Attack of the monster 4 TB hard drives

The Register reports that Seagate is offering a massive 4 TB hard drive for $250.

Seagate brags that the drive can store 2,000 high-definition movies, thus answering the question of what you need such a large drive for.

The unanswered question is who has time to watch 2,000 high-definition movies. At a rate of one per night, it would take me 5.5 years to get through that library, which is likely to be longer than the drive would last. Maybe some people watch more movies than that. But it still seems like an awful lot.

But beyond that, I’d be afraid to just use the drive as, you know, a drive. That’s an awful lot of data, and how do you back it up? Perhaps a second 4 TB drive. But if I actually had 4 TB of data at home–I don’t, not by a long shot–I’d be more comfortable storing it on a RAID array instead, to get some redundancy going. Because disks fail. And that warranty just replaces the hardware, it doesn’t get your data back. Combine five 1 TB drives with RAID5, and when–not if, when–you lose a drive, you can just swap the failed drive and you haven’t lost anything.

The best use I can think of for a 4 TB drive is the backup device for a large RAID array. In fact, it wasn’t even a week ago that one of my old classmates asked what you back a 4 TB RAID array up to. It took me six days, Neil, but I think I have your answer.

5 thoughts on “Attack of the monster 4 TB hard drives

  • September 8, 2011 at 7:51 am
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    Actually, I think Seagate is offering the drive only as an external drive at the moment… which means they are indeed selling it as a backup solution.

  • September 8, 2011 at 10:25 am
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    Terabyte, from the Latin Terrore; to strike fear. It’s to describe the feeling of terror when the drive dies and takes all 2000 movies with it.

  • September 8, 2011 at 12:12 pm
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    A bit of caution on the GoFlex_Home series as sold with the network adapter: initial access to the drive is only via connection to a router running DHCP; static IP access is not available out-of-the-box (the unit expects to reach a DHCP server upon boot/reboot).

    Hacking the underlying OS and changing the script that assigns the IP address is reported to work; attempts to use Seagate’s newer “Troubleshooter” to reach the drive come up null set (consistent user forum reports and my experience last night with the 2TB package).

    Local prices at Costco made the 2TB package a possible option as a backup-to-the-backup, but what I came away with last night was a, “Really? You demand DHCP on a home network? Who designed this?”” feeling…

    • September 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm
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      Dan, that’s excellent info to know and I appreciate you sharing it.

  • September 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm
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    At work our 8TB RAID array (6.9 TB of usable space) is backed up to another 8TB RAID array. When we bought the two servers four years ago, it seemed the best way to back up the primary raid array was with another. Now, it’s getting to the point where we could buy a couple of these four TB monsters and get rid of the back up server. Though personally I don’t know if I could fully trust a couple of these four TB drives to do the job versus a more secure and fault tolerant RAID array. Though using these four TB drives for a secondary back up option might not be a bad use of their space.

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