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In the highly competitive small business network storage market NAS vendors come and go but stalwart Iomega has outlasted them all. Many manufacturers rely on a small portfolio of products but Iomega has consistently offered one of the largest choices around enabling it to cover home users right up to SMBs. However, although these appliances are some of the best built in town, Iomega hasn’t been so competitive on price and features.
The latest StorCenter Pro 150d aims to remedy these shortcomings and the 1TB model on review looks capable of competing closely with Netgear’s ReadyNAS NV and Buffalo’s TeraStation Pro II. The 150d stores a quartet of 250GB Seagate SATA hard disks and adds support for true hot-swap drives – a feature Buffalo still doesn’t offer. Access controls have been improved and the beefed up hardware specification aims to deliver better overall performance as well.
Build quality is undeniably superb but this is a very big box. It dwarfs our ReadyNAS NV appliance, standing over 6cms higher, 5cms wider and nearly 9cms deeper. It’s a lot noisier as well with the two large rear mounted fans quite intrusive on the desktop. The drives are mounted in hot-swap carriers behind a lockable front door and accompanied by a row of status LEDs to one side. The appliance sports pairs of USB 2.0 ports, fore and aft, and these can be used to connect external storage devices and a printer for sharing over the network.
Installation is handled nicely by the bundled Iomega Discovery utility, which locates appliances on the network and provides direct access for mapping drives and running the management interface. Note that unlike many desktop NAS appliances, the 150d does not support secure management over HTTPS.
A quick glance at the menu options in the rudimentary interface is enough to show that Iomega has aimed the 150d primarily at business users as it is devoid of any multimedia functions. Unlike the ReadyNAS NV you don’t get an iTunes server, support for UPnP or any other streaming services. What you do get is a reasonable range of storage features well suited to a small office. The appliance defaults to a four-drive RAID-5 array but you can go for mirrors, stripes or spans instead. The drives can be monitored from the web interface and you can choose a power down time in minutes or hours but no system logging facilities or SMART support are available.
Alerting is provided so the appliance will issue emails if any problems occur although as far as we could see this was limited to the drives and array. We pulled a drive from the array to simulate a failure and the appliance sent out an alert to us and another when we replaced the drive. Rebuilding the array took around two and a half hours and apart from a brief repair phase the appliance allowed full access during the rebuild.