Iomega made its name with the hugely popular Zip drive but, sadly, it is now withdrawing from the consumer market, having been absorbed by PC manufacturer Lenovo during 2012. It’s abandoning DAS altogether – that’s ‘direct attached storage’, or ‘ordinary hard disks’ in plain English – and is now focusing on NAS systems for business users instead. See also Group test: what's the best NAS device?
We don’t have to say goodbye to Iomega just yet, though, as it does still have a few products such as the new StorCenter ix4-300d that are aimed at smaller businesses and more advanced home users.
The StorCenter ix4-300D is an affordable, 4-bay network drive that is available either as diskless chassis that you can configure with your own choice of drives, or pre-configured with 4TB, 8TB or 12TB capacities. Prices start at £262 for the diskless model, and range from £575 for the 4TB model reviewed here to £765 and £960 for the 8TB and 12TB models. You can also save about £100 if you shop around online, rather than buying direct from Iomega.
That brings this 4TB model down to about £475, which is quite competitive for such a feature-packed piece of kit. It’s equipped with four 1TB drives, which can be easily replaced simply by removing the top panel of the unit. There are two Gigabit Ethernet ports for networkconnection and the ix4 supports RAID 0, RAID 5 and RAID 10, along with basic JBOD (‘just a bunch of drives’). The ix4 works with Time Machine on Macs, and there’s support for Windows Active Directory for PC-based organizations. There’s even a piece of bundled software called SecureMind, which allows you to connect a security camera so that you can record video footage straight onto the ix4.
The ix4 provides remote access over the Internet
Another key feature is the ‘personal cloud’ option that allows you to access the drive over the Internet as well as your local home or office network. You can specify that a particular computer – such as your laptop – is a ‘trusted device’ so that it can continue to connect to the ix4 when you’re out and about. You can also send email invitations to friends or colleagues in order to give them access as well. And, of course, there’s an app too – the free Iomega Link app, which allows you to upload and download files from an iPhone or iPad.
We were also pleased to see that features such as the personal cloud option and Time Machine support were much more straightforward and easy to set up than on previous models, such as the StorCenter ix2 that we reviewed a few months ago. That’s largely down to the simple Store Manager software provided with the ix4, although more advanced users can also configure the unit manually by using its web browser interface.