HP Media Vault

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by fmw, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Sep 30, 2006
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    Good, secure backup is always important for computer files but it is especially important for digital photographers because there is usually no way to recreate a photographic image. If we lose one, we lose it forever.

    I operate a small business and maintain a small peer to peer local area network with 4 workstations. It is a wired ethernet with a router upstairs and another downstairs. My backup has been to DVD-RW. I keep a DVD-RW in each computer and have done manual backups that way.

    The HP Media Vault is a replacement for that manual backup system and I thought I would talk about it a little because it would be an outstanding backup device for digital photographs.


    The Media Vault is basically a small network server with two hard drive bays - one with either a 300 or 500GB SATA hard drive installed and the other a hot swappable unit that will hold a second SATA drive. If you install a second drive, The unit can be configured as a RAID 0 so that all the storage space is comingled into a single large volume or as a RAID 1 which mirrors the two drives creating a backup of the backup.

    The term for this type of unit is NAS or network attached storage. The unit is simply plugged into an ethernet switch or router. That connection and a power connection are all that is required. It has a couple of USB ports so that you can attach a printer or other USB device which can be shared across the network if you like.

    The software is straightforward and installs itself automatically. The software sets up about 1/2 a dozen folders, three of which are automatically shareable - Backup, Fileshare and Medishare. The software allows you to map drive letters to the various folders. On my computers the software simply took the next letters in line after the mapped letters already on the computer and allowed me to assign them to the folders. The software allows you to configure things easily. You can share attached printers, setup the mirroring or volume assignments, and set up security.

    The software also has a simple backup program from NTI. It allows you to have scheduled automatic backups or, as I selected, backup every file specified every time it is saved in real time. It took very little time to set up the backup software.

    The unit is quiet and unobtrusive. You can push it back out of the way since you really don't need access to it physically. It operates at the same speed as your network so it can be quite fast and is certainly faster than a USB type external hard drive.

    If you don't have a network, then this isn't the unit for you. The USB type would be a better choice. But if you do operate a network, I think this unit is a no brainer.

    The price of my 300GB unit was $349 plus tax and shipping from Compusa.com. I've ordered a matching 300GB Seagate SATA drive as a mirror from a known Ebay seller for $100 plus shipping. While the unit is not cheap, it really isn't expensive when you consider the storage, performance, peace of mind and security it can add to your computing and your photography. I certainly consider my digital images (and my accounting files) worth a lot more than that.

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