Iomega hopes the StorCenter ix2-200's energy efficiency and big-company features will help it stand out in an increasingly crowded market for entry-level storage appliances.The two-drive-bay ix2-200 is targeted at small offices with fewer than 25 employees, said Bill Hansen, Iomega's worldwide general manager for desktop NAS products, but its media server features will also make it attractive to pro-sumers. (Iomega released the 4-bay StorCenter ix-4200d for larger companies this summer.)
The market segment is growing, Hansen said, as small offices ramp up data creation, particularly HD video, which consumers prodigious amounts of storage space. At the same time, he added, awareness is starting to grow about the advantages of network attached storage (NAS) in small-office environments. "A lot of offices don't realize what these devices can do for them," Hansen said. Many offices still use "an old PC lying around" for storage.
So what's different about the ix2-200? According to Hansen, key features include
- Low-power features such as idle-drive-spindown, cooler operation that means the fan doesn't have to run very often.
- Ease of installation. Hansen said you plug the device into your router, turn it on, and install a CD on a connected PC to automate discovery of the drives and assign drive letters in less than 5 minutes. (Experienced IT users can discover the device without using the Iomega software.)
- Aggressive pricing. Starting at $269 for a 1TB version, Hansen said, "We're not charging a huge premium for advanced features like Gigabit Ethernet, RAID1, iSCSI support and VMware certification. (The 2TB version costs $369, while still-spendy 2TB drives push the price of the 4TB version up to $699).
- User-replacable -- but not hot-swappable -- drives.
- Device to device replication. It's a simple, schedulable, copy job to replicate all or part of the disk to any other storage device on the network, including competitor's devices. (While Iomega also offers cloud-based storage via Mozy, that is not yet integrated into this feature.)
- There's even support for Bluetooth connectivity (with an optional dongle) and Apple Time Machine support for backing up Macs.
- EMC LifeLine software, a Linux based suite of applications that supports Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs.
- Versatility. "Whatever level of sophistication you need," Hansen said, "it's addressed."
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