Review: Iomega px2-300d network-attached storage device
The Iomega px2-300d is a two-bay NAS box that delivers very good performance, excellent backup and surveillance features, and a helpful LCD that reports on the unit’s status (IP address, current time, storage remaining, and so on). Its EMC LifeLine operating system is also one of the more feature-rich ones in the industry. But you should buy this box bare—Iomega populates it with enterprise-class hard drives that jack up the price.
The px2-300d’s HTML administration interface (you use a browser to access it as with nearly all NAS boxes) is attractive and easy to use. The box itself sports a metal shell with easy-change, hot-swappable drive bays hidden behind a door on the front of the unit. Ports include two gigabit ethernet ports that support load balancing, link aggregation, and failover. There are also two USB 2.0 ports on the back of the unit and a single front-mounted USB 3.0 port.
Also featured on the device is a VGA port that enables direct viewing of security cameras, controlled by the SecureMind surveillance software that Iomega includes with the box—but the software if for Windows only. The px2-300d is more than suitable as the brains of an ad hoc video security system—all you need are the cameras. SecureMind supports up to 16 of those, but you’ll want to make sure it’s compatible with any existing cameras you already own (my one-year-old D-Link DCS-942L was not).
The px2-300d supports JBOD and RAID 0 (striping), but our test unit arrived configured as RAID 1, where each drive is a mirror of the other. That’s how most businesses with two-bay boxes should roll, unless they’re backed up to the hilt, which brings us to another strength of the px2-300d: backup. Iomega provides portal-based access to other Iomega NAS devices for data replication, in addition to apps that let you back up to Amazon’s S3 service as well as EMC MozyConnect, Atmos, and Avamar services (EMC is Iomega’s parent company). The px2-300d supports rsync, too, so you can mirror data between it and a NAS box from Synology, QNAP, or any other manufacturer that supports that standard. Other software features include iTunes and DLNA-certified media servers, plus full administration and user control including Active Directory support. Support for Apple File Sharing, FTP, SFTP, TFTP, NFS, SNMP, WebDAV, Windows DFS, Windows File Sharing, and iSCSI round out the accessibility features, and you can gain wireless connectivity by plugging in a USB Bluetooth adapter.
Along with this list of features, the px2-300d also offers pretty speedy transfer rates, thanks to its 1.8GHz, dual-core, Intel Atom D525 processor and 2GB of memory. In our series of Macworld Lab tests, the Storcenter read our 10GB folder at 56.4 MBps and wrote it at 29.3 MBps. It wrote our single 10GB test file at 77.2 MBps and read it back at 106.4 MBps. On our PC tests, the Storcenter posted comparable speeds, reading the 10GB mix of files and folders at 44 MBps and writing them at 41.3 MBps. It wrote the single 10GB test file at 79.6 MBps and read it back at 103.5 MBps. Although those aren’t the fastest transfer rates we’ve seen, they’re certainly sufficient for backing up files, streaming media and serving a small workgroup.
The Storcenter px2-300d is more than capable of providing a small- to medium-sized business with flexible and speedy network storage. In comparison to similar products, the px2-300d is an impressive device, and shines especially bright in the realms of backup and video surveillance. However, Iomega’s inclusion of enterprise-class hard drives pushes the price tag of a populated px2-300d to $1000. If you don’t need the 24/7, 100 percent workload performance that enterprise-class hard drives deliver, you could save $200 to $300 by buying the px2-300d bare ($500) and buying a pair of desktop drives separately.