A Response to COVID-19 From OWC Founder and CEO, Larry O'Connor

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions - Knowledge Base

I am a photographer doing stills and video. What kind of storage do you recommend to start with?

To begin with, the most suitable solution would actually be to buy two dual-bay RAID enclosures or one dual-bay and one single bay hard drive enclosure rather than going for something big like a 4-bay enclosure. Let me explain why.

It's always a good idea to keep at least one copy of your data in a secondary location, possibly even off-site. You could use the dual-bay enclosure to do your daily and weekly backups. Use RAID 0 if storage capacity and performance is more important or use RAID 1 if data safety and redundancy is more important. Then, once or twice a week, do a backup to the single bay enclosure or the second dual-bay enclosure that you usually keep off-site.

For the off-site device, a single bay enclosure will be cheaper. However, if you buy a second dual-bay enclosure and it's the same brand/model like the first one, it can act as a hardware backup as well in case your first device ever fails. This means that you can easily swap the drives from one enclosure to the other (as long as the RAID mode is set to the correct mode) and immediately access your data again.

If you only have one copy of your files on the storage drive, keep following in mind if the hardware ever fails. If you are using a device that offers Non-RAID mode, all drives can be used independently of each other. Not all models have this RAID mode but if they do, you can easily remove a single drive, install it in another enclosure and access your data. If you are using RAID 1, you should be able to remove one of the drives and also access the data in another enclosure. If you are using JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 3 or RAID 5, the drives have to be installed in the original enclosure (or a second enclosure which uses the same chipset/firmware/setting) to access the data.

An additional thought regarding new hard drives and buying for the future. If you choose an enclosure that supports drives up to 3TB, it should also work in the future with larger drives. However, if the specifications says that it supports only drives up to 2TB and does not say anything about large volumes over 2TB, it will not be compatible with 3TB drives or larger ones. If in doubt, ask your vendor or us if you let us know which model you are interested in.