If you don't learn the lesson of backing up your media from articles posted all over the internet, you will most likely learn once you experience hard drive failure yourself. That would be the hard and costly way to learn.
I learned this valuable lesson myself back in 2008 and sadly, I learned the hard way. I had been storing all my media on my main computer's hard drive including music, photos, movies and documents when suddenly the drive failed to spin when booting the computer.
Needless to say, this was very upsetting. I had just started really getting into my photography had collected many nice shots. They were all stored in my photos directory by Lightroom. Some were from vacations and some were from exploring the area around my hometown in Ohio.
It was after this incident, I decided to never store my important documents and media on one drive again. I purchased a 750gb external USB/Firewire Maxton drive and used it to for a backup solution. It was holding duplicates of my beloved photos and other files on the main drive of the computer in case disaster struck again.
Did it happen again? Yes, and no. At the end of 2010 I purchased a new iMac and found out 6 months later that the hard drive was failing. Thankfully, I had started using the Maxtor drive for a system backup as well as media backup. Apple replaced my drive for free and I was able to recover everything from my backup drive.
That solution has worked well since then but I was starting to fill the backup drive and knew soon that I would need a bigger backup solution. So I started looking to larger backup systems.
One of the more popular at the time was the Drobo setups that had been raved about within the photography communities. Upon review, they did look like a good system but the price was a turnoff for me. I just couldn't go beyond $500 for this investment at this time in my life.
It was then I started looking at alternatives to Drobo. I had seen some other systems and even considered a network attached storage system so I could access from the internet as well as from other computers on the network but most I looked at were as much as a Drobo or didn't have good reviews with most complaining about the software or reliability.
Then I stumbled upon a deal from NewEgg.com in which they were offering a Sabio RAID enclosure with four bays. It was Mac compatible and offered USB 3, Firewire 800 and eSata connections. The cost was $99. A great deal considering other contenders and it had some decent reviews.
I purchased the RAID unit and immediately began searching for hard drives to fill it with. It wasn't long when I found a website selling Seagate 2TB 7200RPM drives for $80 each. I quickly snatched up 4 drives.
The four drives with shipping came to $340. The RAID unit was $110 with shipping for a total cost of $450 for a total of 8 terabytes of storage. Compared to similar Drobo unit some other competitors... this is a very cost effective package.
How has it worked? Flawlessly. No kidding. For nearly a year, this setup has worked just as expected without any issues or complaints from the owner. It acts like an external drive and I have my computer do regular system backups and I backup my all my RAW photos to it as they are downloaded from memory cards.
I opted to run the RAID setup in mode 5 which has reduced my overall storage to only 6 terabytes. This allows for some redundancy in the data backup allowing me to retain all my data should one of the hard drives in the enclosure fail. It isn't the fastest RAID setup but it is a good solution for someone that doesn't have backup for the backup so-to-speak.
Initially I was concerned with how noisy this setup might be. All that concern was forgotten upon first use and I was really surprised just how quiet the Sabio is with its cooling fans and four drives running. It sits right next to my iMac on top of the desk and doesn't disturb me at all. Barely a whisper.
I give the Sabio unit a big thumbs up for value and function. Regular price of the 4 bay unit was $199. Sales might price it lower but even at regular price, it is still a cheaper and very viable solution to a more expensive brand name when coupled with good hard drives found at reasonable prices.