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Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
04-10-2013, 09:57 AM
Post: #1
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
Am flying to Europe (and later, other continents) with Drobo Mini. Cannot risk losing files during a power outage. Drive failure has some protection, but interruption of power could apparently cause problems. Therefore UPS is recommended by the Drobo team. Does anyone have any advice on a portable UPS options that will do the job?
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04-15-2013, 10:29 AM
Post: #2
RE: Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
I'm not aware of any portable UPS solutions myself as they are almost exclusively lead-acid batteries which are large and heavy. Furthermore, UPSes are generally designed for a specific utility power (ie, you usually can't take a regular US model UPS to Europe and just plug it in, even with a voltage transformer it might not be happy).

What you need is more along the lines of some kind of battery pack that can be recharged while still providing power. While you would think this is the case for most packs, surprisingly it is not - many packs cannot be charged and used simultaneously.

I recently bought a Goal Zero Extreme 350 + Inverter but haven't had a chance to open it up yet... It's also lead-acid like most UPSes, so still heavy (25 lbs) and subject to travel restrictions, but at least it's made for portability with a handle and can be daisy-chained for longer runtime.

The first step will be to determine how much power you actually need... You will need to back up both your Drobo Mini and the computer attached to it, so the combined total wattage will be the determining factor (and remember that VA != watts in UPS world... for example, a 12500VA UPS may only support a max draw of 950W).

--Brandon | WHS2011+Drive Bender/2x Drobo v2/Drobo S G1/ Drobo S G2/Transporter
Drobo provides fault-tolerance, it's NOT a substitute for regular backups.
Drobo Best Practices - Official and Community-sourced.
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04-15-2013, 10:30 PM
Post: #3
RE: Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
Thanks, once again, bhiga for your helpful response. I cannot carry that much weight in addition to all my other gear, so I guess I'll need to have another strategy. I've decided to archive all my camera footage on my LaCie Little Big Disks before importing it to the Mini. If the Mini takes a dive, I will have to start my projects over from scratch, but I will most likely not lose all my media.

I'm really counting on the Mini's reliability. This was my first purchase of a Drobo product and I spent over my original budget to have the safety and ease of use. Don't tell me I'm wrong. Please!

If all goes well, I plan to purchase a desktop model after this trip.
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04-16-2013, 09:13 AM
Post: #4
RE: Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
Understandable... 25 lbs is a lot to carry.

Regardless of whether you have battery-backup or now, a good data backup strategy will be essential, and you want it to be a backup/snapshot, not a real-time mirror (so not RAID 1) as a real-time mirror will simply replicate any filesystem corruption between the live and mirror copy. Furthermore, filesystem corruption due to power loss and/or uncompleted writes is a possibility for any storage medium.

If you're using a laptop, you already have battery backup for the laptop itself, so I suggest using some smaller/slower bus-powered hard drives (USB or powered eSATA) for backup or initial archiving of your footage. Being bus-powered, the drive will still have power from the laptop battery even if AC power is lost. Now is a good time to check your laptop's battery life too, and find out if your laptop will run on AC power with a dead or removed battery - some don't!

I also highly recommend using a copy utility that can verify hash/checksums. Personally I use ViceVersa PRO but there are many choices, both free and paid.

More than a few times I have caught a corrupt image on my server* that appeared to copy fine, but was somehow corrupted later. Most times I was lucky enough to recover a good copy of the images from the original card, but if you're cycling through cards and re-using them, IMO it's critical to have the peace of mind that your transfer was intact. Also keep a spare card reader on hand and verify your media before you go with ChkFlsh (slightly better explanation of what it's for) or a similar utility. Bad blocks and bad cards crop up. Best to know about them before you rely on them for recording your once-in-a-lifetime event.
* this was both during and prior to using Drobo, and across multiple server machines and OSes, so it's neither an OS nor a storage thing

If you can't tell already, I hate losing stuff, especially data.

Something I've never spent enough time to figure out... I have found surge protectors to be quite uncommon in Europe (at least in France and The Netherlands, where I've been)... Not sure if it's something inherent in 220-240V power supplies, how their power transmission works, if they just have good power, or if we Americans are just paranoid. Sounds like you'll be in more of the wilderness though.

--Brandon | WHS2011+Drive Bender/2x Drobo v2/Drobo S G1/ Drobo S G2/Transporter
Drobo provides fault-tolerance, it's NOT a substitute for regular backups.
Drobo Best Practices - Official and Community-sourced.
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04-16-2013, 12:35 PM
Post: #5
RE: Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
I'm sure it's a good idea to always connect Drobo to a UPS, but I think this situation has to balance portability with ultimate reliability. If I carried every lens with me all the time, I would never take photos. "Nifty fifty and shoot."

My Drobo is on a UPS. Sometimes it's lost power: it's locked up, once I lost street power during a rebuild, and once or twice my UPS tripped. In maybe a half-dozen experiences with a Drobo v2 and a DroboPro, I have never had data problems result from power loss.

Anyway, the Drobo Mini is marketed as a portable solution. They don't say "carry this svelte little box in your jacket pocket, and roll a lead-acid battery behind you."

