Volume 19, Number 4
June 2002

Product Reviews

The Iomega Peerless Drive

Most of us have had problems with storing and backing up computer data, not to mention the expense involved in doing this for an entire law practice. Iomega has come up with at least a partial solution called the Peerless drive. It comes in two sizes, 10 or 20 gigabytes, and is touted as a fast, easy way to back up your entire computer hard drive. It also has the ability to store up to 20 hours of streaming video, your entire CD collection, thousands of MP3s, and a complete video graphic library. The unit is fast, with transfer rates of 15 MB/sec, and the drive also supports modular connectivity, so you can link it to FireWire or USB computer interfaces.

I chose the 20-gig capacity, eagerly put the modules together, installed the software, and was ready to roll. The product comes with a copy of 1-Step Back-up and another program called The Works for a full backup. Also included is Quick Sync LE, which allows the user to back up every file change made during an entire work day. I had chosen the full backup mode, but after loading about 3.99 gigs of my information, the program stopped.
After much time spent rechecking everything and retrying the program and a couple of calls to Iomega's tech support, I finally was told a fairly essential bit of information: Windows will allow you to back up only in 4-gig intervals! So I proceeded with my backup process, 4 gigs at a time, until the entire 20 gigs was transferred.
If you use any Windows system at all-3.x, 95, 98, 2000, or XP-you cannot do an initial backup of your data without doing it in increments. Who doesn't use these systems? To rephrase it in a positive way: Mac and Linux users can use the full backup capabilities of the Peerless! So then, what can the Peerless do for the rest of us?
I must say I really like how I have it working for me. I have placed all my critical, daily data on my 20-gig Peerless drive. I don't need to back up my programs because I can always reinstall them, but data is a different story. Now I keep the Quick Sync function running in the background all day, and Quick Sync automatically runs and transfers all changes onto the Peerless. At the end of my day, I have two perfect copies of all my data, one on my hard drive and one on the Peerless disk! This works for me, but I'm looking forward to when that Windows kink is worked out!

Iomega is working on future applications of the Peerless drive, and here are some possible ways you might use it in the future:
Network Attached Storage (NAS). NAS enables you to add storage anywhere on your network in minutes
by plugging in a network cable, applying power, and configuring a few settings-no server reconfigurations, no network downtime, no obstacles. NAS appliances use a streamlined architecture designed and optimized to perform one function: data delivery. This "closed box" approach results in more efficient performance; increased reliability; easier installation, management, and use; and overall lower costs when compared with using a general-purpose server.

Iomega says that streamlined data delivery is a perfect application for the Peerless drive system. With Peerless as your NAS device, you can localize storage resources within a workgroup and give employees like video and graphic designers the tools to manage and archive large files. The decreased load on the network results in improved reliability, performance, and efficiency-and happy network administrators.

PC-2-Go. Wouldn't it be great if you could eject your entire hard drive from your office computer, put it in your pocket, and then fire it up on your home PC? You may be able to with Peerless PC-2-Go, which would give you all the power and flexibility of a portable hard drive. Imagine carrying a disk instead of a laptop and running applications straight from the Peerless disk on any compatible computer. You could also move media between a PC and a consumer electronics device just by plugging in a disk.

Home Networking. The final concept is Home Networking, which would give you one storage solution for all your home entertainment needs. The same Peerless disk could be used as a video editor on your PC, a digital jukebox with your stereo, and a digital video recorder (DVR) for your TV.

Peerless drives with multistreaming DVR capabilities would let you pause live TV or use your car stereo also as a GPS, video system, game console, or PC. And it could store your entire music collection on one easily transportable disk.

If even just a few of these applications are perfected, the Peerless device will definitely be one addition you will want in your life. I'm sure that my investment in Peerless will bring me double and triple returns on the cost.
Verdict: On a scale of one to ten, I give the Peerless an eight for innovative design and speed of backup for the home or small law office environment. The 20-gig Peerless Drive lists for $399 for the USB model and comes with one disk; additional disks run about $99.

- Reviewed by Alan Pearlman, a Chicago attorney who is the author of the nationally syndicated column "The Electronic Lawyer" and a frequent speaker on legal technology.

Note: West Group is a corporate sponsor of the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division, and this article appears in connection with the Section's Sponsorship Agreement with West Group. Neither the ABA nor ABA Sections endorse non-ABA products or services, and this article should not be so construed.

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