Iomega StorCenter px2-300d NAS: A pretty performer
At a Glance
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. A VGA port allows direct viewing of security cameras controlled by the SecureMind surveillance software that Iomega includes with the box. 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.
The px2-300d is no slouch at transferring data, thanks to the presence of a 1.8GHz, dual-core, Intel Atom D525 processor and 2GB of memory. Our test unit with two Hitachi HUA723020ALA640 hard drives read our 10GB mix of files and folders at 44MBps and wrote them at 41.3MBps. It wrote our single 10GB test file at 79.6MBps and read it back at 103.5MBps. Those are not the fastest transfer rates we've seen, but they're knocking at the door—they’re more than adequate for streaming media and serving a small workgroup.
The 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. The px2-300d compares quite well with similar products and shines especially bright in the realms of backup and video surveillance.