Thank you to Drobo for sponsoring iPhone J.D. this month. Drobo appears to your computer to be a single external hard drive, but it actually has multiple hard drives inside of it and your data is always stored on multiple drives. Thus, when one of the hard drives fail — and remember, all hard drives will fail at some point — your data is still safely stored on the remaining drives. Just eject the dead drive and replace it with another drive, and you are back in business. You can also swap out the hard drives to larger versions, making it easy to expand your storage.
I've written about the Drobo several times before. Last December, I described the Drobo 4 Bay, which is a great basic system and attaches directly to your computer. Last month, I described the Drobo 5N, which has five drive bays and attaches to your network, and which also supports Drobo apps to support lots of different functions such as remote access to files. (See also my posts from March and June of this year.)
Once thing new that I've done with the Drobo 5N in the last few weeks is use its large (and expandable) space to create disk images of other hard drives. Using SuperDuper! — which costs $28, and is one of the very best pieces of software for backing up drives on a Mac — I created a disk image on the Drobo 5N. Every night when I'm asleep, SuperDuper! launches and sees what is new on my home computer (an iMac) and updates the disk image on the Drobo 5N accordingly. If the hard drive on my iMac ever fails, I'll have an up-to-date backup right there on my desk. (I also use BackBlaze so I also have an online backup, so even if my house burns down and I lose all of my local media, I still haven't lost any files.)
I previously had been using SuperDuper! to backup my Mac to 2 TB external hard drive, but I now have more than 2 TB on my internal hard drive so that wasn't going to work anymore. Plus I didn't keep that external drive connected all of the time, which means that sometimes I would go a week or two before I remembered to create a backup. But I always have access to the Drobo 5N on my local network, so my computer remembers to backup every single night without me having to remember.
There are countless ways to use external storage. If you are considering getting an external hard drive for your Mac or PC for any reason, you should consider getting a Drobo instead so that you have external storage that is both safe and expandable.
Click here to get Drobo from the online Drobo Store, and use discount code Jeff100 to save $100.