At one time, network storage was an expensive proposition. Iomega is aiming to shatter the preconception with its new line of Home Network Hard Drives. The drives, available in 320GB, 360GB, and 500GB capacities, set new low-water marks for network storage. The 320GB model costs US$149, as will the 360GB model. The 500GB model carries a retail price of US$199.
According to Tom Kampfer, president and COO of Iomega, the goal with these new hard drives is to make network storage mainstream, by closing the differential in price from getting a standard USB 2.0 and a drive equipped with ethernet. With these new models, the gap falls to about US$20--the cost of a meal out. Kampfer sites the prevalence of home networks as a big motivator in Iomega trying to move into this space; Iomega's next step-up 500GB StorCenter costs US$299.
To achieve the lower costs, Iomega is leveraging some of its advantages in volume production--as well as using a different chipset than the one found in its recently announced StorCenter line of network-attached storage devices. This means, among other things, that you will see a performance difference between the Home and StorCenter lines.
The Home models have both ethernet and USB 2.0 connectivity (useful if, for whatever reason, you need to jack the unit directly into a PC for a direct connection), and are optimized for use by up to four users simultaneously. These models also include Iomega's Discovery Tool Home utility for Windows, and two licenses of EMC Retrospect HD backup software (a US$50 value unto itself).