Iomega StorCenter Pro NAS ix4-200d review

£919
Price when reviewed

Since being acquired by EMC, Iomega’s NAS appliances have been rejuvenated. The latest StorCenter NAS ix4-200d delivers a range of features, including support for IP SANs, and prioritises data backup for small businesses.

The desktop box has room for up to four SATA hard disks but hot-swap isn’t supported. Iomega makes light work of installation: the setup routine finds the appliance on the network, sets up basic shares, maps them to local drive letters and offers access to EMC’s Retrospect Express HD where you can create an automated backup strategy in four clicks.

The routine worked well for us and we had Retrospect backing up a test PC in minutes. The web interface is easy to use and the wizard also allows you to select folders and files and set up daily backups or copies to the appliance. For backups, Retrospect secures the source once and on subsequent runs only copies new or modified files.

The separate Copy function in the interface can also be used to schedule copies of folders from one network device to another. We configured it to copy a folder from a Windows Server 2003 system to the appliance at daily intervals. Jobs can also be linked to the QuickTransfer button on the appliance and pressing this will fire up all jobs on all clients in sequence.

Iomega offers online backup courtesy of EMC’s Mozy service. The business version supports server and workstation backup. It uses a pay-as-you-go model with monthly costs starting at around £2.50 per workstation and £4.30 per server, with additional charges of approximately 30p per GB of data.

Surveillance is on the menu as the ix4-200d supports up to five UPnP IP cameras. We tested with an Axis 216FD, which was discovered automatically and allowed us to watch its live view from the admin web interface and set up recording schedules to a predefined share. However, Synology’s appliances such as the Rack Station have superior surveillance features.

iSCSI target creation is easy but slow, as you provide a unique name for the IQN plus a size, and then sit back and wait. We found a 50GB target took nearly 30 minutes to create. We were more impressed with Iomega’s mapping tools as you select the target, choose a drive letter and format it, whereupon the Microsoft iSCSI initiator will be configured for you and logged on to the target with persistence enabled.

Performance proved to be uninspiring, with Iometer reporting a low 60MB/sec raw read throughput for our iSCSI target. General copies using file sharing were also slow, with a 2.52GB video clip returning 40MB/sec and 28MB/sec read and write speeds. The FTP server fared better, with the same test file delivering read and write speeds of 64MB/sec and 30MB/sec.

Small businesses that want a simple NAS appliance won’t go far wrong with the ix4-200d as it’s very easy to use. It offers plenty of storage for the price and its backup facilities are a cut above the rest but it’s beaten easily by Netgear’s ReadyNAS NVX in the performance stakes.

Basic specifications

Capacity 4.00TB
Cost per gigabyte 5.0p
RAID capability yes
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Services

FTP server? yes
UPnP media server? yes
Other media servers iTunes
Print server? yes

Connections

Ethernet ports 2
USB connection? yes
eSATA interface no

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