Iomega, an EMC company, has released a new network-attached storage (NAS) device targeted to the needs of small businesses. The StorCenter ix4-200d is a four-drive device that boasts simple setup and flexible deployment options for a range of small business needs.
According to Mark Tanguay, global manager of network storage products for Iomega, the most important distinction for the ix4-200d is its ability to operate in three simultaneous modes: NAS, Macintosh Time Machine and iSCSI. Tanguay says, "NAS is the primary mode; companies are using [NAS] as a backup target and for shared on-line storage. This mode works with the three main operating systems we see in most companies; Windows, Mac and Linux. This works well with all the communities."
Tanguay notes that Iomega is seeing a growing number of companies that are supporting mixed computing environments as small businesses. In recognition of this, he says, "The new features include native Time Machine support, so the devices will show up as a Time Machine target and a restore location." The final operating mode is the result of a combination of small companies emulating larger enterprises in their IT strategies and the deployment of a single application. Tanguay says, "The third mode is simultaneous iSCSI operation. You can set the LUNs to allocate as much of the storage as you want to iSCSI, leaving the rest as NAS or Time Machine. We're seeing more companies running iSCSI if they're running Exchange, since Exchange wants block-level control."
With the upcoming release of Windows 7 and its native support of iSCSI, Tanguay expects more and more small businesses to look to the advanced protocol for their storage solutions. When coupled with Apple's Snow Leopard Mac OS X release scheduled for tomorrow, with its native support for Microsoft Exchange functionality, the push for iSCSI capability in small business products is expected to grow dramatically.
The StorCenter ix4-200d also comes with several features designed to make small business and workgroup use easier. One of these is a "Quick Transfer" button on the front of the device that can initiate a pre-defined file copy or replication job. Tanguay gives a small sales group as an example of how the button could be used: "For example, if you're a traveling user with USB drives, you can plug it in, hit the button and back up the drive. It can work in the other direction, too, replicating sales information or presentations to a series of sales-department thumb drives."