When storage giant EMC introduced the Iomega StorCenter ix2 last fall, the company promised to deliver periodic upgrades for the device and make them available free of charge to current StorCenter ix2 owners. True to its word, today the company announced a user-installable firmware update that adds a host of new features to the network storage appliance. The update adds some key functionality for the small business market, including remote access and more robust file handling and file-format support.
As we noted in our review of the StorCenter ix2, the unit is a compact and easy-to-set-up network-attached storage (NAS) device available in 1TB ($299.95) and 2TB ($479.95) capacities. The platform offers several unusual and potentially handy features for small businesses — such as Bluetooth support, a built-in search function, optional MozyHome online backup for offsite storage and disaster recovery, plus support for video camera surveillance hardware. But we complained about one conspicuously absent feature: remote access.
Fortunately, the embedded Linux operating environment means the StorCenter ix2 is not a static device, allowing Iomega to add features and make them available to devices already deployed in the field. “When we launched the StorCenter ix2 in late October, we promised to provide our customers with a greater and greater feature set,” said Tom Kampfer, chief operating officer at Iomega.
The first update, available for download now, adds several important new features, chief among them is remote access. You and your employees will be able to access files stored on the device (and upload files to the device) securely from any Web-connected PC. The remote-access function also extends to management settings, so you can administer the device without physically being in the office.
Another worthwhile feature added with this upgrade is Torrent download support, which allows you to download large files directly to the NAS. The StorCenter ix2 handles the peer-to-peer connectivity and communication, so an attached PC does not need to be on during the download (letting you run large downloads overnight, for instance). Iomega has also added Jumbo Frame support, which increases data flow for larger files when network traffic increases.
The firmware update will also add support for folder quotas, so you can set size limits on particular folders and generate pop-up warnings that alert your employees as their folders approach set quotas. An updated StorCenter ix2 can also now handle Apple File Protocol (AFP) files, to simplify file sharing for Mac users on your network.
Iomega’s Kampfer indicated that beyond this free upgrade, there is more to come. “We’ve committed to continue to push the feature set,” he said. “You’ll be hearing from us multiple times per year.”
Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with nearly 14 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software and Internet products and services.
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