There are many things you can buy for £500. You could buy a 16GB iPhone 3GS, an Asus Eee PC 1008HA but if you or your small business has a lot of data that really can't be lost then £500 could buy you some peace of mind. I'm talking, of course, about a NAS device on which to backup your data and today I'm talking about one such product in particular; the Iomega ix4-200d.
This particular model comes with 2TB of storage across four 500GB drives. Iomega itself is asking for about £620 for it, but you can find it elsewhere for significantly less which sounds like a sensible move. 4TB and 8TB models are also available, if you have a bit more cash spare and need more capacity. All three configurations use an array of four discs.
In practice this means the 2TB version will only offer that capacity in JBOD mode, which isn't recommended. Alternatively you could use RAID 5 (Parity, as Iomega calls it), giving 1.4TB of usable space or RAID 1, (Mirror), leaving 932GB of capacity. You'll want to make sure you decide which of configurations you want from the off as you can't switch disk modes once there's data on the drives. Likewise, there's no way to upgrade discs on-the-fly so be sure you'll never need more storage capacity than initially installed. Netgear's X-RAID does offer both of those features, but then a ReadyNAS NVX is twice the price of an ix4-200d for the same capacity. The discs aren't hot swappable, and if you have a failure you'll have to turn off the system and remove the case to replace the broken drive, but as that shouldn't happen all that often it's not a major issue.
The device itself is very solidly built and certainly imbues a sense of confidence that any data stored on it will be nice and safe. It's as attractive as a black box can be and at 100mm x 196mm x 168mm it should be easy to fit into even the smallest of offices. Aside from a quick spin-up of its fans when started, the ix4-200d is near silent in operation, the only audible noise coming from its hard drives and only then when I was sitting right next to it.