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Review: Iomega StorCenter Network Storage Drive

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February 21, 2006 8:58:05 PM

We generally liked this product, but found the gigabit Ethernet performance a bit slow. Have you seen better speed? If you have, how did you measure it?
February 21, 2006 9:38:13 PM

Quote:
We generally liked this product, but found the gigabit Ethernet performance a bit slow.

You said you used a Netgear GA511 gigabit PC card in your laptop. Are you sure the PC Card wasn’t causing a bottleneck?

Does the PC Card interface have the required bandwidth? And Is the Netgear PC Card up to the job? Any chance you can retest the Iomega with a Gigabit port on a desktop?

Thanks!

:D 
February 21, 2006 11:47:13 PM

Quote:

You said you used a Netgear GA511 gigabit PC card in your laptop. Are you sure the PC Card wasn’t causing a bottleneck?

Does the PC Card interface have the required bandwidth? And Is the Netgear PC Card up to the job? Any chance you can retest the Iomega with a Gigabit port on a desktop?

Thanks!

:D 


Hi Kahuna, This was my first experience with a consumer NAS device so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. After I ran the test quoted in the article, I repeated the test using a different laptop with an integrated Broadcom Gigabit ethernet adaptor. This gave very similar results to the Netgear test, so my conclusion was that the Netgear results were representative. It's possible that a desktop system might have seen different results, but I retired my last desktop system a year or so ago. I'm a laptop-only house!

Jim
Related resources
February 23, 2006 2:37:17 AM

Now lets. Think here.

Slow Laptop Hard Drive -> Super Fast Gigabit -> Faster Hard Drive in NAS

Can you see the bottleneck here?

Why would you use a slow laptop hard drive to test these speeds?

If you have a decent amount of ram in the laptop (512mb+) make a ramdisk and transfer from there. Then you have no more bottleneck. You can setup a ramdisk with the very simple software from here:
http://www.cenatek.com/product_ramdisk.cfm

I was planning on using this technique for benchmarking some gigabit switches.

Please re-do the benchmarks with a non-slow laptop hard drive. Even if it's a 7200rpm laptop drive (which is doubtful) the sequential read speeds of a laptop drive aren't nearly as fast as their desktop counterparts. Didn't you think of this?
February 24, 2006 3:14:51 PM

It's unlikely that the drive in the notebook running iozone is a factor. Iozone is a pretty compact application and shouldn't have to page much if at all
February 24, 2006 8:38:57 PM

Finally, an in depth review of the Iomega Network Storage Drive to help me decide which gigabit net drive to buy. Given the growing popularity of these devices I'd like to see similar reviews from Toms Networking for the new Linkstation HS-D300GL/D400GL gigabit connected drive and for the new Synology Disk Station 101g+ gigabit connected enclosure. For a while, I thought the new Iomega gigabit and the old Linkstation HG-300LAN/400LAN were the only contestants with gigabit connectivity in this price range. I looked around a couple weeks later... and BANG! the new Linkstation and Synology show up. So, back to the drawing board.

Given the high fan noise level reported and the unimpressive file transfer performance from its 10/100/1000 connection; the Iomega will stay in the shopping cart and won't move into the check out process unless Iomega releases firmware updates that fixes these shortcommings... or if I find a better solution. The reason I was leaning towards the Iomega was because of its UPnp support and because its backup program allows a full system backup/restore. For me, disaster recovery is indispensable in case of a system crash. I'm always changing the configuration of my laptop installing beta stuff. I have not seen this full system backup/restore capabilty in the other drives I've looked... but maybe I missed something.

Has anyone out there been able to get their hands on any of these new gigabit storage devices?

After reading the specs I'm impressed with the features in the Synology... specially the SmartFan, Sleep Mode, Web hosting and One Touch copy to transfer photos and video from a camera via its USB Port. It appears that it does not provide a way to get a full system backup/restore as I'm not familiar with the Synology data replicator for backups. Also, it does not appear to have UPnp or DLNA support and it ships without a drive.

The new LinkStation emphasizes its gigabit networking with Jumbo Frame support. It uses DLNA server technology to stream digital content and Memeo backup software. I wonder how this JUMBO frame works and if there is client requirement to support it. The Hard drive is included, but I could not find in the documentation how fast it is.

Which one do you guys think is better? Is there something else up there I should be looking at? My ultimate goal is to access this drive from my laptop running XP Media Center Edition for additional storage/backup and also from an Xbox 360 with Media Center Extensions to access music, photos and video.

