The Great Migration to G-Technology – My Photo Storage Story

The Great Migration to G-Technology – My Photo Storage Story

By |2018-02-22T15:59:40+00:00Dec 30th, 2014|

A Storage Container?

Let me start with a funny story that took place just recently as I was chatting with a USAA rep who was helping me get business insurance for my photography endeavors. We were discussing the coverage that I’d need for my computer equipment above and beyond my actual camera gear. I started rattling off the costs of my computer, displays, and accessories, tallying up the total as I went. I finished the audit by saying that I also have two huge storage containers for my photos. There was a pause and then the rep asked for the size of my storage containers, which confused me for a second but then I answered, “they’re 16Tb each.” Now we were both thoroughly confused. A moment later, it dawned on me that there actually is a more literal definition of a “storage container for my photos.” I immediately clarified that I wasn’t referring to a container room to store physical photos, but rather a container of hard drives that stored all of my digital photos. We laughed and carried on with the insurance application process.

But this anecdote is laced with a lot of truth. Namely, I firmly believe that storage does not get nearly the amount of doting and attention that a new camera or lens does… and yet it is possibly the single most important piece of equipment next to your camera. Once you return home after a shoot, every photographic record you took will be destined for a storage container either inside, or connected to, your computer. I think we can all agree on this universal truth of the modern day photographer. I’ll also go on a limb and say that the photos you’ve just taken are very important to you, as are the ones you’ve taken every day before this one. Finally, if you agree that the most appropriate word to describe the total and unrecoverable loss of your photos would be catastrophic, then you need to be serious about how you store them and back them up, and it is the very impetus for me writing this article.

What Is Your Storage Strategy?

Before I dive further into my story, let me clarify that this is simply a recount of my experiences and decision-making processes as they relate to my storage strategy. You may have totally different experiences. However, I urge each of you to at least take a good look at what your storage strategy is and determine whether it’s reliable and supports your production needs.

As far as my production workspace goes, my primary computer is a 27″ Apple iMac 5K with a 4.2 Ghz Intel i7 processor, 64Gb of RAM, an AMD Radeon Pro 580 graphics adapters, and a 512 Gb internal SSD drive. I use Time Machine to backup my system volume and Chronosync to backup my entire photo/video library.

The thing about a storage strategy is that it doesn’t need to be complicated… it just needs to suit your needs. For me, five things are critical for my storage strategy:

  1. I need a scalable storage solution to hold my entire catalog of photos and videos while growing with my needs.
  2. I need to have a storage container that can leverage the fastest possible bus speed of my computer. In this case, it is Thunderbolt 3.
  3. I need my storage container to have fail-safes in place to protect it from possible hard drive failures
  4. I need to have a fast and reliable on-site, mirrored backup of my entire photo and video library.
  5. I need to have ready access to a local off-site copy of my library with an incremental backup loss of no longer than two weeks.

The First Step to Recovery Is Admitting You Have A Problem

5bay-right-headerFor a little over four years now, the photo storage of my on-site production and backup containers were a pair of Drobo S units followed by an upgrade to twin Drobo 5D storage containers daisy-chained to my computer via Thunderbolt. My primary container had 5 x 3Tb Seagate hard drives and my backup container had 5 x 2Tb Seagate hard drives. In the time that I’ve owned Drobo units, you could say that I’ve experienced my share of issues…. each of which cost me time and money thanks to the added price of Drobocare, Drobo’s solution to an extended warranty.

In my lifetime as a Drobo user, I’ve had four units, two power adapters, and a faceplate replaced and have still struggled with a slew of performance issues and the incessancy of a chassis that randomly rattles and buzzes. This is in addition to the six(!) Seagate hard drives that have died on me and had to be replaced. To illustrate the ridiculous amount of support calls I’ve placed to Drobo, here is a synopsis of each case opened since 2010.


Click to enlarge

It wasn’t until one day in late October that I finally had enough. I was working on an important photo project and concentration was at a premium that day. As I sat at my desk—Wacom stylus in hand—I was in the zone with editing. Things were going well. Too well. And then, naturally, my Drobo began making an awful vibrating sound. It was all too familiar and it was at the exact frequency to snap me out of my zone. That was it. I was absolutely done with this nonsense. A change had to be made at a fundamental level.

Now, you may think that I’m being melodramatic but there are two things that I’d like to point out. First, there are few things more precious to an artist than being in the zone. It is creativity’s warm blanket and the place where all muses live. When you find yourself in the zone, you never want to leave or get pushed out, especially when it’s because of the crap machining of your photo storage containers. Second, please refer back to the laundry list of cases that I’ve had to work through due to the fiesta of hardware issues with my Drobo units.

