Storage

Cracking Open the ioSafe Rugged Portable hard drive

Cracking open the ioSafe Rugged Portable hard drive

Designed to protect your data in harsh environments, the ioSafe Rugged Portable Hard Drive can survive being crushed, dropped, and submerged in water. While attending CES 2011, I even got a chance to test the Rugged Portable against a Remington 870 shotgun and birdshot.

After getting my hands on a test unit, I couldn't wait to see if the ioSafe drive is as hard to disassemble as it is to damage. Follow along as I crack open the ioSafe Rugged Portable Hard Drive.

Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

24 comments
Syphre
Syphre

No guys, those of you who commented here that Shock Proof HDDs or so called Rugged HDDs are useless, than I would simply say that you are simply wrong.. ;-) What is it? All of you are extremely cautious like some aristocratic ladies?? :-)) I doubt it.. So your HDD can be dropped from the stairs, simply dropped on the floor or occasionally and rapidly moved while it's ON (so there is shock and VIBRATION protection in some good rugged cases), so all of that simply means that you shouldn't forget that this is for example HDD we are talking about, which has a moving parts.., and those parts are so thin and fragile! Plus it can't sustain any little drop of some liquid getting into it.. Actually that last point I've mentioned is really interests me, because as I've mentioned above - any kind of shock, vibration and hit proof HDD cases are really good and IMPORTANT things for anybody's casual use, BUT(!) we, human beings, are mostly ground, not marine animals, and if Shock Proof HDD is insulated enough to withhold rain or some little drop of water on it, than it's good enough, don't you think?? :-) How would your HDD become submerged?? With you?! :-) Than you probably shouldn't worry about anything anymore, cause all of your problems would be gone in this case.., all of them gone including yourself... Or why would you drop your HDD in the bath full of water?? ioSafe offers super water resistant HDDs, but(!) if that water resistance is really accomplished, than how about GOOD ventilation of the hard drive while it's working? Let's not to forget that HDDs are mostly needed when they are working! And when they are working then hard drive metal disk's moving speed is at least 5400 rpm or even more! 5400 rpm = 90 rps.. means almost a hundred rotations per second!! With that speed does it get cooled down enough if it's insulated by water resistant "wear"?? What do you think about it? P.S. And yeah, I would like to thank author for the article and especially for the photos. Now I know what kind of hard drives are in ioSafe HDDs.. Seagate.. Well.. I tell you what.. It's not of my favorite! I think I would pay about $70 for the NEW ioSafe HDD enclosure - they are really not bad, but I don't wanna pay a single dollar for the Seagate.., no offense to anyone! Peace.. :-)

charleyj98
charleyj98

I don't have any data that needs such strong protection, but I have worked with clients who did have that kind of data. For them, I see the usefulness of this product. It looks like buying the least expensive option of the type you want and then upgrading the drive to the highest capacity drive available would be the way to go. (after the warranty runs out)

shawn_collins24
shawn_collins24

A bunch of people are saying: "My users don't go swimming/scuba diving with their drives" or "I don't drive over my hard drives with a truck". Well, no, of COURSE not! But crap happens, ya know! Those are the maximum specs, I assume! Definite uses: Anyone who uses a laptop with a mobile docking station. These types of drives have been available for some time for law enforcement applications (titanium laptops, sturdy drives, droppable from 5' while the computer and h/d are running (at the time) (no, I'm not a cop and never owned one, but got to play with one)). The whole point is, if you DO drop your drive in water, or it gets oil on it or you simply drop it...a "normal" hard-drive (and your data) may not survive, whereas this one would. I'd certainly question the reliability of the drive after it was subjected to maximum specs. That being said... Here's an appropriate analogy: Cars have crumple zones. In an accident, they crumple and absorb the energy from the impact. Your car is trashed, by design, but the occupants are safe because the car absorbed the energy. Well, if you keep this drive in a travelling bag, you may drop it, it may sit in the rain, your clothes may get trashed with jet fuel (dunno how), or whatever. At least the drive and your data will survive! These people with the comments about not using the drive in 10' feet of water or having a herd of buffalo jump on the drive from 10' up...well, I'm sorry. Those comments are a little ridiculous. They are entirely missing the point of this type of drive! Disclaimer: I don't work for ANYONE or write for ANYONE! I'm a full-time student. I must say I am not for or against this particular drive. I've never used it. My comments are concerning any drive of this TYPE (meant to take some abuse) Best Regards, Shawn Collins

