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Data Storage Hardware

Portable Storage Guide 184

Elite 4CE writes "If you're like me, you are always transporting data from home to work, and back. I was surprized at how many options there were to facilitate this. Hardcoreware.net have posted their Portable Storage Guide for 2005, covering everything from flash based devices that fit into your pocket, to huge FireWire drives with a capacity of 400GB."
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Portable Storage Guide

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  • New Category (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geomon ( 78680 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:44PM (#13678450) Homepage Journal
    How long until there is a category for embedded DRM as described in this [slashdot.org] article?

    It will probably start out with a few devices with DRM, but slowly everyone of the storage vendors will have a DRM solution. It will only be a matter of time, really.

    That said, the Seagate 100GB unit looks sweet.
    • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:47PM (#13678499) Homepage
      Why use a 100gb device to haul your files around? You can mod an iPod Nano [uncyclopedia.org] to 200GB.
    • Re:New Category (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cgreuter ( 82182 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @06:45PM (#13680523)

      It will only be a matter of time, really.

      No it won't. This is one of those situations where market forces will do the right thing. DRM makes storage devices less useful. Most people who buy removable storage already know this. The ones that don't will find out as soon as they buy their DRM-encumbered device.

      The basic principal of economics--sell people stuff they want--won't go away just because Hollywood has hyped up DRM. We--not the entertainment industry--are the customers. We pay their revenues and we'll stop doing that if they start making crappy (i.e. DRM'd) products. Given the sheer number of storage makers out there right now, it's not going to be difficult to switch to some else.

  • I just use the internet, it's great.
    • by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:52PM (#13678544) Journal
      I used to. It worked well. But after having a thumb drive for a month I wouldn't switch back. I have my entire "my documents" and development tree stored on my thumb drive. It is always the latest and most updated version. When I arrive at work, I copy it over. When I leave work, i copy from the computer to the thumb drive. Same as home. The internet worked ... unless internet was out at home. Or if internet was out at work. And the data was too preicous not to have even for a few hours. And when you are in an environment where internet traffic is heavily monitored (and pushing upwards of 100M) the thumb drive reigns supreme.

    • I have to agree that the internet is great. That being said, sometimes you don't want to upload a 2 GB database file or a 700 MB movie, just to have to download it when you get home. Also, it's hard to believe, but sometimes you find a computer that *gasp* doesn't have an internet connection! Even if it does, if it's not broadband, it could suck up a lot of time downloading your data. There's a time and a place for using personal storage devices to move data around.
      • You posit what happens if the computer doesn't have broadband. I posit what happens if it doesn't have available/working USB ports?

        Portable storage devices also introduce the risk of physical damage, loss, or theft.

        Portable vs online both have their merits, but you can't ignore the potential downsides of portable storage while highlighting those of online storage.
    • by Surt ( 22457 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @03:02PM (#13678645) Homepage Journal
      I think the main reason is this:

      You have 400 megabyte of data. You want to take it with you to work on (or maybe listen to) at another computer. You can:

      Flash drive: Copy to flash drive at 10megabytes/sec. Call that a minute with overhead. Requires the destination computer have USB.

      Internet: Email it through google mail, using googlefs at the speed of your internet connection. Typically, most people today are living with 5 megabit per second or less. Call that 15 minutes, more if you can't max out your connection, or are living with a slower connection. Requires destination computer have (fast!) internet service. 15 minutes or more likely to extract your data at the other end. This is all assuming there is no overhead for google mail. If you have static ip, maybe you are hosting this data directly, still requires a typical 15 minute one way trip, but how many people have a static ip for their home machine?

      Portable hard drive: Copy to portable hard drive at 20 megabytes/sec. Call that 30 seconds, but costs more than the flash option.

      I'll take either of the carry it with me options over the internet most days. Even more so on days when my data set that needs to travel is 30 gigabyte.
      • Some really cool inventions you may find handy:

        1. DynDNS [dyndns.com] (Give your dial up/DSL computer a DNS address!)
        2. SCP [jfitz.com] (Copy files securely to and from any computer!)

