Iomega NAS 100d

Von Russell Bennett

Solving the storage dilemma of an SME or SoHo customer has never been an easy or particularly cost-effective solution. Network Attached Storage (NAS) brought simplicity to the problem, but could become expensive, and impacted on the performance of the communications network itself.

Iomega Corp. has introduced the NAS 100d box, targeted specifically at the small organization, and intended to solve these business" storage requirements in the most cost-effective and flexible way possible.

This product is capable of slotting into just about any environment imaginable. It includes a 10/100Mb LAN port, USB connectivity and 802.11g wireless capabilities. The combination of these options makes the 100d series just about the easiest way to connect 250GB of immediately accessible storage capacity to your working network (a smaller, 160 GB version is also available).

If your small LAN is DHCP-enabled, as is the norm today, simply powering the NAS up within 100m of your wireless AP is quite literally all that is needed to deploy the Iomega 100d. In fact, the NAS 100d also acts as a WLAN AP itself, providing not only disk capacity, but a full 802.11 solution to extend an existing, wired LAN.

Configuration is taken care of through a Web browser, with the little box offering all the standard LAN and WLAN settings, as well as WEP encryption and authentication for data security purposes. The 100d runs on Linux with 64MB of DDR SDRAM, and a 266MHz Intel XScale CPU incorporated into the unit.

Performance of the box is not blistering, but it appears to be optimized for the maximum throughput of 802.11g WLAN connections. Connecting to the unit using this connection gives you transfer speeds of around 1 200kbps in both reading and writing operations. Using the 100Mbit LAN connection pushes this figure up to just 1 600kbps in writing operations, while read speeds increase to 3 900kbps.

These figures might not sound too astonishing, considering that it is a 7 200rpm drive with 8MB cache inside the 100d, but it is really quite sufficient to provide a central data store for an office of up to ten people at adequate speed. If you consider its dual-purpose WLAN and NAS capabilities, the asking price of approximately R4 000 is an absolute bargain, and the 100d even provides an automated critical data back-up solution for keeping the data on your network safe, and easily restores systems in the case of a hard disk failure.

The performance of the 100d series means that no additional costs to improve the speed of your network will crop up once the NAS solution is in place, as the unit operates at a low enough throughput to ensure that your backbone still has performance headroom to deliver more mission-critical information.

This Iomega 100d is the smallest and cheapest of this storage-focused organization"s NAS solutions, targeted at the SME and even home-user marketplace, and, if the value it delivers is anything to measure other products in the line-up by, the company can only be headed for even more success in this space, in which it is already a strong player. Simple, elegant, flexible and easy to deploy and extremely cost-effective, the Iomega NAS 100d is an excellent all-round storage solution for smaller office environments.