Experiences with Storage Solutions
I've searched around (in efforts to avoid tongue lashings from grumpy cows) and haven't seen much detailed commentary outside of the info and specs on respective companies websites, but I'm curious with who and what everyones best/worst experiences have been in the storage solution realm.
I mostly do offline commercial and documentary editorial and have had much success with G-Techs products, but on my latest project I was supplied with a Mercury Elite enclosure from OWC. Much to my dismay one of the drives failed and has sense been shipped to the manufacturer for inspection. Not to worry, backups were in place.
However, I'm beginning a new project with the same client and I'm on the lookout for new solutions. Again I've always used GTech products (Graids, and Gspeed es) with no problems, and the fact that I can waltz down the street to the macmall or apple store and pick up drives whenever I need to is a huge plus. I'm tempted to stay the course but open to new ideas for storing and working with high volume footage (20+ days of shooting) from a variety of sources on this project in particular. Enclosures and arrays I've been researching include Drobo, Sonnet, CalDigit, and Dulce systems. All of which Ive been directed to by the nifty ads on the left and right of my post. So I guess what I'm asking is who's products work, who's don't, who has good customer service, who's are worth the money and who's have failing tendencies. I realize its a subjective question along the lines of who do you prefer? Ford or Chevy? but hey, isn't that what we're here for?
I've read plenty of Bob's product reviews in the cow mag, but what have the rest of your real world experiences been?
I can certainly vouch for CalDigit.
I've purchased three arrays from them over the past two years - An HDPro for my personal system, and an HDPro and HDElement for other facilities where I worked. All have been great, reliable performers. Customer service has been stellar. Last time I was in L.A. I stopped by their facility in Placentia and they gave me a quick tour (and a cool tee shirt to boot!).
My HDPro has been a solid workhorse, with no problems whatsoever. CalDigit has ensured an upgrade path to HDPro owners by designing the HDPro as a modular system. When the HDPro 2 came out, owners of the original HDPro could easily upgrade their existing units by simply swapping out their old RAID controller module with the new model that is used in the HDPro 2. A simple plug-and-play upgrade that doubles performance for a reasonable price is almost unheard of in the word of video tech. Most companies just expect you to ditch the old product and buy a new one. CalDigit recently began offering a rackmount bracket kit for the HDPro as well, which transforms the tower form factor into a rackmountable configuration. The build quality of the rackmount kit is impressive, featuring very heavy-duty machined aluminum brackets that completely replace the stock handles.
CalDigit's products epitomize smart, beautiful design and very high build quality, and in my experience their customer service has been fantastic.
this is a generic answer.
There are four companies that make drives - Hitachi, Seagate, Western Digital, and Samsung. Hitachi and Western Digital are dramatically more reliable than Seagate, or Samsung. So when you go looking for Dulce, Maxx Digital, Cal Digit, G-Tech, Lacie or Other World computing, what REALLY matters is that you have a GOOD SATA DRIVE in the box, and that there is COOLING for the box. And of course, if you can afford it, a RAID 5 or RAID 6 system will be dramatically better than any JBOD or RAID 0 array.
In addition, when you look at Other World Computing or Newegg, and you look at Hitachi or Western Digital SATA drives, you will see two identical looking models, but one is more expensive than the other - the more expensive one is the ENTERPRISE SERIES DRIVE ? But it's a 1TB drive, why spend more money? BECAUSE IT WONT BREAK DOWN AS QUICKLY as the cheaper drive from the same manufacturer.
Any brand of drive you see advertised here on Creative Cow is dramatically better than the "Mercury" drive.
Cases without cooling fans will kill disk drives faster than cases with cooling fans.
So when you look for a 1TB disk drive, you need to ask "What disk drive is in the box, and do they have a cooling fan". Because the one with no fan, and non enterprise drives will break down faster.
I don't give a crap what brand you buy - this ain't brain surgery.
Certain products are cheaper for a good reason - the drives cost less money inside, and they don't have cooling.