ioSafe Duo creates a shelter for your data from fire and water

While cloud storage is a great option for many, some people need to keep their data onsite, where it is vulnerable to fire and water. The ioSafe Duo brings peace of mind to onsite storage.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

While cloud storage is a great option for many, some people need to keep their data onsite, where it is vulnerable to fire and water. One accident -- ranging from a broken water pipe to carelessness with a match -- can permanently and irrevocably wipe that data, bringing a business to its knees.

For those who have to keep their data onsite, the ioSafe Duo offers peace of mind.

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The ioSafe might look like any other dual external hard drive, but go to pick up, and you start to realize this is something different. This enclosure is heavy -- a good 25 pounds -- the additional weight made up of fireproofing and water-resistance, designed to protect your data from three days under ten feet of either fresh or saltwater, or a 1,550°F inferno for 30 minutes. Water resistance is a vital feature of a fireproof safe, because you'll be hoping that in the event of a conflagration that the fire department come along to put it out.

Using water. Lots of water.

ioSafe Duo: Fireproof and water resistant data storage (in pictures)

While fires and floods do happen, another thing that happens is drive failure. To offer protection against this, the Duo contains two hard drives, and the drive makes two copies simultaneously of your backed-up data, one onto each drive, eliminating the risk of data loss from drive failure.

While RAID 1 -- copying the data onto two drives -- is the default, this can be changed to RAID 0, JBOD, or SPAN using the jumpers on the back of the unit. But what you gain in speed or capacity (RAID 1 halves the capacity of the unit, and lowers performance), you lose in data security.

The ioSafe Duo can be kitted out with up to two 14TB drives, either 3.5-inch SATA hard drives, 2.5-inch SATA hard drives, or 2.5-inch SATA SSDs, offering a maximum of 28TB of storage, but this will be reduced to 14TB if you use RAID 1, which is highly recommended.

As for connectivity, this is handled using a USB-C port on the back supporting USB 3.2 Gen 2, with additional USB-C and USB-A ports on the front for peripherals. I tested performance with RAID 1 enabled and using the included 4TB Seagate Barracuda Compute drives and got read speeds peaking out at 189 MB/s, and write speeds of 171 MB/s. Not bad performance at all, especially for a system build for data integrity, and not crazy performance.

Cooling is handled by a single 92mm fan, and power to the unit is supplied by a 60W/12V/5A power adapter suitable for 100-250V environments.

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The Duo comes with tools to allow you to open it to fit and remove drives, which is a nice touch.

As far as platforms are concerned, the Duo supports a raft of operating systems, including Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2019, 2016, and 2012, macOS 10.13 "High Sierra" or newer, and Linux distros that support USB-C.

The ioSafe Duo is a solid, well-built storage drive engineered to survive the worst. The drive comes with a 2-year warranty and data recovery service (if you use the supplied drives), upgradable to 5 years. While it isn't possible to test the extreme claims that ioSafe makes, the fire protection has been tested to ASTM E-119, and the water-resistance tested to IP68.

The bare enclosure retails for $399, with the 2 x 4TB and 2 x 8TB models costing $599 and $829, respectively.

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