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27 June 2017

Tech Rant

By Adam Patel

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Dying Hard Drive

Doesn’t it worry you that in a world so reliant on tech, tech is so unreliable?

It worries me.

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Everything nowadays is on hard drives. Whether it’s bank records or research or my latest TV show. And from what I can see, hard drives are not really ready for this level of responsibility.

I currently possess three expansion pack hard drives. One of them has been faulty for a while. Today, I have learned that another of the drives is also being stalked by the grim reaper. This is a problem I’d better do something about sooner rather than later. Because once data is gone, it’s gone.

So I write this now while in my other browser tab I’m crawling through the Amazon product catalogue looking for a hard drive that looks like it can handle the responsibility of safely storing over 7 hours of television footage and sound. I’m doing this, because my production company has a considerable amount of time and money on creating that footage, we’re very close to the end of the project, and it would be a crying shame for the whole thing to literally disappear on account of a faulty hard drive.

But as I gauge from the Amazon reviews, in much the same way as I used to tell my patients in the pharmacy that there’s no such thing as a 100% safe medication, it seemingly holds true that there’s no such thing as a 100% reliable hard drive. A small fraction of hard drives from any given manufacturer, fail. And when they do, the owner of that hard drive loses their data forever.

And this data in particular, is data I cannot afford to lose.

The annoying thing about film footage is the file sizes. We’re talking about upwards of 2TB of data. You can’t exactly just upload that to drop box. You have to store it locally.

Facing the fact that no hard drive can guarantee safe storage of data, leads me to a rather irritating but ultimately immutable conclusion: whatever drive I go for, I need to buy at least two of them. And then I need to load all the data on to both drives. Because then at least if one of them decides to fail unexpectedly any time between now and the end of the project, at least I’ll have the other.

I find it hard to believe and even very dangerous that in a world where literally everything is stored on hard drives, I still need to plan for such a contingency.

So here I go, begrudgingly buying 2 Seagate 4TB expansion packs for another £250 that I’d rather not spend.

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