Short version: Iomega has been making storage devices for years, and it shows. I’m a fan of NAS hardware and technology, and Iomega has created a product that not only stores data, but has enough value add to make it stand out from the dozens of other black boxes for storing your data.
A good NAS should be invisible. You should be able to set it up, start your schedule for your backups, plug the thing in, and forget about it. As such, reviewing a NAS is a very difficult thing to do.
So let’s talk about the basics. The ix4-200d supports dual gigabit ethernet, along with a laundry list of compatibility and features. Want to use it with Windows Backup? No problem. Time Machine user? It’s got you covered. Something more esoteric, like VMware, iSCSI, or BlueTooth picture transfer? It’ll do that too. The ix4 will even work with Axis network cameras to function as a DVR, and record from up to 5 different video sources.
The NAS in itself isn’t terribly impressive looking, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s a power button, three status lights, a USB port, and an LCD display on the front. The LCD display shows you that status of the device, including if there are any jobs working, and how much space you have remaining. The back has two gigabit ethernet ports, and the power plug in point. Oddly, the cover to the case sits sideways, meaning that the drives are mounted sitting sideways as well, instead of facing out of the front of the case. Iomega puts four drives in the NAS for you, and you can select from the various RAID configurations to choose the one that works best for you. Drives are hot-swappable of course, based on the level of RAID selected.
The problems start when you install the software that comes with the device. I’m an experienced user, and consider myself to be quite knowledgeable, so it was a bit of a disappointment when I was unable to get the NAS set up at first. After reading the instructions further, I was able to determine that you must install the software first, before you plug the NAS into your network. That will allow your computer to talk to the NAS and set up the various network options and formatting, and allow the system to work. Once the software is installed and configured however, it works perfectly with any computer on your network. Back up processes happened as scheduled, and never missed a beat.
One extremely convenient function is the QuickTransfer. You can plug a USB device into the front of the NAS and press the transfer button, and the data on the device will automatically download into the storage device. This could be a USB drive, or flash drive, and I even used a memory card reader and downloaded photographs directly into the file server. It’s fast, efficient, and easy to control from the LCD screen.
Overall, I liked the ix4-200d. It did what it was supposed to do, without issues, and worked as intended. As far as the feature set goes, it’s almost too much. This makes the set up a little difficult, but once you get through the process it’s seamless. Additionally, as a photographer, I love the QuickTransfer feature. I’d come home from shooting, plug my card reader into the NAS, push the button, and it would automatically back up my images. This made backing up really easy.
The Iomega ix4-200d is currently available from your favorite electronics retailer, for a MSRP of $699.99 for the 2 TB version.