Lenovo Iomega ix4-300d Network Storage 70B8 4 TB

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Lenovo Iomega ix4-300d Network Storage 70B8 4 TB

Lenovo Iomega ix4-300d network storage - store, protect and share all of your important files, locally and remotely with cloud convenience - perfect f...

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Review of "Lenovo Iomega ix4-300d Network Storage 70B8 4 TB"

published 07/01/2015 | dobieg
Member since : 31/01/2003
Reviews : 256
Members who trust : 34
About me :
I'm a miserable old git. I'm ashamed to say it's been a **** very **** long time since I reviewed my "trusts", have sought to rectify this by going through every review I've written in the past couple of years, if you feel hard-done-by, drop me a note.
Excellent
Pro Remarkably inexpensive given the facilities it offeres
Cons some config required and limited hardware redundancy for mission critical tasks
very helpful
Stability
Speed
Ease of Installation
Ease of use
Reliability

"A lot more storage for far less than you might expect"

Let me first point out that I should have put this review under the diskless version of the device, not the 4Tb model described in the header!

the only difference is that for the one I've reviewed, you supply your own hard disks, it's substantially the same unit though.

How much storage is too much storage is an impossible question to ask – and is just about as sensible as asking the same of money.

I’m going to split my review into two sections; the first describing what a NAS is, and the second part is about the Lenovo box.

Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a commodity that originated in large enterprise enterprises as a offshoot to externally connected disk subsystems in Mainframe environments, and go back almost as long as mainframes themselves.

It meant you could attach a processing unit from vendor A and connect it to a storage array from vendor B, not only that you could also attach other computer systems.

Over time, the ‘personal’ computer became popular, and centralised file servers held departmental data.

Not everyone needed an expensive file server, so niche devices evolved to fill the space between computer to computer shares, and conventional file servers.
In it’ simplest form, a NAS can be any old computer with a single drive offering shared access to a number of desktop computers.

Unfortunately that doesn’t offer much protection as the single disk drive could fail, and without a backup all your files would be lost.

NAS devices can be built on commonly used operating systems (Windows, unix etc) which you have to set up yourself, or come ‘out of the box’ with proprietary firmware, although that is usually a tailored version of Linux.

By offering increasing levels of redundancy and failover, it is possible to implement an ‘always up’ solution designed to meet your needs.

The Lenovo® ix4-300d offers midrange functionality at low-end cost – it provides 4 disk bays (supply your own) has a relatively modest processor chip – the Marvell Armada XP MV78230 Processor( dual core 1.30GHz 1300MHz 1MB cache) along with 512Mb of memory – a configuration not entirely dis-similar to many Android smartphones. It boasts 2 x 1Gb Ethernet ports (a feature usually found on “better” NAS drives) and a host of utilities ad downloadable apps which reflect the manufacturer’s heritage.

This is supposedly sufficient to support up to 50 users, although no claims are maid as to how much concurrent data use is expected.

This comes in a black ‘cube’ with blue backlit LCD display around the same size as a ‘mediacentre’ PC.

The four bays are designed to accept 3.5” SATA drives. I chose to use 5Tb models extracted from external drives in the Argos sale – these are not especially fast (only revolving at 5900rpm) but most of the content I will be saving on the drive will be “write once, read infrequently”)

The drives were mounted in caddies and needed no tools, once pressed firmly home, the unit connected to my local area network (copper, not wireless) and the power ‘brick’ attached and everything switched on – the unit acquired an IP address from my router and helpfully displayed this on the LCD panel.

Instinctively I pointed a web browser at the address and was prompted to create an admin profile and provide a password.

Several messages flashed up on the LCD and my computer screen advising that the disks needed to be initialised and that any data contained would be irrevocably erased – being brand new I didn’t care and agreed!

It’s important to note that if you want to implement ‘protected’ disks you need to have as near identical units as you can muster; same capacity, same rotational speed and ideally same model numbers and firmware versions. The easiest way to ensure this is to buy them at the same time from the same supplier.

Several disk protection methods are available on the Lenovo® ix4-300d, the default, and most space efficient being RAID 5 – this – when using 4 disks – uses a quarter of the storage to establish checksum protection; lose one disk and there’s enough information stored on the other three to reconstruct the data either in realtime (with a huge performance penalty) or in batch, when a fifth disk is put into the frame replacing the dead one

– I don’t expect this will be quick, but at least performance will be returned when the task completes.

It is possible to simply add *all* disks in unprotected configuration, or implement more exotic, faster but less efficient protection systems, but Raid 5 is ‘good enough’ for me!

The ask of “striping” the checksum data took a little over 48 hours to complete, although the unit was usable during that period, I instinctively held off loading the system until this concluded.
The preconfigured file system presented to the user more accurately reflects simple ‘media sharing’ conventions found on windows machines than any ‘scary’ Unix-like structures.

