External hard drive space is a nice thing to have and for this additional space to be network accessible is even better. With the Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 you get 4TB of storage space that is network attached and features robust backup potential with two hard drive bays.
Just like previous StorCenter models from Iomega, the design is the exact same with a brushed black exterior and a front grate giving it a robust look and feel. On the back of the device, there are two 3.5" drive bays that come filled with a 2TB SATA hard drive in each bay, totaling 4TB together. To remove a drive from its bay, you have to flip over the whole device and unscrew some screws on the bottom that help hold the drive in place, which is cumbersome and poorly designed. There are also two USB ports on the back of the device as well. These two ports can be used for further expansion with external storage or for connecting a USB printer to make it network accessible.
On the front panel, there is a USB port along with a copy button. The front USB port can be used to copy data right from an external storage device, like a thumbdrive or other USB hard drive, onto the Iomega StorCenter's storage space. The internal fans run fairly quietly and, therefore, the whole device becomes rather unnoticeable. However, it does run extremely hot, so make sure to place it in a well-ventilated area.
The two drives included are pre-configured in RAID 1 configuration, which means you really only get 2TB of storage because one drive is an exact duplicate of the other for backup purposes. However, the system can be configured to RAID 0 to utilize the full 4TB of storage space, but you'll lose the data redundancy. Be warned that switching between RAID setups will cause all of your data to be deleted. We should also mention that the devices are not hot-swappable, meaning you cannot remove a hard drive without first shutting down the whole device.
Setting up the Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 is pretty straightforward. Just insert the CD into your network's computers and it will install any necessary drivers and setup the computer to be able to "see" the ix2-200 by means of a regular network share. This device is both Windows and Mac compatible too. On Mac computers, the ix2-200 will show up as a server device in Finder and under Windows, it will show up in Windows Explorer under Network as a networked device. There is a Web interface for the StorCenter's configuration and other basic settings. This can be accessed from any computer on the network.
If you're interested in using the StorCenter ix2-200 as a backup device, it comes with EMC's Retrospect Express HD software for backup. This software allows you to choose to backup individual folders, predetermined files, or an entire computer (image-based backup). Retrospect Express HD isn't the best choice of backup software in our opinion, but it does the job effectively and with little fuss.
There are a few others nice features that come with this network attached storage (NAS), such as iTunes Music sharing. To share your iTunes music library among your networked computers, just put all of your iTunes music into the "public" folder on the device and it will automatically show your library in iTunes on all other computers. There's also support for Mac OS X's Time Machine backup, which is done in a created folder that it will make when you set it up.
There is also remote data access on the Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 and a free year of TZO Dynamic DNS service is provided ($10/additional year). This will allow you to remotely access your data stored on the ix2-200 from anywhere on the Internet. The setup can be daunting, however, if you're router doesn't support UPnP. If it doesn't, you'll have to manually open and forward port 443 to the NAS's internal IP address.
Performance on StorCenter ix2-200 by Iomega was exceptionally good in terms of file transfer speeds and accessibility. The support for iSCSI allows the networked storage to be interacted with as though it was physically connected to your computer, which makes things easy and fast.
The Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 comes with a three-year warranty and also sells in 1TB and 2TB models.