billammon
billammon

I've worked in IT for years and remember the Zip and the, worse yet, the Jazz drive. To those of you too young to remember the "click of death" in the Zip drive and the incredible rate of failure of the Jazz drive (in a classroom of 30 machines replaced all drives three times in one year); I say Beware. Iomega failed in all respects to properly compensate their customers. I distrust them enormously! Caution Here. Google "Click of Death". I'd be impressed if the drive had been thrown from a trap house and shot with #6 or greater". Ridiculous and typical of Iomega.

nighthawke
nighthawke

if it was upgradeable by just swapping out the HDD

CharlesG1970
CharlesG1970

This is a ruggedized Drive designed to provide improved physical protection for the people who want / need to bring data into a dangerous environment. Let???s think for a minute; Aquatic research, field work for an Oil company, etc. etc. etc. Of course the best way to protect the data is multiple backups but if you current system gets wet, at least with this you will still have your data. Better than carrying 2 copies (laptop and drive) and both getting wet (killed). Let???s face it this is not really for the normal consumer (although some people will want it for some sort of bragging rights), but for those who do need ???Physical??? protection for large amounts of data it is one option and seems to be a pretty good one. As for the Airport, why would anyone check the device that has their presentation stored on it? Also, keep one copy on the Laptop, and one on the 16GB memory key (kept in my pocket not my computer bag), and then possibly a third in a storage device in my luggage, not to mention the copy on my work server that the EA can digitally send to me or my contact. If the Airport has lost your presentation you have no one to blame but yourself. (Handouts are a different story, but even they can be reprinted) And yes let???s see if the Titanium case can stand up to OO buck shot, not to mention a 9mm, 5.56mm, and 7.62mm. 25mm and 50 cal would be a joke (well so is 7.62mm)

jeffpk
jeffpk

Did you leave it inw ater for an extended period of time to see what happens to its connectors?

jupiterick
jupiterick

i tried the 870 on it and blew it all to hell with 00, someone owes me a hard drive, oh did you say birdshot? keep tearing stuff apart Bill :)

kevin
kevin

It is bad advise to recommend this type of product on the pretense that the data will be safe. It won't. The class of drive inside is no different than any other external drive. I suggest the end user avoid dropping it in the toilet, or shooting it with a shotgun. The best advise is to make sure that all data is stored on more than one form of media. Then it cannot be lost, even by the airlines!

rld
rld

Which threats does the ioSAFE actually protect against? Fire? THEFT of the drive? Oh, yes, it *does* protect against birdshot from a Remington 870 shotgun. My consulting clients call me at least once a week to c abouomplain about shotgun damage to their external drives. ;-) Ohhh puleeease! If the airline loses your baggage, your external drive gets lost too, and a Superman-proof Kryptonite case wont get your data back in time for that important 9am presentation to the new client. Data protection is not sexy... it's tedious. Perhaps a solid-state drive would be a much more reliable solution?... In fact, why not buy *TWO* ssd's: "One to use, and one to lose".

butkus
butkus

I belong to a Seagate "help" group for external drives. Most of the problem are "my PC no longer recognizes the USB drive". Just allow the drive to be accessible so when the connector goes bad (some Seagate drive have the mini cable get pushed into the case) or doesn't work at all.. you can pull the drive and hook it up to a PC. I would have to say the cheap USB to serial converter is the main problem with external "backup" drives. We tell many worried owners that keep their "ONLY" copy of thousands of files and pictures to go to YouTube and find a video of how to pull out the hard drive. Actually had one person complain that the "running" external fell off a table and now only "clicks" and won't work ! ! . It only fell from a table to a hard floor... they should make them more indestructible. End users..