Two more questions... Do any these vendors drives support or plan to support Media Center "Extensions"? How does this DLNA technology differ from UPnp?

Thanks
February 27, 2006 12:19:37 PM

Quote:
The new LinkStation emphasizes its gigabit networking with Jumbo Frame support. It uses DLNA server technology to stream digital content and Memeo backup software. I wonder how this JUMBO frame works and if there is client requirement to support it.

Use of Jumbo frames requires a gigabit NIC that supports the feature and also that your switch support jumbo frames. Very few consumer-level gigabit switches do. The NETGEAR GS108 is one, but you need to to get the correct one. See this thread for details
http://forumz.tomshardware.com/network/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=20404
Quote:
Two more questions... Do any these vendors drives support or plan to support Media Center "Extensions"? How does this DLNA technology differ from UPnp?

Don't know about specific plans for WMCE support, but I'd say manufacturers are moving away from doing anything special to support it. The move is toward at least supporting UPnP AV and more toward DLNA.

You can think of UPnP AV as a lower level protocol and DLNA as a higher level one that includes UPnP AV as well as other protocols.
February 27, 2006 6:17:22 PM

Quote:
Given the growing popularity of these devices I'd like to see similar reviews from Toms Networking for the new Linkstation HS-D300GL/D400GL gigabit connected drive and for the new Synology Disk Station 101g+ gigabit connected enclosure. For a while, I thought the new Iomega gigabit and the old Linkstation HG-300LAN/400LAN were the only contestants with gigabit connectivity in this price range.


Agreed. I just about begged Jim Buzbee in an email about a month ago to do a review of the D-Link DSM-G600... But he blamed Tim for what gets reviewed and what doesn't. So how about it Tim? :twisted:

I'd love to see more 10/100/1000 NAS reviews. The DLink I just mentioned (and bought btw) bears a striking "under the covers" similarity to the StorCenter. Both are FreeScale PowerPC based, both busybox based, and both are 10/100/1000. The main difference is the DLink is a BYOD solution where you install a PATA HD of your choosing in the enclosure.

All that said, I've been hungering for reviews to compare the 100/1000 speeds of these new NAS's. Seems many of them just don't seem to have the horsies to really utilize the GigE ports.

Oh, and lest I forget, great review Jim and Tim.
March 8, 2006 7:31:43 PM

I searched around and did find a few reviews for the Synology. Apparently it compares favorably to other single drive units (non-redundant units). It has ok but not great speed. It does have drive spin-down and a thermostat controlled fan. Sounds like it unfortunately used an extremely small fan so when it does run, it's a screamer.

It's unfortunate that more drives don't have at least a configuration option to sleep like the Synology.
March 10, 2006 1:57:54 PM

The laptop hard drive is most likely a bottleneck here. The whole reason why desktop computers feel snappier is because of the faster hard drives. If you want to see the real performance of Gigabit Ethernet you need to test again using a Raptor 10,000 RPM drive or at least a new 7200 RPM with 8MB cache. Now I don't know what laptop drive you have, but you really need to eliminate the source drive as the bottleneck in order to conclude how fast the Iomega is.

Go build a $400-500 desktop with a fast hard drive to use for testing purposes, it will help your reviews out a lot.

Most laptop hard drives just don't cut the mustard when it comes to hard drive performance.

-Mark
March 11, 2006 10:17:44 AM

Iozone is a compact program and is not largely dependent on the drive of the system it is running on.

Iozone results are more dependent on the processing power and networking - processor bus structure.

While the results may be lower than would be obtained from running iozone on a more powerful system, the comparative results presented are valid, because all testing was done with the same machine running iozone.
March 20, 2006 7:22:12 PM

Hello
I have a question about the iomega storcenter:
How can I connect to the device via Telnet? The port 23 used for telnet is closed. So how is it possible?
I am about to figure out how to combine the storcenter with a mediaplayer (like squeezebox or roku soundbridge). Therefor I might have to install slimserver or twonkyvision. Or does it work with the built-in Upnp of the storcenter? Does someone have experience with this configuration?
Thanks.
Dada
March 20, 2006 9:30:15 PM

As described in the review, a Telnet daemon is not part of the factory configuration. The example described in the "Under the Covers" section was connecting to the UPnP port (usually Port 5000) using a Telnet client.

If you're willing to void your warranty, it might be easier to modify the file system by physically removing the drive and mounting it on a Linux system that supports EXT2 or XFS.
March 29, 2006 12:55:48 AM

Hi,

I haven't figured out exactly how to get a telnetd client on there, but I did make I think progress in that direction.

