If you’re like most people involved with audio and music production, then the topic of data management may seem down-right daunting. It’s more than just buying the right hard drive — responsible data management is about having a system in place that protects you from losing your irreplaceable work when disaster strikes. That may sound complex, but don’t let that scare you off. If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to a safer, more secure, and more efficient way to manage your work.

  • Step 1: Choose the right hard drive for the job
  • Step 2: Secure your data to a local storage system
  • Step 3: Back up your work to an off-site network

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Step 1: Choose the Right Hard Drive for the Job

One of the best reasons to go with a hard drive from an industry leader such as G-Technology is the actual hard disks that they use in their products. They use premium HGST drives that go through an intensive burn-in process to ensure the lowest probability of failure. But, while reliability is the most important thing to look for in a hard drive, there are other factors you’ll want to consider as well.

Drive Speed

For years now, 7,200rpm hard drives have been the standard, and with the wide-spread popularity of high-speed protocols such as Thunderbolt and USB 3.0, finding a hard drive that’s fast enough for high track counts and serious sample streaming isn’t usually an issue. If you’re regularly dealing with massive track loads or 192kHz samples, then you may need something faster. That’s where solutions such as solid-state drives and RAID 0 systems pay off. Solid-state drives don’t rely on moving parts, enabling them to access data at extremely high rates, whereas RAID 0 systems distribute the data load across two disks for extreme efficiency.

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Form Factor

If you’re recording nature sounds in the middle of a marsh, then your needs are going to be significantly different from what you’d use to track a 4-piece band in your project studio. Hard drives that are specifically designed for adverse conditions, such as G-Technology’s G-Drive Evolution Series RaW and ATC models, often prove to be better investments for field recording than standard desktop hard drives. At the same time, desktop G-Drive models offer extended connectivity options, and features such as integrated heat sinks make them better suited for extended recording sessions and heavy use.

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HDD or SSD?

There’s been a fair amount of recent debate and confusion about the relative merits of SSDs (solid-state drives) compared to standard HDDs (hard disk drives). The fact is, neither is inherently better, and both have their relative strengths and weaknesses. Generally speaking, SSDs are much faster than conventional HDDs – they weigh less, have no moving parts to produce noise or fail, and don’t require defragmentation to run efficiently. A technology still very much under development, earlier SSDs could only be written to a finite number of times and thus failed after limited use. Currently, however, the only real disadvantages of SSD storage is the cost (drives typically run between five and ten times the price of HDDs) and total capacity.

Step 2: Secure Your Data to a Local Storage System

An inescapable fact of data management is that hard drives fail. They fail when you least expect them to, without preamble or warning, and often so irrecoverably that nothing short of painfully expensive data recovery can restore your lost work. Between the time lost and the agony spent trying to get your data back, a proper local backup solution, such as a G-Technology G-RAID system, will pay for itself over and over again.

Why Back up Locally?

With off-site cloud backup storage such a relatively inexpensive option these days, you may wonder why you’d even bother with a local storage system. The reason is simple: time. Uploading large amounts of data via your internet connection is a time-consuming process in itself, forcing you to pause and let your system catch up before you can get to work. More importantly, there’s the restoration process to consider. If your main storage drive goes down, you may be talking about days or even weeks of downloading before you fully recover terabytes of lost material. With a local backup system, a disk failure will set you back mere hours, minutes, or no time at all.

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RAID 1 for Redundant Storage

When we refer to local storage, we’re usually talking about a simple RAID 1 system. G-Technology G-RAID drives are perfect for this kind of application, right out of the box. Like RAID 0 systems, which distribute a single disk’s workload across a pair of hard drives, RAID 1 is a 2-disk system. However, with RAID 1, the same data is simultaneously written to both disks at once, providing you with an instant backup. While you won’t experience a performance increase with a RAID 1 system, you do get the benefit of redundant storage, so if one of the hard drives fails, none of your data will be lost.

What If I Need More?

If your needs require greater redundancy to prevent multiple drive failures from leaving you high and dry, or if you need the combination of redundant data storage and the performance boost of a RAID 0 system, then you’re looking at a more complex RAID system. G-Technology Studio Series rigs can accommodate standard RAID 5 and 6 as well as hybrid RAID 10, 50, and 60 setups. Bottom line: no matter what you need, your Sweetwater Sales Engineer can help you sort it out and get you what you need.

Step 3: Back Up Your Work to an Off-site Network

Local storage is absolutely critical, but what happens if your system becomes compromised? From catastrophic system failures and natural disasters to highly destructive viruses and run-of-the-mill theft, there are a number of things that could potentially wipe out your local data storage. A network-based cloud storage solution not only offers you an added layer of protection, but the right online backup service can also offer you many additional conveniences that go far beyond backing up your work. G-Technology and Sweetwater Sales Engineers are happy to recommend Gobbler, an online backup service created specifically for musicians and audio production professionals.

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Security in the Cloud

We discussed redundant storage in the section on backing up locally, but how safe is your data in the cloud? If you’re using Gobbler, then the answer is “very.” For starters, Gobbler uses Amazon Web Services’ S3 servers, which offer a redundancy factor of 99.9999999. Put simply, if you had 10 thousand files stored there for 10 million years, statistically, you’d only lose a single file. As for security, military-grade 256-bit AES encryption keeps your files safe from anyone who somehow manages to get past Amazon’s world-class network protection.

