The Iomega StorCenter ix2-2 is a two-bay NAS drive, available with 2TB, 4TB or 6TB of storage. It offers integration with social networks and external services than most other NAS devices on the market. Photos and videos can be automatically uploaded to Facebook, YouTube and Flickr, there's a built-in Torrent client, automatic backup with various cloud storage providers, and a video-recorder function for IP cameras on your network. Read more storage reviews.
The ix2-2, like many other consumer NAS units, is a compact box and is only sold pre-filled with hard disks. It will happily sit on a desktop and remain unobtrusive. White and blue LEDs at the front indicate power and storage status and a door pops off to reveal the internal hard disks. See also: Group test: what's the best NAS device?
It includes one gigabit ethernet port and a single USB 2.0 port at the back, which can be used for storage expansion or direct connection to a digital camera.
The included drives in our 2TB unit were a pair of Seagate 1TB Barracuda, 3.5in SATA disks spinning at 7200rpm, which are half height. If you're considering upgrading these drives later, the ix2-2 will also accommodate full-size hard drives, although the rails that hold the drives in place are attached with Torx, rather than standard crosshead screws.
Iomega's website lists a limited range of hard drives that are certified for use with the ix2-2, and the company suggests unpredictable results if you attempt to mix and match brands and models of hard drive.
Iomega StorCenter ix2-200: file transfer times
When transferring files across from a computer to the ix2-2, its performance broke no records. We measured 48MB/sec when writing a large file to the disk, which sounds reasonable, but this was a newly formatted RAID 0 array, and slightly slower than a nearby Zyxel NSA325 which was 80% full.
CrystalDiskMark showed scores of 28.47MB/sec sequential reading and 9.78MB/sec writing, the latter especially unimpressive.
Running the Intel NAS Performance Toolkit for a more thorough assessment of the drive again produced middling performance across the board. In the high-definition video test we saw 17.6MB/sec, which rose to 24MB/sec at 4x playback.
If you want a NAS that's primarily for frequent file transfers and backups over your home network, there are faster options than the ix2-2.
NAS units of the past served as little more than networked hard disks, and were only designed to share media with computers connected to the same router. But vendors are now trying to offer facilities to share content over the web directly from the storage device. You can now relieve the tedium of using Facebook's web-based photo to upload hundreds of holiday snaps, and having a NAS handle these functions negates the need to leave a PC turned on constantly (such as for Torrents). These built-in software features can give the ix2-2 extra value for some users.
The admin interface isn't particularly attractive, but its layout and labelling makes sense, and is more than functional. A nifty slideshow of images greets you when you log in, taken from a folder on the NAS.
Sharing content with Facebook, Flickr, or YouTube is a doddle. You enter your account details on the settings page, and create a share for each service. This appears on the network as a top-level folder; you then drop pictures or videos into it for them to be uploaded automatically.
Iomega's Personal Cloud sharing system is another good idea. With a unique username and an email address, once the relevant ports are opened and forwarded on your router, anyone who you grant access to can view the content on your NAS in a browser, or using the Iomega Link mobile app for iOS and Android. You can also add your NAS to another person's personal cloud as a trusted device, although we couldn't test this.
Three cloud backup providers are supported: Amazon S3, Mozy and EMC backup (a service provided by Iomega's parent company). There are also the usual DLNA and iTunes media servers, Microsoft Active Directory integration and a number of tools such as SMART information about the disks, an event log, and temperature sensors. This is all standard fare for most NAS devices, but we're pleased Iomega hasn't left out anything obvious.