Under the hood, it contains a dual-core Intel Atom processor (running at 1.8GHz) with 2GB RAM, sports a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports, three USB ports (1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0), and runs a customized version of Linux called "EMC LifeLine." The unit can be purchased with various pre-installed drive configurations (6, 12 & 18TB raw capacity); along with the px4 models, iomega has also (finally!) offered a "diskless" configuration.
The unit came in a nice retail box, and was well-padded and packed. In addition to the unit itself, the package contained the external power supply, power cord, CAT5e Ethernet cable, a "Quick Start Guide" and a "Solutions CD."
The Quick Start Guide instructs the owner to install software from the Solutions CD, which will then assist in installing the array; having experience with the ix line, I simply created a DHCP reservation (the MAC address is documented with a sticker on the rear of the unit), connected it to Having purchased a diskless unit, I was curious to see how the system would behave when booted with no drives. True to form, this situation was handled gracefully.
|front door open, showing drive trays|
|drive trays with 2.5", 3.5" drives|
|trays line up SATA connector|
The unit I received was pre-installed with an out-of-date firmware (3.1.10; 3.1.14 most current as of this posting), which booted correctly even without any drives installed in the unit. This is a distinct departure from the "ix" line of NAS boxes, which require at least one functioning drive to store the firmware (which also explains why the older lines didn't support a diskless purchase option). The management interface will not allow you to do anything until at least one drive is installed, however, so that was the first order of business.
After installing the first drive, the management interface permitted me to add the unit to my Windows domain, and I also went through the exercise of downloading and updating the firmware. This is a very easy process, so novice users shouldn't be afraid of it.
The unit supports a wide variety of RAID levels, and the user can combine arbitrary combinations of drives into "storage pools" so that the unit can provide different levels of performance based on your needs, so I will be testing the various permutations with increasing spindle counts.
|Storage Pool Protection Options|
|2||None, RAID0, RAID1|
|3||None, RAID0, RAID5|
|4||None, RAID0, RAID1/0, RAID5|
|5||None, RAID0, RAID5|
|6||None, RAID0, RAID1/0, RAID5, RAID6|
There are a number of nice features that I'll investigate further, but the first order of business is performance testing. With luck, I'll learn that the device can scale with each added spindle; it will also be interesting to see how much of a performance hit the device will take when using RAID6 instead of RAID5 in the 6-spindle configuration.