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EMC Gets Serious About SMB Storage

EMC's Iomega portfolio is no stranger to the higher end of the small business storage market, but its latest addition, the StorCenter PX series of desktop and rackmount NAS devices, raises the bar. Acquired by EMC in 2008, Iomega has historically focused on the 25- to 50-user range, but the PX series addresses the 100- to 250-user range, while still clearly differentiating itself from its parent's entry-level VNX family.

Featuring four- and six-bay desktop models and a four-bay rackmount model, each available in scalable configurations with up to 18TBytes of capacity, the new line offers multiple RAID levels with hot swap drives, UPS support, user quotas, device-to-device replication and certification for most virtualization environments, as well as optional use of SSD (solid state) drives. The px4-300d consists of four HDD (hard disk drive) bays and up to 12TBytes of storage, while the x6-300d is outfitted with six HDD bays and up to 18TBytes of storage capacity.

The px4-300r comes in a 1U form factor ranging from diskless to fully populated with HDD and/or SSD drives. Pricing ranges from $799.99 for a diskless px4-300d to $3,999.99 for the fully populated 18TB px6-300d. All products are available now, but only from CDW for the next 30 days.

One of the significant aspects of this announcement is the strength of the push Iomega is making into the SMB market, says Liz Conner, senior research analyst with IDC's storage systems and personal storage teams. "Their previous network solution offerings have mainly been SOHO focused, save for the ix12. With the PX series, Iomega is really looking to move full steam ahead into the SMB market, and bring with it enterprise features, but with the simplicity and price point more akin to personal storage."

Conner believes the biggest strength of this product is the number of features that Iomega has loaded into the products. "There are enterprise features such as replication, virtualized environment certification and SSD-capable. There are also new features for Iomega such as hot swappable drives, diskless/partially populated/fully populated options and Iomega's Personal Cloud technology."

She thinks the Personal Cloud technology is very interesting, as it is one of the very few products that is offering that, and allows for a mix of cloud capability and storage hardware. "The combination of these features at the price points listed offers quite a bit of value. And of course, one of Iomega's biggest strengths is having EMC as a parent company, which allows Iomega to leverage EMC technology."

One area of, if not concern, then curiosity, is the quality of the interface. "Iomega has an easy-to-use, wizard-based GUI," says Conner. "However, a trend IDC has seen in the SMB storage market as a whole is that it is still a bit confusing for the less technically sophisticated users. Many SMBs, small businesses especially, have minimal technical knowledge. Hence some of the terms used within even a wizard-based GUI can be confusing. This is still an area that the market as a whole needs to work on."

Overall, she says, the introduction of the PX products definitely rounds out Iomega's product portfolio and gives the company a pure SMB play. "The combination of features that are being introduced, coupled with the price points, will favorably position them in the SMB market."