The personal website of Chris Coyier

Lesson Learned: What Hard Drive NOT to Buy

It looked awesome, it was fast as heck (two hard drives in a RAID + FireWire 800) and it was endorsed by Apple. While it was technically a RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks), the redundant part was misleading. It was a RAID 0 meaning:

…distributes data across several disks in a way that gives improved speed and full capacity, but all data on all disks will be lost if any one disk fails.

Not “save your ass” style RAID 1:

…using two (possibly more) disks that each store the same data so that data is not lost as long as one disk survives. Total capacity of the array is just the capacity of a single disk. The failure of one drive, in the event of a hardware or software malfunction, does not increase the chance of a failure nor decrease the reliability of the remaining drives…

In other words:

What Happened

Yep, it failed on me. Luckily I was able to let it sit for a few days, then run Disk Utility on it so it would at least mount. In the meantime I bought me a Drobo and got that set up. When it mounted, I quickly transferred as much data as I could. I got about 90% of it before it died again.

So now I’m a happy dude with my shiny new Drobo. One of my big concerns was that I wanted to use Time Machine for automatic backups, but Time Machine automatically just fills up a drive to capacity with backups. I wasn’t about to let my gigantic Drobo be completely filled with Time Machine backups. Drobo Apps has a perfect solution.