The first part of my review of the ioSafe N2 Fireproof and Waterproof Dual-Drive NAS is now posted (six pages).
I like the ioSafe N2—it’s very well built and it fits a need of mine: remotable and durable and with up to 2 X 4TB storage. I’ve stuck it in my semi-attached garage and I’m working with it in various ways. Other updates to follow over the next week or two.
Particularly impressive: the unit is whisper quiet. I mean nearly inaudible and I’m one picky guy about noise. Probably because the drives are inside the surrounding thick insulating material.
My main wish: it would be cool (or hot) if one could direct attach it via USB3 or Thunderbolt instead of using it strictly as a NAS. Pun intended.
Don H writes:
A number of years ago I took some steps to create a fire-proof data storage product, originally based on a cylindrical container of DVD-Rs and later a similarly-sized 'can' with hard disks inside. Either unit could be inserted into a custom fire-proof tube that one could bury in the ground, or their garage floor, or wherever it made sense. The product name was to be 'Tube Vault' and I made a number of trips to China and elsewhere to source fabrication.
Long story short - things intervened and I couldn't take the financial risk to capitalize the whole affair.
Since then, I've always kept a casual eye on similar solutions, and the ioSafe looks like a worthy product. As you point out, however, it cannot be directly attached, which limits its usefulness as fast production storage. Perhaps they might add that as an option in the future.
A different approach that I've considered is to use something like the Promise Thunderbolt RAID*, but locate a mirror backup unit in a secure place separated from the main computer. Conceivably one could buy a used fireproof safe of sufficient interior volume and drill a hole in the side to pass a water-sealed conduit through. (Safes can indeed be drilled, but it just takes longer than the typical thief is willing to hang around for.) In the event of a fire the wires would obviously melt, but the disks would shut down in their latest state and the backup should survive provided the safe itself didn't get too hot. One might also use lower-RPM drives to reduce heat buildup inside the safe during normal operation. (The latest WD Red drives look good for this application.)
This is where the long Corning Thunderbolt cables come in; they would allow the backup unit to be physically distant from the main storage. Of course the distance is dependent on the owner's property layout (apartment dwellers would be out of luck), but anyone with a 1/4 acre or more should be able to get sufficient distance such that the backup could be away from a main dwelling fire. Assuming the entire property isn't leveled by something truly catastrophic, this setup should address most people's needs who don't normally use off-site backups. (For truly critical work off-site means geographically separated as appropriate.)
I'm always glad to see products like the ioSafe come to market, as they serve an immediate need and remove a lot of the hassles associated with fireproof backups. For the smaller percentage or people who are willing to roll their own, however, I favor the idea of a larger general-purpose fireproof enclosure that then allows one to use any storage device available, including non-NAS units. But moving heavy safes around is obviously not for the faint of heart or spine.
MPG: good points.