Iomega StorCenter Pro 200rL

Iomega delivers a solid Linux based small business NAS appliance, but how does it compare with the competition for features?

Price
£935

Firmware upgrades can be performed directly from the web interface and Iomega has resolved earlier problems on its Linux appliances where this process would reset the system back to factory defaults. The drives can be monitored from the web interface and you can enable or disable support for USB storage devices. However, there no facilities for spinning the drives down to save power during extended idle periods and no SMART support is available either.

For access security you have a local user and group database and the appliance also supports NT domain or AD server authentication. Folders can be made public or restricted to specific user and groups where you can further specify read and write privileges. Quotas can also be applied to selected users to limit the amount of storage they can consume. Client support is up with the best as the 200rL supports CIFS/SMB, NFS and AFP protocols so will work happily with Windows, Linux and Macintosh systems.

CIFS access can't be switched off but you can decide whether NFS and AFP are enabled on each folder. The appliance runs an FTP server but features here are very limited as it only supports anonymous access and only one folder of your choice may be made available to FTP clients. Any USB storage device will be automatically shared as soon as it's inserted and global settings are provided for determining user access restrictions to all USB devices.

The 200rL delivered a very good performance in our real world tests. We used a dual socket quad-core Xeon Dell PowerEdge 1950 rack server and copying a 2.52GB video clip between this system and the appliance returned average read and write speeds of 48MB/sec. FTP performance was even better with the FileZilla client utility reporting read and write speeds of 71MB/sec and 58MB/sec.

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Backup features need to be good in a business environment and Iomega offers a reasonably good package. You can run backup tasks that secure selected local folders from the appliance to a USB device or to another system over the network. A scheduler allows jobs to be automatically run daily or weekly but only full backups are supported. It can create a new backup folder each time the job is run or you can set it to overwrite the previous backup.

Workstation backup gets a better deal as Iomega includes a copy of EMC's Retrospect licensed for five users. Note that this is the Express version which doesn't support tape drive and cannot be installed on Windows Server systems. Nevertheless, it's easy enough to use as it provides plenty of wizards to assist with backup and restoration tasks. Schedules can be created to secure workstation data to the appliance at regular intervals and a useful feature is that once the first full backup has completed all subsequent jobs will only copy new and changed files.

The small business NAS appliance market is intensively competitive with a large number of vendors now looking for a piece of the action. If you want a simple, well built and easily deployed storage solution then the StorCenter 200rL is well worth considering but systems such as Netgear's ReadyNAS 1100 rack appliances deliver far more features for your money.

Verdict

As a basic business NAS appliance the StorCenter 200rL gets the job done, although for the price we would have expected more. Performance is good, it’s well built and is very easy to install and use but compared with the latest raft of products from vendors such as Netgear, Qnap, Synology and Thecus the 200rL is short on features.

Chassis: 1U rack

CPU: 3.2GHz Celeron D

Memory: 512MB DDR SDRAM

Storage: 4 x 250GB Seagate Barracuda SATA in hot-swap carriers

Array support: RAID0, 10, 5, JBOD

Network: Gigabit Ethernet

Ports: 3 x USB2

Management: web browser

Software: EMC Retrospect Express 7.5 with 5 client licenses

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