Exploiting the cgi hole that was mentioned in the article you can share some pretty important directories off of the root directory. So far I've shared /etc, /bin, and /sbin. No telnetd services or anything that I can see as being directly useful. But it's a start.

I guess the next step would be to figure out how to build a telnetd client for the platform in question? I'm not really sure, I've never done this kind of thing directly, but it seems like the right 'next step'.

Any other ideas out there??

---
update
---

well, I guess I spoke too soon. So I looked at the CD and lo and behold it includes all the sources and build files for all of the open source stuff that they used. First thing I notice is busybox, which apparantly is a combination of several basic commands, including a telnetd. Hmm, but according to the config file that iomega used, they disabled the telnet and telnetd stuff. So I guess the first thing to try is to recompile busybox with telnetd, add a service in /etc/init.d/ and put it into /etc/rc3.d/.

i'll look around and see if I got a linux box I could compile this on...
April 14, 2006 11:43:08 AM

I have the 250GB Storcenter and my complaints are:
1. Quite noisy, the fan is either on or off, no variable speed...
2. No DAAP/Bonjour or iTunes compatible media server.
3. Extra storage is not indexed by UPNP server (have a 300GB USB2/FW400 FAT32 drive hooked up), it is possible to access it through a 'Filesystem' menu item in the UPNP menus though which is good.

Have tested the UPNP server with the D-link DSM320, music is fine but Video stutters. However, this seem to be the case with every UPNP server but D-links own when used with the DSM320. Have tried it over 100MBit CAT5 cable and Wireless.

4. No shell access, FTP or SFTP server. Foldershare sucks...

I have high hopes that a firmware update will address some of the issues mentioned. Is there anyone with news on the alleged update?

On a sidenote I noticed that iomega lists a 300GB version of the Storcenter here:
http://www.iomega-europe.com/eu/products.aspx?productId...
Which is stated to have:
• Wireless USB adapter support included


/Klas
April 20, 2006 10:55:48 AM

Hi Klas,
You have tested the UPNP server with the D-link DSM320, music is fine but Video stutters.

I tested my SorCenter (250GB) UPnP compatibility with a Terratec NOXON 2 Audio (connected both: wired/wireless). MP3s are stored on the StorCenter. The UPnP-server of the StorCenter is activated and can be seen from the NOXON; but the database of the StorCenter seems to be empty. I can browse through the database (Music -> Genre etc.) but the contents is completely empty. :cry: 

The NOXON does work with a UPnP-server. I tested it with a TwonkyVision installed on a PC. => runs perfectly!

Anyone any idea? :idea:
April 20, 2006 11:54:10 AM

It might be that you have too many files in the root, try removing some or organize them in sub-folders.

Check this link:
http://www.iomegasupportforums.com/phpbb2/viewtopic.php...

What if you select the 'File System' entry in the UPnP menu? Can you see all folders and files?
April 21, 2006 5:34:07 AM

Hi Klas,
thanks very much for your hints.

What I found out up to now:
In the UPnP menu actually not all folders of the root were visible. Don´t ask me why. I reorganised them (i.e. renamed them), then they were visible.
But this did not help for the database. It was still empty; even after rebuilding the database.
So I created a new folder and just copied one artist with one album and several MP3-files to it. Initiated the UPnP search and rebuilt the database => all MP3s available.
Then I tried to copy other artist folders to that newly created media folder.
All of these were visible except artists with german umlaut (ä,ö,ü). These were not visible but their MP3s (under All Music) could be seen as e.g. "03-Millionär.mp3".
My conclusion (up to now) is: UPnP-server on Storcenter is running (much slower than the Twonky on the PC, but it runs!), database size might be limited (? I have to test deeply over the weekend, hopefully the weather is not too good this WE!), german umlaut (ä,ö,ü) are definitively not properly supported by the Storcenter.

I will report the results.
Bye.

-------

The weather was/is good this Weekend. Nevertheless:
I stop testing this uggly Media-server on the StorCenter! It was crazy. I renamed some of the german artist names to a more convenient name ("Bläck Föss" to "Blaeck Foess"). Afterwards the Artist was also not visible, but the songs were listed in the Genre part of the media server! Crazy!
The I tested to rename the filenames of german songs (with umlaut) to filenames without umlaut. The same happened to the ID3 tags.
suddenly these renamed songs (filenames and ID3 tags) were no more listed by the Media server! Rebuild of the database brought no better result!
I concluded to live with that, if the rest of my MP3 songs would be available. I copied all my collection (around 300 subfolders) to that folder ("mp3") and rebuild the database (=> around 8000 MP3s). Even after half a day of waiting and an additional restart of the Media server the MP3s were not available for the client. It seems as the Media server crashes when handling a lot of data or when an invalid ID3 tag occurs.
I will send the Iomega drive back and further run my MP3 collection with my PC and the Twonky Vision Media server!

