EMC bought Iomega so that it could start easing its business-grade storage gear into homes and small offices, and the StorCenter ix2 is the first official combo of Iomega brand and EMC juice. Before I get into its LifeLine Linux environment, I wanted to point out that this thing is priced to move: A full two-disk 1TB NAS costs $300—and you can double it to 2TB for $480. I know HDD prices are dropping but that's a pretty good deal to me. Here's what you get with the storage:
The case itself has gigabit Ethernet and two USB ports for extended storage, and the Linux-based PC inside is running a 400MHz processor with 128MB of memory and an EnergyStar-compliant power adapter. The Linux "operating environment" is the LifeLine system developed by EMC. It supports UPnP and DLNA for talking to assorted other devices on your network—Wii, PS3, Xbox 360 and iTunes—and it has RSA security, no coincidence since EMC owns them too. The screenshots look a lot like other Linux home-servers, such as the most recent HP Media Vault. More on that when we see the set-up live. What's cool is that this "environment" expands with added accessories. You can buy a supported Axis surveillance cam and the server becomes a realtime and recording video server; with a Bluetooth dongle, you can transfer files directly from mobile products to the server (locally). Unlike other products in its class, it doesn't yet support remote access, which is a bummer, but Jonathan Huberman, head of Iomega, told me that they're planning to give customers free upgrades every quarter, adding new functionality. That means remote access is on its way (they're thinking end of this year), and next spring, the ix2 will acquire a cool trick: You buy two of them, set up one at your office and one at home, and they'll clone each other, keeping in sync over the net. We'll probably test this baby out when it ships next week, but if you get to it before us, let us know how it goes.