In general, the various menus are attractive and functional. Rolling the mouse over the various icons displays help text in the little box on the right-hand side describing what the button is used for—a nice touch. Across the top of this menu, you can see tabs for other configuration items.
It wasn't clear to me why some items were in the tab menu and others were in the icon menu. And in some cases, the functions could be found in both places. For example, if you want to add a user (Figure 4) you can do it through the "Users" tab menu or through the "Add User" icon.
Figure 4: User Creation
The Search menu on th screen in Figure 3 is a bit unique among NASes I've worked with. The idea is that you use this menu as a bit of a file manager to find specific files. Figure 5 shows the result of a search.
Figure 5: File Search result
The search term refers to file names, not file contents. It is important to note that Search is available without logging in, so keep that in mind when you deploy this device on your LAN (more on this later). In this case, the search located a Skeleton.eps file I had stored.
When you select a file, it gets downloaded or displayed through the web browser. And along those same lines, the "Access Shared Folder" option from the home menu is also designed to allow you to get to your files through the web browser, but I found it a bit odd.
The Access Shared Folder feature requires you to run an application on your computer that installs a web server that serves up pages looking just like the pages from the ix2, with the exception that some menu items had a different ordering. The result was that at times it became confusing whether I was connected to the ix2 or the server running on my computer. The local application will also mount network shares when they are selected from the browser. In general, the Access Shared Folder feature was somewhat cumbersome, confusing and duplicative.
The local application is also used for access to the backup utility, EMC's Retrospect Express (Figure 6), bundled with the ix2. This nice little application allows you to back up and restore your files to the ix2 with various options such as only backing up specific folders, backing up on a timed basis, etc.
Figure 6: Retrospect Express
Note that the ix2 does not have any built-in scheduled backup features. But in addition to client backup, you can use Retrospect to back up ix2 shares.
The Dashboard tab on the ix2 shows one of the unique features of the ix2: support for Bluetooth. The ix2 itself doesn't have an embedded Bluetooth device, but supports Bluetooth dongles plugged into the USB port. I couldn't find any documentation specifying supported models, but it worked with the Kensington K33902 Bluetooth USB Micro Adaptor that Iomega provided for the review.
Figure 7 shows browsing the ix2 from my MacBook Pro. I found that I could use Bluetooth for transferring files to the ix2, but not for reading them.
Figure 7: Bluetooth Browsing
Another unique feature that the ix2 supports is network video cameras (Figure 8). The Video Surveillance feature provides centralized management and monitoring of supported IP cameras. Controls provided include manual recording start / stop, scheduled recording, camera naming and password control and recording destination directory.
Figure 8: Network Camera Support
Iomega doesn't have a list of supported cameras posted, but told me that Axis' entire IP camera line is supported (Iomega provided an Axis 207 camera for the review that worked fine). They also said that any camera that can write to a network share will work, but the ix2 won't be able to manage it.
For other multimedia support, the ix2 contains a UPnP AV server so if you have a compliant client on your network, you'll be able to use the ix2 to serve up content. The server also knows how to decipher your iTunes library. So if you put your iTunes content on the ix2, the UPnP AV server can serve non- DRM restricted content to UPnP AV clients. But it is not an iTunes server, so the music on your ix2 won't show up in iTunes itself.