If anyone has different/better experience or knows when a firmware upgrade changes the situation, please feel free to inform me by email.

Bye.
May 15, 2006 4:47:58 PM

We own a StoreCenter 500GB (dual drive): IMHO, this NAS is a crap as it is almost useless:
On Windows:
- No NTFS support in write mode
- File size limited to 2GB

On Linux:
- No NFS support (thus limited to smbfs)
=> no hardlinks support
=> no sparse files
=> File size limited to 2GB

=> a 500GB drive main usages are often backup, video editing, virtual disk images... which are not possible due to limitations. Impossible to create dvd isos, impossible to create fs dumps or images like vmware machines and such, impossible to create big tar files.

With the current firmware, the usage is limited to small file storages like photo and office documents. It can takes time to fill such a big filesystem...
May 18, 2006 1:45:59 PM

Iomega finally released their 1.27 firmware.

Changes from version 1.09 (original release) to 1.27:
Fixed an issue with disabling & enabling the MediaServer
Fixed speed decrease issue on writes if a change is made to the sharing configuration on the device
Fixed issue of attempting to share a folder named "Share"
Fixed display of disk capacities to use 1024 bytes = 1 kilobyte
Fixed several localization issues
Added timezone support
Added digital camera offload support
Added support for APIPA when configured for DHCP and no DHCP server is found
Added NTP support
Added FTP server support
Changed filesystem from ext2 to XFS
Removed FolderShare™


If one sets the ftp root to the hd root by changing the URL in the web based setup utility one gain access to the whole filesystem with alot of rw permissions. Anyone knows how to start something like a Telnetd daemon?

--update--
Managed to execute commands by adding to the following script /usr/etc/init.d/vsftp which controls the ftp server. Added som symbolic links and tried to execute '/bin/busybox telnetd'. Telnetd without luck yet though. :) 

ps aux:

PID Uid VmSize Stat Command
1 root 516 S ini
2 root SWN [ksoftirqd/0]
3 root SW< [events/0]
4 root SW< [khelper]
5 root SW< [kthread]
18 root SW< [kblockd/0]
21 root SW [khubd]
53 root SW [pdflush]
54 root SW [pdflush]
56 root SW< [aio/0]
55 root SW [kswapd0]
57 root SW< [xfslogd/0]
58 root SW< [xfsdatad/0]
59 root SW [xfsbufd]
598 root SW [mtdblockd]
599 root SW [ftld]
600 root SW [nftld]
630 root SWN [jffs2_gcd_mtd4]
676 root SW [xfssyncd]
677 root SW [xfssyncd]
687 root SW [xfssyncd]
734 root 540 S /sbin/respawnd
742 root 504 S /sbin/iodaemon
754 root 572 S /sbin/syslogd -m 0 -s 40 -b 0
875 root SW [scsi_eh_0]
876 root SW [usb-storage]
912 root 840 S /sbin/boa
929 root 420 S /sbin/toronto
941 root 1656 S /sbin/nmbd
947 root 444 S /sbin/mississauga
987 root 452 S /usr/sbin/IomCamHandler
994 root 608 S /sbin/udhcpc -i eth0
1009 root 828 S lpd Waiting
1059 root 512 S /sbin/getty -L 115200 console
1079 root 2240 S /sbin/smbd
1081 root 2228 S /sbin/smbd
2114 root 1492 S /sbin/html/cgi-bin/makecgi
2125 root 528 S sh -c /usr/etc/init.d/vsftp start > /dev/null 2>&1
2126 root 572 S /bin/sh /usr/etc/init.d/vsftp start
2128 root 664 R ps aux
May 18, 2006 7:36:57 PM

wahoo, good idea.