Once I’d created user credentials matching my home network profiles, I quickly and easily accessed the system from my Windows/7 desktop and set about copying “My documents” “My pictures” “My music” etc to their respective new homes.

The system comes with several built in apps, possibly most useful is the “Media server” app which makes content available to any DNLA device, and was picked up by my Blue-ray player without problems.

There are additional apps which allow you to back the system up to third party ‘cloud’ services such as Amazon’s S3 service (chargeable by the byte).

There is already a bult in web server, additional downloads allow you to install MySQL and PHP, in theory at least, you could set the system up to serve WordPress and Squirrelmail services – although I cannot confess to have tried either (this would also have a processing overhead)

Lenovo owes its heritage to IBM’s personal computer division, EMC (the other business partner responsible for developing the machine) is better known for many years for providing third party disk subsystems for IBM enterprise systems – this explains the extensive ‘grown up’ management functions, dial Ethernet ports, kempston locking points etc.

At only £125 for the basic unit, the system is remarkably capable. 6Tb 7200RPM disks are available at £250 each, although I chose to use lower specification 5Gb units at half the cost.

I still achieved a usable storage pool of 13.5 Tb of ‘protected’ disk for less that £650, including the cost of a 48 port network hub! – that amounts to roughly £48 a terabyte, or 5p a gig.

So far, performance has been absolutely fine.

There are still one or two ‘danger areas’ to be aware of if you were to consider using this in a business environment;

Dual Ethernet (connected via ‘diverse routers’ would protect you from connectivity issues, RAID 5 means you can lose the disk, and still recover.

There is still a single power supply, and single processor board.

Were I responsible for delivering ‘mission critical’ file services I would consider it a relatively low-cost option to buy a second unit and keep it spare in case of faults, equally so, a fifth disk drive for the same reason wouldn’t burst the budget.

Eventually, it is my intention to upgrade my existing desktop system to use a cheap solid state disk, and keep the personal data on the NAS – I should get the best of both worlds then; lightning fast system performance, and ‘protected’ storage for the files that matter.

It’s even possible to use the NAS drive as a backup device, so that recovering (or simply replicating) system disks should be a breeze.

There are oodles of extra functions I have not yet had the chance to describe; syncing your camera to the NAS, automatically posting pictures to Facebook if you want, automatically schedulling power off and on times, emailing you when there's problems and providing your very own 'cloud' services on the internet to name but a few.

In summary – for home and small business users this will give far more storage than you’re likely to need for quite a long term, is easily manageable, cheap to run, and provides piece of mind.

***** Update 08/01/2015 *****
I knew I was tempting fate!

I wrote the review nearly seven days on from the initial power on, everything had performed exactly as I had expected.

All my files were copied over, but I hadn’t done the full ‘commit’ by disabling my local hard drives – probably just as well!

I decided to use the bog-standard Microsoft backup utility provided with Windows/7 not appreciating that it has problems with disks over a particular size (I believe this may be around 4Gb) – clearly a 13.5Tb storage space upset it.

At exactly the same time (I find it hard to believe it was a coincidence) I ‘lost’ disk 1.

The ‘good news’ was that the files I had saved was still available, the system was working off the checksum protection in RAID 5 – so it’s heartening to know that actually works!

Powering the unit down and up again the system started to rebuild the disk cluster, but around half an hour n, it reported a loss of disk 1 again.

I tried physically reaseating the drive – again, exactly the same result. (all the support messages indicated this was the most likely problem)

I ‘pulled’ drive one – luckily I still had all the “external drive’ paraphernalia it came with – I stuck it on my Windows PC, ran some checks and ended up doing a low level format.

My belief is that this has more o do with using ‘cheap’ Seagate drives which exceed the published capacity limits of the machine rather than any problems with the NAS unit itself.

I have since reassembled the NAS with what is effectively a brand-new (completely erased) disk and on power-up it advises that it’s recovering the data.

All the files are still available, response may e a little slower than usual, but that’s only to be expected.

In the background it’s rebuilding the data which was previously held on disk 1.
Half an hour in, the progress bar is still showing 0% of the task completed, on fresh drives this would have reached 1% by now, so I can only guess this takes longer when data is involved.

I always see the doughnut rather than the hole; I’m glad my data on the NAS (which I have a copy of anyway) is safe, and that I can still access it, in a ‘real world’ situation a business would still be able to function.

I’m also pleased that I now know what happens if a disk fails, and that in some circumstances it appears some low-level tinkering will sort this.

I’m also happy to believe it was my own stupid fault, and have an explanation as ti why ‘broke’ the NAS – so to that extent, I won’t lose any sleep tonight.

At the back of my mind I still have the concern that disk 1 may fail again, although that would have minimal impact, equally so, I still don’t have absolute confidence any of the other units will not play a similar trick.

