Goodbye, Drobo. Hello, G-Technology!

By | 2014-12-18T08:20:19+00:00 Dec 18th, 2014|

You’ve likely read plenty of posts and articles by photographers who talk about the gear that they find absolutely crucial when they’re out in the field or in the studio on a shoot. Cameras, lenses, tripods, lights, and the like. There is a similar list of gear that we also have when the shoot is over, the camera is packed, and the batteries are charging. Things like your display, the computer you’re using, and, of course, the capabilities and reliability of your primary, secondary and travel storage arrays. There has been only one instance in my career as a photographer, back in 2002, when I had a catastrophic loss of very important photos and since then, I made it a point to ensure that I have maximum reliability and redundancy with my storage. Which brings me to this post.

I’ve been a Drobo user for about 3 years. I have two Drobo 5D units that house 5 x 3Tb Seagate drives, daisychained to my 2013 Mac Pro via Thunderbolt. In the time that I’ve owned these units, I’ve had -four- of them replaced due to hardware issues. This is, of course, in addition to the -five- separate instances of hard drives dying. The bottom line is that they’re loud, clunky, and unreliable given their track records in my shop. On top of that, my Drobo units have this wonderful tendency to make awful, shrill vibrations at intermittent rates. So, something had to change.

Enter G-Technology. I am really excited over the opportunity to partner and work with the good folks at G-Technology on a series of projects that I am very much looking forward to. I’ve done -a ton- of research over the storage solutions out there and after speaking in great detail with my friend and super-talented travel photographer, Ken Kaminesky, about G-Technology, I knew that a change had to be made. I’ve used G-Technology drives for years while traveling but never incorporated their robust desktop solutions until now.

I’ll be putting together a series of detailed posts and videos that outline my strategy of migrating away from Drobo and onto the twin G-Speed Studio 16Tb containers, along with how I’ll be using my G-Dock to prep and ingest photos taken during my upcoming trips to Death Valley, the Big Island of Hawaii, Iceland and Norway.

I’m really excited to be working with G-Technology and sharing my experiences using their drives. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section. I’d love for this to be an interactive experience for all of us!

34 Comments

  1. Joshua Carlisle December 18, 2014 at 8:26 am - Reply

    Your experience is why I never went with Drobo. The proprietary storage format and their hardware failure horror stories just left me too uneasy. The ability to expand disk and storage easily is truly enticing but not worth the negatives IMO. I’ve just got a home built NAS for long term storage and a OWC mirrored thunderbolt storage for local but your new toys are very drool worthy :) looking forward to hearing how it all works out!

    • Brian Matiash Photography December 18, 2014 at 9:00 am - Reply

      For me, the silence of the unit and the enterprise-grade drives are what I’m looking forward to most. Also, being able to take advantage of the Thunderbolt 2 bus between the units and my Mac Pro… I am hoping that I’ll see performance boosts in Lightroom as a result. Right now, LR takes forever to start up and flip through images.

  2. John David Pittman December 18, 2014 at 8:38 am - Reply

    I’m looking forward to this review. I need a new system.

  3. Connor Katz December 18, 2014 at 8:45 am - Reply

    What raid config are u using the gstudios in?

    • Colby Brown December 18, 2014 at 8:50 am - Reply

      G-Speed’s come standard in RAID 5 but that can be adjusted using a utility program fairly easily.

  4. […] Brian Matiash You’ve likely read plenty of posts and articles by photographers who talk about the gear that […]

  5. Mason Marsh December 18, 2014 at 8:56 am - Reply

    I love my two G-Raid thunderbolt drives. Silent and steady.

  6. Justin Van Leeuwen December 18, 2014 at 9:01 am - Reply

    G G g g g g g G-UNIT!

  7. Ken Kaminesky December 18, 2014 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Welcome to the G club :-)

  8. kellydazet December 18, 2014 at 9:19 am - Reply

    I’m very interested in reading your reports on your experience with the G-dock system, Brian. I need a good storage solution myself, even though I’m not a pro. I’ve been using a few external WD Green drives in an Icy Dock enclosure that I rotate, one going to my safe deposit box as a back up solution. Storage while traveling in a current problem for me. I’ll probably not be traveling much with my A99 and 17″ Macbook Pro in the future. My back and my wife don’t like that combo! Rather I’ll travel with my A7 and iPad Air. Beyond carrying lots of SD cards, I’m curious as to what others might use for storage while traveling with the iPad rather than a laptop. I know that the Epson photo viewers have been popular in the past, but I’m sure the iPad Air is a better viewing solution, but of course not for storage. I’m wondering how well the WD My Passport wireless would work with the iPad Air. It has a built in SD card reader. Does anyone have experience with that? Sorry to go off topic.

