Iomega's network storage family consists of three lineups:

  • ARM-based EZ single-bay network attached hard disk for home users
  • ARM-based ix series for value-focused consumers
  • x86-based px series for performance-focused consumers (These come in both desktop and rackmount form-factors)

Today, Iomega is announcing two new NAS models, one each in the ix and px series. Traditionally, manufacturers have tended to focus their performance platform efforts on 4-bay and higher NAS systems. ARM-based systems make up the majority of the 2-bay offerings. However, huge amounts of data are being generated everyday even in the home (thanks to high resolution videos and photos, as well as movie backups and DVR recordings). This has opened up a market segment for 4-bay value offerings. Distributed SMB (small and medium-sized businesses) locations, in turn, have made small high-availability NAS systems with a performance emphasis necessary.

In order to cater to the performance market, Iomega is launching the px2-300d Intel Atom-based 2-bay model. The platform is based on the D525 running at 1.8 GHz. Equipped with 2 GB of DDR3 memory, the unit supports hot-swapping of drives as well as volume encryption capabilities. The unit also has two GbE ports and comes with a customized version of McAfee Enterprise (with local scanning). A 3-year subscription for virus definitions is included. Pricing ranges from $500 for the diskless configuration to $1200 for the 2 x 3TB configuration. A point to be noted is that the disks shipped with the px2-300d are enterprise / server class drives.

The ix4-300d is equally interesting because it seems to be the first Marvell ARMADA XP based NAS system shipping to customers. The latest Marvell based refreshes we have seen from other manufacturers have all been based on the Kirkwood MV628x platform. The ix4-300d is based on a dual core 1.3 GHz Marvell SoC (MV78230 seems to be the likely candidate, though Iomega didn't confirm the exact part number). This unit also comes with dual GbE (something we see rarely in the value segment) and has 512 MB of DDR3 memory. Unlike the other 4-bay ARM-based NAS systems such as the Netgear NV+ v2, this model doesn't have hot-swap capabilities. Addition or replacement of disks requires a power cycle. Pricing ranges from $600 for the diskless configuration to $1300 for the 4 x 3TB configuration.

Both of the new NAS systems run the Iomega LifeLine OS. The latest version of the LifeLine OS has shifted the RAID filesystem from EXT3 to EXT4. Iomega indicated that this brought about higher efficiency. The new version has also apparently enhanced Active Directory support and added MySQL server support as well as video surveillance capabilities. Extra apps for the system are available here. The OS also allows linking of two StorCenter units in different locations for seamless cloud disaster recovery. The Iomega Link iOS / Android application allows mobile devices to access the NAS. The units are also DLNA certified.

We are particularly excited about the Marvell ARMADA XP based 4-bay system (ix4-300d). With Synology having thrown their weight behind Freescale this year, the competition amongst silicon vendors for the value-based NAS platform seems to be heating up.

Update: The official product briefs of the px2-300d and ix4-300d are now available.

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  • qyqgpower - Thursday, October 18, 2012 - link

    Compare to a self built system with a budget of $600, what's the advantage for these NAS systems?
    P8H77-I + PC-Q08B + G620 + 16GB RAM + etc would be easily under $600 and perform a lot better than these NAS system in my opinion.
  • DanNeely - Thursday, October 18, 2012 - link

    Size. A MiniITX case with at least 4x3.5" drive bays is several times larger. The ix4-300d is ~8x8x7" = .26 cubic feet in volume. The Lian Li PC-Q18 is ~11x8x14" = .72 cubic feet; roughly 3x as large.

    The former is small enough to stick on a shelf next to your modem/router/etc; the latter takes up a similar footprint to a regular PC.

    To head off the inevitable nitpicking, while the Lian Li has room for 6x3.5" drives; but the size jump in miniITX cases is at the 1-2 vs 3-4+ drive bays. The former config will sometimes stick them in the same area as the mobo itself; every example of the latter I've looked at puts the drives forward of the mobo like in a typical mid/fullsize tower.
  • zer0sum - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    Admittedly a bit bigger but you get to choose your hardware.

    CHENBRO SR30169T2-250

    Mini-ITX motherboard
    4 x 3.5" hot swap bays
    2 x 2.5 bays
  • DanNeely - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    Thanks for the pointer. It's definitely better on size; but from the newegg reviews it seems like I'd probably need to do an airflow mod. Looking at the case I wonder if just cutting a hole in the back plate and flipping the PSU 180* would work; or if the internal power extension cord would make that impossible.
  • DanNeely - Thursday, October 18, 2012 - link

    The secondary advantage is that a prebuild nas just requires stuffing the drives in and running a config wizard; a DIY solution will typically require a few hours to assemble and install the requisite os/software. How much you value your freetime is entirely up to you. I as considering a prebuilt nas to replace my aging HP WHSv1 microserver because I have more enjoyable things to do with my time than slap a box together.
  • MGSsancho - Thursday, October 18, 2012 - link

    OpenFiler and FreeNAS make the software part easier. My time is worth something but saving a few hundred is also worth it to some.
  • DanNeely - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    At $600, the Px2-300D is on the expensive side for a 4bay nas. Synology has empty 4bay nases starting at $300 on newegg.

    The parts for a 4+bay miniITX based SB-Celeron nas will run $400 and up + drives. An atom build will be ~$100 less. This puts prices in the same ballpark. Recycling parts would push the price down more; but my primary backup location isn't a place I feel comfortable using aging hardware.
  • Souka - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    don't forget stability... how often will those DYI systems crash or lockup?
    A lot more failure points in a DYI vs a dedicated NAS.

    Not everyone is a super geek....
  • Souka - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    I have a iomega ix2-200 (upgraded it to the "cloud edition") with two 2TB drives in RAID-1

    Just a good dumping ground for movies and shared crap... have not had an issue and perofrmance is great (60/40MB read/write if I recall) over ethernet.

    Got the unit as it was being recycled at a job I worked for...
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, October 18, 2012 - link

    I'm always confused by whether these things with linux drive formats are totally compatible with stuff coming from NTFS and the like.

    My understanding is Windows 7 (and presumably 8) includes software RAID 1/drive mirring, so is there any reason you couldn't just buy or build a cheap/low end desktop with regular Windows, throw in the drives you want, turn on RAID 1, and use THAT for backups and the like? Then you've got a real Windows box that's easy to configure, easy to remote to if it's Windows Pro, you know it's secure and won't do anything there some reason that's a bad idea?

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