|At a glance|
|Product||Iomega 34563 StorCenter ix4-200d NAS Server [Website]|
|Summary||Marvell-based four drive RAID 5/10 NAS with iSCSI, backup to/from rsync targets and CIFS shares, secure remote access and media services.|
|Pros||• Can back up to and from CIFS/SMB shares and rsync target|
• iSCSI target support
• VMware and XenServer certified for NFS and iSCSI
• Supports Apple Time Machine
|Cons||• Not as fast as other Kirkwood-based NASes|
• Some funkyness when browsing for network backup shares
• No eSATA port
• Drives not hot-swappable
Typical Price: $1095 Shop Amazon
Iomega is on a mission to remake its StorCenter NASes into better combatants in today's bare-knuckled NAS competitive arena. If the StorCenter ix4-200d is any indication, it's going to be a fairer fight than it has been.
Our last look at an Iomega StorCenter NAS was the ix2, which Jim Buzbee found to be a pretty good value, even though it didn't have chart-topping performance or the biggest feature set in town. The ix2 did, however, have EMC's new Linux-based LifeLine OS, which brought a nicely-redesigned management interface and new features that made it a big improvement over its predecessor, the now-defunct StorCenter Network Hard Drive.
The ix4 also runs LifeLine and so shares the ix2's features. But it also brings a few new tricks of its own, including the ability to perform immediate or scheduled backups to and from attached drives, rsync servers and SMB/CIFS network shares. Yep, you read that correctly. This means that NETGEAR's ReadyNASes are no longer the only NASes that can do the backup to/from network share trick.
Figure 1 shows the front of the ix4, with all callouts explained in the larger image. The front panel LCD display is a nice touch and rotates between showing the date and time, IP address and volume Free / Used.
Figure 1: ix4-200d Front Panel
Figure 2 shows the rear panel, where You can see two USB 2.0 ports (for a total of three), power connector, dual gigabit Ethernet ports with support for 4000 and 9000 Byte jumbo frames, failover and 802.3ad aggregation, and a nice, quiet fan. Unfortunately, there is no eSATA port to attach external drives for speedier storage expansion or attached backup.
Figure 2: ix4-200d Back Panel
While the ix4 was running it drew a fairly low 35 Watts, and was surpringly quiet for a four-drive NAS. When the programmable drive spindown kicked in (5, 15, 30, 45, 1hr, 6 hr), power dropped to 13 W.
As with the ix2, a configuration wizard walks you through the basic configuration steps of setting the password time zone, network parameters, etc. during the first login or when invoked from the Settings > Device Setup tab. Note that although it's undocumented, the admin interface is also available via secure HTTPS. But it won't auto-forward you to HTTPS if you connect via HTTP.
Setup software is provided for both Window and Apple users and Linux users are directed to the web interface for their setup. If you have simple requirements, the Wizard does everything you need and the device can be used with a couple of default shares, "backup" and "public". But if you want to configure further, there are plenty of options. Figure 3 shows the main configuration screen which is accessed through a secure HTTPS connection.