Data Management

New External Hard Drives Seek to Simplify Storage Syncing

Fabrik, a provider of storage and online content-sharing solutions, announced the expansion of its family of Simple Tech SimpleDrive desktop hard drives with the addition of a new line of external storage devices. The drives boast up to 1 terabyte (TB) of storage and also include 2 GB of free online storage through the company’s Internet data storage site.

“We’re a company to watch this year,” said Mike Cordano, Fabrik CEO and cofounder. “Our vision is to simplify storing accessing and sharing content whether at home, online or on the road by weaving our Simple Tech products and Myfabrik services into user-friendly, purposeful solutions. The expansion of the SimpleDrive family is the first of many steps we are taking to drive market transformation.”

One-Touch Backup

Designed by Pininfarina, the Italian design firm responsible for the Ferrari’s sleek look, the SimpleDrive desktop line cloaks up to 1 TB of storage beneath a slim and vibrantly-colored exterior. Panininfarina gave the device an ultra-low and sporty profile, featuring a large centrally-located button surrounded by a light ring. Pressing the button initiates a complete computer backup, and the light ring quickly reveals the hard drive’s storage capacity.

Looks aside, the SimpleDrive is a high-performance external hard drive that utilizes a high-speed USB 2.0 interface for data transfers. Based on the company’s successful line of portable SimpleDrive solutions released last year, the plug-and-play device also comes preloaded with one-click backup and record software. The storage device, compatible with both PCs and Macs, is hot-swappable and designed as an easy add-on with “effortless backup and restore capabilities,” according to Fabrik.

The free 2 GB online account gives users the ability to store, organize, embed and share important personal documents or professional content in a protected and secure environment from any Internet connection anytime, anywhere. The account offers a quick and easy path for sharing multimedia content and other digital files with an individual or groups, either privately through e-mail or publicly via an “easy-to-create” Web page.

They can also mash up different file types to produce slideshows and media players, quickly post content to other sites such as eBay via links, and embed Myfabrik widgets into blogs and social networking sites for simple content sharing online.

The hard drive comes in a host of colors, but color affects size with the SimpleDrive. The US$99 160 GB version comes in fire red, 250 GB are pearl white, sapphire is the hue for 320 GB, the $199 500 GB is onyx and 750 GB and 1TB are charcoal gray. Models available with USB 2.0 as well as the FireWire 400 interfaces will begin shipping in May.

Storage Trend

Home users looking for a storage and backup solution for their quickly growing mound of data including music, videos and photos are continually seeking out bigger hard drives, as are small- and home-office (SOHO) users as well as small and medium businesses (SMBs).

SOHOs and SMBS that may have used a server in the past have now, with the radically increased storage capacity in hard drives weighing in at 1 TB or more, turned to external hard drives.

Linking in-house data storage with an online storage account is a new and quickly growing trend, Greg Schulz, senior analyst at StorageIO Group, told TechNewsWorld. Individuals, SOHOs and SMBs are creating an increasing amount of data and subsequently using more storage. For those using these types of devices as their primary storage source, the need for a more secure ancillary storage option has been solved by the addition of this online storage account.

“The linkage to go to an online or network type storage model means that [users] are realizing they have more data and that they have data they have to keep protected. Simply having that large-capacity external hard drive is not enough; and that if that is the primary storage, they need to back that up,” Schulz explained.

SimpleTech, which launched another Pininfarina designed portable hard drive last year, shot to the No. 2 spot in the market after only three months. Fabrik acquired Simple Tech’s consumer business in February 2007.

However, individuals, SOHOs and SMBs should exercise caution and only go with an online storage company after thoroughly researching them, Wolfgang Schlichting, an IDC research director, told TechNewsWorld. Despite the security and redundancy benefits associated with backing up data using online storage, there are some potential pitfalls, he explained.

Even though 2 GB is no longer thought of as being a huge amount of data, transferring 2 GB of data online will be fairly cumbersome for most standard Internet connections. “Most are not feasible to transfer this capacity back and forth, Schlichting, noted.

“Security goes two ways,” Schlichting said. “Your data might be more accessible to you in case of a real or major disaster, but there has been some past experience, especially with some startups that offered online storage during the dot-com boom, where there customers were burned because the companies went out of business. There have also been reports of the data not properly being deleted before the hardware was auctioned off.

“So there is the risk of online security of the data. Here consumers need to look to well-known brands and companies they trust more than startups or companies without a strongly established brand name in the market,” he added.

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