Dell's Little Black Box

Awhile back, Dell sent me an RD1000. It's an attractive little external removable drive, fed by USB2, with 40, 80 and 120GB cartridges. The cartridges are really just SATA hard drives, but they're cheap and easy to handle. I've put my RD1000 through an enormous number of read/write cycles without a hitch, and am currently running it on my FC6 workstation as a local backup drive. An rsync cronjob runs nightly to

Awhile back, Dell sent me an RD1000. It's an attractive little external removable drive, fed by USB2, with 40, 80 and 120GB cartridges. The cartridges are really just SATA hard drives, but they're cheap and easy to handle. I've put my RD1000 through an enormous number of read/write cycles without a hitch, and am currently running it on my FC6 workstation as a local backup drive. An rsync cronjob runs nightly to sync the most vital 110GB of my 180GB homedir to one of the 120GB cartridges. I've found that it's actually quite speedy relative to price, coming in at around 28MB/s writes, 38MB/s reads with an ext3 filesystem -- not too shabby. For remote site system backups in a small office, this thing is perfect. The cartridges are sturdy enough to be shipped repeatedly, easily handled by non-savvy folks, and cheap. I believe that the disks are just straight SATA drives, so in the event that the chassis has a problem, it may be possible to bring up a cartridge on a standard SATA controller -- I haven't tried this yet, though it's on The List.

I was actually thinking of the RD1000 following a phone call from Oliver Rist, who spent the first 5 minutes on the phone trying to unmount a failed IOMega external drive that had just gone south, taking 90GB of apparently important data with it. His preferred method for fixing the problem centered around rapid-fire expletives followed by hitting things with a shoe. Of course, this being Oliver, I can only imagine that at least 80GB of the departed data was home video of him practicing to be a cage fighter. The world mourns the loss.

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