Honey, I Shrunk the RAID!


Like a broken record sometimes, we get into the concept of backing up your digital life.
A couple of months ago we talked to you about the new RAID system we are using, with Wiebetech from CRU-Data-port.
It is working out great and is now the office backup system.
But we’re not always in the office.
Whenever we go out of town, we take extra hard drives and daisy chain them, if possible, or use up available ports.
Back-up is even more critical on the road as you move your system around all the time, even with good packing.

So the folks at CRU came up with the Tough TechDuo. They shrunk the 2 drive RAID array to use two 2.5″ drives, which can be swapped out with a simple button push.
As you can see from the photo above, the size diff is substantial, using a CF card as a size reference.

Each drive has it’s own “drawer” which is secured into the housing, and can be released in a 2 step process, with a button slide and a push into a raised line area of the slot cover.

Once the drive is removed from the housing, you can just pop it out and replace with a fresh one.

With enough current standard options for connectivity, sans USB 3.0, this IS a bus controlled unit so on the road you may not need another outlet. Also on the fly you can do the work you need with no external power, as long as your laptop has the juice.

We like RAID 1, for the road back-ups, and in the review model we had 2x 750GB drives so although you have 1.5 TB, it is really 750 GB, since it is a mirror backup set up. You can also go to RAID 0, which is basically a single volume from the combined size of 2 drives.

Weighing in at about 4 lbs with drives, dimensions of 3.5″ x 6.26″ x 1.34″, the info screen above also tells you if the drives are OK, whether you are on RAID 0 or 1, and very important: the temp of each drive. Without fans, you want to know this
The aluminum housing does a great job of keeping the heat down, and on our dual-core MacBook Pro, both drives were at about 34º F after 5 hours.
Strangely, we put it through an external drive on our MACPro, an 8 core, screaming tower and the temp went to up 42º. Not quote sure why, but it was still manageable in the hand.
So starting at about $500. empty, it is a tool for the pro on the road. With one unit, we have high level back-ups, speedy transfer rates:
eSATA 3 Gbps, up to 300 MB/s
FireWire 800, up to 800 Mbps
FireWire 400, up to 400 Mbps
USB 2.0, up to 480 Mbps

And for those who want the techy spec: Bridge/RAID Chipset: Oxford 936DS

We know that the read/write speed was great for us, not just for stills. On the raid we are known to shoot a bit of vid and fast transfer is critical.
After a day of gathering the content, you don’t need to stay up all night transferring materials to work with.
And if you did read the previous article, you’ll see that the Voyager hard drive reader work with 2.5″ drives as well.
This could be your data backup solution not just for travel, but for main backup systems in limited size workspaces.

We have already determined the slot in our Airport International travel bag, though.

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