G-RAID with Removable Drives: A Spacious Solution

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Why do we constantly stress that storage is always a premium? Is it that, without a proper storage solution, you can hamper your productivity because of your inability to work with large files? Maybe. Is it because without enough storage, you may find that you can lose valuable data that can never be recreated? Possibly. Is it because without a solid storage plan, you may find yourself stuck at a critical moment needing space and not having any, with no way to add storage quickly?

The answer is actually yes to all three. A complete storage solution will help you attack your data archiving needs on three fronts:

  1. Provide plenty of high-performance storage now, with room for future needs.
  2. Protect and back up your valuable data.
  3. Store and retrieve files remotely.

G-Technology, a longtime friend of those with storage needs, has many solutions for your storage problems, from small, portable drives to whole-hog solutions like the G-RAID with removable drives.

The G-RAID with removable drives seems like a simple and elegant solution for those with large storage needs. At its core, it’s an enclosure that ships with two removable 7200 rpm enterprise-class drives that are configurable in RAID 0, RAID 1, or JBOD modes. The units come in 4, 8, and 12TB capacities, each capacity split evenly among the drives (for instance, the 4TB version is two 2TB drives, while the 12TB version is two 6TB drives). Spare drives are sold by G-Technology―you cannot just swap any hard drive into the enclosure―and the RAID controller is built into the box. Because the RAID controller is included in the enclosure, you can pick up the box and take it from work site to work site without having to reconfigure the RAID settings each time.

The G-RAID features eSATA, USB 3.0, and FireWire 800 (dual ports) connectivity for connection to new and legacy machines. It lists data transfer rates at 330 MB/s, which is ideal for content creation or post-production editing software. Speedy transfer and large storage make any video editing much easier, and the unit comes with all necessary cables.

Although configured out of the box for plug-and-play on the Mac OS (10.7 or higher), it can easily be reformatted for Windows 7, Windows 8, and the new Windows 8.1 operating systems. The drives are preconfigured with factory settings in high-performance RAID 0 for Mac as HFS+ with Journaling, and the unit is fully compatible with Apple’s Time Machine backup feature.

"RAID 1 is like stuffing a mattress with cash, with the benefit of knowing the bank is going to give you all that cash back if you lose the mattress in a fire."

Here’s a quick primer about why you would want a specific RAID setting and how to go about achieving higher transfer speeds. RAID 0 (the preconfigured RAID setting on these G-RAID drives) is also known as “striping.” Striping lets you combine the speed of each drive into an aggregate speed. In the case of the G-RAID, each drive harbors a transfer speed of about 165 MB/s. But in RAID 0 mode, you get the combined data transfer speed―330 MB/s. If you’re working with large, uncompressed video files, the speed will be a welcome boost. You can also use the drives as scratch drives. Scratch drives are cache drives that certain programs (like Adobe Premiere Pro and Photoshop) use to store temporary data when you run out of RAM. Instead of allocating your internal hard drive as a scratch drive, use one of the external drives in the G-RAID and you’ll see a significant bump in access speed. Again, working with RAW and uncompressed files (even lossless audio files, which are much larger than .MP3s) makes the extra space worthy of the price. But be wary―the caveat to RAID 0 is that if the drive fails, you lose all the data; everything. Every drive in the RAID 0 configuration will be totally unusable, which is why some people opt for RAID 1.

RAID 1 mirrors data, creating a redundancy that saves your data on the secondary disk. So, imagine you’re working for hours on a video clip and the program crashes, lights go out, total power failure, hurricane, monsoon, whatever. RAID 1 mirrors the data from one drive to the next; essentially creating a backup every time you write data to the drive. This allows you to access the second drive after the primary drive fails, to retrieve your data. RAID 1 is like stuffing a mattress with cash, with the benefit of knowing the bank is going to give you all that cash back if you lose the mattress in a fire. 

The other option is JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks), which allows you to access the whole G-RAID as one unit (let’s say, if you need a 12TB drive) or as separate drives (you want two 6TB drives). JBOD gives you flexibility in your storage. It doesn’t offer any extra speed, nor does it allow for data mirroring―it’s mainly used to partition disks for individual storage purposes. If you have several G-RAID enclosures hooked up, you probably want to keep one as a simple storage drive. That’s where JBOD comes in. You can also format partitions (think of them as internal rooms on your hard drive where data can be stored), and use each partition for a different purpose. I partition all my external hard drives with a boot partition in case of failure, and partition another segment to use as backup for my data. This doesn’t prevent data loss in the event of drive failure, but it helps me organize my storage.

Other aesthetic amenities to the drive that users will appreciate are the cool aluminum look that is not only a trademark of G-Technology products, but also complements the Mac environment nicely, and a quiet rear Smart fan. The fan powers up during use, but stays whisper quiet when idle.

There are also a number of LED indicators that show system health and warn you of imminent danger. A system initialization will flash when there’s a drive failure, while each drive in RAID 1 mode will also alert you individually if a drive is about to pop. You can even connect and disconnect the G-RAID while your computer is running, to help you remove or repair failing drives immediately.

G-RAID with removable drives offers many different ways to store, access, and back up your data. The impressive 330MB/s transfer speed and flexible connectivity options make it an appealing starting point for long-term, large-structure storage. It’s a solution that will meet the needs of photographers, videographers, and content archivists and help them to be more productive while securing their precious work.

G-Technology 4TB G-RAID Storage System with Removable Drives G-Technology 8TB G-RAID Storage System with Removable Drives G-Technology 12TB G-RAID Storage System with Removable Drives
CAPACITY
4 TB 8 TB 12 TB
INTERFACE
1 x USB 3.0 (compatible with USB 2.0)
1 x eSATA 
2 x FireWire 800
1 x USB 3.0 (compatible with USB 2.0)
1 x eSATA 
2 x FireWire 800
1 x USB 3.0 (compatible with USB 2.0)
1 x eSATA 
2 x FireWire 800
RAID CONFIGURATION
Preconfigured in RAID 0 (Configurable in RAID 1, and JBOD) Preconfigured in RAID 0 (Configurable in RAID 1, and JBOD) Preconfigured in RAID 0 (Configurable in RAID 1, and JBOD)
DRIVE SPEED
7200 RPM 7200 RPM 7200 RPM
TRANSFER RATE
300 MB/s (In RAID 0) 300 MB/s (In RAID 0) 330 MB/s (In RAID 0)
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Mac OS 10.7 and higher 
Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 (reformat required)
Mac OS 10.7 and higher 
Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 (reformat required)
Mac OS 10.7 and higher 
Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 (reformat required) 
MOUNTING
Desktop Desktop Desktop
DIMENSIONS
5.1 x 3.6 x 9.9" / 13 x 9.1 x 25.3 cm 5.1 x 3.6 x 9.9" / 13 x 9.1 x 25.3 cm 5.1 x 3.6 x 9.9" / 13 x 9.1 x 25.3 cm
WEIGHT
6.3 lb / 2.9 kg 6.3 lb / 2.9 kg 6.3 lb / 2.9 kg
INCLUDES
USB 3.0 Cable (Compatible with USB 2.0)
eSATA Cable
FireWire 800 Cable
Power Cable
AC Power Adapter
Limited 3-Year Warranty
USB 3.0 Cable (Compatible with USB 2.0)
eSATA Cable
FireWire 800 Cable
Power Cable
AC Power Adapter
Limited 3-Year Warranty
USB 3.0 Cable (Compatible with USB 2.0)
eSATA Cable
FireWire 800 Cable
Power Cable
AC Power Adapter
Limited 3-Year Warranty