Storage

ioSafe external drive takes shotgun blast and keeps working

Go-Anywhere Ultra Rugged Portable Hard Drive

At CES 2011, ioSafe demonstrated the durability of its Go-Anywhere Ultra Rugged Portable Hard Drive by letting reporters shoot it with a shotgun. I had a chance to take a few shots myself.

I apologize for the graininess of some photos. I shot them with my iPhone 4 in less-than-optimal light.

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...

32 comments
trevor.fraser
trevor.fraser

They should have an option to buy them looking like this, awesome!

gonzobrains
gonzobrains

bird shot from a distance wouldn't penetrate the case. why not try some magnum slugs instead? this test is just to "wow" those who are ignorant about firearms. a real test would be to drop it off of a desk a couple of feet. after all, how often do your hard disks fails due to being shot? gb

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

I saw the video yesterday on BBC. What amazed me was how little the demonstrator knew about firearms. Sure, it's a shotgun, but try a load with a little more concentrated wallop than bird shot. Birds are delicate; they must be or they couldn't fly. You don't need to hit them too hard. So this test doesn't prove much. Check the number of pellets in the shell compared to the number of pock marks on the drive, and you'll see that only a small fraction of the impact is delivered into the drive itself. A whack with a hammer would accomplish more. Try hitting the drive with 00 buckshot, a rifled shotgun slug or sabot, or a rifle like a .223 or .30 cal at the same 20 yards. I'll bet you'd see holes in the drive, not just pock marks, and I'll bet it would no longer be functional. "Takes a shotgun blast and keeps working" - really, the drag-behind-the-car demo was much more severe than the shotgun blast, in terms of higher g-force, longer sustained and irregular forces on the drive, and so on. How about hitting it with a single 750 fps 1-oz projectile, or 1200 fps 180-grain FMJ round? Maybe try taping it to the front bumper of a car that crashes into a solid concrete wall at 20 MPH, or even dropping a big rock on it, say a couple of tons from 10 feet or so? Any of those would be FAR more difficult than this "shotgun blast" - but the "Black Box" they compare this drive to must withstand far more force, heat and environmental exposure than this demonstration showed. To me, this demo was just marketing hype. Too bad, because the drag test showed that the drive is very well protected. Too bad some huckster had to try for sensationalism. They failed miserably on that part, to anyone who understands what happened.

Linda LePore
Linda LePore

Looks awesome to me... Does it have a GPS so I can always find it? Just kidding.

billammon
billammon

Shot at a pretty long distance with small shot judging by the spread. Was it a .410? Sure as heck doesn't prove much. Did you try that with a regular HD?

dan
dan

Lighten up people. This was mostly a tongue in cheek example, not a "real world" exclusive. Most all of us would have tripped over our feet to drive to the gun range and take a few shots at the HDD. Definitive results (not really) vs. fun factor (sign me up)!

srr
srr

The drive was hung on a wire, which allowed it to swing with the hit. Thus absorbing a lot of the energy of the impact from the bird shot and bullets. None the less, it is quite impressive--especially when combined with water and pressure.

petertyj
petertyj

gee a 200GB solid state drive is about $500 why not use a steel case instead of that Al one small arms wont penetrate 1/8" steel speculation the Al is die cast, steel castings are harder to gasket, or need machining. might be interesting to lay a couple thumb drives downrange to see if a shotgun would hurt those, they would probably just be pushed around. I actually killed an external drive by picking it up I felt it jerk in my hand. the original ibm pc xt 5mb hard drive would not survive a 2" drop while mounted in the computer case. some figures.. 3" diameter platter 7200 rpm 3*pi = 9.5" edge is moving 5600 feet/min 64 fps the mass of a hd platter is probably higher than any projectile from a weapon you can carry. and the head is riding on an air cushion a few microns from the disk surface muzzle velocity shotgun 400fps small shot goes about 15 grain shotguns are smoothbore the m16 round is 45grain 3000fps and rifled it hits tip first a shotgun can knock birds out of the sky it breaks their wings. if you hold the drive in your hand while he shoots wear gloves and goggles, the pellets will probably break unprotected skin. BAE systems is my employer ... projects Caimen, LTAS

bcram
bcram

Was it bird shot?

Raymond Sirois
Raymond Sirois

I'll guarantee it won't stand up to a round from my .454 Casull. Then again... I don't see many scenarios where people are shooting at my servers or workstations with shotguns or large caliber handguns. Perhaps we could show a demo of a running drive being dropped from a standard height desk without any loss of data and or reliability... Oh, by the way, it looks like birdshot was used in that shotgun test. Try it a gain with some 00 buck and post your results...

