OK ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to get real. I’m opening up about a delicate issue I know a lot of female photographers are experiencing as well. Yes … I’m talking about “upgrading my data assets.”

Openhearted confession

I’ll put my cards on the table: I’ve been rocking my own personal set up for several years and it really did make me happy back in the day. Recently, I had to face reality … this “situation” doesn’t suit my need anymore. Even my husband is going crazy about it. So here we go …

Here is THE situation:

External Hard drives tangles in a drawer
My 10-external-hard-drives-piled-up-in-a-bunch-of-tangled-cables. Also known as, “The pancake drawer of shame.”

I’ve always used to back up my data with multiple external hard drives. I would buy a pair, one to work on it and the second to use as a backup. Then, when both would fill up, I’d go to the store and buy another pair and so on. Three years and 12TB later, 10 drives are piled up and collecting dust in my drawer. I’m at a point where I simply can’t keep on going like that. Too small and too flat … I desperately need something bigger to hold tight my much higher volume together.

What was wrong in the first place?

As I was doing the research for my storage upgrade, I realized I’ve been living dangerously for the past three years without even knowing it. I didn’t know that buying cheaper material for storing my data also put it at great risk …

As I was collecting more and more hard drives, a bunch of them storing my older work were not being unused on a regular basis. With little research, I learned that the longevity of the data stored could be compromised by three factors: Magnetic field breakdown, environmental conditions and mechanical failure. That meant I could plug a drive that has been sitting on my shelf for multiple months/years and it might not read my data.

Talking about data. Needless to say, the more drives I got, the more difficult it became to locate older photos. I could plug and unplug up to three different hard drives just to find the folder I was looking for. I often had a hard time finding what I needed. This wasn’t anything close to what I’d call efficiency incarnate.


I was carrying my hard drives on my backpack everywhere. The thing is that the advantage of using these portable devices was also their weakness. I could shock, drop or plain simply lose them at any time.

Also, by plugging and unplugging the USB cable from the hard drives to my computer multiple times a day, I was fragilizing the delicate pins and the port from the device. If that port were to break, I wouldn’t have any way to get my data off of the hard drive.

In fact, it has happened to me. Twice. Not only have these situations delayed my work, they have also been quite stressful as I didn’t know if a — big bucks high-priced — technician could have fixed it. I might as well say, it’s been a pain in the a$$ and I swore it would never happen again. When you’re looking to invest in something as important as storing your data, it’s no time to play with fire and go the cheap way. Your health (financial and psychological) depends on it.

Two Drobos
Could these be the solution to my problem?

Looking for a perfect fit to my womanly needs

I had to find a solution that would get rid of all my frustrations. Photofocus director of content Kevin Ames heard my concerns and talked to our partner, Drobo. The Drobo team covered my back (my front?? …) and sent me a pair of Drobo (a 5D3 and a 5C) to review as part of their newest campaign.

My business is growing and so are my storage needs. With over 12TB of precious data, folders and pictures, I have to make sure my hard work is safe and that I can access all of it without going crazy. Can a pair of Drobo fulfill my legitimate, increasing volume needs?

In my second article, I’ll share how my life changes as I incorporate these new assets into my daily routine. Will it make me happier and more confident? Will it magically solve all my problems? Stay tuned for more on my quest for the perfect fit.