Hump Day Hardware: External Hard Drives

December 3, 2008

How do you manage the safety of your data? Hard drives run into problems and your data could easily be lost in a hard drive crash. That’s why it is so important to keep up-to-date back-ups.

One of the best tools I’ve found for this are external hard drives. There are a number of choices out there from a wide variety of vendors. Over the years I’ve own a few different models of the Western Digital My Book series and so my choice would be the Western Digital My Book Essential Edition 1 TB drive shown at right. If you don’t have a huge amount of data, you might want to look at the 500 GB version of the drive.

While I love the external drives because I can easily plug them in to any of my computers, there are also other drives that might fit the needs of your business. About a year ago we decided that one of the best ways to store files on our network was to use NAS (network attached storage). After comparing all of the different products available, we decided to get the Netgear ReadyNAS 2 TB drive.

While this drive has a higher price, it also provides more levels of security for your data. Inside of the very small “tower” are four hard drives in a RAID configuration. If any of those drives were to fail, simply buy a new drive and replace it. Once the new drive is in place, it will probably take a few hours for the system to rebuild itself, but you will not lose any data. This also means you can upgrade the drive over time by installing larger drives. You’ll have to replace them one at a time, but it provides an inexpensive way to increase your storage capacity.

Since the drive is directly connected to your network, it won’t be as fast as an internal hard drive. But it does provide a great way to store your backups in a safe location. Just remember, that neither of these solutions would protect your data from natural disasters of theft of the drives. So while they aren’t the complete answer for protecting your data, they can be a very large piece of the puzzle. Of course you could always take the external hard drive off-site as a way to protect the data from disaster or theft.

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1 Comment

  1. SinCity

    I bought the 750GB back in October 2008 and it’s been the best thing for me to have some place to dump all my files on.

    Now I need the 1 terabyte with a backup so I can just press a button to backup my files while I’m away. I went to and paid $115 for it.

    If you can get it on sale, if not, still buy one and get either the 750GB or 1T.


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