Enter G-Technology

g-speed-studio-hardware-raid-quarter-2Shortly after deciding to migrate away from Drobo, I began my research as to which company I should invest my storage needs with. I did my share of reading reviews and comparing benchmarks but it wasn’t until a fateful conversation I had with my friend and travel photographer, Ken Kaminesky, that I decided to invest in G-Technology. While I enjoy reading reviews as much as anyone else, I find that listening to real-world accounts by actual users are infinitely more useful. Ken told me all about his experiences with G-Technology, their products, and the people who work there. In full disclosure, Ken is a member of G-Technology’s G-Team, along with other notable photographers and friends like Lindsay Adler, Lucas Gilman, Jeremy Cowart, Colby Brown, and Vincent Laforet.

g-dock-ev-quarter-openI explained my situation to Ken and asked him recommend specific G-Technology hardware for me to consider purchasing. I was prepared to shell out some money but was hopeful that I could recoup some of it after selling off these Drobo units. Little did I know that Ken would go way above and beyond, being instrumental in helping me establish a partnership with G-Technology, which directly led to me being able to take possession of twin 16Tb G-Speed Studios and a G-Dock ev to house my travel drives.


The Great Migration

It took a lot of restraint to keep me from tearing open these new units once they were delivered to my house. However, I wanted to make sure that I had a sound strategy in place to safely migrate all of my data from my old storage system to my new G-Technology system. I also thought the process would make for a useful article—which you’re now reading—and I wanted to capture as much relevant data pertaining to this process as possible. After spending some time figuring things out, my migration plan would be laid out like this:

  1. Run a final incremental backup from my production Drobo 5D to my backup Drobo 5D using Chronosync
  2. Unmount, shut down, and disconnect the backup Drobo 5D
  3. Unpack, connect, and power up my new production G-Speed Studio container
  4. Create a new, 1-time Chronosync synchronizer job to migrate the entirety of my production Drobo 5D to the G-Speed Studio
  5. Unmount, shut down, and disconnect the production Drobo 5D
  6. Unpack, connect, and power up my new backup G-Speed Studio container
  7. Create a new, permanent Chronosync synchronizer and schedule to run incremental backup jobs nightly at 2AM
  8. Execute an ad-hoc job of the newly created synchronizer for the initial backup of all my content from my production G-Speed Studio to my backup G-Speed Studio

Now, I currently have 4.77 Tb of data which amounts to approximately 265,590 files. Part of me expected that step 4 would take some time. So, I waited… and waited… and waited. And then I went to sleep. When I woke up, I immediately checked my computer and was first relieved to see that the backup job didn’t stall or crash. I admit that there was a part of me that was expecting my Drobo to crap out. Still, I was shocked, and a bit appalled, that it took 14 hours and 56 minutes to complete this backup job. I didn’t crunch any hard numbers but the Drobo 5D leverages the Thunderbolt bus and the G-Speed Studio leverages the newer, faster Thunderbolt 2 bus. I figured that between the two, the process should only take 5-6 hours. Sadly, I was wrong. Here is the snapshot of the great migration job from step 4:

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 9.48.21 AM

With all of my data now safely stored on my new G-Speed Studio production volume, I began the process of migrating the data over to the backup G-Speed Studio. The job itself was virtually identical with the only differences being the source and destination volumes. So, I kicked off the job and went downstairs. A few hours went by when I heard my computer make a tone. My initial reaction as an abused Drobo owner was one of panic and frustration. “Something must have crashed,” I thought to myself. But when I got to my computer, a totally different reality presented itself. Behold, the final migration job had completed… in 3 hours and 38 minutes! That’s just about four times faster! Here is a snapshot of the final migration job:

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 9.45.41 AM

There was still one more test that I was dying to conduct. With my previous Drobo setup, I timed the launch of Lightroom from a cold boot up to be 98 seconds! Over a minute and a half to launch Lightroom and get it to where I could navigate folders. When I conducted the same cold boot launch test with my G-Technology system, it took <drumroll> 12 seconds. [Drops mic – exits stage left]

After A Week of Use

Listen, I expected to see some performance gains after moving from an all-Drobo system to an all-G-Technology system but nothing quite this dramatic. Every single aspect of my new system is far superior and you have to understand that I’m not just saying this because I am partnering with the company. I would never vouch for a product or service that I do not use and enjoy myself. My new G-Technology system is whisper quiet and blazing fast. What’s better is that I finally have peace of mind thanks to the enterprise-grade hard drives that ship with these units and the awesome warranty that is offered.

