Thursday, November 10, 2011

From the Field: Word of Caution on Drives

It seems that lately, we are hearing more incidents about not being able to retrieve data from portable hard drives. The problems encountered included inability to mount, dead power supply and seek errors (with clicking sounds). It doesn't seem to be limited to just one manufacturer. Maybe there happens to be a bad batch of parts or a bad lot of raw drives. The price of drives have come down dramatically and the capacity have at least doubled while the overall size has shrunk. One has to wonder if manufacturers are pushing physical limits or are we seeing a quality issue? Perhaps the floods in Thailand which has affected manufacturing of key parts might have some effect.

As professionals utilizing many musicians and countless hours of work, should we trust storing valuable assets we created to a drive costing less than $200? Drives will fail eventually. If we were smart, we would not skimp and back things up on several different drives or different types of media. There are now solid state drives on the market costing around four times the cost of a regular hard drive. The issue with these drives are the write speed and the number of times you can write. The pros are that playback is fast and if they are used as WOTRM (Write Once or Twice, Read Many) drives, they might serve as another option for safeties. At least, the probability of having physical issues with the drive, especially if you are clumsy, might be somewhat reduced.

Whatever you decide, we are urging you to pay more attention to how you back up and store your precious data.

A smattering of solid state drive specs to look at:
Glyph PortaGig 50 SSD
Lacie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt Series 240GB SSD
Oyen Digital MiniPro 240GB SSD
OWC Mercury SSD