Hi-Rely RAIDFrame: External Disk-To-Disk Backup Via eSATA

Business technology’s demands today are, and will always be, ever-increasing. This is even more apparent in the storage arena. Larger file formats, increased data usage, and the number of companies relying on computers to keep their business going all factor in on the need to rely on bigger, faster, and better ways to store data. IT vendors help keep up with the demand by releasing larger disk drives designed for speed, capacity, and reliability. But even when one disk drive can’t handle all the demand, we find ways to creatively design disk systems that can hold larger capacities with the extra security of redundant modes of operation. In business computing, of course, you can’t talk about storage without having adequate backup. 

Traditionally, tape has always been the way to store archived data for short and long term periods. As a longer-term backup solution, tape works great, as its small footprint doesn’t take up too much space, capacities have significantly increased over the years, and many manufacturers still support it. As a short-term backup solution, though, tape is just not that convenient of a media. Loading a tape cartridge for a restore and having to finding the requested data takes time that, in the computing world, can feel like hours. Managing these small, delicate backup cartridges can also be overwhelming to the system admin, as they have to rotate and index numerous tape cartridges to keep up with the daily backups, while at the same time keeping the strips of magnetized film safe from the elements. Ideally, there should be a better way to be less reliant on tape when it comes to short-term file storage. This concept that I’m leading to is disk-to-disk backup.

As I mentioned, disk drives are constantly improving in performance and capacity. Along with each new model that gets released, previous models drop in price to much more affordable levels. Advantageous in not just cost per gigabyte, disk drives are easily accessible, faster than tape, and can store plenty of hot data that would take more effort to retrieve off of a tape cartridge. To top it all off, disk drives are much more "storable" than tape, as the data is kept on metallic platters sitting in sealed, hard casings.

About two years ago, I wrote a review about a hard drive-based backup system that uses several independent disk drives connected to a computer via an eSATA connection. Highly Reliable Systems, the Reno, Nevada-based company that brought us the seven-bay High-Rely backup system, now has something that could be considered a step up when backing up data to disk. 

The High-Rely RAIDFrame Backup System is an eSATA-based JBOD solution that gives you five separate RAID storage devices in one chassis.  Designed for techies that don’t mind being a little hands-on, the RAIDFrame can provide backup functionality over a 3 Gb/s eSATA connection from a single or, if configured, multiple hosts. Not only do you get fault tolerance in a small package, but you can also get up to well over 4TB of disk space if you use large enough drives.


  • 1 RAIDFrame Chassis

Five RAIDPacs

  • PCIe x1 eSATA card
  • PCI eSATA card
  • RAIDPac Carrying Case
  • Accessories (power cable, keys, documentation)
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  • Dr_M0rph3us
    MMO - Massively Multi-Overpriced. Seriously. I'd better build a NAS with XEONs and lots of RAM with that kind of money. Same or better quality. Agreed, there are some drawbacks (consumes more power, heavier), but I don't see why one would spend $3,600 for a metal chassis and 2 generic power sources...
  • mi1ez
    2 switches to decide between 2 RAID settings?
  • section_32
    I agree with Dr_M0rph3us this product is way too pricey for what you actually get, which is a metal box, a couple of cheap deaktop power supplies and some circuitry knocked up somewhere in asia for pennies. I do like the product though with its simplicity, i could see this being used in small businesses where the price of an HP San might be unreachable but then it's still too expensive.