The bottom line is that my former storage solution was loud, clearly slow, and unreliable. These are attributes that you typically want to avoid when describing your storage container solution. I am not sure why I let myself go this long before taking a hard look at how my most precious photos are being stored but I’m glad that I finally did. I hope this article provides the push and inspiration for you to seriously ask yourself, “Do I really feel comfortable with how my photos and videos are stored?”


  1. […] post The Great Migration to G-Technology – My Photo Storage Story & Contest! appeared first on Brian Matiash […]

    • Charles Vincent McDonald December 31, 2014 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      Backup technology has always been my nightmare. I use a LaCie Big Quadra now but am nearing my MAX storage capacity. I too am a photographer and images are priceless. Given the time associated with computer & software image development and edits, the priceless value is most certainly double-priceless to the MAX! Seeing my old negatives & slides degrade over time and accidents was painful enough. To even consider the pain & suffering of the loss of my digital images is double-priceless to the MAX. A move to migrate to G-Technology would lessen my fear.

    • Frank Villafañe January 2, 2015 at 6:55 am - Reply

      Hi Brian,

      I recently experienced the beginnings of a failed drive and took steps to back up the drive before it completely gave up the ghost. My hard drive strategy looks more like a dog’s breakfast – an OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual (6TB), an old(er) OWC Mercury Elite ALPro (4 TB), 2 WD desktop drive containers with approximately 2 TB each and a couple of external portables (<1TB each). While I have more than enough space, the drives are constantly on and will eventually go "belly up". The (nearly) failed drive holds all my portraiture (not a good idea), and I scrambled to get everything backed up when it was starting to chatter (and yes, I was able to back eveything up, "just in case"). I actually dropped a drive a few months ago…unfortunately, whatever was on that drive is gone. But at least, I did have those images backed up (a 4TB Costco special). That loss was what led me to the 6TB replacement above.

      Long story short: I need a sound backup strategy that simply works that doesn't require my first-born for a down-payment. I looked at Drobo and was considering the 5D when I read your review of the G-Technology and it looks like something that will provide exactly what I need.

      Funny thing is: I'm a software engineer and intimately familiar with failed drives and drive space issues as I wrestle with these same problems on a day-to-day basis at the enterprise level for my company. So how is it that I don't have a pro-level DR (Disaster Recovery) strategy in place? The answer to that is the same answer the cobbler with barefoot children would give (or the pediatrician whose children are always sick)…because it takes a fair amount of time, effort & cost to effectively craft a working solution and that is a cost that is more readily transferred to new equipment, etc. Only when disaster strikes are we sufficiently motivated to execute said strategy.

      Thanks for the review and info.

      Frank Villafañe
      Urban Industrial Imaging

  2. Ken Kaminesky December 30, 2014 at 8:50 am - Reply

    A wise move :-)

  3. […] Brian Matiash A Storage Container? Let me start with a funny story that took place just recently as I was […]

  4. Jeff Harmer December 30, 2014 at 9:08 am - Reply

    I too have been looking for a backup solution after I had a Seagate drive fail (external expansion drive 2TB) this was one of 2 I was using as part of my backup/storage system. After trying several different software recovery packages to retrieve the lost files, I finally gave up and accepted that they were gone. I have looked into Drobo several times and after reading Scott Kelby’s story stayed away, but looked again as I believe I have another drive starting to fail (the other Seagate external expansion drive). The real irony here is that up and until 8 months ago I made my living in the IT/Software world so I knew better than to use the scheme of JBOD to store my images. After reading your story I will now look into G-Tech as I have looked at their drives previously and was impressed. Good Luck with your new storage system.

  5. Laurie Rubin December 30, 2014 at 9:24 am - Reply

    I admit it… I’ve been backing up my photos to external drives for years now and have never been fully on board with some of the backup solutions because of some of the horror stories I have heard about. That is until I read your story about The Great Migration.

    Not having my images probably backed up is always hanging over me like a heavy weight and this solution would really free me from worrying about… what if? Currently, I feel unorganized and out of control. HELP!!! I’m convinced more then ever that G-Technology is the answer for a secure backup solution and having that piece of mind is priceless.

  6. Laurie Rubin December 30, 2014 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Nice blog post! I’ve been looking into a good backup system. You’ve got me convinced :-)

    • Ken Kaminesky December 30, 2014 at 9:32 am - Reply

      I have a similar set up Laurie and it works seamlessly. G-Tech FTW!

