Let’s talk external RAID arrays!
The Glyph 8TB StudioRAID Enterprise external drive to be exact…
This is going to be fun I swear!
Just kidding it won’t be.
To start, what’s the difference between Standard and Enterprise editions?
Glyph sells two versions of external RAID drives, a “Standard” version and an “Enterprise” version.
They seem to be changing their marketing, calling consumer drives “production ready” drives, while charging the higher enterprise quality level drive price. But for the moment let’s just talk about the basic enterprise and standard stuff.
There are no physical differences between these two types of external RAID arrays. The body is the same, the ports are the same, the RAID switch on the back is the same.
The difference is in the class of hard drives used by the array.
The “Enterprise” version uses enterprise quality hard drives. Enterprise quality hard drives are hard drives that have been designed to be used in applications like data centers… where the drives would be used continuously. I mean that literally, the drives may almost never spin down and basically be permanently on.
They often have longer lifespans, larger caches, and often have vibration reduction mechanisms.
For example, the failure rate for an HGST enterprise hard drive can be as low as half of a percentage point (0.5%) while a standard consumer drive from Western Digital can easily have a failure rate of 15%.
The “Standard” array uses those consumer quality hard drives… the kind that you’ll find inside your computer. They carry a higher chance of failing and ultimately could increase costs for you beyond the cost of getting an enterprise drive. What’s the point of paying $100 less for Standard when you’ll have to purchase two replacement drives at $200 each over the years?
There’s a subtle difference that should be mentioned.
Remember, enterprise drives are specifically built with the assumption that they’ll be constantly used… Constantly spinning…
Well guess what… consumer hard drives are built with the assumption that they’ll be powered up and powered down (from turning your computer on and off) vastly more often than the enterprise drives. The mechanical wear and tear of spinning the drives up and down over and over and over is accounted for (not well obviously but still).
To try and sum up, enterprise drives were built to be on all the time, consumer drives were built to be off most of the time.
That difference can mean that it’d be better to purchase consumer drives instead of enterprise if they’re going to be powered up and powered down frequently (think multiple times per day).
Ultimately, the most important difference to most people will be reliability. I chose enterprise because I honestly hate the fact that consumer hard drives die so frequently. I don’t want to deal with it.
Your cost benefit analysis may be different.
Setting up the Glyph drive is about as simple as it can get… I’d say it’s even slightly simpler to setup on Windows systems than G-RAID drives are.
Remember the panel on the back with the RAID levers? Basically that’s the hardest thing you’ll have to do. You’ll need to get a pen and flip the levers into the position of the RAID state you’d like the drives to be in. The diagram on the back shows you the positions for each state.
For example, RAID 0 has both levers DOWN…
RAID 1 has the LEFT lever pointed DOWN and the RIGHT lever up…
Other then that simply follow the directions listed on the little postcard included with the box. It’s like a whole three real steps and some cable plugging steps.
If you were looking for a drive that you could easily setup for your parents, or grandparents, or talk them through setting up… this is definitely as easy as it gets for Windows systems. It’ll either work right off the bat if you follow the instructions or it’ll be a dead on arrival product and that sucker gets sent back. It is not a similar experience to setting up a Wi-Fi router.
Performance is very similar to a G-RAID… editing on the drive in Photoshop or Lightroom works well and is about as quick as you can get currently using HDDs.
There is genuinely nothing to complain about with the enterprise drives.
But if you’re wanting the technically fastest performance possible you’ll need to pay a fortune for solid state drives.
HDDs are at the sweet point between cost effectiveness and speed. They are not the fastest things ever and that’s fine. If you find yourself going “why is it so slow????” there is something technically wrong (like the drive disconnecting during use) and not fundamentally wrong with HDDs.
Pricing is hellish at the moment.
I paid $340 for the Glyph Technologies StudioRAID Enterprise Class 8TB 2-Bay USB 3.1 Gen 1 RAID Array. Which is pretty good… There is no comparable G-RAID left since G-RAID sold off their generation 1 devices during Christmas of 2017. A comparison would have to be of Glyph and G-RAID gen 2 devices.
Glyph’s smaller RAID drives, like 2TB and 4TB, are overpriced on a per TB level… and their larger storage drives have prices all over the map. Did you notice above the higher quality 8TB enterprise drives were priced lower than the consumer grade? Glyph seems to be trying to draw down old inventory through pricing schemes so as to replace them with lower quality “production ready” drives at higher prices.
Ultimately, Glyph has confused the situation and you may only want to purchase a Glyph while heavily on sale. At full price you’d be better off spending that kind of money on a G-RAID. At least with G-RAID you’re getting HGST enterprise drives.
Let’s sum up the Glyph 8TB StudioRAID Enterprise external drive…
Performance is great. It’s fast and reliable.
Pricing is crappy, unless it’s on sale.
Setup is very easy. Don’t worry.
Overall it’s a great RAID setup at a generally okay price!