Have hard drive, will travel

As frequent fliers know, one of the best ways to prevent theft is to keep valuable items with you in a carry-on bag. Likewise, an effective way to prevent data theft is to keep it with you. But how do you do that when it's on a hard drive securely nestled inside a desktop PC?

The answer: with CRU's DataPort 25, a rugged hard drive enclosure that lets you pop out a hard drive with the turn of a key and the press of a button.

DataPort 25 installs in a standard external 3.5-inch drive bay so your hard drive is easily accessible. A keyed lock holds it in place and must be in the locked position for power to reach the hard drive.

The product consists of two primary parts. One is the receiving frame, which remains stationary in the drive bay. The other is the hard drive carrier, a smaller case inside, where the hard drive resides. The lock is on the receiving frame and the carrier pops out to transport the hard drive. Both parts are made of thick, sturdy stainless steel and die-cast metal.

DataPort 25 can hold up to two 2.5-inch hard drives of any capacity. With two hard drives installed, the system supports Redundant Array of Independent Disks Level 0 striping for performance and Level 1 mirroring for data security.

The device is compatible with IDE and Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) drives. The receiving frame is also compatible with IDE and Serial ATA carriers.

In addition to portability, the DataPort 25 saves space. It's ideal for small computers and mini rackmounts, for example.

Our review unit was the IDE version. Installing hard drives in the carrier is easy. An inner frame slides out of the carrier and all you need to do is plug the drives into their connectors.

Light-emitting diodes on the front of the carrier indicate system power when it is installed in the receiving frame. There is a diode that indicates hard drive activity, but it won't work with Serial ATA drives unless your system has a controller for this elsewhere, such as on the motherboard or on a PCI card.

The IDE version of DataPort 25 sells for $102.95, and the Serial ATA version costs $103.95. Other models with various types of encryption, some holding one hard drive and others with two, sell for $181.95 to $309.95.

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