    • Brian Matiash Photography December 30, 2014 at 9:45 am - Reply

      I’ve been totally happy with my move, Laurie. If you have any questions, Ken and I would be happy to help.

  7. Dave Veffer December 30, 2014 at 9:33 am - Reply

    Why I’d like to bring a G-Technology drive into my home. Well first off, I can provide it a healthy and happy environment for him to grow. I have a nice cozy warm room that I can put G (as I will call him) in. I even have a nice UPS to plug G into so that he has all the power he needs when he needs it. I have all kinds of great pictures and videos that I’d like to share with G and even give him copies of them.

    It’s not all rainbows and unicorns though. G will need to work hard to earn his keep in my home. We work hard and play hard here. I expect G to be quick and not give me many complaints and in return I will provide all the luxuries that come with being a part of my technology family.

    Hopefully G will have the opportunity to move in with me and my family and enjoy years of growing old with us. ;)

  8. Scott M Powell December 30, 2014 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Like many other photographers, I have a backup system (complicated). It consist of many hard drives and an online backup. Luckily I have not had a hard drive failure but know it is just a matter of time. When I do a search, I have multiple copies of my images and I don’t for the life of me know which is the one that my Lightroom references. I would love to get my images down to one version with backups that don’t show in my search. I have been looking to go to a Drobo system or G Technology system for my backups but have as yet to pull the trigger. I would love to have the G technology one and simplify my backup system. My photo library is growing exponentially and out of control. Help !!!

    Many thanks for your writeup on your blog and would like “to be like Brian”.

  9. Jessica Hendelman December 30, 2014 at 9:50 am - Reply

    It’s hard to find a good backup solution. From what I see, G-Tech is the way to go. I am hoping to eventually add their products to my current setup. This has been such a great article to help with making the process easier! Cheers!

  10. Connor Katz December 30, 2014 at 10:14 am - Reply

    Thanks for the fellow Photo Nerd post ;)

    So looking at your list:

    I need a scalable storage solution to hold my entire catalog of photos and videos while growing with my needs.
    — 16 TB G-Speed Studio, check
    I need to have a storage container that can leverage the fastest possible bus speed of my computer. In this case, it is Thunderbolt 2.
    — runs Thunderbolt 2, check
    I need my storage container to have failsafes in place to protect it from possible hard drive failures
    — G-Speed Studio internally runs RAID 5 between its multiple disks????
    I need to have a fast and reliable on-site, mirrored backup of my entire photo and video library.
    — Second 16 TB G-Speed Studio, check
    I need to have ready access to a local off-site copy of my library with an incremental backup loss of no longer than two weeks.

    Can you fill in the blanks on #3 and #5?

    Thank you!

    • Brian Matiash December 30, 2014 at 10:24 am - Reply

      Sure thing, Connor.

      Re: #3 – The G-Speed Studio ships with a hardware RAID controller and is pre-configured to RAID 5. This is stated in the manual under the System Requirements. However, you can change the RAID configuration using the G-Speed Studio Utility app.

      Re: #5 – So this basically means that I have an 8 Tb drive that I keep at my neighbor’s house and retrieve every two weeks to run an incremental backup. This way, if my house blows up, I’d be out of whatever photos I took since my last incremental backup, which would be two weeks at most.

      Does that help?

  11. Denny December 30, 2014 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Maybe G doesn’t really need me, but man, do I NEED G. Actually, I nee a whole new studio: computer, display, wacom, everything, but what I need most is a reliable backup system.

    I used to work on a Linux machine, but have recently switched to a hand-me-down Windows box so I could harness the power of Lightroom. Darktable is a wonderful piece of open-sourced software, but LR is so much more intuitive…and simple; it really takes any pain out of post. After I get home from shooting, I’ll load copy my photos to DNG onto the hard-drive on my computer. I plan on migrating these to my backup….. which is an old hard-drive clipped into an enclosure. This hard-drive currently contains all of my photos from my Linux machine, plus a ton of old backed-up stuff from random other computers I’ve owned.

    Now, imagine me sitting at my desk, sobbing, my head in my arms. And then, my beautiful, two-year old daughter comes in and asks, with tears in her eyes, “Daddy, why are you crying?”

    I reply, “Because my hard-drive failed!”

    My daughter then comes rushing over to me, putting her little arms around me and says, “It’s okay Daddy. You can take new pictures of me.” And then she smiles.

    And that’s my backup store. Not very good, but maybe it pulled some of Brian’s heart-strings!

    I know, I’m really, really asking for a swift kick in the nards with this set-up. But, I do what I’ve got to do, and this is all I can do right now.

