Introduction

The rise of powerful home networking solutions have led to the shift in consumer focus from DAS (Direct Attached Storage) units to NAS (Network Attached Storage) units in the home space. The NAS market has taken off in a big way over the last few years. Vendors now provide home consumers with NAS solutions ranging from simple network attached hard disks to multi-bay SMB / SOHO NAS units.

Recently, Iomega's NAS group approached us and introduced their offerings in this space. Iomega has an interesting background in this market. They were bought by EMC in 2008 to make sure that EMC had a play in the consumer and small business markets. Given EMC's strong enterprise background, and the fact that Iomega could leverage EMC assets such as the LifeLine OS for networked storage devices, it is only fair to expect Iomega to be one of the leading players in the SMB / SOHO / consumer NAS space. Despite being popular in the EU market, Iomega seems to be trailing behind other vendors in the US.

Iomega has set out to market the StorCenter lineup better in the US. We had covered the launch of some members in the px2 and ix4 StorCenter lineups recently. Prior to getting our hands on one of those, Iomega offered to send us the Iomega EZ Media & Backup Center to get a feel of their LifeLine NAS operating system. It is not advertised as a full blown 1-bay NAS solution, but more as a network attached hard disk. Iomega stresses the personal cloud nature of the unit (after all, cloud is the hot keyword right now!) and provides smartphone apps to enhance this experience.

The Iomega EZ Media & Backup Center lineup consists of 1TB, 2TB and 3TB hard disks in an external enclosure with a USB host, GbE and power adapter ports. It is based on the Marvell Kirkwood 6281 chipset. We have already reviewed a number of NAS units based on Kirkwood, including the Synology DS211+, Netgear NV+ v2 and the LaCie 2big NAS. However, all the multi-bay NAS systems use the Kirkwood chipset with higher clocks (6282), while the EZ lineup uses the slower clocked version (6281).

Before going into the review in detail, it is necessary to set expectations right. Potential customers should realize that the Iomega EZ Media & Backup Center doesn't provide data redundancy or availability. At best, it can complement an existing NAS in the network. This is aimed at users who want to add centrally accessible storage to their home network without the cost burden or setup hassles of a full fledged NAS. Even though the unit doesn't provide NAS features, it does include features to create periodic backups of its contents.

Iomega sent us the 2 TB version for review. The package contains the bare necessities to get up and running with the system:

  • Main unit with hard disk installed
  • 6 ft. Cat.5 Ethernet cable
  • 24 W power adapter with region-specific plug
  • Setup and Quick Start guides

We will first take a detailed look at the hardware inside the unit, followed by some setup impressions. A section will be devoted to the Intel NASPT benchmarks. In the final section we will discuss miscellaneous factors such as noise and power consumption before summarizing the pros and cons of the unit.

Teardown and Component Analysis
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  • eas - Thursday, November 29, 2012 - link

    I really doubt that box has a dual core CPU.

    I think people need to pay more attention to ZyXEL's Kirkwood based offerings. With 512MB or RAM, they have more RAM than most of the other single and dual drive Kirkwood NAS, they are also cheaper than most. The dual dbay nsa320 is typically $110 or so, and often on sale for $80-90. The firmware seems solid and full featured, plus it can have additional packages installed. I don't have a lot of real world experience with it because I only ran it for a few weeks before following through on my plan to install Debian Squeeze.
    Reply
  • batguiide - Sunday, December 09, 2012 - link

    thanks these tips!socanpower,ca,you will love this website! Reply
  • jonte - Saturday, December 15, 2012 - link

    After my experience with a UltraMax and a failing drive which the mirrored raid system could not handle I must advice to avoid their technology and their support and warrant policy.

    http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?f=19&am...

    Be warned.
    Reply
  • bill in pa - Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - link

    I just read in my research of this unit from another web site,
    that you CANNOT plug the unit directly into the computer you must go through a router first?

    This does not sound right or make sense to me and I questioned it on that site but have not received any answer.

    Can you help on this point? I believe that it would connect directly
    into the computers USB drive, am I correct?

    bill in pa
    Reply
  • radiodave - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    That's correct. You need to hook it up to a router to access it. This thing has been a total disaster. RMA'd the first one as the hard drive chattered endlessly (very loud) and was only intermittently accessible. The second one is quiet, but still very hit and miss as far as availabilty on my network. It can't handle more than one task at a time. I'm looking to take mine apart and use the hard drive in a Synology DS212j, but I'm having trouble getting the Iomega case apart. Are there photos of what screws to remove? There are two on the back and one on the bottom, but the insides still won't slide out with them removed. Reply
  • DRB - Wednesday, June 05, 2013 - link

    Fyi! Looks like another screw below the black sticker on the bottom....but removal will probably void the warranty... Reply
  • Papakilo - Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - link

    I have an EZ media 2TB Media and Backup Center bought in the US, not under warranty now.The 2 TB Seagate Barracuda HDD burnt out and I need to replace with a new drive.I understand that the OS was on the original HDD. I saw your review comment `it is very easy to disassemble and replace the hard disk, if necessary'. How can i install the OS on to the new HDDdo myself, any advise would be appreciated. Reply
  • Niels1982 - Friday, October 24, 2014 - link

    Dear Papakilo, id you manage to disassamble the original hardisk from the machine? Reply

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