Is there any way to transer data to and from my home institution without incurring large network usage fees?
Several groups have been shipping external hard drives back and forth to avoid the network usage fees. We've had pretty good experience using 250GB IDE hard drives in USB/USB 2.0 enclosures. The main drawback to this approach is that the disk enclosures are rather large and need to be shipped in sturdy and protective boxes. We did have one disk come back to us that had obviously been manhandled or put through some "security" test (the outside box was torn and pierced, the USB enclosure was cracked, and the hard drive inside of the USB enclosure had come loose). Luckily, we were still able to get most of the data off of this drive.
When the disks arrive here at LEPP, we've been copying the data onto our network using USB 2 interfaces on Linux machines. This allows us to format the drives with either ext2 or vfat filesystems, depending on whether the data originates from a Windows or Linux machine.
Here is a link to the ADS Technologies USB 2 Drive Kit that we've been using:
Of course, depending on how much data you want to transfer, there may be easier or more convenient solutions. There are 2.5" hard drive enclosures that are much smaller and easier to ship (but hold much less data). Also, writing data to DVD RW's could be an option for even smaller amounts of data.
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- 30 Oct 2004