As bhiga noted, take a surge suppressor. Keep a duplicate copy of your data, try to back up to some other medium (like an online backup or DVD), and get the shots. Good luck. Smile

You earn respect by how you live, not by what you demand.
-unknown
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04-16-2013, 02:00 PM
Post: #6
RE: Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
Just make sure it's an International rated surge protector, or it'll immediately pop and release the magic blue smoke when you plug it into 220-240V. Smile

--Brandon | WHS2011+Drive Bender/2x Drobo v2/Drobo S G1/ Drobo S G2/Transporter
Drobo provides fault-tolerance, it's NOT a substitute for regular backups.
Drobo Best Practices - Official and Community-sourced.
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04-19-2013, 09:04 AM (This post was last modified: 04-19-2013 09:16 AM by CIM.)
Post: #7
RE: Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
bhiga - Wow. Thanks so much for all the info. But I'm afraid that you are dealing with someone who is pretty ignorant about much of this. AND... I am using Mac OS, so not everything translates.

"verify your media before you go with . . . ChkFlsh"
ChkFlsh isn't available for Mac OS. There doesn't seem to be anything out there that doesn't involve a lot more tinkering that I am willing or able to do. Mac's own Disk Utility has a "Verify" operation that I can perform. So I guess that will have to be good enough.

I will look into 220-240V surge suppressors.

Thanks again for your help. Much appreciated!
"They don't say 'carry this svelte little box in your jacket pocket, and roll a lead-acid battery behind you.'"

Thanks for the humor, rdo. I need some while going through all the prep work for my first trip. Your remark is amusing as intended. But it is also funny to think about putting this in my "jacket pocket." I had to purchase yet another carry on camera bag for the sole purpose of getting this "svelte little box" into the cabin with me. (Admittedly, I have a few other items - like 5 extra 2.5" HDDs in StarTec cases - that are also stuffed in there with it.) (FWIW: The bag is a ThinkTank Sling-O-Matic 20.)
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04-19-2013, 11:37 AM (This post was last modified: 04-19-2013 11:41 AM by bhiga.)
Post: #8
RE: Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
Verify is better than nothing! Smile

You may want to start at Walkabout Travel Gear (direct link to online store and info)
Not the cheapest or prettiest site or store, but definitely a good guide (and I'm willing to spend a few extra bucks buying something from a place that gives me good info, to ensure they can continue).

They have a "universal" (accepts almost all plug types) 220/240 surge protector, note that it has a US plug so you'll still need a single adapter to plug it into wherever you are, if it doesn't accept US three-prong plugs. There are several "universal" plug adapters that would work, and I prefer to carry a single bulky plug adapter compared to one for each device, but depends how/where you need to plug stuff in. Smile

They also have a selection of transformers aka step up/down transformers or voltage converters on their Solving the Riddle of International Electricity page.

--Brandon | WHS2011+Drive Bender/2x Drobo v2/Drobo S G1/ Drobo S G2/Transporter
Drobo provides fault-tolerance, it's NOT a substitute for regular backups.
Drobo Best Practices - Official and Community-sourced.
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04-20-2013, 10:06 AM
Post: #9
RE: Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
hi Cim, maybe your travels could benefit from a temporary tool like dropbox (or something similar)?

am just thinking along the lines of a famous proverb i once heard (something) if you cant travel to the mountain, bring the mountain to you) Smile

eg:
if you have your main base of operations, with a drobo, and visit some places to create/capture new source material, maybe you can set up a dropbox on your main base drobo, so that when you travel, you just take your camera (and content generating devices with you) and then use a secure internet location to upload the new material to your dropbox (which in turn, replicates the new data onto your drobo at main base)?

(btw i have XP home SP2, a Drobo v1 with 2x 1TB/2x 1.5TB WD greens, & a bkp Drobo v2 with the same + a DroboShare: unused)
& a DroboS v2 with 3xWD15EADS &2x1TB in DDR mode on win7, & a drobo5D (all usb)
  • btw i did a sustained (write) operation for about 6 hours, and got 13.2MB / sec ...objection? "sustained" :)
    (16.7MB/s on a v2 & 47-96MB/s drobo-s)
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04-20-2013, 10:52 AM
Post: #10
RE: Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)
Paul, Thanks for thinking of me!
I guess I'm not considering Dropbox (which I love!) for several reasons. I'll list them and if you or anyone else wants to correct my thinking, please have at it:
1) I am shooting 3 large projects in Europe and have budgeted up to 1TB per project. I hope it doesn't get that big, but if I shoot two camera angles of all interviews and then add a redundant audio recording as well from an H4n, that a lot of data. Dropbox charges $499/yr for 500GB (Pro service). So, if I needed to reserve 1TB per project, I would need to invest $3K into Dropbox storage. Ufdah!
2) I think that uploading to the cloud would be too time intensive. Locally, I only get about 1.5mps upload speed. A 32GB SDHC card would take almost an hour at that rate. Maybe faster connections would be available. But maybe not. Which brings us to point number three.
3) I do not know how regularly I will be able to find and use "a secure internet location to upload the new material." And I need to develop a system that will work with future locations (not in Europe) and situations where internet availability will be sporadic at best. (I produce short documentary style videos and other PR materials for missionaries and non-profits, sometimes in remote locations.)

So, once again, thanks. That may work for others, but not for me. Unless someone dope slaps me and sets me straight. (Wouldn't be the first time.)
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