What Should I Do With 7 Hard Drives?


Jan 18, 2012
I need some advice and suggestions about how to make the best use of the hard drives I have accumulated. There are 7 of the things.

I run a MacBook Pro and a Time Capsule with 3 external drives attached to it via USB. I've added a Linux machine, running Mint, an Ubuntu variant.

I really don't need to run 3 separate external drives. So, if I cannibalized them, I would have two 2-tb drives, 3 1-tb drives,all 3.5 inches, and 2-500 meg 2.5-inch drives. All the external drive enclosures have USB 2, Firewire 800 and eSATA ports. The Linux box has USB 2/3, eSATA and ethernet ports. The MacBook has USB, Firewire, ethernet, but no eSATA.

I use the drives for photo backup, etc. Frankly, it's way more capacity than I need. But, it is a hassle to deal with 3 drives. Plus, so far, the Linux machine can't see them unless they're are directly attached to one of its ports.

So, I'm looking for options. Here's what I've come up with:

1. Let things as they are.

2. See if there is way to brew a Linux-MacBook network so that the drives are available to both machines, or to an individual machine when the other machine is turned off. Not sure how to do this, though.

3. Build/buy an enclosure and stuff the drives inside and let both machines use it as a file server/backup device. As I understand, JBOD allows mixing of different capacity drives, as does Drobo. However, RAID, of any flavor, treats each drive as if it had the capacity of the smallest component. Allso, if one JBOD drives goes bad, I gather you're very likely in a very bad way. (Not the case, however, with Drobo. I'm not really looking to spend Drobo money, so is there a homebrew solution that provides the same ability to protect data from a single drive failure?

What do you all think I can do with 'em?