CRU is a leader in manufacturing disk drives and enclosures for photographers and others who need reliable storage to back up images, video and other critical data. “A lot of people prefer our products because they’re robust,” says Chris Kruell, director of marketing for CRU.
Whether a photographer is shooting “tethered” (with a camera attached to a laptop or another computer during the shoot), or transferring data from a memory card to a computer, safe data storage is crucial. “Where CRU comes in is to help the photographer back up these images and safely archive them,” Kruell notes.
What about using the Cloud to back up photos? “This is such a pervasive term these days,” he replies. “I think that the Cloud can be a good solution for some data storage, but photography is not one of them.” As he points out, one issue is that today’s image file sizes are so large that uploading and retrieving data from the Cloud takes too long to make it practical. Kruell advises using sound asset management practices so that digital images are stored, archived and readily accessible. The ability to back up images and make two copies is also a valuable feature. “We’ve developed a fan base within the photo community for people who use these products,” Kruell says. CRU’s latest introductions include the RTX220-3QR, the ToughTech Duo 3SR and the ToughTech m3.
The CRU RTX 220-3QR is a new RAID 0 and RAID 1 (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) enclosure with USB 3.0/2.0, eSATA, and FireWire 800 ports. It also offers two “TrayFree” bays for SATA drives (these bays house the hard drives in a unit). With TrayFree bays, you simply open the door, slide a drive in, and close it — no screws or trays needed. Kruell says that a two- or four-bay RTX product is ideal for photographers who require high-speed connections. “What photographers like best about the RTX device is that it’s rugged and reliable,” he points out. It’s very industrial in its look and feel, and a built-in handle makes it possible to take the RTX on location. This product is available at a suggested retail price of $499.
ToughTech Duo 3SR
This compact storage product has a rugged, hand-sized chassis that measures 6.3 x 3.5 x 1.4 inches and weighs just over 1.5 pounds. “It holds two 2.5-inch notebook hard drives,” Kruell explains. This hand-held RAID device utilizes a number of disks that work with one another for performance, faster write speeds to storage media, and redundancy.
Its many features include an LCD menu to monitor drive health and configure with soft-touch navigation. “You can configure it to be one large virtual disk,” Kruell says, “or two disks that are mirrors of each other.” When you’re writing to one disk, the information is automatically being written to a second one. Thus, if one disk fails, there’s always a back-up. The all-aluminum ToughTech Duo 3SR stays cool without fans, so its operation is very quiet. The USB 3.0 interface option enables photographers to get fast transfer rates, and USB 2.0 or eSATA are also connectivity options. This unit comes with a multi-country AC power supply, making it convenient for international travel. A standard Kensington Security Slot is integrated into the ToughTech Duo 3SR chassis, making it easy to add a lock for security. The ToughTech Duo and RTX products are very easy to swap out when their capacity is full, without the need for additional tools.
Unique trays make replacing drives in the ToughTech Duo easy, quick and safe, with no tools required. Drives can be quickly handed over to colleagues, sent offsite or replaced with new capacity. The ToughTech Duo comes with screws so that drives can be secured to withstand vibration and shock in extreme environments. Kruell attests to the ruggedness of this device with a story about a photographer who dropped a Duo unit from a height of 15-20 feet at CRU’s photography studio. “It landed on a large power supply,” he says, “hit the floor and skidded several feet.” Although CRU had to replace the “sled” (an outer covering that holds the hard drive), “they popped the drive back in, and it worked like a champ.” The ToughTech Duo is available at a suggested retail price of $299.
New to the ToughTech family of products is the m3, a compact enclosure that holds a single 2.5-inch notebook drive. It’s available as a one-terabyte hard drive, 250GB SSD (solid state drive) or as an empty enclosure for a drive of your choice. The m3 offers rugged portability and can be carried in a briefcase or backpack as a single external drive. It’s constructed out of sturdy aluminum and has a Kensington Security Slot.
The m3 features a unique WriteProtect Read-Only mode, which “locks down” the data in your enclosure and ensures that no one can accidentally erase or write over important data. Read-Only is a handy feature for people who must send data out to others, such as videographers who require post-production work. A sub-contractor can read the data, copy it, perform their work and the original data remains intact. “This is a feature that the competition doesn’t offer,” Kruell says. This USB 3.0 device doesn’t require additional power or an adapter, and it’s a fitting addition to the ToughTech product line. The ToughTech m3 is available at a suggested price of $49.
Free phone support is available to all CRU customers, which enables you to speak with a person who is trained to assist with any questions you may have, no matter when the issue arises. “We have a history of taking care of our customers,” Kruell concludes. “It’s one of the reasons that people return to buy our products.”
For more information on the products described in this article, visit www.CRUInc.com.