Yes… that’s a pretty bold headline… but I am confident in my strategies to keep my images safe. The solution covered in this article is a part of my backup strategy. Be sure to see my article about my 3-2-1 backup plan that ensures my photos are kept on multiple types of media in multiple locations. While I talk about specific products in this story, I also talk about best practices like RAID and drive verification. No matter which storage you use, be sure to read the whole article.

I Tested a Lot of Options

I’m fortunate to have this privilege and receive offers on a regular basis. Just because I receive offers doesn’t mean I accept the product. I research the product and determine if it will find a place in my workflow. Then I ask myself, if I become dependent on this product, can I afford to replace it if something happens to it. If I like it would I buy more and would I tell friends to use it.

Several years ago a good friend of mine, Mark Fuccio introduced me to a member of the Drobo team, Jim Sherhart. Jim asked me to try out a Drobo unit and give him honest feedback from a photographer’s point of view. “Try it, Like it, Keep it” is a perk for being a writer and an educator.


My First Experiences with Drobo

I’ve been using Drobo storage since some of their first units. The connection options have come a long way, but I was skeptical at first. In the case of Drobo, there were several things to consider:

  • My main concern was can I trust my photos stored on the new unit.
  • My next concern was could I afford topurchase new hard drives since they were not included with the Drobo.
    • At the time, hard drives had recently increased in price.
    • The unit stayed on my shelf for a month before I purchased three 2TB drives, which were the largest at the time.
  • With the hard drives in place, I began my testing.

Why RAID Matters

If you don’t use a Drobo, then be sure to use some form of RAID (a Redundant Array of Independent Disks). There are many different RAID and NAS systems on the market. The concept is the same, your files are stored over multiple drives. If one drive fails, it can be replaced without it effecting your data integrity. After the first week of using the Drobo as my main drive for editing, I fell in love with it as my choice for storage. I chose to use eSATA for speed and reliability over USB 2.0. I used my old external drives as my backup drives knowing someday I would get another Drobo unit to take their place. It was a pain backing up to multiple drives so a second Drobo entered my workflow. I created a “3-2-1 backup plan” that ensured my photos were save.

Hard Drive Failure Alert

A little while later, I added a new 2TB drive. It worked great for a few days, then Drobo alerted me there was a hard drive failure. The new drive was the culprit.

Working with Drobo support, I took the drive out and re-seated it. That didn’t work. I took the drive out and connected to my system, formatted the drive and inspected it. Windows said it was healthy, so I installed it back into the Drobo.

Same error. I took the drive out again and ran a complete test on it using Seagate’s diagnostic tool. Sure enough, lots of bad sectors. The tool suggested I call in for a return. A week later I received the new drive and everything worked perfectly.

I was impressed Drobo knew there was a deep seated problem with the drive even though Windows claimed the drive was healthy. An instant loyalty was formed between Drobo and myself.

Are you a Drobo Evangelist?

I consider myself a DATA BACKUP EVANGELIST who prefers to use Drobo as my tool to backup and secure my data. During seminars or talks, I promote Building a Bullet Proof Backup Plan. If you use the Drobo system that’s great. If you have another system you use that’s great too. Either way, you need to have smart storage that grows with you and protects what matters most, your images.

A quick video on how my storage solution was created.

Extra Resources