Convenience Beyond Backing Up

Backing up your sessions to the cloud can prove invaluable, but Gobbler takes that service one step further. Once you add a session to Gobbler, it will automatically back up any changes you make, without requiring any active data management on your part. What’s more, you can access them from multiple workstations, making it easy to track versions between computers. Cooler still, Gobbler keeps backups of previous versions of your projects, allowing you to rollback changes if you need to. And since there’s no limit to the data you back up to Gobbler, once you add a session, it will always be there.

File Sharing Made Easy

Some cloud-based backup solutions, such as Gobbler, make file sharing extra convenient, providing you with a secure way of transferring your work to clients and collaborators. Gone are the days of having to burn a CD, stick it in the mail, and desperately hope it will arrive at its destination safe and sound. With Gobbler, you can transfer files with the ease of sending an attachment through email, but without the size limitations. Whether you’re bouncing a 2-track test mix off a client or shipping a full set of high-resolution sessions to your mastering engineer, Gobbler will get your files there fast.

What’s Next?

If you have additional questions about data management or simply want help putting together a system that meets your storage and security needs, please give your Sweetwater Sales Engineer a call at (800) 222-4700. We’ll make sure you get both the performance and the peace of mind you need.

G-Technology Product Lines

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Desktop Hard Drives

G-Technology desktop hard drives are the single most-trusted hard drives in the world of media production, and countless professional studios, video houses, and artists depend on them daily. Each G-Drive comes equipped with a premium HGST disk drive that’s already undergone an extensive burn-in process to ensure maximum reliability. What’s more, desktop G-Drives come equipped with a fan-less heat sink and vibration-soaking chassis, virtually eliminating operation noise.

Desktop Hard Drives at a Glance:

  • High-speed connectivity onboard
  • Loaded with premium HGST drives
  • Low-noise, fan-free chassis design

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Portable Hard Drives

When it comes to portable reliability and versatility, you really can’t beat G-Technology’s Evolution Series. Designed around the G-Dock desktop hard drive docking system, G-Drive ev models are ideal for recording in the field and transferring large projects from workstation to workstation. Individually, G-Drive ev models are slim, bus-powered hard drives that offer high-speed data transfer and low-profile convenience. They come in a variety of configurations, including the rugged G-Drive ev RaW and the water-resistant G-Drive ev ATC. Plug them into the 2-slot G-Dock, and you can also use these drives in a RAID configuration for added performance or security.

Portable Hard Drives at a Glance:

  • Grab-and-go docking hard drives
  • Bus power for convenient field use
  • Rugged protective cases available

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RAID Storage Systems

Do you need blazing-fast performance? What about rock-solid redundant storage for your invaluable data? How about both? With G-Technology’s impressive selection of RAID-ready storage systems, anything’s possible. On the more basic side, there are solutions such as the G-RAID mini and standard G-RAID models, with Thunderbolt connectivity as an option to speed up data transfer. If you need a more flexible setup for a RAID 50, 60, or 100 system, then ask your Sweetwater Sales Engineer about the G-Technology Studio Series. 

RAID Storage Systems at a Glance:

  • Unrivaled speed and data protection
  • Simple software makes setup easy
  • Wide range of configuration options

Gobbler

What Is Gobbler?

Part off-site backup, part organizational tool, and part file transfer system, Gobbler is an invaluable tool for musicians and audio production professionals. In an internet landscape full of cloud storage and online data backup options, Gobbler provides you with an actively self-maintaining system that doesn’t just fit into your workflow; it enhances it by streamlining the way you access your sessions across multiple hard drives and even multiple workstations — all the while ensuring you’ll never lose another project.

Gobbler at a Glance:

  • An automatic off-site backup system for media professionals
  • Organization tools and version tracking speed up your workflow
  • Secure file sharing offers a streamlined way to send sessions

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A Smarter Backup System

Typical cloud storage systems aren’t geared toward media projects, which often contain gigabytes of constantly changing data. Gobbler is different because it automatically detects and saves changes in your projects, rather than copying over entire folders every time you want to back up. In fact, once you add a project to Gobbler, you never need to manage a thing yourself. It even tracks changes in your projects, allowing you to rollback to previous versions at a moment’s notice. And to preserve CPU power, the Gobbler application automatically goes dormant when you’re using your DAW.

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Organize Your Media

One of the keys to an efficient workflow is keeping all of your media properly organized, but that can be a real challenge when you’re dealing with files spread out across multiple computers and hard drives. Gobbler makes staying organized easy by cataloging all of your sessions and media files, regardless of where they’re stored. It doesn’t matter to Gobbler if the files are on your laptop, a media server in your basement, or sitting on a thumb drive you left plugged in at the office. If they’re backed up to Gobbler, your media files and sessions will all be searchable, sortable, and accessible wherever you have access to your Gobbler account.

File Transfer Made Easy

Forget about clunky file-sharing services and awkward FTP transfers. Gobbler makes sending gigabytes of session data and files as easy as emailing an attachment, without worrying about what kind of files you’re sending or how big they are. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about compressing anything — Gobbler takes care of optimizing file transfer speeds by automatically applying industry-leading lossless compression to your files, allowing you to send huge amounts of data at speeds you never thought possible.

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