REV 120GB Drive from Iomega Is a Jack of all Trades, Master of One

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

Bigger, faster and cheaper are the key words to describe Iomega’s newest entry into the REV line of removable storage.

It’s no secret that Iomega pitches its latest REV drive as the answer to all of your backup needs. After all, the product is designed to take on the aging backup tape market by offering higher speeds, lower costs and larger capacities. The Iomega REV 120 comes in multiple flavors, but the two versions that will probably garner the most interest are the $499.99 USB External unit for desktop backup and the $699.99 Iomega REV 120GB USB 2.0 Backup Kit for network backup.

The major difference between the two units is the number of REV cartridges included and the bundled backup software. The higher cost unit includes five 120Gb REV cartridges and bundles in CA BrightStor ARCserve Backup and proves to be a complete solution for backing up a small business server. The lower priced unit comes with a single cartridge and includes EMC Retrospect Express backup software. Both units connect via USB 2.0, include an external power supply and bundle in disaster recovery options for the included backup software. For those looking for an internal unit, Iomega offers a couple of Serial ATA-based units with features comparable to the USB drives, at a slightly lower cost.

Naturally, users will want to compare the REV drives with tape units for backup. From an economy standpoint, a tape drive with similar capacity will cost upwards of $900 and will offer speeds of about 80Gb per hour (LTO–2 drive, using compression) and about 200Gb of storage. Blank tapes (LTO-2) cost around $50 each. Compared to a LTO-2-based solution, the REV drive is initially a bargain. Iomega’s blank cartridges cost about $75 each and if a user is intending on creating large libraries of backup data, LTO-2-based solutions may offer a better ROI over time. But the story doesn’t end there.

REV offers a level of flexibility that will never be found with a tape-based solution. Right off the bat there is speed. Because REV works like a USB hard drive, users are offered hard drive-like speed, which is many times faster than tape. Also, since REV 120 is a removable hard drive, the product can be used with alternative backup solutions, such as imaging-based backup. That allows small businesses to completely back up their hard drives using products such as Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image products.

The benefits of REV go well beyond just backup. Users working with the latest virtualization products may appreciate the ability to create multiple virtual hard drives on a REV cartridge and then have portable, virtual machines. Technicians can use the REV system to back up systems in the field or to store the images of software CDs or DVDs. Those working with video editing products will benefit from the speed and capacity of the product, allowing them to create editing disks, along with storing video in a library. The unit also works well for forensics, auditing and e-discovery purposes, where an individual needs to gather data and evaluate it later. Pretty much, any industry that needs access to large amounts of data instantly and in a portable solution will benefit from what REV has to offer.

System builders may want to consider offering the SATA unit as an option on white box servers sold into the small business market or offering an internal unit with high-end workstations. Either way, the product can meet both backup and increasing storage needs.

Users will find the unit very easy to install and operate. Iomega leverages plug-and-play technology to make the device work with Windows PCs and servers. We plugged a REV drive into a Windows Vista PC and it was ready to use as a removable storage device in a matter of seconds; no other software or drivers were needed to start accessing the drive. The unit offers plenty of speed for most tasks; we were able to copy 11Gb of data, consisting of a mixture of audio, video and data files, in about 10 minutes, all while still using our PC to browse the Web, check e-mail and write this review. That translates to about a speed of 1.1 Gb per minute, a third of the theoretical maximum speed of USB 2.0. SATA drives will probably perform much faster and are not limited by the speed constraints of a USB 2.0 interface.

Iomega offers a five-year warranty on the drive and the cartridges are rated for a shelf life of 30 years. The design of the unit helps to keep things working properly, the cartridge slides into the unit and opens a dust proof door before allowing the heads to slide into it. The drive heads are always parked when not in use and the cartridge only houses the motor and the disk platters, making it very resilient to drops, bumps and careless events. That makes the unit a better choice than the typical USB hard drive, which can be easily damaged.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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