As an early gift for my birthday I received a Drobo “Storage Robot.” This is a little USB 2.0 storage device that holds up to 4 hard drives, but is seen as only one drive to your computer with lots and lots of storage. Plus, it has redundancy so that if a single drive fails, your data is still there. “Ah, RAID” you’re thinking. Yes and no. Usually with RAID you’re stuck with a fixed size disk. If you use 250GB drives x 4, and one fails, you can only replace it with another 250GB disk; do so with anything larger and it’s wasted space. The Drobo lets you use a combination of different sized disks and when you start getting low on space, simply remove the smallest disk and replace it with a larger one – and it’s space is instantly available.
While still a little pricey, it’s a zero maintenance solution that can grow as your storage needs do. I could have (and had!) done my own RAID system and was maintaining it just fine, however when I had to grow the storage it was always a pain. I’m starting to value my time over tinkering with hardware and Drobo just works so I can do more important things.