Raymond Sirois
Raymond Sirois

I'll guarantee it won't stand up to a round from my .454 Casull. Then again... I don't see many scenarios where people are shooting at my servers or workstations with shotguns or large caliber handguns. Perhaps we could show a demo of a running drive being dropped from a standard height desk without any loss of data and or reliability...

pablo_daniello
pablo_daniello

They tested the shotgun had less power than expected...

anuno
anuno

Shooting the drive didn?t reproduce the real daily environment. Only proved the protective aluminum case is robust. How hard was the drive fixed on the target point is important, because it will define how the kinetic energy from the projectile was transferred to the drive, and related acceleration. Any standard drive will sustain a 900G acceleration when not working and 400 G when working. Since the aluminum of the case is malleable, some of the energy was also absorbed and transformed in heat. There was no internal sensor to measure the real condition that hard drive experimented. Maybe dropping the drive in a hard marble floor is a much harder test than shooting with a shotgun. And final test, how the drive will behave if it is under use during the test? Anyway, with this case I am sure my data would be much more protected than with standard comercial products.

kffernandez
kffernandez

i dont' get it. the primary weakness of hard drives is it's susceptibility towards vibration and shock while it is running. along with the usual electrical short nightmares. why not concentrate on those? i've seen hard drives survive fire and normal shocks while it wasn't being used. it's not that big a deal.

Raymond Sirois
Raymond Sirois

Actually, most of my "DOA" drives go to a box that I take to the range with me when the wife and I go shooting. When we're tired of punching holes in paper, for our "fun shooting," we dip into the box and ensure that whatever sensitive data might have been stored on those drives is completely destroyed. Also seems that we will NEVER get rid of all those AOL CDs that we've received over the years. Remember folks... if you bring it TO the range, be good citizens and take it OFF the range as well. Police your targets and brass, don't leave the range a mess for the next shooter!

chris.hale
chris.hale

I use 32 gram #6 shot 12 bore cartridges for pigeon shooting, with one of those the muzzle velocity is about 1300fps, not 400. Also it doesn't knock birds down by breaking their wings, it kills them stone dead as the shot pierces the body. This is at something like 40 yards, not the 30 feet quoted here. Gloves wouldn't be a lot of protection at that range and I would certainly expect the pellets to do more than just break the skin!

caracena
caracena

Try also my .40, .44 8" or 357 (any at 100 feet) and tell me what happens. A 12 gauge shotgun at 30 feet... it wouldn't event hurt me much. This test is a joke... wanna see a real test? look at any video from the Panasonic Toughbooks when they had spinning HDDs and they stressed those at MAX even turned on.

DJMorais
DJMorais

I agree. I would like to have seen some drop tests and more real world scenarios to see just how tough this drive is. I don't really think they accomplished much with this PR stunt.

imsoscareed
imsoscareed

I'm sure they used 2 3/4" shells with a minimum powder load and probably 9 shot pellets by the looks of the indentations. How about trying a 3 1/2" shell with 00 buckshot.

harryolden
harryolden

Great idea, I can have one in my back pak with my portable computer and it will stop the shot gun pellets, sounds like a I must buy product lol.

zelauto
zelauto

You can see after the drive outer casing was removed in the bullet shot, that the inner drive was an Intel solid state drive. Guess that means plenty of shock-resistance.

imsoscareed
imsoscareed

I'm not impressed either. You can do that with a lot of hard drives depending on which side you shoot at. It all depends on the type of metal and the thickness.

jharris
jharris

An unfortunate, poorly-timed demo. I use their fireproof, floodproof Solo drives on my servers, hooked up to conditioned, regulated power and I sleep better at night with those inexpensive safety nets in place. Great products, but obviously not a great time to be shooting them.

64molson
64molson

#6 shot for pidgeon hunting? Is there anything left of the hapless bird other than a few feathers? Might want to step up to a bigger game bird; lke Grouse or Pheasant!

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

12 ga, full choke at 10 yards with bird shot? (I'm guessing 7, 7-1/2, or 8) and only about 20 or 25 pellets hit the target? Who was the shooter? Dick Cheney?

Raymond Sirois
Raymond Sirois

Heh heh.... I know a .357 will tear through a standard hard drive at 35 yards...

freaknout
freaknout

How about a jacketed 38 cal.?

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

Had these been in a laptop used at the Arizona meet and greet, and someone held it up as a shield from gun fire, it would have made a pretty impressive piece of armor. .357 full metal jacketed bullets would probably still punch through, but expend most of the energy in doing so. It would knock the pad out of your hand, and spray metal fragments on you (shrapnel), but not as bad as taking the slug itself. And since the gunman was using a 9mm, NOT a .357, odds are that it would have stopped them cold.

clark.ware
clark.ware

Recently we were decommissioning some old servers and pc's and were destroying old hard drives to prevent the possibility of data loss. Building guns is one of my hobbies so just as a joke I took one home with me and shot it with a 338 Wildcat I had just finished. Imagine a .338" projectile with over 4000 ft/lbs of energy hitting a drive. Small, clean hole on one side, massive destruction on the other :)