Backing up data is surely one of the most important applications for a NAS. The StorCenter px6-300 features an integrated backup module for that. On the Copy Jobs page you can create several data backup jobs using local NAS folders, external disks, shared folders on other LAN devices (user PCs, for example) and rsync servers as the source or destination of data. The NAS can act as an rsync server itself. You only have to enable this option and specify an access password.
You can choose a synchronization mode for each job: do not rewrite, rewrite and remove missing files, rewrite and leave missing files. Backup jobs are easily scheduled by specifying the time and day of the week. The Quick Transfer button can be bound to specific jobs. Unfortunately, this feature doesn’t support multiple copies of data.
When an external disk is connected, the StorCenter px6-300d automatically creates jobs for copying each partition into a folder specified by the admin (in a subfolder named after the device and partition number). To launch these jobs, you press the Quick Transfer button on the NAS’s case or the appropriate icon in its web-interface.
The NAS can be set up for a backup server with EMC Avamar software. This can help you save disk space because that software supports deduplication.
Trendy cloud technologies are not forgotten: the StorCenter px6-300d supports online storage services Amazon S3 and Mozy.
You can even build your personal cloud by making the NAS accessible via the internet. It is not easy to set this feature up, though. First, you need your router’s external IP address. Then you have to set your router up to translate a port for this feature (you can choose the port number yourself). After that you need to register your cloud on Iomega’s servers, providing a unique name for it. Then you add users, i.e. clients of Iomega’s service, by sending them email invitations with instructions for using it. The client will have to install Iomega Storage Manager to his PC and enter his credentials to access your personal cloud.
The remote user will be able to use the resources of your cloud and share his own resources with other users. The connected clients can communicate directly using TCP/IP as if they were on a single LAN with “gray” IP addresses. It is up to the admins of the clients to ensure access control after they connect. For example, inviting a remote user to your personal cloud is not enough to transfer a file. You also need to provide a network resource for storing the document and a user account with appropriate access rights. This feature is quite powerful, allowing to automatically access all of the NAS’s services (to back up data, access the media server or FTP server, for example), but its implementation is not easy and intuitive.
This feature incorporates browser-based access to files and a media server. The former is implemented by the standard web-interface with enabled Home Pages whereas the latter is based on TwonkyMedia. You only have to set up your router to translate appropriate ports. Iomega has recently released the Iomega Link utility for iOS gadgets. This free tool helps you transfer files to and from the NAS (for uploading and downloading of photos, accessing documents, browsing multimedia files).
The Remote Access feature is much simpler. A special wizard will guide you through three steps of checking out your internet connection, setting up port translation on a compatible UPnP router and creating a DDNS domain name. There can be some problems, though. Translation can only be performed for the standard HTTPS port (443), which is not always handy. So, perhaps setting the router up manually will be a better option for you.
Home users may need the integrated DLNA server, based on TwonkyMedia 6, for streaming multimedia content to compatible players. Each shared folder can be indexed by this server. You can access its own setup interface and force the indexing of files. Despite the lack of special settings, the NAS can serve as an iTunes library.
Of course, the StorCenter px6-300d can download files via BitTorrent autonomously. There are very few settings, though: speed limits for downloading and seeding, and port number. Before using this feature you must enable monitoring of new download jobs for a shared folder. A download job will be launched as soon as its torrent file is saved into that folder. You can pause, restart, delete and view downloads. The number of download jobs is not limited but only eight can be active simultaneously. When complete, a downloaded file acquires the Uploading status and frees one download job slot. I couldn’t check out if the NAS was really seeding files, though. The file will remain Uploading until its download job is removed. You cannot define priorities for download jobs.
The integrated video recording system may be interesting for corporate users. The StorCenter px6-300d supports up to 10 devices. The compatibility list includes models from Axis, Panasonic and D-Link. This module has a minimum of settings: you can choose a shared folder to store recordings, set a time or size limit for keeping recordings from each camera, and specify a recording schedule. You can view recordings as video files. There are no integrated monitoring or motion sensor features.
Like many other NAS makers, Iomega provides the option of installing additional software developed with its SDK. However, at the time of my writing this there were no ready-to-use packages at http://lifelineapps.com. Hopefully, some will came about soon.
There is a hidden face in the interface where you can enable SSH and SFTP access, collect a report file for tech support and carry out an offline file system check.
These actions can void your warranty, though. The use of a 64-bit OS in the firmware makes it somewhat more difficult to install software add-ons.