        In case you're wondering, these significantly streamline the Internet option.
        • Thanks, scp i use already, but didn't know about the windows version, and dyndns is new to me. OTOH, I am one of those rare people with a static ip at the moment, so not as needed. Streamlining the internet does unfortunately still leave you with a long wait unless you have an awfully fast connection.
        • strangely enough i just had a sucessful job interview where they asked me how i would solve the problam of not knowing a dynamic ip address for connecting to a remote machine.

          i speced down a couple of approaches.

          after the interview, i asked how they had solved the problem, and they showed me dynDNS, essentially the same method i had come up with. which was reassuring, because at the time i was thinking this is such an ugly kludge, this is such an ugly kludge...it was nice to know that yes it may be ugly,
    • Because my files are too big to download quickly (think 25Mpixel, 16 bit/channel tiffs).
    • I agree. I'm not sure exactly what it is that people carry around on their flash drives and whatnot. My work data stays at work, I have no real desire to access it at home, and if I do need to (like if I decide to work at home for a day) I just use the VPN. Likewise, my home data stays at home, with the notable exception of music which is on my DAP. I guess that's a portable drive really, but I only ever use it for music and it only ever docks with my home PC. If there's the odd file which I do need to tran
  • by ggambett ( 611421 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:46PM (#13678476) Homepage
    I'd say it's more like "amasing"... really, typos are not that "amuzing".
  • by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) <shadow,wrought&gmail,com> on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:46PM (#13678478) Homepage Journal
    We have used some of the 250GB Western Digitals here and a known fault is that, if you remove the drive improperly, it will corrupt the entire drive. Rendering useless all 200+ gigs of info on there. But yeah, other than that, they work great! So be careful how you unplug and always use the "Remove Drive" feature.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Unfortunately, the "Remeve Drive" option is right below the "Format Drive" in the pull down menu. Oops!
    • That's a very timely warning...I've personally been witness to the death of two Western Digital hard drives (in external enclosures) due to improper removal. The few seconds it takes to use the Remove Hardware option is always less costly in the long run...even if your data is backed up, recovering it and replacing the drive is often a major inconvenience.
    • by fm6 ( 162816 )
      I once bought a LaCie USB drive. You had to format it before first use. And the power socket was badly designed — so the power lead fell out halfway through the formatting. There's no way to fix that on a USB drive without taking the whole thing apart. Between that and LaCie's lame support and warantees, I will never go near any of their products again!
      • Most of LaCie's drives are intended for Macs, therefore don't have a Windows file system on it, hence the need for formatting. That shouldn't take a long time, though.

        I've never had the power lead fall out of my LaCie drive, but my example is probably just as anecdotal as yours.

        Be that as it may, the parent post that says to beware large externals is still a good point. It's a single point of failure. Sure, you have 250 gigs of video/music/etc. but if that drive goes...!
        • I've never had the power lead fall out of my LaCie drive, but my example is probably just as anecdotal as yours.
          The whole thing was covered with foam padding, and they didn't leave enough clearance around the power plug for the thing to seat properly. Undoubtedly, this was a mistake they only made once. I wouldn't be so thoroughly pissed at them if I could have gotten some support or the item replaced.
        • How it having a large external any different than having a large internal? They are both single points of failure. That's kind of why you have a large external drive. To ... you know, backup stuff [penny-arcade.com].
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 29, 2005 @03:26PM (#13678842)
      This has nothing to do with the specific model of drive. Not telling the OS you intend to remove the drive will corrupt the file system for the exact same reason as if you shut down your computer by pulling the plug out of the wall. The OS does write caching. It must be given the opportunity to flush that cache.

      Kids these days don't know nothing...

    • by tigris ( 192178 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @05:08PM (#13679800)
      Or just optimize the drive for quick removal [microsoft.com]. This disables write caching.
  • Large RAID at home (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mad-Mage1 ( 235582 ) <infosecguy.mb@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:47PM (#13678495) Homepage
    With the ability to push to my house from work at over 8 Mbps, I rarely worry about this
    • With the ability to push to my house from work at over 8 Mbps, I rarely worry about this

      That's cool but I get by with 60KB/s download from my house. The local IP, Cox, has bowed to Windoze problems. If they did not crimp the upload, the botnet would soak up everyone's bandwith and no one would have anything. Curse you and your stupid OS, Bill Gates!

      My main concern with work to home connections is also Windoze. Putting a secure shell client on Windoze is kind of like putting a pad lock on paper bag. W

      • I'm not a fan of windows, but come on have you even used windows XP in a corperate environment? My desktop only gets rebooted when I need to patch the thing (about twice a month).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:48PM (#13678506)
    "If you're like me, you are always transporting data from home to work, and back."

    No, I'm not like you. I like to keep work at work, and out of my home, where I have better things to do than work.
    • Exactly. The last thing I need is for Slashdot (work) to intrude on my programming time (home), or vice versa.
    • No, I'm not like you. I like to keep work at work, and out of my home, where I have better things to do than work.

