A couple of days ago, Synology announced its new DS1517+ and DS1817+ storage arrays that caught my attention. I have been using an 8-bay Synology Network Attached Storage (NAS) device for the past few years and as you have seen from my detailed Synology DS1815+ review, it is a very powerful and robust storage solution that allows me to use it not just as a backup device, but also as my primary storage. And when the DS1815+ is paired up with a fireproof and waterproof ioSafe, one can fully automate the backup process and alleviate the associated pains with potentially losing data due to hard drive or storage failure. However, one of the biggest bottlenecks I have been experiencing with any NAS device is network bottlenecks. Even when using link aggregation with several ports, it is impossible to achieve more than 1 Gbit throughput from the same machine, which means that I am always stuck at roughly 125 MB/sec storage speed, even if my storage unit is capable of handling more load (link aggregation can be very beneficial in a multi-user environment). So I have been anxiously waiting for storage companies to start releasing storage arrays that are capable of handling more network throughput, which is why it is exciting to see the new DS1517+ and DS1817+ units.
As a busy photographer who travels quite a bit both within the USA and overseas, I have gone through many types of gear in my camera bag. While some of the gear and accessories are absolute necessities I will not leave my home without, others can be very useful in particular situations or when traveling to other countries. In this article, I would like to go over my top must-have gear for travel and discuss why you might consider including them in your arsenal in the future.
As photographers, we heavily rely on memory cards, because they store images captured by our cameras and we use them to transfer images to our computers / main storage. In some cases, photographers even rely on memory cards to be their secondary or tertiary backups when shooting in the field. The role of memory cards in a photography workflow should not be underestimated – a failed card may not only lead to many problems and frustrations, but can also create bigger problems, especially when dealing with commercial clients who could make the photographer liable for loss of their images. In this article, I will share some tips on how to properly use memory cards and how to take care of them based on my many years of experience, both as a photographer and as an IT professional.
A lot has changed in the world of computer storage in the past decade. Traditional spinning hard disk drives (HDD) have been outperformed by insanely fast and now affordable Solid State Drives (SSD). And now we have insanely faster flash memory technology already available for the consumer market in the shape of Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe), which is manufactured in a number of different interfaces / form factors, including M.2. Many photographers, including myself, experienced a huge boost in performance for post-processing large resolution files when switching from a hard drive to an SSD, but now that the faster flash memory is becoming more common, one might be wondering about the benefits of this new storage compared to both HDD and SSD drives. We have already published a detailed article on building a computer for photography based on the latest generation Intel Skylake architecture, where we recommended to get the new generation motherboards with built-in M.2 slots for flash storage. Having built a similar computer myself for my post-processing and video editing needs, I thought it would be useful to share just how much faster the new storage is compared to both HDD and SSD drives, since I use all three in my large full tower setup.
Choosing the right storage option can be a rather challenging process due to the sheer number of options available on the market today. The good news is, there is a solution for practically every need out there – from a simple low-cost backup solution to high-end and versatile storage arrays for multi-user environments, all depending on one’s needs. The bad news is, even when you know exactly what you need in terms of storage space, you might find yourself lost fairly quickly, particularly if you are not well-versed in storage solutions. The process of selecting the best solution is often frustrating for many photographers for this particular reason. Last year, a good friend of mine, who has been doing both photography and videography professionally for a number of years now, asked me for a suggestion on a solid and robust storage solution that could be used in a workgroup environment, with more than 2 people accessing the same data simultaneously. He told me about the challenges his team was experiencing when needing to share photos and videos in a network environment, often resorting to very slow and ineffective methods that only created frustration. Having been working with storage solutions for many years, my proposal was to use the Synology DS1815+ network attached storage (NAS) in a Gigabit network environment. I have personally used a number of Synology NAS devices in the past both on personal and professional levels and I have always loved the architecture, the simple to use software, the reliability and the performance of Synology storage solutions. Since implementation, my friend and his co-workers have been very happy, praising Synology and recommending the company to others. In this review, I will be taking a closer look at the Synology DS1815+ and talk about my experience using the unit for my work during the past 6 months.
