Storage: What Hardware to Get?

I was prompted finally pushed to write about this after running across a couple of articles on specific hardware that you could use as your main data storage. The question of how best to store data at home has become a growing one in the past few years as more people have broadband Net connections and have been filling their hard drives up with downloads (mainly videos and music). Having 500GB of capacity in a household is not a surprising thing any more. I’m already starting to think that the 1.5TB array that I chose in Dec for my new rig isn’t going to be enough.

Onto our products… Last year, one of my friends (who knew I was spec’ing out a new box) asked me if I knew any good external RAID enclosures, but I was lazy and didn’t go looking. Recently, Jeremy [LiveDigitally] blogged about his next choice of storage – a ReadyNas NV+ from Infrant. This is a device that you stick on your network (it’s not directly connected to a single computer), and while they have multiple models, this one holds 4 SATA drives and uses RAID to ensure data redundancy. Infrant even has something unique they call X-RAID that claims to let you dynamically add disks as you need them.

Next up is the Drobo [via Gizmodo] which is connected to a single machine via USB 2.0. Watch the demo video – it’s pretty impressive. It automatically handles data redundancy (they don’t say how), and you can hot swap in any sized disks into any of the 4 slots. Drobo also monitors your drives for issues and moves data around automatically. At $700, it’s a little more pricey than just a RAID enclosure, but could be well worth it for the convenience factor. I’ll be really interested when they produce a networked version of this box.