The USB 2.0 ports of the StorCenter let you extend the storage capacity by connecting an external hard drive. To our pleasant surprise, the NAS supports read and write access to external hard drives formatted in either FAT32 or NTFS format. This is the first time we've seen a NAS drive that supports both read and write to NTFS external hard drives; most support only read access, some don't even offer support at all.
Other features of the StorCenter include support for media servers (including UPnP, DLNA, and iTunes), a print server, and a security camera. The media server and print server worked well during our tryout and were easy to set up, thanks to Iomega's well-organized and intuitive Web interface. The security camera feature, however, was very limited. The NAS server supports only one network camera at a time, and it can only record based on schedule, not motion detection, as found in the Synology DS107+. Nonetheless, we tried it with an Axis network security camera, and it worked as intended. The Web-based page for the camera also works well with the iPhone and the iPod Touch. We were able to view the live video on an iPhone via a Wi-Fi connection. The security camera feature of the StorCenter ix2 works better as a tool that keeps tab on kids, rather than as a surveillance system.
What we like the most about the StorCenter ix2 is its Web interface. By far, it's the most organized, intuitive management tool found in a NAS server. This is the first time we felt we could say that a novice user can comfortably install and manage the device.
What a novice user might not recognize, however, is that unlike any other NAS server where you can just launch the Web interface by typing in the IP address of the device into a browser, the StorCenter ix2's also needs the Iomega Manager application running in the background to be launched. The application then needs to run in the background for you to work with the Web-based interface. Once you turn off the application, the Web interface will register the "page not found" error. While this is not a huge problem, it means you have to install the application in every single computer on the network and have it running in the background if you want to use any of them to manage the device."
We tested the Iomega StorCenter ix2 in both JBOD and RAID 1 configurations, and its performance was acceptable.
In JBOD format, where the device's hard drives are linked together back to back without any data redundancy, the scores were 42.3Mbps on our write test and 38.6Mbps on our read test. These were just a little bit slower than those of the ZyXel NSA-220
In RAID 1 configuration, where the device's hard drives are setup in a mirrored configuration--a format that trades speed for data redundancy--the StorCenter was slower scoring 33.5Mbps and 35.8Mbps for the write and read tests, respectively.
Overall, we liked how the StorCenter ix2 worked. It was very quiet and every function we tried out worked as intended.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
Iomega backs the StorCenter ix2 with only a one-year warranty, which is very short for a storage device. Toll-free phone support is available Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. You can also chat online with tech support via Iomega's site or fill out an e-mail form. Iomega's site has a user forum, FAQs, how-to videos, and downloadable manuals, drivers, and software.