Lexar has been long known for making different type of memory cards for hobbyists, enthusiasts and professionals. Whether you need microSD, SD, CF or the newer memory card technologies like CFast and XQD, Lexar makes lines of products with different quality levels and speeds to satisfy pretty much every still camera or video storage needs. One area you might not be very familiar is Lexar’s excellent line of memory card readers. I have been personally using the Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader for years and I find it to be the best solution when working in the field and need to access or back up my data, as stated in my earlier review. But what about a professional memory card reader for a desktop? Since I have always built my own computers, I have had a strong preference for internal readers that I can install in one of the 5.25″ bays, with the AFT PRO-77U being my top choice. And although I am pretty happy with this reader, it does have a couple of disadvantages. First, it only comes with the most common media formats like CF, SD and microSD. If I wanted to attach the newer XQD or CFast cards, I would have to get a separate reader for each one of those. Second, there is only one reader per card type – if I wanted to transfer from two cards simultaneously (and yes, you can do that in Lightroom), then I am left out without options. Luckily, Lexar makes a superb product to address such particular needs (and more) in the form of the Lexar Professional Workflow readers. Today, I am reviewing the HR1 version, which has a USB 3.0 interface. If you are a Mac user and prefer Thunderbolt, there is an HR2 version of the same reader, which has support for both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0.
Last year I had a chance to test and review the ioSafe 1513+ storage unit, which I found to be an amazing device that not only provides data protection against fire, flood and other potential disasters, but also does it with superb performance, thanks to the Synology DSM architecture. With its relatively steep price, hefty size and heavy weight, the ioSafe 1513+ might not be an ideal choice for everyday backup needs though. For smaller environments with lower storage and performance needs, ioSafe also offers a much more budget-friendly option, the ioSafe 214. I have been using the ioSafe 214 for the past 4 months for my personal and business needs and I decided to review the unit and share it with our readers, based on my overall experience so far.
Being a professional photographer, I constantly deal with a large flow of photographs that need to be imported, processed and backed up as part of the workflow process. Although I do everything I can to keep several copies of my photo library on different computers and storage devices, it is still a lot of data to keep track of continuously. Every time I revisit my backup strategy and make changes to it, whether by altering the process or introducing new software or hardware, the thought of potentially losing all of my images scares me to death. Years of hard work, client files and resulting terabytes of data make me nervous whenever I think about potential failures and disasters. Taking backups off-site is not something one can easily do continuously and transferring gigabytes of freshly photographed RAW material to the cloud is not only impractical, but can also get quite costly. And despite our attempts in keeping multiple copies of data at home or in our business offices, what if a real disaster takes place? Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and fire could strike any time and can be very costly to recover from. What if you had a storage solution that offered fire and water protection, with the capability to withstand temperatures up to 1550°F and protect data from floods up to 10 feet deep, submerged fully in water for 3 days straight? What if this storage solution offered scalability, incredibly fast performance and RAID-level protection utilizing the best of the breed platform? That’s where ioSafe products come in, which are specifically built for protection against such disasters. These unique solutions are powered by the award winning Synology DSM, the platform that I have been a fan of for the past few years.
This is a detailed review of the DroboPro 8-bay storage array by Data Robotics. After I published my Drobo S Review, where I provided plenty of negative comments about its performance, a senior member of the Data Robotics technical support team contacted me, asking if he can help me with the issues. Since I returned the Drobo S unit, I responded that I no longer have it. After a short while, I received a request to check out the DroboPro product instead. The company felt that the DroboPro unit would be a better fit for what I was trying to do and they pointed out that it was also much better in terms of performance. I thought that this was a pretty bold move by Drobo…asking me to test another unit for them after all the heat. At the same time, it was a nice surprise, after all the trouble I had with their technical support earlier. Without further delay, I agreed to take the challenge and test it out. This DroboPro review is based on the experience that I have had with the unit since I received it approximately 3 months ago. I have been actively using it for different purposes and I conducted a number of performance tests in various conditions and compared it against other products such as DroboElite and Netgear ReadyNAS Pro.
This is a review of the new Drobo S second generation 5-bay storage array by Data Robotics. Although the Drobo S is officially known as the 2nd generation unit, my PC recognized it as a 3rd generation Drobo S, so I’m not sure what I should call it. I guess I will simply call it the “new Drobo S” for this review. There are several reasons why I decided to write this review. First of all, Drobo products are gaining more and more popularity among photographers and in many cases are becoming a part of their workflow. While some well-known photographers have already endorsed Drobo as a photo storage solution, I wanted to see exactly how fast and reliable this unit is for storing photographs, compared to internal and much cheaper single/dual disk external storage. Second, I have been working with some of the best DAS/NAS/SAN storage solutions during the last 5 years (from small business to enterprise-level storage solutions like EMC Clariion) and having a pretty good idea on what to expect from a storage array, I wanted to see what Drobo has to offer compared to other similar products like Netgear ReadyNAS Pro. Lastly, I wanted to test and see how well the new Drobo S works with the latest technologies like USB 3.0 and how the new eSATA port performs in comparison. I will do my best to make this review as objective as possible, with plenty of data and screenshots to back up my words.