He makes a good case for it. I've tried bare drives with varied results. I gave up on them for now.
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Bare drives are safe for storage
Those caddies for drives were made for technicians to easily mount drives and to clone and dupe several drives at a time. However, I’m seeing them pop up more and more on editor’s desks.
Ways to destroy drives
This is crazy!
Bare drives are not floppy disks. You can destroy the drives in many ways. You can shock it, drop it, get it dirty, and wear the connector.
The first issue, scariest, most damaging and easiest to do is, ESD or electrostatic discharge. And don’t tell me you ground yourself before every touch. Maybe you ground yourself before you remove it from the bag, but then you move about the room, you roll your desk chair, you pick up static. And for the record, just touching metal isn’t good enough, you have to touch grounded metal, so the metal legs of your desk ain’t going to do it.
The second is a no-brainer, you can drop it. Now maybe you’re saying, “but I can drop an enclosed drive too!” Yes, but even the most basic of drive enclosures have some form of shock buffer and if they don’t then you should not trust your sensitive data on those either.
The most overlooked is finger oils. Touching the circuit board of a drive with your bare hands is going to transfer oil to it. This oil can break down the drive’s components, but more likely will become a bonding agent for dust buildup that will insulate components and cause them to eventually heat up and fail. In addition, your finger oils can create electrical connections between components.
Lastly, that hard drive connector was never made to withstand many inserts. It was meant to be connected a few times. It’s not USB. The more you use it, the more it wears, the cheaper the drive, the fewer times it can be connected.
“But Vince, we always have another backup.”
This one is laughable. How long will it take for you to access that backup? I’ve been to facilities where that backup bare drive is safely stored offsite and a cut need to go out tonight. You’ve just shocked your bare drive and now you have to spend a few hours of time retrieving the backup. A team of AE’s editors and producers are on the clock for those few hours of retrieval.
Now I know you’re saying “bare drives are cheap and convenient, and I don’t have to keep all those power supplies around.” So you’re going to start acting like a technician and stand on an antistatic mat, with an ESD wrist strap and wear ESD gloves. Plus you’ll keep isopropyl alcohol on hand just in case.
But even if you did that, drives out of enclosures are still more susceptible to vibration and the drives little vent holes are more likely to attract dust and dirt. That’s right enclosures have vibration dampening and obviously provide a further barrier to dirt.
Bottom line, handling a bare drive is akin to Russian roulette.