  12. Nick Wrzesinski December 30, 2014 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Brian I moved from Drobo to Gtech a few years ago and never looked back. I had many of the same issues that you had before I switched. Good write up sir.

  13. Scott Thomas December 30, 2014 at 11:11 am - Reply

    I’ve been dealing with backup issues off and on for several years, and have outgrown my current, homemade system. I’d love to get started with such an impressive system.

  14. Pieter Pretorius December 30, 2014 at 11:59 am - Reply

    I would like to sleep soundly at night, not getting gray hairs due to fear of failure of a hard drive

  15. John Mylett December 30, 2014 at 12:19 pm - Reply

    Firstly nice blog Brian. Why would I love to have a G-Technology drive as a back-up solution, for me its very very simple I have no back-up system at all. This would certainly set me off on the right road and help soooo much as I progress through the Arcanum.

  16. mtbello December 30, 2014 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Inspiring story on the migration. I’ve been looking to consolidate the many external hard drives I have into a reliable RAID solution. I think I may finally do it after seeing the ease that you had.

  17. mrkhaki December 30, 2014 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    Let’s face it, my storage strategy is a disaster waiting to happen…

    Primary computer is a Samsung & Series slate running Windows 8.1, with all files mirrored to OneDrive and primary photo drive a WD 2GB portable drive. The 2GB drive is quickly filling up and I’ve had to move around 250Gb to a large, older 300Gb external drive. Having photos mirrored to OneDrive is automatic, but seems to slow down Lightroom, Nik and Perfect Photo Suite, especially with creation of new PSD and Tiff files.

    Now, if the Internet connection goes down, which did frequently in the past (just received a new xfinity router… the old one crashed daily), I’m left exposed. Then add to the occasional OneDrive issue when nothing will transfer without running the troubleshooter, and it could get bad.

    The 2Gb portable drive isn’t that fast either.

    Have been looking at Drobo, but the reviews all seem to feature disastrous experiences. So, a gtech solution might be a good alternative.

  18. Patricia Davidson December 30, 2014 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Great post! Thanks for sharing all of this Brian! I am looking at this seriously. Happy New Year!

  19. Patricia Davidson December 30, 2014 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Great post Brian! Thanks!

  20. almanac56 December 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Thought provoking article. I was playing around in the Lightroom catalogue over the holidays. I have various years images scattered over several external drives. While only having been shooting for 5-6 years,I was encouraged by the progress I had made over that time and how the images recorded my interests and passions of the moment. Having attended a few friends funerals of late I next thought of legacies we leave following generations. Having read your article i realised how vulnerable i was to wiping out that photographic legacy if any of those 3 external drives failed. I always regret i don’t have photographic record of my grandparents, clues tomtheir lives and passions. So I take heart from your advice and while not IT oriented, G-Tech may be the solution for me.

  21. Marcia December 30, 2014 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    I have many external drives which I would like to consolidate. The G system sounds like a good way to do it.

  22. traingeek December 30, 2014 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    I follow the 3-2-1 rule of backups, with my desktop downstairs holding the primary/initial copy, my storage server holding a second copy, and an external drive holding the 3rd copy offsite. I guess I’m violating the “2” as they are all on hard drives but I’m not convinced on that part of the rule. I’d love to have a G-Technology drive to replace my primary storage. My desktop basically exists for storage and for something for the kids to play on, but I’m concerned that as a single HD it is not robust enough. I had looked at Drobo but the horror stories of failures have kept me from getting one. I’m glad you have had a very positive experience and I’d like to have the same experience. I’d probably even blog about it at too.

  23. David Hodgins December 30, 2014 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    In my case, I would love to bring ANOTHER G-tech drive into my home. I started with G-Tech after seeing a Chase Jarvis video about his ingestion and storage, and have yet to be disappointed. Not only that, but I just started a new gig as a photographer for a local not-for-profit wildlife conservation org, and I would LOVE to have a specific storage unit for the images created for them. That would be a nice way to work, keeping everything on one drive.

  24. Turner Luttrell December 30, 2014 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    Brian, thank you for sharing your photography with all of us; your social media platform is valuable source of learning for me personally. I am a hobbyist photography who volunteers my limited skills as a documentary photographer for the Mississippi Baptist All State Youth Choir and Orchestra, a ministry of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board. The choir travels on tour for a period of none days each summer sharing the message of song to churches in Mississippi and in special programs by invitation. In 10 years I have collected thousands of images and memories as the students have shared their lives, ministered and shared the gospel across our state.

