business photography

business photography

Workflow Hardware Upgrade: Wiebetech Solution

As technology changes, so do our needs as a photographer. This December, we've upgraded our boxes we use to store our images.

Here's our system:

When considering other solutions, we particularly do not like the Drobo boxes for several reasons, and want to caution you strongly before considering them. Problems abound, as reported all over the internet, however, I am sure that some people will sing their praises. Below are several problems – each in-and-of themselves would be a reason not to use the boxes. Together, they make a compelling argument to avoid Drobo. If you're not going to choose the system we're reviewing and reporting on today, then consider other solutions.

Here are some of the Drobo issues:

  1. Proprietary file format. Thus, if you need to pull a drive from their box, you cannot plug it into a Mac or PC and browse/access the files. Further, unless you re-insert the drives with the exact same configuration as when the files were written, you have no access to the files.
  2. The drives/boxes tend to be far too slow for drive-access intensive needs like opening, saving, and other file-releated needs.
  3. A mirrored drive array is not a backup, just reliability protection. You'd need to run two Drobos to do have two backups, as whatever you do (or is erroneously affected on one drive) is immediately replicated on the second. So, you're protected from “drive failure”, but not an accidental deletion, or file corruption which then corrupts the file on the mirrored drive. A backup would not only protect you from drive failure, but also those accidental deletions, accidental “save” when you meant “save as” file changes, and other unwanted file changes. Further, the Drobo isn't a true “mirror”, it's an odd-flavor RAID 5.
  4. An electrical fault that fries one drive likely will fry the other. You do truly need a dual drive system, with redundancy offline (and preferably off-site) in order to be properly protected. When we have both drives mounted (as explained in the video) it is for manual mirroring, then the backup copy of the primary drive goes offline (and, in a perfect world, off-site.) We try very hard to keep drives seperate to protect them, and thus, our images.
  5. The Drobo does not check the integrity of the data. This is a problem from a data-integrity standpoint.

Upgrading and evolving your workflow – and the hardware solutions that you use to care for your images – is a critical component of your business.

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