, DLNA media sharing, MySQL Server support and video surveillance capabilities. (Per its slightly more intense target audience, the px2 also supports hot-swappable hard drives, encryption and the aforementioned antivirus protection.)

I spoke with Iomega's Marc Tanguay, senior product manager for its network storage solutions group, about the NAS-SMB dynamic and he said that despite continued economic uncertainty in the U.S. and abroad, NAS drives are definitely moving off the shelves. (In fact, the U.S. is helping make up for weak demand in Europe and Asia, he said.)

The challenge, he said, continues to be usability and finding clever ways to hide the complexity of these products so that any business owner can plug-and-play without knowing what the term "virtualization" means. It's a challenge that the entire storage sector faces, even as customers demonstrate increasing need for networked, always-on storage.

Iomega hopes these two products are a step in the right direction. Both are available now; the px2-300d is priced from $500 to $1,200 (from diskless to 6TB) and the ix4-300d from $600 to $1,300 (from diskless to 12TB).