As much storage as you want with this removable Sata disk solution
Odyssey is a neat serial ATA (Sata) hard disk storage solution that can be used as a tape replacement for small-business backup or for any application requiring access to fast, removable storage.
The hardware comes in two parts. A shiny white and grey docking station and one or more cartridges each containing a 2.5in Sata-150 hard disk. The docking station is attached to the host PC or server via USB and the cartridges simply inserted via a slot at the front.
A self-powered soft-load mechanism draws the cartridge inside and makes sure it’s connected correctly, with the only control outside a single LED-lit Eject button. This glows green when the disk is ready or red when there’s a problem.
Not that there’s all that much to go wrong as the hard disk cartridges are completely sealed and made to withstand a 900G shock, the equivalent of being dropped from a metre onto a concrete surface. There’s also a small button at the back which enables the contents to be write-protected, if required.
Ours came with the smallest 40GB cartridge, available separately for around £56 ex Vat, but 80GB (£79 ex Vat) and 120GB (£119 ex Vat) cartridges are also available. All are interchangeable using the same docking unit. A 160GB cartridge is also due to be released soon and, because the disks are standard Sata devices, Imation promises to add yet higher capacities in the future.
Unfortunately the USB interface doesn’t provide enough power to drive the Odyssey, so a separate AC adapter is required, but it’s not that bulky. We would also have preferred a slightly longer USB lead but, again, that’s not a major issue.
Odyssey media management software is provided on CD and installed as a background service to, for example, automatically mount removable cartridges when inserted and enable cartridges to be ejected under software control. The cartridges themselves come pre-formatted (using the NTFS file system), which means you can start using them straight away, either simply copying files to and from the media when inserted or by taking backups using the EMC Retrospect application also bundled with the drive.
Performance will naturally depend on the speed of the host PC or server, its storage subsystems and the software involved. We attached the Odyssey via a USB2 interface to a small Windows server with a Sata hard disk array and used the EMC Retrospect software. We were able to back up 20GB of data in well under an hour quick enough for a lot of small-business needs, with the added advantage that you can plug in extra disks if capacity becomes an issue.
The Retrospect software also helps here with the ability to update an existing backup rather than recreate it every time, saving both on the space and time required. A wizard-driven interface makes this program straightforward to use, with options to run backups unattended and include network shares as well as local storage devices. A useful disaster recovery option is also available to boot and recover a crashed server from a specially prepared CD.
Priced to compete against products such as the Iomega REV drive, the Odyssey compares well, with the advantage of fully sealed Sata disk cartridges covered by a three-year warranty. It’s also very easy to install and use, making it an effective and affordable small-business solution.
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Pros: Sealed Sata-150 disk cartridges; up to 120GB capacity; USB interface; bundled EMC Retrospect backup software Cons: Larger fixed USB disks available for less Overall: A cheaper, faster alternative to tape for server and PC backup
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