HAL 9000
HAL 9000 moderator

To be unaffected by a 30 G impact pressure when they are not running and not be aversely affected. If a Normal Drive can absorb a 30 G Impact and still work just how much more robust does a Ruggerized Drive need to be. With the NB that can be dropped they have an Accelerometer in them which parks the heads of the drive when the unit starts to accelerate [i]get dropped[/i] and this is what allows the NB to survive a fall Normal NB like the R40 IBM had this and they where not considered as Ruggered Units where as things like the Panasonic Tough Book is a very ruggered unit that can take the abuse that is dished out in Industrial Instances. Of course you get to pay a lot more for something like that but if it does the job with Ham Fisted People it???s worth it. ;) It???s just with this drive I don???t see that it is so much more robust than a standard drive and hence I don???t think it???s worth the way it is being advertized. But that???s just me and I have worked with plenty of Ruggerized NB.s over the years. Col

charleyj98
charleyj98

I don't believe these are the same company. Look it up!

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler moderator

After we got to see the ioSafe survive about five hits from the 870, they let us use it for target practice with a fully-automatic AR-15 (or M16 if you prefer). The ioSafe Rugged Portable did not survive...

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

I'd like to see how it stands up against the sniper rifles they use in Iraq and Afghanistan... ooh-rah!

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler moderator

The ioSafe Rugged Portable is more expensive than other external drives with similar features, but ioSafe argues that their "no questions asked" replacement policy and data recovery service are worth it. Activation is basically "registering" the product with the ioSafe.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler moderator

As I point out in the gallery, the ioSafe Rugged Portable is designed to withstand being crushed, dropped, and immersed in liquid. The exact specs will depend on the model of drive. A Rugged Portable with an aluminum enclosure is designed to resist a crushing force of up to 2,500 pounds and protect against data loss after being submerged in up to 10' of fresh or salt water for 3 days. The titanium enclosure is crush resistant up to 5,000 pounds and can protect against data loss after being submerged in up to 30' of salt or fresh water for up to 3 days. Both enclosures are designed to protect the internal drive against immersion in diesel fuel, oil, hydraulic fluids, and similar substances at a depth of 12" for 1 hour. Mechanical drive models are designed to resist a drop from 10', while the SSD versions are designed to resist a 20' drop. For more details, check out the full specs: http://www.iosafe.com/products-rugged-portable-techspecs

Syphre
Syphre

Hey, don't stop there! ;-) How about we test this drive in the epicenter of a nuclear explosion??! :-)))

Par-Pro
Par-Pro

me just what IT dept Dropped a herd of water buffalo from 10' on servers that were under 30' of saltwater? Then let them graise for 3 days? Does this guy still have a job? The data of the backup is what is important how it is done and how to retrieve it, not if it put in Ft Knox.

GSG
GSG moderator

It's pouring rain, there's a tornado coming through, and the paramedic still has to hook up the EKG to the rugged laptop and transmit it to the hospital. In the case of the rugged external drive, there's a point where data is gathered and it sits in storage before it's backed up, or the external drive may BE the backup in situations where you're not able to access a nice, cool, safe server room.

TechrepLath
TechrepLath

1) User: My drive fell in the water. Tech Support: Ok, lets take a look and see what we can do. Where is it now? User: At the bottom of the Irish Sea. Not much to do there I guess.... 2) User: My screen is cracked. Tech Support: What happened to it? User: Nothing really. It was in my backpack when I got out of the chopper. Tech Support: Did it fall or something. User: Well yes, the luggage is thrown from the chopper on the platform before we get out. We don't actually land on the oil platform. Just to illustrate that there is more on this earth than what you seem to be used to. There definitely is a market for robust equipment in manufacturing and field service industries that work in tough conditions.