February 7th, 2013 by Mark Kidd
Perm-A-Store Turtle Drive Case Review
Transportation and housing options for bare internal drives are one of the areas of storage technology that has not changed much during the last ten years. For technicians assembling field kits for remote offices, data center administrators storing spare drives, or any other situation calling for safe storage and transport for large quantities of drives, enterprises continue to rely on cardboard boxes with anti-static foam to pack fragile, high-value components. Perm-A-Store’s Turtle hard drive cases provide an alternative.
In our case specifically, the Storage Review lab houses nearly 500 drives ranging from 5mm 2.5" SSDs to standard 3.5" hard drives. Storing all of these drives in a sensible way is a bit daunting, as the most common mechanism for storage are cardboard shipping boxes with hard foam slotted interiors. With no end in sight for our drive collection growth, we worked with Perm-A-Store to create a proper solution for our storage storage (which incidentally is a difficult topic to search on).
Design and Build
Perm-A-Store provided StorageReview with samples of two of its high-capacity hard drive cases: the Turtle 039 2.5-inch drive case, which can accommodate up to 60 drives, and the Turtle 549, a 3.5-inch drive case which can accommodate up to 33 drives. Both cases share the same overall design and features, including an airtight and waterproof shell with anti-static foam lid, base, and insert.
From an external view, one of the advantages to using Turtle cases is that they are designed for stacking, which has dramatically reduced the footprint of the drive storage area in our own lab. Perm-A-Store’s outer shells are impact resistant and crushproof, with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. An automatic pressure relief valve means that the cases can remain airtight while still adapting to changes in ambient air pressure, such as during transport by plane.
The Turtle 549, 3.5-inch case measures 18.0" x 13.0" x 6.9" on its interior and 19.8" x 16.0" x 7.6" on the exterior, weighing 7.1 lbs empty. The 039, 2.5-inch case measures 22.0" x 18.0" x 7.2" on the interior and 25.1" x 19.9" x 8.8" on the exterior, weighing in at 10.6 lbs empty. In addition to allowing the customer to provide their own lock, Perm-A-Store offers optional brass padlocks and numbered plastic security seals – although there is a minimum order of 50 seals. Perm-A-Store’s Powerclaw latching system uses entirely stainless steel hardware, and has a satisfying feel when clasping the cases closed.
Internally, Perm-A-Store has gone to great lengths to make their foam insert designs as universal as possible for each drive size. The elastic nature of foam allows them to create slots that accept a varying thickness of drive types, including bare drives or ones with manufacturer drive caddies installed. For 2.5-inch SFF HDDs or SSDs this plays an even bigger role because of the huge drive size differences between models.
In our Turtle 039 we can safely store 7mm z-height SSDs or Ultrabook HDDs next to 15mm z-height enterprise-grade SSDs or HDDs. The zig-zag design gives the foam tray enough grip on the smaller drives to prevent them from rattling around in transit, but also lets them compress when a thicker drive is inserted.
The hundreds enterprise drives in our lab are easily valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. While traditional cardboard box transportation options remain viable for some use cases, there's a better solution. The Turtle cases provide physical security and storage density that allows for efficient use of space. The cases can be stacked, knocked over and soaked with no ill effects for the valuable cargo inside. The same can't be said for the standard cardboard shipper boxes that while designed well enough to get product safely from point a to point b, don't stand up to the rigor required in our lab or in many enterprise IT shops. For storing storage, these cases are fantastic at their job, proving whomever is responsible for these caches of drives peace of mind.
Perm-A-Store’s Turtle drive cases provide the protection needed at competitive prices for those who need to physically protect drives locally or ship collections of drives from place to place.