I will wait to see if the system repairs itself, and how long that takes (It’ll be at least 48 hours is my initial estimate)

At least I know RAID5 works!

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Comments on this review

  • euphie published 18/01/2015
    vh :o)
  • crazyomon published 07/01/2015
    good review...
  • alliewallie published 07/01/2015
    Great review
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Product Information : Lenovo Iomega ix4-300d Network Storage 70B8 4 TB

Manufacturer's product description

Lenovo Iomega ix4-300d network storage - store, protect and share all of your important files, locally and remotely with cloud convenience - perfect for small offices, workgroups or advanced home networks.

Product Details

Product Description: Lenovo Iomega ix4-300d Network Storage 70B8 - NAS server - 4 TB, Lenovo Iomega ix4-300d Network Storage - NAS server - 4 TB

Device Type: NAS server

Host Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet

Total Storage Capacity: 4 TB

Installed Devices / Modules Qty: 4 (installed) / 4 (max), 2 (installed) / 4 (max)

Dimensions (WxDxH): 20.64 cm x 19.6 cm x 16.78 cm

Weight: 5.12 kg

Localisation: EMEA

Processor: 1 x Marvell ARMADA 1.3 GHz ( Dual-Core ), Marvell ARMADA 1.3 GHz ( Dual-Core )

Storage Controller: RAID - SATA 3Gb/s - RAID 0, 5, 10, JBOD

Hard Drive: 4 x 1 TB SATA 3Gb/s, 2 x 2 TB SATA 3Gb/s

Networking: Network adapter 10Mb LAN, 100Mb LAN, GigE

System Requirements: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Ubuntu 11.x, openSUSE 11.4, Apple MacOS X 10.6 - 10.8, Microsoft Windows Vista / XP / 7 / 8

Manufacturer Selling Program: TopSeller

Manufacturer Warranty: 3 years warranty

General

MPN: 70B89000EA, 36190, 35568, 70B89004EA

Device Type: NAS server

Host Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet

Total Storage Capacity: 4 TB

Installed Devices / Modules Qty: 4 (installed) / 4 (max), 2 (installed) / 4 (max)

Width: 20.64 cm

Depth: 19.6 cm

Height: 16.78 cm

Weight: 5.12 kg

Localisation: EMEA

Processor / Memory

Processors Installed: 1 x Marvell ARMADA 1.3 GHz, Marvell ARMADA 1.3 GHz

Number of Cores: Dual-Core

RAM Installed: 512 MB - DDR3

Storage Controller

Type: RAID

Interface Type: SATA 3Gb/s

Data Transfer Rate: 300 MBps

Max Storage Devices Qty: 4

RAID Level: RAID 0, RAID 5, RAID 10, JBOD

Hard Drive

Type: HDD - hot-swap - 3.5", HDD

Capacity: 4 x 1 TB, 2 x 2 TB

Interface Type: SATA 3Gb/s

Data Transfer Rate: 300 MBps

Networking

Type: Network adapter

Data Link Protocol: 10Mb LAN, 100Mb LAN, GigE

Network / Transport Protocol: FTP, Bonjour, SMB

Remote Management Protocol: SNMP, HTTP, HTTPS, TFTP

Network Services Compatibility: Microsoft Active Directory (AD), Apple Bonjour Protocol, DFS, Microsoft CIFS, Network File System (NFS), FTP, Server Message Block (SMB), Apple File Protocol (AFP), HTTP, HTTPS, Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV)

Features: E-mail alert, print server, DFS support, file sharing, Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) support, iTunes server, Jumbo Frames support, UPnP Media Server, DLNA Media Server, Apple Time Machine compatible, cloud backup

Compliant Standards: IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u, DLNA CERTIFIED, UPnP

Expansion / Connectivity

Expansion Bays: 4 (total) / 0 (free) x hot-swap - 3.5", 4 (total) / 2 (free) x internal, 4 (total) / 0 (free) x internal, 4 (total) / 2 (free) x hot-swap - 3.5"

Interfaces: 2 x Ethernet 1000Base-T - RJ-45 ¦ 2 x USB 2.0 - Type A ¦ 1 x USB 3.0 - Type A

Miscellaneous

Cables Included: 1 x network cable

Features: Device-to-device data replication, web management

Manufacturer Selling Program: TopSeller

Power

Power Device: X internal power supply

Power Consumption Operational: 60 Watt

Software / System Requirements

Software Included: EMC LifeLine

OS Required: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Ubuntu 11.x, openSUSE 11.4, Apple MacOS X 10.6 - 10.8, Microsoft Windows Vista / XP / 7 / 8

Manufacturer Warranty

Service & Support: 3 years warranty

Service & Support Details: Limited warranty - 3 years

Environmental Parameters

Sound Emission: 32 dBA, 28 dBA

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