Iomega StorCenter ix2-dl: network-attached storage can be used for video surveillance, too

This NAS packs a solid punch and has a slew of features, but is unimpressive at writing small data sets.

The Iomega StorCenter ix2-dl is the company's least expensive two-bay NAS (network-attached storage) product, and a notable step up from its more consumer-oriented Home Media Hard Drive. At $200 without disks, it's a good performer for reading back data, and Iomega's software features are solid, only a notch or two below Synology's and QNAP's.

That said, the ix2-dl's write performance for small files and folders is weak, so this is not a box for backing up more than a couple of networked PCs. Inside, the StorCenter ix2-dl is powered by a 1.6GHz Marvell 3282 CPU and 256MB of memory.

A basic black box, the ix2-dl features only power and status lights on the front panel, plus gigabit ethernet and a single USB 2.0 port on the back. The USB 2.0 port works with external storage drives or printers; or you could plug in a USB camera and use the drive for video surveillance.

The surveillance capabilities are available with the free MindTree SecureMind Surveillance app; you can also use the drive with the Axis Video Hosting System service and application, or with Iomega's own LifeLine Client. I took the first of these, the SecureMind app, for a spin; it's very easy to use and may be controlled locally or via the Web.

Beyond surveillance, the ix2-dl provides interfaces to social sites such as Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube; DLNA and iTunes media serving; bitttorrent downloading, iSCSI, and printer serving; plus integration with Amazon S3, Atmos Backup, and Mozy. The unit also provides its own backup routines as well as access via Iomega's portal-based Personal Cloud service.

For basic home media and storage use, this Iomega StorCenter is a full-featured NAS that will serve you well. Where the ix2-dl lags is in business-related applications such as email, Web, and VPN hosting.

While a decent reader, writing lots of smaller files and folders is the ix2-dl's weakness. With our 10GB mix of files, it wrote at only 20.2MBpsnot the worst we've seen, but close to it. Write performance improved to 41.2MBps with our single 10GB file. If you're backing up PCs to the ix2-dl, you should opt for images rather than plain file backup for better speed. The ix2-dl read our 10GB file mix at a competent 35.5MBps and the large 10GB file at a healthy 86.5MBps.

For the average home or SOHO user, the ix2-dl is a two-bay NAS box that is easy to configure and use, and it won't cost you a fortune. Performance is fine for the price, and the features are all that most users will need. But small businesses should take a look at Synology's DiskStation DS212j or QNAP's TS-212, both of which offer cost-reducing server features for about the same price. (Our roundup from earlier this year can tell you more about some current NAS products.)

This story, "Iomega StorCenter ix2-dl: network-attached storage can be used for video surveillance, too" was originally published by PCWorld.

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