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Archiving to Hard Drives: Bare Drives vs. Enclosed External Drives

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Tyler Henry
Archiving to Hard Drives: Bare Drives vs. Enclosed External Drives
on Jul 3, 2013 at 3:10:07 pm

Hi - I'm working on designing an archive system using two identical sets of external, offline drives (and also, Amazon Glacier).

The hard drives give us accessibility, having two sets of drives gives us redundancy, and Amazon Glacier gives us an offsite long-term backup.

My question is about the drives: I see a lot of people archiving to bare drives, but I'm not sure I understand the advantage to this. The risk of static discharge when handling the drives seems worrisome.

I'm considering investing in 28 LaCie Rugged Mini 1TB drives - they're built for shock protection in case they're dropped, and I don't have to worry about static electricity while handling them. (I still plan to keep them in anti-static bags in a padded box in climate control.) I realize that these drives aren't Enterprise class but we only plan to access them a few times a year to check their SMART status, and if we end up needing them.

I'm also planning to purchase 6 GLYPH 4TB Dual RAID drives to use in spanning mode. For our years 2011-2013 we have about 3.75 TB data per year so each year would fit nicely on a 4TB drive. The GLYPH drives aren't built for shock protection but they do offer two years of data recovery, and I still feel like they offer more protection than a bare drive. I think spanning mode should allow us to recover data from one drive even if the other fails.


Could anyone explain the bare drive thing? I feel like even if my external enclosures fail, I can still remove the drives and use a dock. Is there something I'm missing?

Thanks!


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Tim Jones
Re: Archiving to Hard Drives: Bare Drives vs. Enclosed External Drives
on Jul 3, 2013 at 5:08:12 pm

I'm an LTO fanatic (tape is much safer than disk), but I will say that the elements of static and destruction of a disk are pretty remote because of the way disks are made today. I use raw Seagate Constellation 3 drives in an external USB-3 dock (OWC has a few in "Accessories") for my projects and short term storage after they're wrapped (again, long term goes to LTO with BRU). This is more cost effective than pre-configured external drives when you need more than 2 or 3 and allows you to use enterprise class drives instead of the consumer grade devices that are included in the average external solutions. Remember, with hard drives, you really do get what you pay for.

As long as you don't walk around your carpeted office in wool socks trying to build up a huge static discharge, you'll find that normal handling will be quite safe with a raw disk as with your laptop or desktop computer.

Tim
--
Tim Jones
CTO - TOLIS Group, Inc.
http://www.productionbackup.com
BRU ... because it's the RESTORE that matters!


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Brett Sherman
Re: Archiving to Hard Drives: Bare Drives vs. Enclosed External Drives
on Jul 4, 2013 at 11:19:52 am

We use raw hard drives. The reasons primarily are cost and convenience. I don't have to worry about the enclosure or power supply going bad. I don't have to keep all those power supplies organized. As far as static, I've never had a problem with the 30 or so pairs of drives I have. I have dropped one though. I've had a few just go bad. The nice thing about having pairs is that it's easy to make a new one when this happens. I could see going with a bus powered drives though.

I don't like LTO. It may be the best for long term storage, but it's expensive, slow to access, and capacity isn't quite large enough for my needs (I'd need 2 tapes per hard drive). And unless you have two tape drives, a single hardware failure can knock you out of business.



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Tyler Henry
Re: Archiving to Hard Drives: Bare Drives vs. Enclosed External Drives
on Jul 4, 2013 at 7:24:35 pm

I came across these Seagate drives:
The Seagate SV35
http://www.seagate.com/internal-hard-drives/consumer-electronics/sv35/

They're advertised for surveillance video systems but they seem basically like enterprise-class SATA drives minus the RAID features, which are unnecessary anyway for archiving. The price is right - $85 at B&H for 1TB.

Any thoughts on this drive?

I'm still on the fence about bus-powered drives vs. bare drives. I want the archive to be a bit idiot-proof.
It seems like a tradeoff between shock protection and drive quality.


We did experience an LTO drive failure and now can't access our LTO archive without paying a ton to fix or replace the unit. We feel like Amazon Glacier is a better deep storage solution for us right now. Either way hard drives are a necessary evil for quick retrieval.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Archiving to Hard Drives: Bare Drives vs. Enclosed External Drives
on Jul 5, 2013 at 9:50:32 pm

Tyler writes -
" I want the archive to be a bit idiot-proof."

REPLY -
I hate this expression. I hear it all too often. What it means is that "we want to hire someone totally unqualified, and still have things work". Forget it - it's not going to happen.

An idiot will delete your data. An idiot will drop the drive on the floor. An idiot won't even know how to do the backup, and say "yea, I backed everything up". RAID arrays become corrupt, and automatic backup means that you risk backing up corrupt data.

I personally recommend raw drive, for people that want to spend zero money (and there is no difference between the Seagate that you listed, and any other piece of junk from Western Digital, Toshiba, Hitachi, etc.). But EVERYTHING in our business, no matter how menial, cannot be done by an idiot. The burger flipper at McDonnalds who wants to get wasted after work cannot do ANYTHING for your company - period. Backup and archive, no matter how boring, no matter how trivial, is VERY important work, just like asset management is important work. Todays companies that want to pay less than ever, and want to get things cheaper than ever, will continue to suffer, over and over, because they just can't understand why they can't hire an idiot to do that task.

I don't care what the task is - shooting, editing, graphics, archive, asset management, etc, etc, etc. You need to always think about what you are doing. Backing up (including to cheap raw hard drives) is a good idea. But when idiots are allowed to participate, your company will go out of business.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
maxavid@cfl.rr.com


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EricBowen
Re: Archiving to Hard Drives: Bare Drives vs. Enclosed External Drives
on Jul 12, 2013 at 4:03:32 pm

I love it!

Eric-ADK
Tech Manager


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EricBowen
Re: Archiving to Hard Drives: Bare Drives vs. Enclosed External Drives
on Jul 12, 2013 at 4:10:17 pm

Keep in mind the AV drives are really more marketing than anything else. There will be absolutely no difference between those and the Barracuda series for single drive archiving. USB3 Docking stations with standard internal drives give the easiest archive workflow to deal with provided the archive system/software used is correct. There is more micromanagement with this system cataloging and such but it is probably the cheapest drive solution. Don't forget to spin the drives up every 4 to 6 months. 1 year would really be pushing it. That rotation needs to be part of your cataloging. As far as drive storage, this would be a good site to start with:

http://www.wiebetech.com/products/cases.php

HDD's as stated by another poster above have failure rates that reflect their cost. Keep that in mind.

Eric-ADK
Tech Manager


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Todd Brous
Re: Archiving to Hard Drives: Bare Drives vs. Enclosed External Drives
on Mar 10, 2014 at 10:46:44 pm

I am very biased on the matter, but check out: http://www.hudzee.com.
-Todd


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Angelo Gianni
Re: Archiving to Hard Drives: Bare Drives vs. Enclosed External Drives
on Dec 8, 2016 at 11:05:15 pm

Hi Tyler,

I know this is a really old post, but...

I looked into Glazier for this purpose and couldn't quite figure out how to make it work.

I have all of my shelved projects archived on naked drives with no backups - which of course makes me nervous. But I just can't afford another set of drives - and plus having the backup of the backup off site would be great.

I'd love to hear how you have it set up....


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