    This past week I was backing up my catalog for 2014 and it became even more evident of the need to place this collection on a dependable and reliable storage system. At present my collection is on dvds by year, small capacity external drives, and in a cloud storage service; this is not a suitable solution. The integration of G Technology as my storage system of choice would be a significant step forward in my ministry.

    Thank you for your consideration as you review the comments shared by your followers.

  25. Mykal Hall December 30, 2014 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    I’ll cut to the chase. 1 Tb won’t be enough to store all my photos but it will store all the images that mean something to me. Yeah I’ll store the 5 star images and their RAW files that someday will be worth something when I get my act together and start marketing myself. That’s not what I really WANT it for. If I was to loose these images I COULD go out and create beautiful images that others would value. Yes it would be a pain in the arse but it could be done over time. What couldn’t be recreated is the images I have of my late father that I traveled over 700kms from my parents place to our home and back again so I could use a photo for to be placed on his coffin at his funeral. As a landscape/seascape photographer portraits are not my thing, however on my last visit I captured 2 moments that could never be replaced. 1 with Dad and Mum together and the other a portrait of Dad. This was the only time I’ve taken a photo of them. Those two photos represent EVERYTHING that he taught me about love, marriage, hard work and persistence. Now I know the power a single image holds and why I NEED reliable backup.

  26. Dave December 31, 2014 at 4:20 am - Reply

    Personally I just use a SATA hotswap bay and standard HDs for backup. The G-Tech solution is certainly better and more convenient, but also a lot more expensive.

    I also always run a binary compare against both the original source and the two backups whenever I move files to a new drive to ensure 100% they’ve been copied OK. I’ve been stung in the past by some files becoming corrupted.

    I’m quite interested in why you regret getting the SSD (unless you meant you regretted getting the whole system?). I can’t say I’ve noticed a big improvement in PS since I moved to SSD, but a lot of other things are a lot faster.

  27. June Condruk December 31, 2014 at 7:13 am - Reply

    Help! I have fallen into the back up void and I can’t get out! Every day when I walk into my home office I am filled with a moment of terror – is my 2tb Western Digital My Book with all of my photos and music on it still running? I am not a pro but an avid photographer and am desperate for help with my back up situation. I know I need to make a choice soon but what choice? Will you hold the answer?

  28. Scott F. Walter (@scottfwalter) December 31, 2014 at 7:55 am - Reply

    Brian I feel your pain with Drobo. I really want to love Drobo but their execution and support is preventing me from doing so. I thought I had large list list of support tickets with 7 but your list unbelievable. I’m about ready to throw in the towel on my Drobo. I’m currently using a Drobo 5D. For some reason Drobo detected a drive was removed which it wasn’t but Drobo went and took 40 hours to rebuild the other drives. During this time a fan issue has popped up in which its so loud I can’t even concentrate when its on anymore. The folks at Drobo support are pretty nice but this constant going back and forth with them takes so long. I just want them to admit there’s a hardware issue so I can send it back while its still under warranty.

  29. Dave Claiborne December 31, 2014 at 9:07 am - Reply

    Appreciate the commentary on your migration to G-drive. Time for a new laptop, contemplating migrating from Windows to Mac & that will also lead to a change in my backup routine. So yeah, a G-drive system is very likely; a free drive would be even better.

  30. Mark Zukowski December 31, 2014 at 9:09 am - Reply

    Brian, thanks for writing this article. I discovered G Technology products at the beginning of this year and I’m very satisfied with the performance of my G Dock ev. It’s quiet, and runs smoothly and quickly. The 2 drives in the dock hold duplicates of my photo collection. As you know, the drives are easily swapped, and I was hoping to acquire a new 1TB drive that I could use exclusively while on the road, and not have to bring one of my present drives which holds my photo collection. I could add the photos from the new drive to my permanent collection when I return home. That’s why I’d love to bring another 1TB G Drive ev to my home (and car!).

  31. Larry Coleman December 31, 2014 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Brian, You do not say if you are running a RAID on your G Drives ( e.g. RAID 5) or using them as a a bunch of disks? I recently migrated to a Pegasus R6 system running RAID 5, so far , so good.

  32. Ross Hubbard December 31, 2014 at 1:34 pm - Reply


    Thank you for the timely post about migrating from Drobo to G-Tech. I’m in a precarious position with my images right now and at the point where I need to make an upgrade asap. I have 195,890 images on my Time Machine backup, manually backed up from my internal HD and once a week I manually back up to a LaCie 3TB external drive. I also burn CDs once a month. Not a good system so again, your post comes at a perfect time.

