NAS drives are getting smarter and smarter, and the Iomega ix2 is no exception. Priced at $400 for 1TB, this compact drive is actually more of a mini-computer and features “apps” that allow it to become more than just a storage dump.
I installed the drive on my home network and found it obviously quite easy to install and run. The version I test, a disk-less case that costs about $185, had space for two SATA drives. I dumped them in and powered the thing up. It immediately appeared on my network and was accessible by visiting myiomega.com. Because it depends on port-forwarding, however, accessing the drive remotely was a bit more complex. A few tweaks and I was ready to go.
The drive has 256MB of RAM built-in and a Marvell Kirkwood processor running at 1.6 GHz, about as much as a mid-range cellphone. The interface is app centric and you have nearly complete control over the entire system through the icon-based UI. The drive supports RAID 0 and 1 and allows for USB printer sharing and storage expansion via USB. As for file access, this NAS supports Windows DFS, FTP/SFTP, WebDAV, Active Directory, and Time Machine support. It can stream audio and video and appears as a UPnP/DLNA server. You can also set the drive to back up your computers through the cloud.
I’m especially enamored with the settings pages. For example, I love this screen that lets you enable and disable various protocols.
It is, in a word, NASpr0n. The device also supports remote access over the Internet and is compatible with Iomega’s iOS app.
Another unique feature is the built-in surveillance camera support. The drive can connect to up to five wireless cameras including devices from Axis and Bosch. The drive includes a program called SecureMind and you can view and record live video to the drive. It’s this feature alone that makes it a quite compelling choice for small businesses and offices. Rather than depending on a wonky, proprietary solution, this all-in-one system allows for backups, recording, and playback all from a single device.
Arguably it’s a bit hard to love a NAS drive but this one is a fascinating example of what happens when you connect a computer to a massive chunk of storage. Although I still prefer Buffalo’s Pogoplug-compatible drives for everyday storage and sharing, this Iomega system is quite cool and quite compelling for a small office or shop environment.