Two years ago, I wrote "The price of disk storage keeps dropping" when I added a three terabyte Westen Digital NAS (network attached storage) hard drive to my in-home network. (A terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes or 1,000,000 megabytes.) I was delighted with the high storage capacity which I thought I would never fill up. I wrote, "Best of all, the price was so low as to be undreamed of only a few years ago. You can do the same." Three terabytes at $190 is about six cents per gigabyte.
In fact, the two-year-old, three terabyte drive is still in daily use and has not yet filled up. The computer I am using at this moment makes a backup of all newly-changed files every hour and saves those files on the three terabyte drive. My laptop also does the same: makes backups every hour when it is in use at home and saves those backup files to the same three-terabyte hard drive that is being used by the desktop computer. I still have about one terabyte of empty space on the drive.
My statement made many times over the years is still true. Today I saw an ad for an EIGHT-TERABYTE hard drive array on Amazon.com for $530. That's also about the same price as the earlier, smaller drives: about six and a half cents per gigabyte.
Indeed, "The price of disk storage keeps dropping."
I think eight terabytes is enough to keep most anyone's genealogy database... and family photographs... and email correspondence... and a lot more.
Actually, the Western Digital My Book Live Duo 8 Terabyte Personal Cloud Storage NAS isn't the largest capacity disk system available today but it is one of the most cost-effective. Many commercial photographers, architects, and others will purchase even larger disk arrays but at prices that are beyond the reach of most consumers. I think I would settle for "only" eight terabytes.
Actually, I won't buy one just yet as I haven't yet filled up my older three-terabyte disk. However, should I ever fill it or if it ever fails, I know what my next hard drive will be.
Hmmm, I wonder what size hard drive I will be writing about two or three years from now...
A Note for Macintosh Owners:
Western Digital makes a Mac-specific version of the same eight-terabyte hard drive that is more expensive ($700) but includes extra features that will appeal to Mac users. First, it uses the new Thunderbolt technology to read and write data at much higher speeds. All Macs built in the last year or two can use Thunderbolt but few other computers use that technology. Photographers, engineers, and others who store tens of thousands of large files in external disk arrays will appreciate the high-speeds of Thunderbolt.
Next, the Western Digital My Book Thunderbolt Duo 8TB External Dual Hard Drive is even a bootable drive for Macs. Simply plug the external drive into your Mac's Thunderbolt connector and then configure Time Machine to make full backups to the big external drive. The total set-up time will be five minutes or so and then you will need to wait for the Mac to make its first full backup to that drive. If the Mac's internal hard drive ever fails at a future date, you can first repair the internal drive and then boot directly from the external drive. You can restore the Mac's entire internal hard drive, including the operating system and all applications, from the backups on the external drive. Very few external hard drives offer the capability to boot directly from that drive.