I had the great pleasure of getting my hands on a Storcenter IX4-200d monster NAS box and and I can safely say it has been a massive and beneficial peice of kit for use with my day to day home storage needs. Here is my review and feedback to what I think is a great product for the home and anyone wanting to do some good home lab testing.
Previously I ran VM's from a USB Drive with WS7, with about 3 Individual SATA disks homed in my local PC for other storage such as iTunes, MP3, Movies and Pics etc. This worried me, it wasn't raided, it certainly was starting to run low on free space and there is so long you can take running ESX in a VM on WS7. So I was looking around for a NAS solution which would be cost effective, fitted the bill functionality wise and provided good all round storage space. Originally i'd dabbled at the lower end models of the IX2-200d and thought maybe it would suffice, after a think about it something said to me though that an investment in a 1TB (With RAID of course) NAS would suffice on first 6-12 months but over time as my lab grow would probably end up with me wanting more space at some point so I felt the IX4-200d was yes intially oversized at 4TB (2.7TB Usable with RAID 5) but I know it will keep me more than satisfied for future storage needs.
Key selling points and benefits I've found for the IX4-200d are as follows;
- Small form factor, it looked MASSIVE on the Iomega site and I imagined it to arrive like an EMC Celerra would! However I was so surprised when I got it out of the box (which was rather small too I might add) that it was no more than about 10x10 Inches which was excellent for storing in my small lab :)
- Setup - Setting this up was a breeze, i was literally up and running in about 10 Minutes, it is RAID'ed from the factory (additionally supports RAID 1,5 and 10) and ready to go prepackaged, so easy and to be honest this is the way it should be
- Protocol/Application support - iOmega is an EMC company, and all iOmega Storcenter devices are fully HCL compatible with vSphere/ESX when using iSCSI and NFS, this is great as I use this for home lab (see next section on this). Additionally DLNA support is available so I can stream movies to my DLNA compatible TV and also PS3! again excellent for playing music and browsing my camera photos
- Speed - Doing time machine backup was about 20-25MB/s and general VM across NFS is really quick. Also copying files up and to is more than acceptable speed wise along with vSphere VM's running and cloning etc quite happily at an acceptable speed
- File Migration - A cool feature is being able to connect my original USB disk and copy that onto the NAS without copying files across the network, I can also use the USB drive across a CIFS share all very good timesavers.
- LED Screen - This is native to the IX4 and not available on other versions, you get a nice little interface to see storage volume capacity and other stuff like IP Address of the box etc
As said I use this at Home for my home lab, in this lab I have recently purchased a HP ML110 for lab testing and this works very well with the IX4-200d. Coupled with good vSphere kit the IX is a great piece of kit for consolidating out both you home media storage needs and Home Lab needs onto one easy to use and manage NAS, it has Block and File level storage capability which is great for playing with both versions of storage protocol and overall when used with 1GB networking is better than any extremely beefed up PC with Workstation 7. Overall I am very pleased, I am an Nandy pandy hands off Architect in my day job but using this provides me with all the needs that I would typically get when both using vSphere day to day or within a lab environment back in the office.
Product feedback requests
Now for the bad bit....what the IX4-200D doesn't do for me;
- Mozy support - I use Mozy backup and it only supports Mozy backup when the IX is connected to a PC with USB (a big USB drive basically), you then use your the relevant drive the IX is mapped as with the Mozy PC Client. I seriously hope EMC/Iomega release an update soooon!
- Copying files between CIFS shares can't be done within the Admin web page, I'd like to know or be able to copy files locally via the Lifeline OS and not have to use the device mounting volumes
- Being a techy I wouldnt mind seeing a bit more performance monitoring from the core hardware, things like disk write/read speed etc would be a great option, even if it was not enabled by default
Great resources for IX4-200d