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lunes, 9 de junio de 2008

World's first internal hard drive with disaster protection

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The isSafe 3.5 has the same form factor and functions like any other regular 3.5 SATA hard drive.

(Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET Networks)

ioSafe, a company specializing in disaster-proof storage devices, today launched the world's first internal hard drive with built-in disaster protection called ioSafe 3.5. On the outside, the new drive has the same form factor and functions just like any regular 3.5-inch desktop SATA hard drive. However, on the inside, it's definitely something I've never seen before.

The ioSafe 3.5 is actually a 2.5-inch SATA hard drive (found in laptops) covered by layers of protective materials. The materials, together with ioSafe's proprietary circuit board transform the drive into a 3.5-inch form factor drive that can withstand 15 minutes of intense heat up to 1,400 degree Fahrenheit and is waterproof down to a 5-foot depth. To put this in perspective, most fireplaces burn at only 700 to 800 degrees.

ioSafe came to CNET to show off its new product's ability to handle extreme heat and here are a few photos of its impressive and convincing demo:

The ioSafe 3.5 (left) and a regular 3.5-inch hard drive inside a burner, ready to be toasted.

(Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET Networks)

The chamber lights up...

(Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET Networks)

...and the two drives were immediately engulfed in intense fire. The temperature inside the chamber increased very quickly.

(Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET Networks)

After a few minutes, the thermometer registered 1,413.2 degrees. By the end of the demo, the temperature was more than 1,500 degrees.

(Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET Networks)

After about 10 minutes, the fire was extinguished and the drives were taken out of the chamber. The regular hard drive (left) was now completely destroyed, while the ioSafe 3.5 was also very hot and smoky.

(Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET Networks)

However, when the protective layers were peeled off, the hard drive inside the ioSafe 3.5 still seemed in good shape.

(Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET Networks)

It was indeed in a like-new state with the original data still intact.

(Credit: Dong Ngo/CNET Networks)

By the end of the demo, the hard drive survived with the original data stored on it still intact.

Based on a 2.5-inch hard drive, the ioSafe 3.5 comes in two flavors: the Pilot Series (5400rpm, up to 320GB) and Squadron Series (7200rpm, up to 200GB). Both series will offer more storage space as larger 2.5-inch laptop drives become available, and ioSafe also plans to make ioSafe 3.5 products based on solid-state hard drives in the near future.

While ioSafe 3.5 drives are not as fast as regular desktop hard drives that serve as a server's main hard drive, they are fast enough for most desktops and regular applications. They are definitely fast enough to be used as backup hard drives, and this is exactly what they are intended for.

The ioSafe 3.5's price varies from $330 to $450 depending on specs and sizes. ioSafe seems to be very sure about its new product and backs it up with a three-year warranty. It, by the way, is a very interesting kind of warranty that includes Digital Asset Recover Service. This means, during the warranty time, if disaster strikes, you can choose to recover the data by yourself, (which is a rather simple job that involves in peeling off the protective layers, hooking up the internal 2.5-inch hard drive into a computer, and copying data off of it). Or ioSafe will pay for you to ship the drive to them. Either way, you will get a brand-new replacement. In case the drive is damaged beyond the simple recovery mentioned above, ioSafe will pay up to $2,500 for a forensic-style data recover service.

All things considered, this is a very convenient solution to protect critical data from disaster, especially for home and small businesses. Before the ioSafe 3.5, the only alternative I could think of to keep your data safe from disasters was off-site backup, which is time-consuming and totally inconvenient.

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