Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Equipment For Professional Photographers: Portable RAID

Hot swappable, plug and play, RAID drive enclsoure from GVS.
My latest equipment acquisition (hey...I still remember how to take product pictures!), a two bay RAID drive enclosure with 2 three-terabyte drives.

Equipment For Photo Pros
I get a lot of emails asking me what equipment I use. Like many professional photographers I tend to take equipment for granted focusing more on ideas and execution. But equipment does play a vital role in my work, and since apparently many aspiring photo pros are interested in it, I will begin to share some of the equipment that I use. Frankly, I lot of what I rely on is pretty old…almost embarrassing!

Safe, Fast, Portable Storage
I did, however, just pick-up this little gem of a RAID to add to my online storage capabilities. Because I tend to never throw any files away, and am always compositing things together that require resorting to archives, my needs for convenient and quick access to online files is never ending. I need a lot of safe, fast and portable storage.

GVS And Nomadic Dual Bays
A few days ago I was discussing this need for online storage with the company that has been my primary supplier of computer equipment for the last twenty years, Grande Vitesse Systems. GVS suggested I pick-up one of their Nomadic Dual Bays. It consists of a small enclosure that houses two drives…in this case two three-terabyte drives. There is a switch on the back that you can simply set for RAID level 1, RAID level 0, or JBOD (confession…I have no idea what JBOD means…).  I have the switch set to RAID level 1 which is mirroring…everything is written to both drives at once, so if one drive fails I do not lose any information. There is also a dial for adjusting fan speed (I leave my fan setting on full and it is still plenty quiet), two firewire 800 ports, a USB 2.0 port and a eSATA port.

Small, Elegant, Plug and Play
The drive is small, elegant in appearance, and plug and play with hot swappable drives. I am a big believer in external storage. I can simply unplug this baby and take with me for use elsewhere or for offsite storage. If something goes wrong with one computer, in seconds I can have my work available on another one. 

Here are the technical specs:

Multiple Host Interface Support (Optional host module) Firewire 1394A/B 400/800 Mbps and USB 2.0, 480 Mbps eSATA Disk Interface Support 2 x SATAI, SATA-II with Hot-plug function RAID Function Support Hardware RAID level 0, 1, JBOD and Single by dip switch setting Hot swappable disk Automatic on-line rebuilding Subsystem Function Support Driverless Plug & Play for 1394/USB combo interface Multiple operating system support

Apple Mac OS X


Red Hat , Debian, and Ubuntu

Sun Solaris

NetBSD, OpenBSD, and FreeBSD,
GUI support for system status monitoring Support up to 4TB RAID capacity On board 2MB buffer cache size LCD panel for operation status display (Opt) Disk status LED indicators Fan failed LED indicator Power failed LED indicator Event notification through audible alarm or e-mail Alarm mute switch One RS-232 port for terminal or GUI connection Removable cooling fan module Mechanical, Environmental and Safety Specifications Dimension: 7.87" 200mm (width) x 5.87" 149mm (height) x 2.76" 70mm (depth) Weight: 2.87Ib 1.3 Kg without disks Host Connectors (Optional):

Two 9-pin 1394 B with power connectors and one USB2.0 connector

One eSATA connector
Interface Connectors:

One SATA to eSATAx2 connector
Operation temperature: 0 ~ 50 oC Operation humidity: 5 ~ 95 %, non-condensing Storage humidity: 5 ~ 75 %, non-condensing 200W power supply

100~250V AC input

Output +5V/10 A, +12V/10 A, +3.3V/5A

PFC support
FCC, CE, UL approval Setting Adjust Fan Speed (high & low) Options   Sensor alarm for environment temperature to low or high Warranty
One Year

The Importance of Relationships With Vendors
I am guilty of not seeking out the cheapest solutions. What I am looking for is value. For me that means supporting vendors who bring added value to my business. GVS, for example, has provided me with smart solutions, great service, and beyond the ordinary help when I have needed it. They are, in effect, part of my team. But I digress. Let me sum it up by saying that I love this small, attractive, quiet, safe and convenient storage solution.

A Final Word About GVS
GVS is doing some truly innovative work with massive storage systems, especially for video applications that require rugged on-site location storage and systems for slo-mo payback during recording.  They were essential in helping me with my slow motion video work.

For more information on the Nomadic Dual and GVS: <http://www.gvs9000.com/>


Helder Almeida said...

I like this product, but i also keep every photo i made, i ask 4TB is enough for you?

I want to ask something about hardware :) ... when i try to compose a image with more than 30 layers on my PC (yes i still have a PC), with a file size over 1GB it's a very pain process.
My question: in your opinion what Mac specification gives you a good performance for run photoshop with some of your's 100 layers image.

Thanks ;-)

John Lund said...


This particular RAID is only 3 Terabytes. But I currently have eight terrabytes of online storage...and there is never enough!

I currently use several macs, the fastest of which is a 2 x 2.66 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon with 20 gigabytes of RAM. Not the fastest out there by any means...but adequate for me.