Product Review: Iomega Storage Servers Page 2 -

Product Review: Iomega Storage Servers Page 2

An In-Depth Look at the Iomega A305m

The first thing that struck us about the A305m is the amount of noise it makes. Because it's designed to fit in a standard computer room rack, the unit is just 1.75 inches high and about 18 inches square.

The cramped confines for its three 80GB drives, power supply, and 2.0GHz Intel P4 Celeron CPU means the NAS unit requires heavy-duty cooling. If it's sitting on your desk, the fans sound as loud as a vacuum cleaner and make talking on the phone difficult.

Larger offices with more sophisticated network environments already have air-conditioned computer rooms or closets where servers are kept. For them the noise level is not a factor, but in a small office with a simple peer-to-peer network, noise is a factor. In this case, you'll need to find a place to put the unit that is away from areas where employees work but that can be easily reached with an Ethernet cable.

It's not essential that you mount the A305m in a standard computer rack. In fact, you can stand it on its side rather than laying it flat. But it should be a cool place, and you need to allow proper ventilation space at the front and back of the unit. A vented cupboard or unused office are possibilities.

Since you're investing this much in data security, you also won't want to plug it directly into a wall socket. Invest in a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) – a battery system that provides emergency power for a few minutes if AC power goes out. It will allow users to power down gracefully to avoid data loss.

Our out-of-the-box experience with the A305m was not ideal. For reasons Iomega could not entirely explain, the Discovery software that ships with the product, and which provides an administrator's first access to the configuration utilities, would not recognize the NAS unit when it was plugged into our network. This of course meant we couldn't configure the system.

One possible explanation is that our test administrator system runs under Windows XP Home Edition rather than Windows XP Professional.

A call to Iomega's toll-free technical support line produced a relatively easy work-around that involved using Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection, an optional component available with most recent Windows operating systems.

If the Discovery software had worked – as Iomega says it does on all other systems – the company's claim that it is possible to install and configure one of its storage servers in less than 15 minutes would have been perfectly plausible.

Page 3: An In-Depth Look at the Iomega A305m (Continued)

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