Having been responsible for the daily tape backup routines in various office locations in a previous working life, I can tell you it's a royal pain in the behind. The PopDrive system from DHK Storage puts a couple of 2.5-inch form factor HDDs in a RAID configuration so that if one fails, it can be replaced without fear of data loss. The lightweight, pocket-sized unit's drives can be swapped out without the need for tools, and physical connection to a computer system is made possible via 3Gb/s eSATA or USB 2.0.

The PopDrive hasn't been designed to prevent data loss from accidental deletion of files by the user but rather to prevent the loss of data due to hardware failure, making it particularly useful when combined with backup software. In order to keep the price of the unit down, DHK Storage hasn't included any such software – the choice of which software to employ has been left up to the user, although backup software is not necessary to take advantage of the hard drive mirroring functionality.

Within its 6.375 x 4 x 1.125-inch (161.9 x 101.6 x 28.5mm) aluminum case are two laptop-sized hard drives that automatically sync with each other and are configured so that if one drive fails, you'd just pull it out and slot in another one – without losing data. An empty PopDrive weighs just 13 ounces (0.36kg) and 21 ounces (0.59kg) with both drive bays occupied. The system also supports RAID-0 and JBOD configurations. Non-geeks will no doubt appreciate the fact that the PopDrive will appear as a single drive in the file system.

Connection to the computer system is via USB 2.0 (at up to 480Mb/s data transfer) or eSATA (six times faster at up to 3Gb/s) and the unit comes shipped with Windows/Mac/Linux-compatible SteelVine management software, so that you know what the drive is up to. The software can even email event notifications such as disk failure to offsite IT support for prompt action.

The PopDrive is currently being offered in two flavors – the two 500GB unit carries a suggested retail price of US$250 and the double-750GB unit is priced at US$350.

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