    Add to the fact that I just bought myself a Christmas present of a new Apple 5K iMac and now have thunderbolt capabilities so I’m looking forward to fast transfer and access.

    I’ve started shooting 4K video as well as stills so I’m trying to figure out a good work flow and think I’ve got handle on it, fingers crossed. I have a question for you though – are your drives in a RAID5?

    Thanks again for the post and Happy New Year!

  33. Joe Azure December 31, 2014 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    I need some great storage space!

  34. Kingsley Burton December 31, 2014 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    Because my images are worth it. I am not prepared to loose information from hardware failure. Zero tolerance.

  35. Chris December 31, 2014 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    This is a great blog thanks.

    I currently back up to external hard drives and tried to change my aperture library to use one. Dadah! It took all night to even open the app then to find it had duplicated the whole @$&# lot…. Grrr!

    So forget about dreams of post processing artful prints and wait till something shows up that allows this to happen, getting in the zone would be a distant dream…

    But wait here is the lightroom at the end of the tunnel this looks like a solution…

    I’m going to try it hip hip hooray!

    Thanks Brian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. Chris Wyatt January 1, 2015 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    The plan of the Container Master Mind started in the 80’s. He got this plan while staring at his shoeboxes full of photos. He wanted his containers to be needed by everyone. He (MM) needed help in 3 areas. Cameras, Software, and Professional Photographers. He went to Nikon and Canon and explained the public wanted instant gratification. This started the digital camera revolution. His containers were now needed, but he was justing starting his ingenious plan. He had them develop bigger cameras as he knew everyone wanted bigger. Recently people started to complain about the size of the cameras and lugging everything was just too much trouble. MM was ready for this as he had Sony in the wings with their new a7 cameras. Small, light and big files. MM smiled as sales increased. During this time he worked with Adobe on their Photoshop. He had them develop Smart Objects and Smart Filters to increase file size. He had them called “Smart” as he knew everyone wanted to be smart. The bigger the files the more containers were needed. He eventually got OnOne to jump in with their new Smart Photos. His last part, and the most valuable it turned out, were the Professional Photographers (PP). MM needed someone to explain how to use PS and Perfect Suite so that everyone would generate bigger files. Two words doubled his sales. Back Up. PP explained how they backed up their files, so everyone followed as they thought they were as good as a PP. In the 80’s no one backed up their shoe boxes, but this was now a required step touted by PP. Back Up was not MM’s idea but he took credit for it. MM wanted more. One day he was sitting in a park in his creative zone. He was just staring mindlessly at the sky when he came up with his new container. Everyone now had back up containers, but some were still worried that a worst case scenario would happen. A fire at their house and a fire at their friends house would destroy both containers. He would provide a safe off site storage that would have his biggest container yet. He needed a name that everyone would like. He continued to stare at the sky and then it hit him. The Cloud. Photographers like clouds. Something was still not right. The Boomers were not buying into going back to older photos. Even with keywords making it easy, Boomers were not jumping into the idea of looking at old pictures. The photos in shoe boxes never were looked at a second time, so why start now. MM was ready for this too. He had one of his new PP write a blog that would reach everyone, including Boomers. He wrote about looking at an older favorite photo and redoing it. We have new technology and we are better photographers now, so it makes sense to go back to older photos and make them better. MM also knew that Boomers now have time and like to remember the good times they had. MM was not done yet. In the same blog the PP wondered what he would do in 2020. Now Boomers are old but not stupid. They picked up on redoing old photos and starting to use “Smart” technology to make it easier to redo photos in the future. MM smiled again as sales increased. I am not sure of what MM has in store for us, but Brian beware. Oops, too late.

    MM is sitting in a large room in his house. He is in a zone, but not a creative one this time. He is staring at all of his containers stacked upon each other. He is not sure what he should do with them, but the shoe boxes have filled the room. MM still shoots film.

    • Brian Matiash January 9, 2015 at 9:36 am - Reply

      Whoop whoop! Congratulations, Chris! You are my chosen winner of a G-Technology 1 Tb G-Drive ev! I loved your story… I laughed, I cried. Thanks so much for having fun with the contest! Please email me your shipping details to and I’ll get your drive sorted out.

      And thanks to everyone for entering in the contest!

  37. Chris Wyatt January 1, 2015 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Forgot my last sentence. Sorry

    Yes, I am a Boomer and need the extra drive for a back up to my new photos.