      Ommmmm... just because you want all your data with you wherever you are dose not mean you can't keep work and home separate. The two are not mutually exclusive.

      My data is valuable, and the latest and greatest versions of ALL my digital efforts, logs, spreadsheets, documents, text files, scripts, are always where I am.
      • My data is valuable, and the latest and greatest versions of ALL my digital efforts, logs, spreadsheets, documents, text files, scripts, are always where I am.

        My data is valuable as well, to my employer. Not to me. They provide SAN storage with multiple redundant levels of backup archived for 10 years. I don't really see how a $30 thumbdrive is going to add a great deal of reliability there. Additionally, the likleyhood of it falling into "unfriendly" hands increase very greatly when I take it out of the bu
        • by Le Marteau ( 206396 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @04:00PM (#13679188) Journal
          You probably work for a true IT company. I don't. I work for a traditional publisher which happens to require and have IT people.

          I'm amazed your employer allows you to walk around with company data in your pocket.

          Not only do they allow us, they GAVE us flash drives as tokens of appreciation after completion of some project (with the company name and project title silk screened on it).

          Not everyone with IT skills works for a tech savvy company. I do all my work on my 1 gig flash drive, pop it out and take it home, then plug it into my home machine, where it gets backed up every night. It's a much more reliable solution than their network backups, which are iffy.

        • Much of the data, multimedia, and code that I use is *MINE*. If I discover something developing at home and want to share it at work, thumbdrives are best. If I need to apply a windows patch without hosing a small network, I transport it around on a thumbdrive. My life and work is intertwined because I make a living doing what I would be doing anyway. Cliches in 3...2..1
    • I don't work on work at home, but I need a way to transport my home projects to work!
  • Slashdotted (Score:5, Funny)

    by mysqlrocks ( 783488 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:50PM (#13678528) Homepage Journal
    Slashdotted already. Maybe they can put the article on one of these devices and send one to each of us?
  • Huge? Pah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:51PM (#13678534)
    huge FireWire drives with a capacity of 400GB
    Well that might be enough to store the thumbnails of my porn collection, but I'll wait for the portable TB storage, thanks.
  • Carrying data? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sameerdesai ( 654894 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:51PM (#13678538)
    I just VPN into my work PC and use mapped drived to move data. No need to move data and risk losing it because of some bump on the road.
  • by brxndxn ( 461473 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:53PM (#13678550)
    I swear.. we're all guilty here. Please stop lying. We all use the floppy disk. I don't care who you are (but more likely so if you're a government employee), you have a green floppy disk in your briefcase that has a masking-tape label on it written with pencil..

    I see this all the time.. people thinking they're cool on campus with their laptop and 1GB USB thumb drive.. plugging in a floppy to get at the 1.44mb of data they really need.

    LONG LIVE THE FLOPPY! *salute*

  • iPod Nano (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 29, 2005 @02:55PM (#13678576)
    I was going to suggest the iPod Nano as a good portable storage device, but now I am having second thoughts. Better scratch that idea!
  • Security Risks? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MandoSKippy ( 708601 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @03:00PM (#13678626)
    Not saying Poster is security risk. But as someone who does security audits for banks, "taking data home" ie becoming more and more of a Security risk. It is easy for an employee to copy, burn, etc information with customer data with it. Another issue is smaller banks don't have the dedicated resources to devote to proper DRM and OEMS like Dell often include CD-Rs and make USB flash drives so cheap that it gets more and more troublesom to block it.
  • PQI (Score:3, Informative)

    by Solder Fumes ( 797270 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @03:01PM (#13678636)
    I use a 1GB PQI Stick, I don't think there's a smaller, cheaper, and more reliable option for the same capacity.
  • email (Score:3, Funny)

    by slackerboy ( 73121 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @03:02PM (#13678647)
    If you're like me, you are always transporting data from home to work, and back.

    And if you're a cheap, lazy bastard like me, you just email everything back and forth. (I mean, sure I can use my 512MB MuVo TX FM as a flash drive, but that's so much effort...)
  • They forgot (Score:4, Funny)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @03:03PM (#13678656) Journal
    I see they missed the most important device of all, the mega-uber-1337-6.7GHz, eleventy-billion TB laptop [atomchip.com]
  • Very useful. Have it in my wallet. Anybody have any problems with premature removal? Hope it doesn't blow out all the rest of my data if I have to run quick and disconnect while ul/dl.
    • Anybody have any problems with premature removal? Hope it doesn't blow out...

      He he he... Freud...

