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Hardware Thread, Zalman Storage Enclosures - yes or no? in Technical; So, I've been looking about to get myself a new portable hard drive with taking on a few "non managed" ...
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    soveryapt's Avatar
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    Zalman Storage Enclosures - yes or no?

    So, I've been looking about to get myself a new portable hard drive with taking on a few "non managed" clients (i.e. they have at most a glorified NAS so no server for imaging) so that I can store images on for them.

    I was initially thinking about just getting a Samsung M3 2TB drive (I have the 500GB model that I backup my iTunes onto) but then I came across, via looking for recommended LAN testers on here, the Zalman range of bootable external media, and I really quite like the idea. It would work out more expensive yes, but it might just be a better option so I thought I'd seek what people thought about them on here.

    I know a few people recommend them, so I just wanted to know a bit more about their reliability and such as for what they do, they seem awfully inexpensive - which makes me think twice.

    I'm looking at either they ZM-VE400 because of it's hardware encryption which makes the clients image safe when I travel (though nothing should be stored on the images, but safe not sorry etc) or the ZM-VE300 which is essentially the same without the encryption from what I can gather.

    So, who uses them, what do you think of them, are they worth it for that ability to choose your bootable image (i.e. non of the hassle of using PenDrive Linux or something to set an options menu) and when using them as a bootable device, can you also then save out to them, for instance, if I ran CloneZilla from one, could I then save back out to the drive with the image? (the website doesn't seem clear).

    Thanks all and sorry to disturb your bank holiday! lol
    Andy

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    I have a VE-200 and it is great but does have a few issues, these may be better now with newer computers but... Sometimes on old PCs it would not mount properly or would run at USB1.1 speeds - not an issue with the device rather the rubbish system bios
    You can also chuck floppy drive images on it to mount which is cool but be careful, on mine it forced the HD into readonly mode and I needed a separate caddy to remove them again
    Don't run them through a USB hub as when certain installers run - Windows XP (was a while ago) - it re-enumerated the usb controllers severing the link to the install cd and erroring
    EFI can be a pain in the rear, poorly implemented EFI like that on the ASUS transformerbook T100 can only see one of the devices at a time - mimicked BDROM or HDD.

    Importantly the 200 at least did have a mode that set it as both a HDD and BDROM so you could boot clonezilla or Windows PE and take the image back to the hard drive.

    If looking at the encrypted ones I'd have a look at the reviews, I seem to remember when it first came out that there was a problem with the durability of the keypad cutting short the life of the unit.

    Overall I like my VE200 and use it a bit when I don't have a nice fast PXE server to use instead. They are good little tools that mean you can chuck hundreds of diagnostic things on a single unit and not have to worry about burning, storing and lugging around a stack of DVDs everywhere.

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    soveryapt (26th May 2014)

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    soveryapt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    I have a VE-200
    Thanks for all that info. I'll have a dig around on reviews about the keypad then!

    Ta

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    I have all three enclosures (ZM-VE200, VE300 & VE400) and despite various annoyances with each, I would much rather carry one of these around than a stack of DVDs and a pocket full of flash drives.

    Not having to deal with multi-boot tools like SARDU and XBoot is also a HUGE time-saver.



    Quote Originally Posted by soveryapt View Post
    I'm looking at either they ZM-VE400 because of its hardware encryption which makes the clients image safe when I travel (though nothing should be stored on the images, but safe not sorry etc) or the ZM-VE300 which is essentially the same without the encryption from what I can gather.
    I would go for the ZM-VE400 simply because the ZM-VE300 has a micro USB 3.0 port that's easily damaged. As with most USB 3.0 drives, never leave the cable attached when transporting it (especially in a bag containing other stuff).

    Quote Originally Posted by soveryapt View Post
    when using them as a bootable device, can you also then save out to them, for instance, if I ran CloneZilla from one, could I then save back out to the drive with the image?
    You can do that - just select 'Dual Mode' from the Mode Select menu. I have only ever tried it with Windows PE though, so I'm not sure how well it will work with CloneZilla.

    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    If looking at the encrypted ones I'd have a look at the reviews, I seem to remember when it first came out that there was a problem with the durability of the keypad cutting short the life of the unit.
    I haven't had any issues with the durability of my VE400, although the capacitive buttons aren't as good as having real buttons.

    The other annoyance is that there are two different ways of selecting items on the menus. The 'Enter' button is used most of the time, whereas the '5' button is used only for inserting and ejecting ISO images. To me, the latter isn't logical because you expect to use the 'Enter' button for both.
    Last edited by Arthur; 26th May 2014 at 04:51 PM.

