How to Keep Your Drives Safe and Secure While Duplicating

In my previous blog, I wrote about reasons why an organization, Enterprise, or any sized business would want to duplicate its hard drives.  I looked at such factors as simple drive replacement (replacing a small drive with a larger drive) and creating a company or department standard drive image that can be installed company or department-wide during organization downtime or into new systems.
Aleratec offers a choice of hard drive duplicators, with the ability to duplicate one, five, or eleven drives at a time.  For organizations that are planning to make a large scale upgrade of its systems, the multi-drive duplicators are an obvious best choice because of the speed with which many drives can be copied.  If speed is an issue, and an Enterprise or organization wants to update many computers or to make many copies of hard drives, one of the multi-drive duplicators from Aleratec is the best choice.  For lower volume copies, an Aleratec 1:1 duplicator may be a more economical decision.

OS Agnostic

The Aleratec hard drive duplicators make complete, exact copies of a source hard drive.  The duplicators don’t have to be connected to a computer to run the operation, and simply require a few selections from a built-in menu to begin duplicating drives.  (Aleratec’s Entry-level duplicators only require a button-press or two to start copying).
Because the Hard Drive duplicators make exact copies, and each copier has its own operating system, it doesn’t matter how the source drive is formatted or partitioned.  Whether it’s NTFS, FAT 16 or 32, one of the Linux or Macintosh formats, or even another format, the Aleratec Hard Drive duplicator will make the copy.  As long as the target drive(s) are as large or larger than the source drive, the Aleratec Hard Drive duplicator will make an exact copy.
Because the copy is exact, it is recommended that the source drive be defragmented before duplication and that the drive is working properly – an exact copy will duplicate a fragmented drive, creating a fragmented copy; it may also have problems duplicating a damaged drive with unreadable sectors.
For many organizations, the issue of fragmented or damaged drives is moot – the goal is to create drives that can be distributed across an organization or department.  Whether the drives will be used to configure newly purchased machines or to upgrade existing equipment, having a good, verified source, and being able to make exact copies (clones) of the source hard drive are critical tasks for many organizations.
Servers come with tools for creating drive images.  Once an image is created, tested, and verified, it can be used as the source.  Many organizations will use different sources for different departments, or for users with different job functions, or for other reasons.  Having a duplicator that can easily and efficiently clone a source hard drive simplifies the process.
Although copies can be made using a computer and removable drive bays, the duplication process would tie up the computer making the copy.  A machine, like those from Aleratec, dedicated to duplicating drives, without requiring a connection to a computer, is a definite advantage to organizations looking to make copies without tying up its computers.


In the last blog, I used the word safe in reference to copying drives.  I’m applying this word primarily to Aleratec’s 1:1 Hard Drive Duplicator and Sanitizer, although the word can also be applied to its 1:5 and 1:11 Hard Drive Duplicator and Sanitizer.
The three models noted above use Quick Load Drive drawers – the SATA drive is inserted into the drawer, where it mates with non-scratch SATA (NSS) connectors.  The front of the door is pushed shut, and securely closed.  The connection is solid and permanent (until you choose to remove the drive).   The drives can’t be bumped, jostled, or accidentally removed.   The only way to remove a drive from the duplicator is to physically, intentionally, remove it.
In this world in which we live, unfortunately there may be persons who are, shall I say, a bit less than totally honest.  Whether their intention is to simply get a free hard disk drive, or to perform an act of espionage or Intellectual Property theft, it may be important for many organizations and Enterprises to make certain that they have no exposed drives, just waiting to be taken.
The 1:1 HDD Cruiser, 1:5 HDD Cruiser, and the 1:11 HDD Copy Cruiser all feature Quick Load Drive drawers.  To steal a drive from one of these units takes a few seconds, and can’t be done by accident.  The mere presence of a drawer may be enough to deter some casual thieves.  A drive can’t simply be lifted out of a duplicator and slipped into a purse or pocket.
However, for further security, the drives on the 1:1 HDD Cruiser can be locked with a key.  So, even if the contents of the source drive (or of the targets, once the copies are completed), aren’t sensitive, they may still contain operating systems, applications, or data that you don’t want removed.  Locking the drives into the drawers provides an extra level of security for your source and target drives.
There’s one more benefit to locking the drawers:  during a copy operation, a target drive can possibly be damaged if it is removed before the copying is completed.  Locking the drawer will assure that only those with a key can remove the drives.   This extra step required for removal may help reduce the risk of damaging a target drive, or making an incomplete copy.
In this blog, I’ve looked at some of the issues why an organization or Enterprise needs to duplicate Hard Disk Drives, and looked at how Aleratec’s business-class Hard Drive Duplicators and Sanitizers can keep the drives safe during copying.  In future blogs, I’ll look at what it means to Sanitize a drive, and explore some of the sanitization options.

Mark Brownstein is a technology journalist and technology consultant who specializes in explaining and interpreting new technologies, and clarifying how to integrate these new products into current systems. He has been Editor-In-Chief at computer technology and networking publications, has held significant editorial positions at major technology magazines, and is a frequent contributor to various technology magazines. He has written seven books. He is Microsoft Certified, and spends much of his time testing hardware and software products, running his own networks, and learning the best ways to get computer systems running and to keep them running.

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