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Best Storage devices: From USB flash drives to multi-drive RAID units

Here are my top five storage devices, ranging from something you can pop into your pocket, to a whopping 24TB RAID enclosure.
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1 of 6 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

As we go about our day creating more data, so the demand for storage space increases, While the cloud has appeared just in time to offer free and easy access to gigabytes of storage space, some people like to keep their data close to hand. This is where personal storage comes into play. Also, it's not easy to shift gigabytes of data to and from the cloud unless you have a serious web connection.

As well as being a tech geek I'm also a photographer, and this means that I create enormous quantities of data. Just the other day I created a 10 second timelapse video, which on the face of it doesn't seem like much, but adding up the input, output and intermediate files put the total space consumed by this one project at 10GB.

That's a lot of data. I remember when all I had was a 10MB hard drive!

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(Source: SanDisk)

SanDisk Cruzer Fit

Store up to 32GB is something not much bigger than your fingernail.

Not only are thee drives great when you want to pack the maximum amount of storage into the smallest space possible, but they are also great as additional storage for tablets, smart TVs and car stereos.

I have a few of these, and other than being easy to misplace/lose, there's not much wrong with them.

Price: Starts at $10 for 4GB.

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(Source: IronKey)

IronKey

One of the biggest worries when carrying data about is loss. Sure, it sucks being down a storage device when you've left it on the train or had it stolen off you, but what sucks more is realizing that you didn't encrypt something important, and now that data is potentially out in the wild.

You might choose to mitigate this by using a software solution, but in my experience people forget to use this at the most inopportune times. Far better to use a hardware encryption solution that forces the user to encrypt the data at all times.

This is where the IronKey comes into play. Not only does it offer AES 256-bit hardware encryption, but it is built to resist attack. The device will permanently self-destruct after 10 consecutive incorrect password attempts, and a ruggedized, waterproof metal chassis resists physical break-ins and is tamper evident.

Price: The S250 starts at $110 for 2GB.

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(Source: Western Digital)

Western Digital My Passport drive

Sometimes a few gigabytes of storage space are not enough, and you need to start thinking in terabytes!

Enter the Western Digital My Passport drive.

I love the 2TB My Passport. It's small, relatively fast thanks to USB 3.0 connectivity, and doesn't need an external power supply.

I use this when on the road, and back it up to separately, to another external hard drive, a NAS box, and the cloud.

Price: Starts at $65 for 1TB.

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(Source: Drobo)

Drobo Mini

When you want bags of storage and a higher level of piece of mind than a single drive offers, it is time to employ the services of a bigger tool.

The Drobo Mini fits in nicely between a single external hard drive and a full-on multi-bay NAS box. Because it takes four 2.5-inch drive – as opposed to full-sized 3.5-inch drives – the Drobo Mini has a much smaller footprint than you might expect, and can connect to a PC or Mac using Thunderbolt or USB 3.0.

As well as the four drive, you can speed up a Drobo Mini by adding a separate mSATA solid state drive.

A handy – and portable – solution to the problem of ever-expanding data.

Price: Around $350 for a diskless unit.

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(Source: Pegasus)

Promise Pegasus RAID Storage with Thunderbolt

If you want the ultimate storage solution, look no further than the Promise Pegasus R4/R6. These offer four or six disk storage solutions with data transfer rates up to a blistering 800MB/s.

The top-end R6 It comes equipped with six 4TB 7200-rpm hard drives offering a total of 18TB of storage when configured for RAID 5, with RAID 0, 1, 6, 10, 50, and 60 also supported. But this doesn't come cheap. The price tag is a cool $3,600.

For this price just be aware that you don't get a Thunderbolt cable.

The performance of this device has to be experienced to be believed, and it allows you to move a massive amount of data quickly and easily.

Price: 4TB Pegasus R4 starts at around $1,150.

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