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    soveryapt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    I have all three enclosures (ZM-VE200, VE300 & VE400)...


    Someone is showing off! lol ..

    Thanks for the info, really useful ..

    Do you use the encrypted function on the 400? Is the PIN side of things easy enough to work to get into a bootable state? Are the captive buttons as fiddly as people say (i.e. you need to hit a sweet spot for it to work, else you'll be holding your finger on each for a second a throw?)
    Last edited by soveryapt; 26th May 2014 at 04:54 PM.

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    Something else I noticed with all of the enclosures if that depending upon which drive you use install inside, you may find that the front USB ports on some desktop computers do not provide enough power for the HDD to spin up. With the VE200, Zalman supplied a USB 2.0 Y-cable in the box, but with the VE300 and VE400 they didn't include an equivalent micro USB 3.0 cable. If this happens to you, either connect the drive to the rear USB ports or buy a cable like the one I linked to.

    Quote Originally Posted by soveryapt View Post
    Do you use the encrypted function on the 400?
    Unfortunately not. Sorry. None of my ISOs are worth encrypting so I didn't bother with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by soveryapt View Post
    Are the capacitive buttons as fiddly as people say
    They are a bit fiddly. Sometimes you have to press a button more than once for it to register.

    Most of the time though, as long as you press your finger on the center of the button it will work. Avoid touching the four arrows to navigate the menus because nothing with happen when you do so - you have to place your finger on the numbers themselves (2, 4, 6 or 8).

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    mac_shinobi (27th May 2014), soveryapt (26th May 2014)

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    @Arthur - which one is the better one as far as being simple and just works out of all of those as far as just mounting different ISO's for diagnostics or whatever else and data storage, I don't care about encryption etc
    Last edited by mac_shinobi; 27th May 2014 at 09:35 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mac_shinobi View Post
    which one is the better one
    The menus are pretty much identical on all three of the enclosures, so it comes down to whether you can put up with the capacitive buttons on the VE400 or the easily damaged USB port on the VE300.

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    mac_shinobi (28th May 2014)

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    I've got the 200 and it's one of my most used bits of kit.

    As others have said, some machines just won't see it (mainly older Dells IME) and some machines will force you to use a Y splitter or other methods to provide enough power to the drive (may depend on the drive you use).

    Booting is much quicker and reliable than other multiboot methods and I'd certainly get another when/if this one dies. The 200 has a "one way" switch which makes me feel safer (though I've read this could be an illusion!) when attaching it to certain teacher's machines (I'm sure you all have some of those) and as few of the machines I deal with have USB 3 it's fine for me.

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    It's a big Yes! from me - I've got two (one I have personally) and one for work and my colleagues also have one for work too.

    The ones we have are USB 3 so nice and whizzy fast on a USB 3 enabled computer.

    The main reason we got them though, is for the Virtual Optical Drive feature where you just copy ISO files on to the drive and then after selecting which ISO to mount you can boot from it which makes installing OS's even faster!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fazza View Post
    It's a big Yes! from me - I've got two (one I have personally) and one for work and my colleagues also have one for work too.

    The ones we have are USB 3 so nice and whizzy fast on a USB 3 enabled computer.

    The main reason we got them though, is for the Virtual Optical Drive feature where you just copy ISO files on to the drive and then after selecting which ISO to mount you can boot from it which makes installing OS's even faster!
    @Fazza - Are they all USB 3 or is there only one model that is USB 3 ??

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    The old VE200 is USB2 the newer two are USB3

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    @Arthur - Any chance of photos of the side where the ports are so I can see what ports etc the 2 newer ones have, so the VE400 and the previous model to the 400 ??

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    Quote Originally Posted by mac_shinobi View Post
    Any chance of photos of the side where the ports are so I can see what ports etc the 2 newer ones have, so the VE400 and the previous model to the 400??
    It's just micro USB 3.0 (the same as any other USB 3.0 HDD). The port on the VE400 is slightly recessed though.

    Models from top to bottom: VE400, VE300, VE200.




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    soveryapt's Avatar
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    Evening All

    Finally got around to buying a Zalman ZM-VE400 and a drive for it, so just a quick question for @Arthur (or anyone else using them).

    For cross platform support (as in I work with Microsoft, Linux and Apple based devices) what would you suggest is the better format, just pure simple FAT32? I think I have a few images that might not fit on with the file size limits and the fact I use it on Mac rules out NTFS and the fact I use it on Linux rules out exFAT.

    So, figured I'd ask what others do.

    Thanks
    Andy



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