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We use external USB drives for backups, and they have to be stored offsite at the end of the week. Right now we have your standard external USB drive inside an enclosure. We were thinking about moving to a USB dock, and dock a bare HDD for backups, rather than having various sized and types of enclosures. If we were to do this, the drives need protection while being transported to/from the safety deposit box.

Is there any kind of hard drive carrier that would let us slide two drives into it, and it would provide protection while the drives are carried around by non-technical people? I'm afraid such a product doesn't exist, but perhaps someone knows of something?

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Have you tried looking at the different Vaultz cases? I use one for a netbook with a bit of egg-carton foam to fill in gaps and keep things from shifting. works great for protecting things since it's a hard case to prevent bangs and light weather from affecting the contents, and if you cut some foam to fit your contents it should keep things from sliding or banging around.

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We use Turtle Cases from Perm-A-Store for our tapes and they also make cases for drives similar to this:

Turtle HD Case

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If you're using raw harddrives, pelican makes cases:

If they're in enclosures, you could just use a little food cooler.

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These look great, but a bit pricey, and we only need two, not four. Thanks for the info though! – Jason Taylor Apr 8 '10 at 15:25
I only meant it as a general idea; I'm sure you can find something similar or make your own - it's only plastic and foam. – bacteriophage Apr 8 '10 at 15:48

Yes it does- kind of. We use a plastic molded "thing" which the 3.5" Sata hard drive goes into, which gives it some protection. Will look for a link for you now.

share|improve this answer something like this (although this is for 2.5") – AliGibbs Apr 8 '10 at 15:11

If you stop by a photography shop, they'll kit you out with a sturdy, steel brief case with a customizable foam insert that you can cut out to fit your drive(s). If it's good enough for cameras and lenses, I think it's good enough for HDDs.

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Even with a "shock resistant" chassis and a carrier designed for abuse, you are going to introduce additional risk by regularly transporting hard disks. They are mechanical devices and regular transportation will increase risk of failure.

For off-site storage, I would recommend seeking an alternative media to hard disks, such as tape. Alternatively, the data could be transferred via a network to the hard disks located at a different facility.

To answer your question specifically, I would recommend searching around a vendor such as Newegg. Depending on your budget, there's a variety of disk chassis. Consumer grade is going to be substantially cheaper than more commercial solutions. Your protection would probably be best done with a padded case, which is the approach companies like Cintas often take, at least with tape transport. There are also protection products that could potentially help.

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There's a risk, but for most drives you should get enough use from them before failure that they pay for themselves. And most modern drives are capable of parking in a way that the risk is minimal from shock. Bigger threat comes from temperature changes (hot car?), theft, etc...things that any transportation of sensitive data on physical media can introduce. I'd pretty much figure on a limited lifetime for using external drives as backups in rotation, and too many people use tapes and not bother to check that they're still "good" for saving data to until it's too late. – Bart Silverstrim Apr 8 '10 at 15:14
I prefer disks but not for transporting. Good points, I don't disagree. – Warner Apr 8 '10 at 15:18
We have four drives for backup, two are always in the safety deposit box, the other two are being used. Every friday we switch them out. I'm not too afraid of the drives dying from frequent transportation, as the chances of all four dying at once are rare. Plus we have the backups on network storage here in the building, so we would have to lose four drives, and all the original (RAID'ed) backups. – Jason Taylor Apr 8 '10 at 15:24

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