High Capacity Storage for Your Photo Archive

April 22, 2015

By Greg Scoblete

None of the archival experts we spoke with for our story on preserving your images were all that enthusiastic about the cloud as a long-term refuge for your digital negatives. Solid state storage is promising but still far too pricey-per-byte to be a realistic near-term option. That leaves the venerable hard disk drive.

We canvassed the field for some high-capacity options with interchangeable disks that can serve as a long-term home for your life’s work. 

Buffalo TeraStation 7120r

The TeraStation can be configured to accept up to 12 interchangeable hard drives for up to 96TB of storage. This drive connects to the Internet to provide remote access to its contents and lets you create user and group profiles to control who gets access to what. There are multiple RAID modes to support long-term storage or prioritize speed. When you spring for the TeraStation, you’ll get 11 licenses of the company’s NovaBACKUP software, too. If you buy the 72 or 96TB models, you’ll get helium-filled hard drives, which Buffalo says are more efficient and quieter than traditional enterprise hard drives.

Price: $12,000 (48TB)

G-Technology Studio XL

The highest capacity solution from G-Technology, the Studio XL makes room for a total of eight removable, enterprise-class 7,200 RPM hard drives. Storage tops out at 64TB and you’ll enjoy several RAID modes, including 0, 1, 5, 10, 50, 60 and JBOD (for Just a Bunch of Disks). Like other products in the Studio line, the G-Speed Studio XL can be daisy-chained via dual Thunderbolt 2 ports to boost speed and capacity.

Price: $3,600 – $7,000 

LaCie 8big Thunderbolt 2

With capacities between 12 and 48TB, the 8big offers eight hard drive bays for swapping out interchangeable hard drives. Thunderbolt 2 connectivity ensures the fastest possible transfer speed to-and-from the drives. The rack-mount enclosure allows you to stack additional 8bigs neatly on top of one another should the need arise. RAID options include 0, 1, 5, 6, 10 and JBOD. The removable hard drives are hot-swappable, unless you’re in a RAID 0 configuration.

Price: $4,599 

ioSafe 1515+

The ioSafe 1515+ can withstand 1,550-degree F temperatures for up to 30 minutes and can be submerged in up to 10 feet of water, including salt water, for up to 72 hours. You’re protected against more than the elements, thanks to onboard hardware encryption. Port access can be padlocked for extra protection. Beyond its bombproof exterior, this NAS drive has five drive bays with hot-swapping capability, USB 3.0 connectivity, four Ethernet ports and user-upgradeable RAM to improve encrypting speeds. The 1515+ offers a capacity range from 5 to 30TB. The N513X expansion unit will give you a total capacity of 90TB for your digital archiving.

Price: $3,000-$6,400

Promise Technology Pegasus2 R8

With 32TB worth of storage, the eight-bay Pegasus2 offers Thunderbolt 2 connectivity to support 4K workflows, with two ports for daisy-chaining additional Thunderbolt 2 peripherals. It can be configured in RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and 60.

Price: $3,999

WD My Cloud EX4100

The My Cloud EX4100 is sold in capacities up to 24TB and supports remote access over the Internet. You can configure the drive through WD’s online dashboard and also back up the drive’s contents to one of several integrated cloud services, including ElephantDrive and Amazone S3. The EX4100 supports back-up power to keep data access alive and running in the event of a power outage. 

Price: $1,449