I recently made the move from a desktop to a laptop as my main personal computer. One of the compromises I had to make when moving to an ultraportable laptop with SSD drive was storage space.
My first impulse was to purchase an external hard drive (HD). All I needed to do was decided between buying a USB 2.0/3.0 drive now or waiting for a reasonably priced Thunderbolt capable external drive later.
After weighing my options, I came across a solution I hadn’t initially considered, a network-attached storage drive (NAS). The NAS drive commonly referred to as Cloud Storage drives operates as a secure file server on your home or office network.
I did a little research and decided on the Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive Cloud Edition. My decision was based on other favorable reviews, price, Mac/PC compatibility and previous experience with Iomega products.
The basic installation is simple and straightforward, you attach the ethernet cable between the NAS drive and your router, plug in the drive, power on and install the included software from the CD.
Setting up the cloud aspect (file sharing) of the Iomega Home Media Network device proved to be a little more challenging.
To summarize when I tried to share the drive on my network, I received a “port forwarding” error on the NAS drive. Unless your an ‘IT’ specialist (I’m not), being greeted by a cryptic message like that can be a little daunting.
The solution involved logging in as administrator on the router, determining what ports were needed by the NAS drive and then forwarding the specific ports requested. (For more information on port forwarding click here)
Once that was done I could successfully share the drive on my network. Everything worked as advertised with the PCs on my network until I tried to do a Time Machine backup from my Mac Laptop utilizing OS X Lion.
There was a software compatibility issue between Mac OS X Lion and the Iomega NAS drive. To be fair to Iomega, Lion had just been released days earlier and even Apple had issues that needed to be resolved after the Lion release. To their credit, Iomega released a firmware update V 3.1.12 shortly after the release that resolved the issue.
Unfortunately, updating the firmware on the NAS drive was also a multi-step process. First, log in to the Home Media Network Drive manager software and determine the version of the firmware currently installed on the drive. Then download the updated firmware file to your computer. Within the Software Manager software upload the updated firmware file to the NAS drive. Once the file is successfully uploaded then execute and install the updated firmware on your drive. Depending on the version present on your NAS drive you may have to update in steps before updating to latest version of the firmware. The procedure is explained in greater detail on the Iomega site.
With a little patience and perseverance, the drive is now working perfectly and I’m completely satisfied with my purchase. The performance of the drive has exceeded my expectations, although be aware that throughput will largely depend on the speed of your network.
The Iomega Home Media Network Drive even has an option to remotely link two or more NAS drives. You can then remotely backup your onsite data to alternate location, providing the ideal disaster recovery plan should the worse happen.
My only concern with the Iomega NAS drives is that they may be to complex to set up for the average home user.
The Iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive Cloud Edition are available in 1TB/2TB/3TB capacity for $169.99/$$209.99/$299.99 retail respectively. With a little searching you can find them on sale starting at $99 for the 1 TB version.
- Available 10/100/1000 Mbps network Ethernet port (required)
- Internet connection for remote access or cloud feature
- Internet Explorer 7, Firefox® 3.x, Safari 3 or later browser
- CD or DVD drive to install software (can optionally be installed from the Web)
- PC Users: Microsoft® Windows® XP or newer
- Mac® Users: Mac OS 10.6 or newer to administer, 10.4 or new to connect
- Linux® Users: Redhat 9, Enterprise 4/5, Gentoo, Mandrake 10, Devian 4, FedoraCore 6/5, OpenSUSE 10.3
- Iomega® Home Media Drive – Cloud Edition
- Stand to help save desktop space
- Ethernet cable
- Power supply
- Printed Quick Start Guide
- Solutions CD with: StorCenter Manager software
- User Help Documentation
- 3-year limited warranty (with registration)
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