Iomega StorCenter ix4-300d review
4 disk bays, 4x 1TB storage supplied, 2x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports
One of the best things about the Iomega ix4-300d is that it works as soon as you plug it in, immediately appearing in your PC's index of network devices. From there, you can easily access its web-based configuration interface.
The first time you connect to it using your browser, you'll be asked to configure an email address and SMTP server so that the ix4-300d can notify you in case of emergencies. You also have the option of creating an Iomega Personal Cloud, which makes your NAS easily accessible over the internet to anyone you choose. It's easy to set up and particularly useful if you don't have a fixed IP address or a network configuration that allows your remote users to reach the NAS via a virtual private network (VPN).
By default, the NAS's four 1TB drives are configured as a RAID 5 array. This is the optimal configuration for this combination of disks and is what we'd choose ourselves. If you wish, you can reconfigure the array as either RAID 10 (which stripes the data across two disks as it would with RAID 1 and then mirrors those two disks to the other two) or as a single RAID 0 volume without any redundancy. The latter gives you the most space, but we definitely don't recommend it as you risk losing some of your data should a disk fail.
Several shared folders are automatically set up for you with names like Pictures, Backups and SharedMedia, which makes it easy to organise your NAS. It’s also easy to create your own shares. The Common tab in the ix4-300d’s web interface contains a shortcut to the Shares configuration screen where you can create, delete and modify your shared folders. By default, creating a folder and ticking the Media sharing option will make it accessible to everyone on your network.
While the NAS's interface isn't as feature-packed as those of rivals such as QNAP and Synology, and doesn't have a wide array of additional packages available to it, the interface is fairly well designed and most of the features you'd want from a NAS are present. Several tabs are arranged on the left-hand side of the web interface, with each taking you to a page of shortcut icons that represent various features.
A fairly well designed interface, but not as feature packed as some of the competition's
The NAS's Cloud Services tab lets you configure your Iomega Personal Cloud and link the ix4-300d to a number of online backup or hosting services, including Amazon S3 and Mozy Backup. These two options also appear in the Backup tab, alongside the Copy Jobs shortcut, which allows you to set up routines to copy data to and from a directory on the NAS to a shared folder elsewhere on your network or an external storage device connected to one of the NAS's USB ports.
The Media Server settings allow you to use the NAS as a UPnP server for any media stored on it. You can also use the NAS as an iTunes library server, but only be replacing the library on your hard disk with a shared location on your NAS.
Setting up an iSCSI target is fairly straightforward thanks to a shortcut in the Storage tab. Just name and specify the size of your target then enter the NAS's IP address into Windows' iSCSI initiator. You'll then be able to format the target as though it was a local hard disk. This also means that only one user can access the space, but it generally results in faster transfer speeds.