My New Pride & Joy

Two weekends ago I did something I didn’t think possible. I paid off all of my credit cards. I paid off all of my student loans, years early even! And after all of that I still had money burning a hole in my pocket. How much money? Well… let’s just say enough for me to pay cash for a few new toys.

First I picked up the big guy. A brand new Nikon D810. For the last six years I’ve been shooting with a Nikon D700 and I’ve loved it. This camera changed the way I shot photos and put me ahead of almost everyone in my photography courses with the incredibly powerful sensor and ability to capture such dynamic range. It is what allowed me to make the images I made with the awesome subtly that became my style.  Continue reading

A Trip to Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands

A few months ago, Ryan and were making a trip up north to our family house in wine country. Since we had a some extra time, we decided to make a quick stop at the Marin Headlands, just north of San Francisco. There you find the 950 peak known as Hawk Hill.

This was my first trip to the Headlands and I was immediate infatuated with the abandoned military installations and the architecture and engineering that was required to create this fortress. The juxtaposition of these massive concrete pads which once held artillery and radars against ages-old trees and fog-swept hills. Continue reading

Drobo, Here You Come

I bit the bullet today.  Not buy choice but by necessity.

For the last several months I’ve wanted a Drobo.  When the Drobo 2 came out with FireWire 800, my want became a crave.  When my 1tb iTunes drive started clicking, my crave became a “oh shit I need to get this fixed” and when my laptop got to 2gb free and my desktop 50gb free and my TimeMachine ran out of space my “oh shit” became, “BUY NOW!”

So, with my tax refund, I bought a Drobo. Not the most exciting thing I could have purchased, and probably sealed the deal of me NOT going to San Francisco Pride, but I had to get it.  Otherwise, I’m basically screwed.  Either my hard drives are going to fully fail and I’ll lose everything (even my MacBook Pro drive is starting to click) or I’d just have to reformat and love everything anyways.

So what all did I get?

First, the Drobo.

Drobo 2

Then, four Western Digital 1.5tb hard drives

Western Digital 1.5tb, 32mb Cache, 7200 Green Drive

All that adds up to 6tb of space. Wow, glorious space!  It’s super exciting to not have to worry about running out of hard drive space, at least for a while.  Plus, when I do?  I’ll just have to fork over whatever it costs for a 2, 3 or 4tb drive as those come out.  The Drobo can store up to 4, 4tb drives so I have room for 10tb more.

Now I’ve just gotta cross my fingers that it comes in before my drives totally crash. While I was typing this post, my 1tb WesterDigital Studio Edition drive crashed on me… Scary stuff.

So, Friday, my Drobo comes in and so do the three of the four 1.5tb drives.  I’ve gotta wait for the fourth drive to come in from NewEgg.com as Amazon.com limits you to 3 of these particular drives per month.

UPDATE:

@RadZack asked how the data redundancy worked and how much space would be left over after the redundancy.  I honestly don’t understand how it works except that it doesn’t backup entire disks but 1/3 of each drive is saved on another drive so one drive can fail while the other two drives rebuild from their copies of particular portions of it.

Drobolator Capacity Calculator

Drobolator Capacity Calculator

So you end up with much more space than a normal RAID which simply mirrors your data, it, my 6tb drive would have 2.75tb of useable space while the Drobo has 4.1tb of usable space, an increase of 1.35tb.  That’s pretty awesome.

UPDATE 2:

Clive suggested that despite this being an interesting solution to storage problems, it was expensive.  While yes, it isn’t cheap, here’s how it breaks down.  You’ll find that it’s really the best possible option around, especially at its price point.

@Clive Not really expensive. I haven’t found an option that’s even close to the price for 6tb of storage, expandable to 16tb with or without having to use all exactly the same drives like you can with a Drobo.

  • LaCie‘s 6tb is $1,400
  • Netgear 6tb is $3,600
  • Linksys 4tb is $700 ( with <2tb usable vs 4.1)
  • Fanthom 6tb is $1,600
  • EZquest 6tb is $1,500
  • G-Technology 6tb is $2,100
  • Homemade 6tb is $795

And remember, none of these have the same amount of storage space available as the Drobo or allow hot swapping of drives that are of different makes, sizes and speeds. My total was $450 + $139×4 = $1,006. That’s less than any other 6tb RAID array I’ve seen. If you build your own, yes you do save money, in fact you can save up to ~$200. But, you don’t get the feature set of a Drobo or the ability and flexibility in growth.  Much less Drobo’s warranty and support, drive specific applications etc etc.