I seem to always be juggling data between hard drives and laptops and my dropbox, thankfully the WD My Book Pro 12TB is finally going to change that… and quickly! The Thunderbolt connection means that I can move data from my laptop to the My Book Pro in minutes. I just dumped about 160GB from my macbook pro in roughly 12 minutes. These drives are fast!
Now lets back up a little (pun intended). I generally create about 6TB of original data a year, so that means I need to buy about 12TB a year to duplicate everything. That used to be an expensive endeavor back when 1TB seemed like an unlikely hard drive to own. In the past few years the cost of at home data storage has dropped significantly, partly thanks to companies like Western Digital who continue to push the boundaries in hard drive technology as well as pricing. I had been buying 2TB drives and loading into a Startech 4 Bay External Hard Drive Array RAID Tower. The dock was only about $150 and held 4 drives in this rather clumsy contraption that had little levers you had to mount to each drive. You never really knew which drive was which in the finder, and it was pretty slow and unpredictable when it came to accessing each drive. It’s only been within the past year or so that thunderbolt drives have become affordable and easier to find, and boy has it added some speed to transferring data.
The WD My Book Pro uses RAID 0 (default), RAID 1 and JBOD (“just a bunch of disks”). I have it configured to JBOD so that I can have 2 duplicate drives that are easy to separate when they’re full as exact duplicate. I like to move a duplicate hard drive offsite, so that nothing is stored in the same place. Alongside all physical hard drive backups I always have my final images saved as jpegs on my photoshelter site as a third and final place of storage.
WD My Book Pro 12TB Thunderbolt RAID Array Features
Feature 1 – One of the most important features of this hard drive is the two-bay RAID array. It means you can safely store a lot of data on 2 separate drives and easily replace them when they’re full. The drives don’t need to be mounted in a complicated manner, screwed into anything or messed around with at all, the compartments very easily open up and the drives slot securely in. It takes an element of force to click the compartment closed, but that just makes you feel like the drive is safely placed inside. If you’re using RAID, then these easily replaceable hard drives are a really nice feature of the system. If like me you are using JBOD then it’s nice to be able to switch both drives once they’re full.
Feature 2 – The Ultrafast Thunderbolt means you can technically transfer data at 20Gb/s which is obviously unattainable for the drives placed inside. However I have found that the connection is fast as hell, and the transfer speed of data onto the drive is impressive.
I tried connecting the machine to my Apple Airport Time Capsule so that I could have the array always available for me wherever I’m working in my home. But there were a few issues with that setup. The transfer speed was too slow, if I remember correctly it would take about 3 hours for 10GB of data to transfer. The drive would also kick on every time I opened my laptop, which again isn’t a huge problem, but I didn’t see the need on having the hard drive kick in every time I opened my machine, I feel like thats adding additional wear and tear on the spinning drives. So now I have the machine tucked into a side table cupboard and it only gets plugged directly in via thunderbolt. Those transfer speeds are so quick it only take 10-15 minutes to clean my laptop. The Apple Airport Time Capsule is just another backup of my desktop
WD My Book Pro 12TB Thunderbolt RAID Array Pros
- Super fast thunderbolt connection
- Small and solid housing
- Relatively quiet
- Easy loading hard drive bays
WD My Book Pro 12TB Thunderbolt RAID Array Cons
- Relatively expensive for 12TB of storage
- Quite heavy and not portable
- Limiting to only 2 hard drives at a time
- Doesn’t allow interface with hard drive software through thunderbolt connection
WD My Book Pro 12TB Thunderbolt RAID Array Conclusion
There are tons of options for thunderbolt hard drives nowadays, and you can guarantee that none of them can give you complete security. They can all be stolen, they can all fail and none of them will give you 100% piece of mind. With that being said, the WD My Book Pro 12TB Thunderbolt RAID Array is a great option for a small business that wants to back-up large amounts of data relatively quickly. It would be a great choice for media professionals to use for backing up video or stills, and fast enough that you should be fine editing content straight from the drive. There are a good variety of connection points to daisy chain several drives or USB hubs to use for any purpose. There are cheaper ways to have 12TB of storage accessible but the additional dual drive features that this unit offers makes it a great choice. I would highly recommend this hard drive and have found it indispensable for my photography business that needs to duplicate about 6TB of unique data every year. Don’t forget to back up the back up and perhaps investing in online data storage is imperative. I’d recommend researching services like “Carbonite” “Opendrive” or “Crashplan.” but for client delivery and image backup I use photoshelter.