Skip to main content

Bye Bye Tape, Hello 5.3 TB eSATA

Initial Observations

The first thing I noticed about the chassis was the single power supply. Imagine if the power supply goes out in the middle of the night and the files you rely on are supposed to be backed up while you're in bed. If nobody catches the dead power supply over the next couple of days, you you'll lose vital backups. Imagine all the changes you made are gone and you can't recover the file you accidentally deleted. If you're managing the backups of any business or office, you need to know that your backup will run and the system that generates these backup is reliable. Power redundancy is pretty important, even for a small to medium operation.

One of my preferences is having power redundancy. One power supply is not enough.

Next, just as soon as I unpacked the disk drive cartridges, I noticed there was a lock on each drive cartridge. The small round locks on the drives are actually there to prevent accidental removal of disk drives. This can be done rather safely, assuming nothing is being written to the disk at the time of removal. In order to power down the individual disk drive, you need to pop open the smallest latch on the drive bezel, insert the key and turn the lock to the "off" position. This way, the drive shuts down completely before you physically remove the cartridge from the chassis. The chassis package comes with 3 sets of the same two keys. I was able to use one key on all seven drives as I removed and re-inserted them throughout the evaluation. Using a physical lock is a novel ideal, especially to prevent "accidental removal". I just wonder if this kind of "keyed" device is really practical. Keys can get lost, either over night, after a move to a new building or just over time. In this case, you can get multiple keys but still I would rather see a non-mechanical solution.

The keyed locks on the cartridges are designed to prevent accidental removal, but are they a practical feature?

Once I powered on the chassis and inserted the first of the disk drive cartridges, I noticed a bright blue backlit digital display light up on the bezel. After I fully populated the eSATA chassis with the rest of the drives, I realized the bright blue digital display can be a little hard on the eyes. The digital characters populating the display's real estate are just a darker variation of the background color. The blue backlight displays are definitely bright enough to be seen across the room indicating that the drives are powered on; however the blue letters against the blue background are not very readable if you're standing more than two feet away. Also, you have be look at the cartridge head-on, otherwise you'll get the same effect that you get with those annoying privacy screens your manager has on his monitor.

The blue backlit displays on the drive cartridges are only visibly effective when you stand right in front of the chassis.>