Thursday, July 24, 2008
My new Drobo 2.0 is here! (4 Terabytes of storage!!!)
It came today!
There are many things that I think Average Joe does not understand about the photographic industry and why it costs so much to do pictures (after all, digital is free, right?!?). But the one pervasive, never ending concern, of every photographer out there is Storage!
Digital photography has an incredible appetite for storage. I shot two weddings this week. All together, there were 4,894 images captured, requiring 71Gb of storage. If you ever thought of a 250Gb drive as large, you can quickly see that at this rate, only 2.5 more weeks of weddings will be required to fill up a 250Gb drive.
And that's without processing the images or backing them up!!!
I mention processing the images, because all images are captured as raw files and later converted to displayable / printable jpegs. While the act of converting them won't double the storage requirements, it will probably increase the current 71Gb to perhaps 90Gb or so. And if any editing is done to the images, another 10-20Gb of storage will probably be needed, so we're talking at least 100Gb to 110Gb for the two weddings.
And still no backup! What happens if a hard drive goes out?
I use four different kinds of storage. The memory cards that the pictures were initially recorded on. A main storage drive. A backup drive. And an off site (internet accessable) location.
I don't format the memory cards until the images are in at least two of those locations because you never know when something will go out. And if it's somebody's wedding we're talking about, there are no "do-overs". And your customer won't take "sorry" for an answer.
Why do I worry? Because I lost 3 hard drives last year and one already this year. Have I had an unlucky two years? Sure. But with so many drives up and running, it just happens. You better count on it!
So everything gets backed up, right? But what if you're working on a job and the hard drive you are working on goes out? What happens to all of the changes you've made? What happens to the "hours of labor" you have put into processing the images since the last backup? You can't be constantly backing everything up, can you?!?
This is where my new Drobo 2.0 comes in!
Drobo will be my new Main Storage drive. With 4Tb of high speed storage. Caveat, not all 4Tb are usable by me because some of it is used for redundancy. Still, I'll be able to put many, many "jobs" onto a single system and still consider it to be fairly safe.
The system has 4 drives in it. All of my hard work is spread across all four drives. If one drive goes out, I simply replace it and Drobo automatically rebuilds the data on the new drive. In other words, Drobo is "automatically redundant". It automatically protects every minute of every change I make. Will I still back up my images to other drives and to off site storage? Yes! But I can do so as the job is finished rather than having to continually worry about backups.
But you've heard of RAID systems, right? Is this any different? YES! Absolutely! Some reasons to consider adding a Drobo to your storage:
1) Drobo is immediately expandable. If you have a RAID 5 system with four 250Gb drives and want to grow the system by replacing those drives with 500Gb drives, you may opt to: a) change one drive at a time, over a period of time, or b) change them all at once. Either way, you STILL have to back up the entire system, "break the RAID configuration", then reformat the drives and restore all of your data. How long will that take? You don't want to know.
Drobo, on the other hand, immediately begins growing your storage from the moment you put a new/larger drive into the system. You don't have to wait until all four drives are replaced. You don't have to back up the system or break the raid, and you don't have to restore the images when you're done. It's all automatic. It's fast and it's painless. That's the way storage ought to be!
You can read more about Drobo on their website.
Or watch several video demonstrations.
I've lived with a never ending supply of external drives (I swear, they breed like rabbits). I've lived with a RAID 5 NAS system. I'm extremely excited about my new Drobo 2.0 connected to my system via Firewire.