Setup Impressions

The Iomega EZ unit is pretty much plug-and-play. Once it is connected to a network, it obtains a DHCP address and is accessible over a web browser. The initial setup screen touts the personal cloud as one of the most popular settings. The gallery below shows some of the initial options in the setup screen. The personal cloud feature provides a dynamic DNS service, but requires port forwarding in the router. This is acceptable for technology enthusiasts, but not for the general consumer. This feature can be used to access the unit over the Internet.

The Iomega EZ is an entry level product catering to the general consumers (read, people using Macs and Windows PCs). So, it is not surprising that Iomega decided to omit NFS support. The only protocols supported are Apple File Sharing using AFP, Bluetooth, FTP, TFTP, WebDAV and Samba / CIFS. Bluetooth seems to be an interesting addition (and I haven't seen other NAS units officially claiming file transfer support over Bluetooth either), but we didn't have a USB Bluetooth adapter handy to test this out.

After putting the unit through the paces, we observed that the SoC temperature settled down to around 75 C and the motherboard to 54 C. Iomega indicated that these temperatures are normal (and, given the complete absence of any cooling mechanism for the SoC on-board, it is not surprising). In addition to the personal cloud feature, Iomega also puts in support for the EMC Atmos cloud backup service as well as Amazon S3 and Mozy Backup. The LifeLine OS has applications available. However, none of the available apps are compatible with the EZ unit. The firmware also has some energy saving features to power down the hard disk and alter the brightness of the front LEDs. Other available system settings are brought out in the gallery below.

On the media side, we have some interesting feature in terms of tying in with social websites. It is possible to set up folders in the EZ unit such that any videos / photos placed in them get automatically uploaded to YouTube / Facebook and Flickr. This is definitely a handy feature for users who routinely upload lots of content to these sites. As with all other NAS units, we have a torrent downloader in-built. The EZ unit can also act as a DLNA server and the media is sourced from folders which Media Sharing turned on. It is also possible to aggregate content from other media servers in the network. The DLNA server can itself be turned off completely.

In terms of storage management, we are given the option to set up 'Copy Jobs', a front end for rsync. Drive management provides minimal information about the installed hard disk (no access to SMART data through the default web interface). Shares can be set up with media sharing enabled, if necessary. Under Network settings, the unit is set to act as a DHCP client by default. It can also be set up with a static IP, if needed.

Iomega also has a smartphone app for Android and iOS. The ratings for the app speak for themselves. Basic functionality works, but the ease of use is definitely missing when compared to similar apps for the Western Digital My Book Live. Iomega is planning a refresh of the smartphone apps towards the end of Q2 2013. As of now, mobile access to the EZ unit definitely needs improvement.
 

Teardown and Component Analysis Performance Metrics
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  • Elixer - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Those temps don't look that good, I wonder what the max safe temp range is? Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    I was concerned too, but Iomega indicated that the temperatures are fine. It is important not to operate the HDD itself at 55 C or higher. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a way to find the HDD temperature from the web UI easily. Reply
  • mike55 - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    I was thinking about getting something like this to do automatic backups from a couple computers. I had a WD Elements portable USB drive that I had plugged into my router, but that proved to be entirely unreliable. Would this be ideal? Or is there a cheaper option since I don't need the extra features. An external enclosure with ethernet sounds like a cheap alternative, but I can't find any external enclosures with ethernet, and I'm not sure if the USB ones would be reliable. Reply
  • The0ne - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    The smaller WD Element drives have not proven to be very reliable for me. I've gone through many due to multiple issues. My MyBooks however have been rock solid and have not gone down for any reasons. Therefore, I would suggest using MyBooks instead of the Elements for your HD backups.

    If you go the external enclosure, USB base make sure you select a chipset that is reliable and can provide the speed in which you need. If time is not a concern for you there is another option. I have 3 dual USB docking stations when I need them for backup purposes. I haven't encounter any issues with the dock themselves and have been using them for about 2 years now. The only problem is speed and lack of protection for your hard drives as they will be bare and out in the open, susceptible to static and what not.

    For your highly important data I wouldn't recommend HD backup without redundancy, as pointed out by Subyman. For these types of data I have them on cloud (dropbox, skydrive, googledrive), at work on our network (they get saved to 4 different locations as well), my laptop, my main PC, on HDs and the smaller files on several USB sticks. The data on clouds are automatically sync to my laptop and main PC and, when I get to work, automatically sync to the servers.
    Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    You should look into the Ix2-DL or the similar offering from Buffalo. They are cheap ($80-$100 AR) but diskless 2-bay options that offer the same features as this reviewed unit along with redundancy with RAID 1.

    I recently picked one up for $80 AR on a Newegg deal and I've been pretty happy with it. A great place to throw in some older 1TB drives and share recorded TV from my CableCARD tuner. Performance is lower than the Synology/Qnap offerings, but they also cost 1/2 the price or less.
    Reply
  • Subyman - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Ugh, what's the point without redundancy? IMO, a NAS is useless if it can not survive a single drive failure. Reply
  • cjs150 - Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - link

    Agreed.

    4 drive NAS is the minimum for me - and yes I have had discs fail.

    For media storage I have a QNAP 419 (not sure exactly the model). Works perfectly just as you would expect. Just a shame that W8 is so inept it can not cope well with the concept of NAS
    Reply
  • chizow - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Does the media streaming have that much of an impact on the SoC/CPU performance that it causes such a big performance hit?

    I've also noticed that my PCs don't sleep anymore once I attached this NAS to the network, I imagine media sharing is also the culprit. A shame because media streaming via DLNA is really nice for any "Smart TVs", although I guess I could just stream them to a networked laptop and output to the TV that way.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - link

    Very much possible! Make sure you don't have the media server aggregation option turned on.

    If you are sure you want to go the DLNA route (not a big fan myself), it is better to let your PC be the DLNA server. If you are running Twonky on your PC, that has aggregation capabilities. I haven't researched much into the aggregation capabilities of the other DLNA servers on the PC.
    Reply
  • Arbie - Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - link


    I have an early Iomega NAS drive. I had to cut a 3" x 5" hole in the aluminum chassis to keep the drive from frying itself. Support is almost non-existent - either you buy a service contract to get the simplest question answered, or you hope that someone on their forum can help. I would NEVER buy an Iomega network product like this one.
    Reply

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