One surefire method of ensuring a feeling of security and peace of mind is having your important documents stored in more than one
location. If you or your students have
ever had a computer failure at school,
you know what an inconvenience it is
to recreate hours of work or completely
lose images and video. Frequently backing up your documents is highly recommended, and the process is becoming
easier, faster, and more reliable.
With the emergence of cloud computing, many are choosing to store data
on distant servers. Internet access is
required, however, and limited bandwidth can slow the process down. A
more conservative approach is to have
at least two secondary storage options,
including an external hard drive. For
many years, hard disk drives (HDDs)
have been the storage solution of
choice. Speed, size, and reliability have
continually improved, but solid-state
drives (SSDs) are growing in popularity
because of their durability, speed, energy efficiency, and quiet operation.
HDDs can fail because their mechani-
cal components, the rapidly rotating
discs and moving read/write heads,
are subject to wear. A flash-based SSD
has no moving parts to wear out. It
can withstand vibration, extreme tem-
peratures, and even the shock from
dropping to the floor. Many SSDs can
withstand a drop of 10 feet or more.
The ioSafe Rugged Portable line of
SSDs includes a titanium-shelled drive
with underwater immersion protec-
tion up to 30 feet for three days. Many
companies back up their products by
offering to recover data that has been
lost, which is often an expense of sev-
eral thousand dollars.
Speed is a key element when transferring data, and Thunderbolt is the
newest, fastest interface available that
supports data transfer speeds never
before available in portable and desk-top drives. Elgato and LaCie have produced portable SSDs using Thunderbolt technology, and other companies
will have Thunderbolt models by the
end of 2012. Thunderbolt is more than
twice as fast as a SuperSpeed USB 3.0
and makes Firewire transfers seem
slow. Macintosh includes a Thunderbolt port in its latest computers, and
PCs are beginning to include them.
Microsoft is developing Windows 8
support for Thunderbolt. Even without using Thunderbolt technology,
however, an SSD has a much shorter
data access time than HDDs.
Because there are no moving parts, an
external SSD runs very quietly. Some
models, such as the Elgato, do not
require a fan and operate silently. This
is particularly helpful in a small meeting, as a whirring sound could be distracting and could compromise audio
quality during recording.
To ensure your data is preserved,
use the incremental backup and automatic scheduling available with your
software. The cost per GB of storage is
higher for SSDs than for HDDs, but if
you are looking for a rugged drive and
a quick, quiet method for backing up
your data, consider an external SSD.
—Maureen Yoder, EdD, is on the faculty of Lesley University’s Technology in Education Program.