Iomega Launches Consumer/SMB NAS Device

Network-attached storage (NAS) is usually viewed as a feature for large-scale enterprises, but Iomega, a subsidiary of storage giant EMC, is continuing its affordable storage initiative with a new NAS appliance for home and SMB users.

Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 borrows many technologies from EMC (NYSE: EMC) enterprise-class storage devices but puts it in a form factor that is only a slight premium above the cost of the bare hard drive. At the same time, it’s very power efficient, making it perfect for the green-minded user.

The ix2-200 comes in 1TB ($269.99), 2TB ($369.99) and 4TB ($699.99) capacities, using 5900RPM drives. The slower speed helps keep power consumption down and generates less heat, which allows them to be certified as “green” drives, but they don’t slack on performance.

“We tested it against a 7200RPM drive and it performs very close to the 7200 drive,” Bill Hansen, global product manager for network storage products at Iomega told “It’s not a significant performance difference. You’re usually throttled by Ethernet before the drives ever become an issue.”

They are cheap and they are green, but the ix2-200 series sure pack some remarkable features, including device-to-device replication for business continuity and file recovery, iSCSI block-level access, RAID 1 configurations, Active Directory, NFS and Apple’s Time Machine support and VMware certification for virtualization installations.

Automatic configuration and features for the digital home

It’s a virtual plug and play design that automatically configures itself once it’s connected to a router or switch. It has a 1GbE port, two USB ports and an iSCSI connector. The device can be configured and installed onto clients and servers so they see the network drives and it does the rest in terms of configuration, backup and file management.

It also has features for the digital home, like a DLNA-certified UPnP AV media server, so you can stream audio and video off the device, built-in BitTorrent uploads/downloads, Cooliris slideshow for picture playback, and an iTunes server, so music can be streamed off the device.

That’s why even with the many enterprise features, Hansen believes it will still compete in the home market against systems based on Windows Media Server, which can cost twice as much for similar storage capacity due to the cost of Windows itself.

He also touted the features vs. a Windows Media Server. “We think our feature set is one reason. Not all of them offer those features. Replication is not available on most products. Our speed and performance is quite good against the others. We believe our ease of use wins out,” he said.

The device-to-device replication allows for copying or backing up files to and from the ix2-200 to any other NAS or USB-attached storage device without the need for a client computer. Jobs can be set to run at pre-determined schedule or by the transfer button on the device.

The ix2-200 also supports video surveillance through up to five Axis Network video cameras and support for real-time monitoring and video capture without the need for a dedicated computer.

The 1TB and 2TB models are available now, the 4TB model will come out later this month.

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