    Regards,

    kelly

  9. Joe Azure December 18, 2014 at 10:21 am - Reply

    Awesome! When I grow up I am going to get some of those.

  10. Brian Matiash Photography December 18, 2014 at 10:48 am - Reply

    Don’t ever grow up, Joe.

  11. Kevin Schirado December 18, 2014 at 11:49 am - Reply

    Thanks for the info Brian. I just migrated to two Synology 4 bay NAS units. These back up my Mac Pro and macbook pro. I have the Synology units mirroring each other and use Amazon Glacier for long term archive on the cloud. I wish you lucj with your new G-drive solution. Sounds like you put some thought into your design.

  12. Stephen Casey December 18, 2014 at 11:55 am - Reply

    I’m right now looking into a synology NAS, you think this is better?

    • Chris Huggett December 18, 2014 at 1:23 pm - Reply

      Me too Steve. Will be interesting to hear Brian’s thoughts.

    • Brian Matiash Photography December 18, 2014 at 4:47 pm - Reply

      In my research, which included speaking with existing G-Technology and Synology owners, I felt a much stronger sense of satisfaction from the G-Technology owners. Pound for pound, I think that G-Technology is the better offering with a wider array of solutions.

  13. Paul R. Giunta December 18, 2014 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Just bought an 8TB G-Raid for next year and on.

  14. Jacek Wikierski December 18, 2014 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    Hi Brian, happy to see you changed to G-Tech from Drobo.
    I personally love my G-Dock EV, and have been using it for about 5 months now. The drive cartridges (G-Drive) look and work fabulous. When you run out of space you simply buy another G-Drive which means for me “no more mixed brand hard drives”. However I really like thunderbolt solution with G-Dock EV and you can “mirror backup” 2 drives for better future protection of your photographs. I use SuperDuper App by http://www.shirt-pocket.com to clone my drives.

    Merry Christmas

  15. Jaron Schneider December 18, 2014 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Dude that G Speed Studio is so boss. I love mine.

  16. Joe Meirose December 18, 2014 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    I was just eyeing these on B&H. I’m sold now!

  17. Gene Lowinger December 18, 2014 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Gee whiz…. I’ve never had a stitch of trouble with my Drobo units, and their whisper quiet. I must be doing something wrong!

    • Brian Matiash Photography December 18, 2014 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      Consider yourself lucky! :) But seriously, I’ve had so many ongoing issues that I simply do not feel comfortable with them. I also know my fair share of photographers who have also had plenty of issues of their own.

  18. Marc Feldesman December 19, 2014 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    I used Drobo for awhile, but then started having trouble with the units. I upgraded to G-technology for storing my photos and videos, but everything now is distributed among three OWC Thunderbay IV Thunderbolt 2 drives. They are quiet, blazingly fast and permit daisy chaining in a variety of ways. My G-drives have graduated to my iMac upstairs, while the OWC units act as the storage for my 2013 Mac Pro. Both the G and OWC drives are far superior to anything I’ve ever used from Drobo. (I also have a Synology exclusively for my Macbook Pro).

  19. jypfoto December 21, 2014 at 5:00 am - Reply

    I use both a Synology (1813+ with 8 Western Digital 3TB Red drives) and the G-a Dock ev hooked to my Mac. All photos get dumped to the Dock drives after each shoot, separated by Raw in one drive and JPEG in the other. Also sorted by month. After all my edits/scrubbing us done I transfer them onto the Synology drive. One aspect of the Synology that I love is the mobile apps. Being able to use their photo app to view my photos from anywhere I have Internet is amazing and being able to use their file app to stream photo/music/video is a tremendous addition. Sure it’s a financial commitment to get one loaded ($900 or so for the 1813+ and another $1,000 for the drives) but it gives me the peace of mind and I can’t put a price on that.

  20. Johnny Boyd December 22, 2014 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    I was headed the G Tech route myself UNTIL I found out it was a Mac only product. Don’t get why they did not include USB 3.0 along with the TB connector.

  21. Benjamin Brinker October 15, 2015 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Not sure when this blog post was made, there isn’t a timestamp on it. But I’m definitely interested in knowing if you have any follow up info on your experience with the new G-Tech Studio drives. I’ve been considering getting them, but have also been looking into Drobo and Synology. Like you, I’ve owned G-Tech drives for years and used them a lot when traveling for shoots internationally and locally in town. They’ve always been reliable and a joy to use. As I have been shooting more and more video the past couple of years, I would like to invest into more storage and get the highest quality. Any updates?

    • Brian Matiash October 20, 2015 at 8:03 am - Reply

      I’ve been nothing but impressed with my G-Technology drives. They’ve performed flawlessly both at home and while on the road. It’s funny that you are asking for an update because they’ve been performing so reliably that I hadn’t really even thought about it… and itsn’t that the way it should be? :)

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