Iomega NAS 200d review
Iomega has always offered a solid range of NAS appliances, and if there’s one thing this manufacturer is good at it’s design. The NAS 200d will look good sitting on any desktop. Coming in at about twice the size of the NAS 100d, this extremely well-built cube targets SMEs looking for shared storage but wanting more horsepower than the average entry level appliance.
The 200d delivers a good hardware specification, and it needs to: instead of using the basic Linux kernel of its smaller brethren, it runs Windows Storage Server 2003 (WSS 2003). This allows it to deliver a far more impressive range of features. The system is supplied with a trio of 164GB SATA/150 drives mounted in removable carriers, but these can only be cold-swapped as all RAID functions are managed by the OS. Even so, fault tolerance is good since the system is supplied preconfigured with an 8GB RAID1 mirror for the OS, with the remaining space set up as a RAID5 array for general data storage.
Installation doesn’t take long, as you can connect a monitor, USB keyboard and mouse to configure the appliance locally or leave Iomega’s Discovery utility to find it on the network. The latter displays a list of discovered appliances and allows you to modify basic features such as their IP addresses and fire up a remote browser management interface. There’s little difference between the interface used by older Windows 2000-powered appliances and WSS 2003. All functions are easily accessible from a row of tabbed folders. Client support is extensive, with Windows, Unix, Linux, Macintosh and NetWare all on the guest list, and you can activate only those you require.
Access controls to network shares are good, as you can use local or domain users and groups. Disk usage can be limited with a range of quotas, which are applied at the directory and file level, and predefined policies are provided making this a swift process. Quotas can be left as passive, where they simply report threshold breaches, but you can stop users taking any more space if they exceed their limits and select from a range of alert types for sending out warnings. The file-screening feature also allows you to strictly control which files are allowed to be copied to the appliance.
Real-time and on-demand virus scanning on the 200d comes courtesy of Computer Associates’ eTrust Antivirus, and daily virus signature updates are included in the price. Backup options are good, as the 200d incorporates a single-channel SCSI controller for attaching multiple external tape drives. The standard Windows Backup utility is available, but if you want more features a trial version of Symantec’s Backup Exec is already loaded for you to try. The Volume Shadow Copy Service takes scheduled point-in-time snapshots of selected volumes on the appliance and Iomega also provides its Automatic Backup software. The latter secures workstation data directly to the appliance by monitoring selected disks and automatically securing modifications in real-time or at specified intervals.
Iomega has never been the most generous with its storage, and we’d have preferred 250GB SATA drives for the price. Nevertheless, the NAS 200d offers a lot of storage features in a well-designed and solidly built appliance, with plenty of data backup options.