      Seriously though, you must unmount ("safely remove hardware", in windows-speak) it before you unplug it, or you will eventually lose all the data on the drive.

    • I'm glad my university freely distributes thumb drives, so I don't blow out my data during ul/dl. I keep mine in my wallet as well. The reason I use the thumb drive is to avoid premature removal. However, I'm posting on /., and an engineering student, which means there isn't any ul/dl to speak of.
  • So when your iPod nano is so scratched you can't read the screen, treat it as a 2 or 4GB flash drive with integrated iPod Shuffle functionality!

    In fact for a 2 or 4 GB flash drive it isn't a bad price really, although most sensible people would jump up to a portable 2.5" Firewire drive at about the same price and not worry about the extra size.
  • Coralized (Score:4, Informative)

    by Milican ( 58140 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @03:09PM (#13678710) Journal
    Coralized [nyud.net]

  • I use my phone to carry data with me. I always bring it with me anyway, and it's got a 512 MB MemoryStick in it. When I feel a little bit more rich, I'll get a 2 GB one in it's stead.

    Yes, I need a data cable but there's always one or two to borrow from co-workers.

    Oh and it's got a very nice mp3 player and a 2 Mpixel camera to boot! I love that little thing... It's a Sony Ericsson W800 [sonyericsson.com].
    • Oh and it's got a very nice mp3 player and a 2 Mpixel camera to boot! I love that little thing...

      Wow! At what points do we stop calling these things phones and start calling them somthing else? What is it? A storage device, MP3 player, digital camera, or phone? Sooner or later someone will have to come up with a decent name for these things!

  • I use this [newegg.com] USB enclosure for only 15 bucks shipped, combined with a cheap laptop hard drive. It fits in your pocket, is dirt cheap, does NOT need an external powersupply, and can be as nearly large (in capacity) as you want.

    • I agree, the 2.5" laptop drive in a USB case is great. My drive was lying around unused from an upgrade, so for $15 I got a very nice portable 30 GB device.

  • What is best depends on your circumstances.. what you need to do? If you want to carry your home drive, a 100G Seagate momentus in aluminium compact case/caddy and FW/USB2 connector is cool! If is day-to-day data, pics or photos may I suggest..

    http://www.sandisk.com/pressrelease/20050219a.htm [sandisk.com]

    It's a 1G SD card.. an SD card you say.. what's so special.. OK

    1. is x66 speed - great for video/continuous frames on a camera

    2. compatible with my Canon compact and TREO 650

    3. It has a built-in USB connector

  • by leftyfb ( 71398 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @03:45PM (#13679048) Homepage
    For those of you who have USB flash drives or just about any other type of portable media, check out http://www.no-install.com/ [no-install.com] Tons of applications that you can run from your portable media and not have to worry about losing your settings betweeb different machines.
  • It seems they only tested the hardware on Windows; there is no info on Linux or OS X support/testing. I'm not sure if all drives mentioned can even be used on other OSes, or if there still are driver issues. This is especially bothersome as they seem to install any software provided by the respective manufacturers before benchmarking the drives; but they don't mention if this includes installing custom drivers, or if the software in each case consists simply of data management tools.
  • I have been looking for decent answers about this for a long time, so here i go:

    What is a good way to have redundant external storage with linux? I'm thinking like mirroring "RAID" with two external USB hard drives.

    I ask this because I recently lost a good deal of data when a harddrive failed when I didn't have a copy of a lot of my stuff on my laptop. I recovered some, but I'd like to not have to worry about it again.


    Thank you.
  • so many options (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MooseTick ( 895855 )
    What is the point of this article? To lists ways you can carry data? That is news?

    What about books(printed material), CDs, tatoos, etc?
  • With the Elite AL dual drive firewire enclosure from Other World Computing you can pack around 1000GB.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/1394/USB/E liteAL/RAID/ [macsales.com]

  • Disk Format (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Thursday September 29, 2005 @04:58PM (#13679692)
    Do I still have to format the 400gb drive as Fat32 to get both my Mac and Windows XP box to read it? Why hasn't anybody come up with a file system that supports large capacity portable drives on every OS?
  • A storage guide I can carry around with me!
  • Now you have a lot of portable devices (mp3/media players, cell phones, PDAs, photo cameras, etc) that gives you the portability, a lot of time good space for storage and you can give them more functionality than just storing data (like USING it, think in the i.e. palm lifedrive).

    Of course, the extra functionality comes with a price, but if the rtfa already put into the comparision the victorinox one, that have the storage plus screwdriver/knife/etc, why dont put there other kind of integrated devices?

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.