Magazine Article


Storage & Archive Options Storage


For a number of years, metal file cabinets filled with slides and negatives have slowly been replaced with lots of ones and zeros, all held in place on some type of storage media. This media has included floppy disks, CDs and DVDs, magnetic tape, hard drives, and others. All options are capable of holding different amounts of data, from under a megabyte to 500+ GB, and all have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Every user with a need to store data is able to do that at a lower cost than ever. In this feature, we look at a few interesting approaches for removable short or long-term storage that have been made with the working photographer, illustrator, video producer or other graphic arts professional in mind. Regardless of what systems or systems are selected, remember to keep a duplicate set of any important data off-site.

GraniteDigital FireVue Drive 400

Granite Digital offers a wide range of storage options, and most of their systems have been created for use with popular 5.25" IDE drives, which are widely used as internal hard drives in Mac and PC computer systems, and as external case-mounted USB and FireWire drives.

Their FireVue FireWire 400 / IDE SMART LCD Hot-Swap System is essentially an external FireWire drive, with up to 40 MB/sec data transfer speed. What sets them apart is a unique technology that allows IDE drives to be inserted or removed while the computer is running and the power is on, operating very much like a floppy drive, but much faster and a standard lock for security. The FireVue can have many uses in a studio, whether for on or off-site archiving, or by using the system to shuttle data to clients. With two external systems, data can be written, inserted into another FireVue and then shipped to a client.

Another feature is the exclusive firmware and LCD display that monitors the condition of the drive, and is attached to the hard drive before inserting into the case. It displays data write speed and indicates when the drive has accurately read data, or if any errors were detected. The SMART LCD Hot Swap Case Kit can be purchased with or without hard drives (currently up to 250GB in size) and comes with a SMART LCD tray to hold one hard drive, as well a 3 ft 6-pin FireWire cable. No software is needed for Macintosh or Windows systems. Internal drive options are also available with the SMART LCD system, and an external FireVue 800, with data transfer up to 80 MB/sec can be purchased, but without the SMART LCD readout.

Iomega REV Drive

The REV drive system combines an internal or external drive with compact removable media cassettes measuring about 3" square. The media holds a unique hard drive with up to 35GB of uncompressed capacity, and up to 90GB uncompressed, and shows up on a desktop when mounted, just like a hard drive.

This system offers many benefits to producers of multimedia, digital photography, design, or any other industry with a need for fast access to data, or for long-term archiving. Both the drive and media also have a special mechanism for keeping out dirt and dust.

Apart from being very portable, the REV drive offers high-performance file storage with up to 25 MB/second transfer speed and 13ms access time, which is about 5-10x faster than most tape backups. The system also includes Iomega Automatic Backup Pro software for Macintosh OSX and Windows Operating Systems. The drives also comes delivered with Norton Ghost for REV Drive Software for Windows and Dantz Retrospect for Mac, thus adding to the backup and archive options.

Drive options include an internal ATAPI interface, external FireWire or external USB 2.0. External configurations come with either a 6-pin FireWire cable or USB data cable.

Sony ProDATA drive

The ProDATA drives and media are designed specifically for short and long-term storage applications, such as e-mail archiving, multimedia projects, graphic design and audio/video editing and authoring. Disks are the same physical size of a traditional DVD, but housed in a protective case, and are capable of holding up to 23GB of uncompressed data. ProDATA drives use a blue-violet laser to achieve a shorter wavelength (405nm) than possible with the traditional red lasers (650nm) used in CD, DVD and MO drives.

With regard to speed, the drives and media feature sustained 11MB/second read and 9MB/second write transfer speeds, offering a major performance improvement over other optical storage formats. Sony and others offer write-once and rewritable ProDATA media, and based on testing, media has an estimated lifespan of over 50 years and can be rewritten more than 10,000 times.

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