Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Toolbox: Photo/Video Storage
Huge capacities and fast transfer speeds are making this an exciting year for external hard drives
Wireless capability is now offered by more and more drives. Multiple computers can be set up to archive files to a single drive from anywhere within transmitting distance, and while backups won’t be as fast as a tethered drive, the added convenience of being able to back up files from anywhere in your home or office is a nice advantage, especially for photographers who do a lot of their work on laptops.
Apple’s Time Capsule is an ideal backup solution for the Apple faithful, as it works seamlessly with Time Machine on the operating system. Time Machine works in the background to archive hourly updates, enabling you to go back to different versions of photos or files, as well as recover deleted ones that you may need again. It even can restore your entire operating system in case of a crash. Currently available in either one or two terabytes, Time Capsule also works as an 802.11n base station for fast transmission of files at five times the rate of the previous 802.11g system. Time Capsule will back up data on up to 50 Macs running the Leopard or Snow Leopard operating systems, and the intuitive interface makes file restoration a snap. The drive also works as a wireless hard drive for PCs. List Price: $299 (1 TB); $499 (2 TB).
Network Attached Storage (NAS) drives can be used as a central source for photographers who need to access their files from a variety of different computers or locations. Most feature fast Ethernet connections so that users are able to reach their files quickly from remote sources via the Internet. Some also offer WiFi capabilities, ideal for local networks or offices that may need nearby access without having to tether computers with cables.
Externals in the LinkStation family of drives from Buffalo Technology are available in a variety of configurations for best suiting your needs. Every drive in the line offers network file sharing of photos, music and video from any browser interface via the built-in Web Access feature. The integrated digital photo viewer fits images of any resolution to your screen, and you can flip through multiple photos with your mouse. The included FTP server allows uploading and downloading of photos and files remotely. There’s also an integrated Flash MP3 player for streaming music from your drive. Some of the higher-end models in the line also offer RAID solutions for extra backup protection, and there are even RAID 5 and RAID 10 modes for the maximum in security with the top-of-the-line LinkStation Quad-LS-QL/R5. List Price: Starts at $159 (500 GB LinkStation Live LS-CHL).
Now that video is becoming an integral part of a photographer’s arsenal, capacity needs have changed. Video takes up more space than most other file formats, and while a 2 TB drive may seem like overkill for many photographers, you should plan ahead to give yourself enough space in the long run. These days, capacity is limited only by the amount of money that you’d like to spend, with some commercially available models going all the way up to a massive 24 TB.
Newer Technology offers the Guardian MAXimus as a RAID 1 solution for data redundancy with an enclosure housing two separate drives. The Guardian MAXimus also sports a really fast data transfer of up to 300 MB/s and a quad interface that includes FireWire 400/800, USB 2.0 and eSATA connections. Capacity can be expanded to two 2 TB drives for a total of 4 TB. List Price: Starts at $229 (two 320 GB drives).
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