Don't hesitate to update if you find any way to log into the box :-)

My box is currently useless for the purpose I bought it. (need to do an xfs_copy /dev/sda1 /mnt/storecenter/backup.img ; /dev/sda1 is a 1.6TB using 300GB space, thus I should be able to back it up using xfs_copy that would create a sparse file (currently unsupported by smbfs))

replacing kernel, or at least being able to activate nfsd would be cool. I saw (by browsing /) that /proc/fs/nfsd exists....
May 20, 2006 9:55:45 AM

Heureka! :idea: :D 

Pre-req. FW 1.27
This is done at your own risk:

1. Get the utelnetd from the Buffalo linkstation image.
http://linkstationwiki.org/downloads/openlink/ppc-openl...
Unzip the image.dat (it is actually a compressed zip)
Password: NFM_TUPSBHFNFM_TUPSBHF
Look in /sbin/
2a. Using the Web interface. Enable Secure Access Control (under Sharing)
2b. Set the ftp root to / and enable ftp access.
3. Upload the utelnetd prog from step 1 to /usr/sbin/
4. Go to /usr/etc/init.d/ and download vsftp
5. Backup the original vsftp.
6. Edit vsftp and add the following lines below . /etc/init.d/functions.sh
:

mknod /dev/ptmx c 128 0
mknod /dev/pts/0 c 136 0
/usr/sbin/utelnetd -d &

6. Upload the modified vsftp, to /usr/etc/init.d/vsftp.
7. Reboot the Storcenter.
8. Login with telnet using the secure access/ftp username/password!

If you want, you can add sym links (ln -s) etc in the vsftp script.

--- update ---
I now have root access through telnet!!
Through the vsftp script, Do this:
1. Copy /etc/passwd to /nethdd/
2. Download the file and Remove the Root password
root::0:0:administrator:/mnt/0:/bin/sh
3. Upload.
4. copy it back
cp /nethdd/passwd /etc/
5. Reboot.
6. Login through telnet as root, leave password blank!

I don't know if it's necessary but I did a chmod a+rwx on the passwd file before I copied it.

-----
Iomega StorCenter Network Hard Drive
%s %r on a %m (%t)
Iomega-00C606 login: admin
Password:
BusyBox v1.00 (2006.01.13-16:33+0000) Built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.
~ $ cat /proc/version
Linux version 2.6.12 (russello@russellolxppc) (gcc version 3.4.4 (Gentoo 3.4.4-r1, ssp-3.4.4-1.0, pie-8.7.8)) #1 Fri Jan 13 11:33:11 EST 2006
~ $ cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor : 0
cpu : 82xx
revision : 1.4 (pvr 8081 1014)
bogomips : 132.60
vendor : Iomega Corporation
machine : Iomega StorCenter Network Hard Drive
June 6, 2006 2:28:51 AM

Iomega has suggested disabling the Media Server if you want to use the StorCenter 250GB as a file server. It is supposed ted greatly improve the performance. Their tech said "There is a lot of overhead in caching the database." If you still have the drive, maybe it would be worth a retest without the Media Server overhead.

I was having problems with timeouts on extensive transfers. (Started with 15.1 GB broken across 180,275 files; 5,910 folders. :x Still seeing transfer failures at about 30% with 3.19 GB in 38,994 files; 1,226 folders. :evil:  ) Their tech recognized the "The specified network name is no longer available." message right away. Supposedly, the way the Media Server constantly re-indexes was killing me with so many files being added.

I'm gonna give it another try next weekend with the Media Server disabled.
June 6, 2006 9:18:47 AM

I have top on it, when I only use the mt-daapd iTunes server and dropbear SFTP/SSH server it is 97% idle. When I copy a file over samba (100Mbit - 802.11g router in between) smbd requires 35% cpu. The problems are probably related to the built-in MediaServer indexing.

Note: I have removed som other stuff they have running such as a USB Digital Camera server etc..
December 26, 2006 8:36:06 AM

Dear BAMaustin,
I have the same kind of problem when transfering big amounts of data (30 Gb) copying to the fileserver :(  . My mediaserver is turned off already. I was wondering how was your experiende.
Also I use RIAD1 configuration. Does this matter a lot for the transfering speed?

Greetings,


IvoB
August 17, 2007 5:00:43 PM

hey, i was wondering if anyone had any tips on how I could access this as a simple FTP fileserver. I've setup an IP Passthrough on my router, and i've enabled the FTP option in the Iomega Admin, but I'm not sure what URL i would use other than ftp://global ip goes here/

any help would be awesome, thanks!
August 27, 2007 8:01:35 AM

utelnetd - help!

I had utelnetd working according to the instructions posted above (excellent instructions - thank you)

I then got passwd file changed - root password sorted out :-)

I managed to do telnet login once and then after a reboot - "connection refused"

Any ideas please?

!