I am sure it no surprise to you that I have a huge image archive. I am constantly making back-up copies of the master hard drive array and storing them in various off-site locations to ensure that my images are safe from accidental deletion, virus infection, hardware failure, fire, flood, robbery and anything else that may wipe out my valuable files; they are my life’s work and I would be a fool to think they could survive without extreme attention and care. Constant vigilance and attention still gives me nightmares; there are so many things that can go wrong. I could accidentally copy or mislabel the wrong drive or accidentally erase every single image I have ever created. Sure, there are plenty of “Cloud storage” solutions that offer unlimited storage in several redundant geographic locations, but I would need much more bandwidth than my current “small town” high-speed internet provider delivers, not to mention how long it would take to upload my entire archive at about 16TB. I just can’t imagine the time it might take to upload a card of fresh RAW images from a trip; it’s just not a practical solution for most photographers today.
Way back in January, my friends at ioSafe sent me a ioSafe 1513+. The ioSafe is a fireproof and waterproof housing that somewhat resembles a real safe (the kind you might buy for your valuables), and inside it houses five hard drives; mine came with five Western Digital 4TB Red hard drives. But it is not just a housing, or enclosure, it’s a full-blown NAS (Network Attached Storage). Although ioSafe built their hardware “from the ground up” and spared no expense building a product that can withstand 1550℉ or 843℃ for up to 30 minutes, and can then be submerged in up to ten feet or 3.5 meters of water for three days (yes, even after it’s been torched!), they partnered with Synology to provide their already proven hardware and software architecture; the award winning Synology DSM (Disk Station Manager).
At the time of this writing, the maximum capacity of the five drive bay 1513+ is 30TB (five 6TB drives), but capacity can be increased up to 90TB by adding up to two 5 bay ioSafe N513X expansion chassis, and, like the ioSafe 1513+, they are fireproof and waterproof. The abundant ports include USB 2.0, USB 3.0, eSATA and quad gigabit ethernet that can be aggregated for maximum throughput. Read and write speeds are impressive, with 202 MB/sec write and 350 MB/sec read speeds. Read more specs HERE
Once connected to your network, the ioSafe1513+ can be accessed by all of the other computers connected to your network, and if your network is connected to the internet, then it can be accessed from anywhere in the world where you have an internet connection. No more need to carry a couple of small hard drives full of images in case a photo buyer needs an image while away!
As mentioned, the ioSafe 1513+ runs the award winning Synology DSM or Disk Station Manager, and is powered by a Synology motherboard with 2.13GHz dual-core Atom processor with 2GB of RAM that can be upgraded to 4GB. Synology offers a plethora of apps which can expand it’s operating system so it can be used as a personal cloud, file server, mail server, media server, Apple Time Machine, Video Camera Surveillance Station, and so much more.
The Synology Disk Station Manager supports these RAID types: Synology Hybrid RAID, Basic, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 and RAID 10. Since I am not a huge believer in relying on a RAID solution, I opted to leave my unit as it was configured to operate using the Synology Hybrid RAID.
Weighing-in at roughly 60 pounds, this is a beast, but to keep thieves from walking off with your ioSafe 1513+, there are bolt-down theft prevention solutions available for floor and rack mount, and an integrated Kensington slot.
In conclusion, I am really impressed by the ioSafe 1513+. The build quality and engineering is exactly what I expected from a company that has built it’s reputation around delivering indestructible data storage solutions. The Synology DSM is so easy to use, you don’t need to be a NAS expert to take full advantage of all it has to offer; a huge relief to me, as I went into this knowing almost nothing about what I was getting into. The customer service is free, you get to speak to real people who know their product inside and out and they will take whatever time you need to explain anything that needs explaining to you. The read and write speeds are impressive in practice. I hope I never get to find out if it really is fireproof or waterproof, but have no doubt it will be. The ioSafe 1513+ has been working flawlessly since I first installed it and automatically backs-up to my Synology 1515+ via an app I installed to my DSM dashboard. I still make full back-up copies to external hard drive arrays which are stored off-site, but sleep much better knowing that ioSafe and Synology have my back, and my life’s work is well protected.
Although the ioSafe 1513+ is still a very current and capable solution, I have linked to the new ioSafe 1515+ which has recently replaced the ioSafe 1513+.