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July 18, 2012 / Randy Coppinger

Media Storage Flavors

Consider these storage options for media production.

Remote Storage
Remote servers and cloud storage help protect against fire, theft and other local disasters. Personally I consider those events less threatening than drive failure or accidental deletion. The cost in price per GB and transfer time for remote storage doesn’t seem as desirable to me as a spare, external hard drive. But it’s worth noting that Gobbler can be configured to backup while recording is in progress, saving time.

UPDATE Jul 18, 7:40pm PDT
Beware these known security flaws with remote file storage: FTP and Dropbox.

External Drives
I find external drives the most practical and cost effective overall. I use them for active storage, backups and archives. I insist on internal power supplies with IEC power cables (as pictured above). Separate power supplies can too easily be separated from the enclosure, in which case the drive becomes an expensive brick.

Dispair not if you’ve already purchased drives with separate power supplies. You can strap it to the enclosure (see pic, right). It’s not ideal and you need to make sure it doesn’t overheat when used for hours. But for backups and long term archives this trick helps ensure you can get your files when you need them.

UPDATE: July 18, 10:00pm PDT
A few sources for external drives with internal power supplies and IEC connectors:
Glyph, Maxx Digital, Avastor

Tape and Optical
People seem to like these for backups and long term archives. They can be cost effective in price per GB, but I have better things to do with my time than wait for data transfer to/from tape or optical disk. For me the time cost is far too high.

RAID
A redundant array of drives can be inexpensive per GB but your initial capital investment may be high. The most significant advantage: everything you do is copied while you work. It’s like recording to a separate device simultaneously without any extra effort. That makes RAID for active storage a safety and a backup all rolled into one. It’s not only cost effective in terms of storage space but also time saved.

Removable
Voyager style storage — where drive mechanisms are used like data cartridges — is an interesting twist on removable media. It behaves just like a regular hard drive because it is. You cut the cost of the enclosure, power supply, etc. off of every drive and only pay for it in the dock. When the drive is too full to keep using (before it reaches 90%) you simply buy another mechanism. When not in use, store the drives in electrostatic bags and packing foam.

These flavors are not mutually exclusive. Combine a few for maximum advantage.

Active Storage – Where you keep your files while production is in progress.
Safety – A parallel recording system that acquires data simultaneously to the primary system.
Backup – A copy of your files at regular intervals. I prefer once a day.
Archive – Long term storage for completed projects after months of inactivity.

Read more about Media Storage and Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery.

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3 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Steve Urban / Jul 18 2012 10:00 pm

    At the suggestion of Rabbit Ears’ Michael Raphael, I use (and recommend myself) Hudzee cases if you go the Voyager dock route: hudzee.com

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