  38. Chaz Benedict January 1, 2015 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    I’m in the dark ages – I don’t completely trust online backup sites and rely on a monthly trip to my safe deposit box to swap a clone of my hard drive. The problem is that my photos are overrunning my storage capacity. My current setup is daily backups on time machine and monthly backups to the bank vault. At the worst I lose a month, but that could suck if I spend a lot of time doing a shoot and lose my computer and daily backup. Plus – it feels like my photo library is growing exponentially! Choices – do I buy new drives or camera gear. The gear usually wins, but that’s not a good thing. I really hope that you find the G-Technology system a vast improvement to your old setup. Please keep us blog readers up-to-date on your experiences with it. You may make me a convert.

  39. Maria January 1, 2015 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing with us your wonderful experience with G-drive migration! I have no funny stories to tell but terrible experiences with laptops failures and hard-drive crashes!!! So, I am very interested in the G-drive!!!

  40. Jason Y January 2, 2015 at 9:23 am - Reply

    Have my own storage solution I made with redundant drives , that then gets backed up nightly. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do, but opted for using as much as I could that I already had laying around. I am still not 100% sure if I will keep it, but it is networked so I can access it from anywhere in the house so it serves the purpose for now. But part of me still wonders how a Drobo, Synology or G-Tech would be like.

  41. stevewalser January 2, 2015 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Sounds like a nice system. I’m using a hodgepodge of back-up drives right now with no automatic solution going. So far I’ve been lucky. I have a 2 TB G Drive Plus a 3TB WD but would like to get something with more room to grow and also allow a way to add on drives as needed. Still looking for could storage for my Mac system including the external drives.

  42. HannsJ Koehler January 2, 2015 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    I am a big G-fan – but and there is always a “but” – you should consider how you run these things! I am using 3 G-Raids with two 4tb harddrives connected via Thunderbolt to my MAC and I runs them as RAID 1 – which means that I do have a net storage of 4tb each and that in each of these 3 G-Raids one hard drive can break down and be replaced without interrupting operation.
    These G-Raids are being backed up onto a NAS Server with a net storage of 9 TB in a RAID 6 system (2 hard drives can be replace at one time) and the whole stuff is being mirrored split into 4 different cloud systems. And still I sure to hope that I will never have to rely on my backups!!

  43. Stan Olszewski January 2, 2015 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    I’d love to add a G-Drive to my system for speed, capacity, and reliability for my off-site backups.

  44. Richard Adams January 3, 2015 at 6:07 am - Reply

    It must be tough in your house since Nicole is advocating a Drobo;

  45. Marc Feldesman January 3, 2015 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    My G-drives go with me everywhere. They are my fail safe when traveling, when moving about within the house, and they have been dependable to a fault. I’d love to have another one to use on my laptop. Thanks Brian.

  46. Lukas Schweizer January 4, 2015 at 2:08 am - Reply

    Great article, thanks Brian. It helped me realizing, that I definitely need a new data management workflow.

    I would like to use just one storage brand which is reliable and fast. After this article I think G-Technology is the way to go for me. Maybe I can then sleep much better ;)

  47. meheller January 7, 2015 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    It looks like I missed the boat, if you really did pick the best story on the 5th. Nevertheless:

    I’m currently backing up my 1 TB iMac drive to a 2 TB Firewire-connected MyBook Studio continuously with Time Machine. On a monthly basis, I back up my previous month’s Lightroom directory tree across my network to a 3 TB Seagate Backup Plus drive attached to my MacBook Pro, which typically takes an hour or two, and back up that tree to my Amazon Drive, which usually takes a day.

    On an annual basis, I move my last year’s Lightroom directory tree to the MyBook Studio, which usually takes a few hours. I usually have to clean the dross off the MyBook Studio to make room — that often means deleting all but the last 6 months of the Time Machine backups. Emptying the trash is the time-consuming step there: that often takes all night.

    A G-Drive 1 TB would be fast enough to let me keep my entire Lightroom directory tree (currently half a TB) there as my primary, and restrict the MyBook Studio to backup chores. I might also want to adopt your “keep a backup drive at a neighbor’s house” strategy.

  48. meheller January 7, 2015 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    D’oh. Amazon Cloud Drive. “Cloud” is the operative word, and what makes that viable for me is the free unlimited photo storage with Amazon Prime.

  49. Kingsley Burton February 13, 2015 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Hey Bryan, I would love to receive a G:Drive solution. I have about 30 mentee’s who rely on my experience to help coach them in their photographic journey’s and I would like to show them this system in action.

  50. marcrogoff September 8, 2015 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Hi Brian, I read your story with interest but have one question for you. How do you deal with Driver redundancy and replace Drobo’s “Beyond RAID technology? Marc

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