Idealstor vs Consumer USB Drives

Why can’t I just buy a removable USB drive from Costco, Best Buy, or any online store and build my own backup system?

We get asked this question a lot. So, we thought we would answer it here.

The Idealstor removable disk system is specifically designed for backup and takes special care to handle issues that you would have with other removable disks. It is a full solution and not just another piece of hardware. It is supported by our US-based engineers.

One of the main issues typically seen with consumer-grade USB drives is silent data corruption. That means that data is getting corrupted and you don’t know about it. There are no pop ups or any warnings which tell you that you have a problem until it is time to restore and use the data.

The reason this corruption happens is that those drives are truly not designed to be removed on a constant basis and shipped around even if it means just taking them to a safe location down the street. Those drives are not designed for heavy workloads such as full backups. They are fine if you need additional storage or need to copy a few important files that you need to keep safe. They are not a long-term solution.

The following also can have an impact on the quality of your data:

EMI (Electromagnetic Interference)

Electromagnetic Interference, or radio frequency interference, is when an electromagnetic field interrupts or degrades the normal operation of an electronic device. Such interference is generated on a small scale by everyday items ranging from cellular phones to fluorescent lights.

Heat Dissipation

Drives need proper venting and heat dissipation. Within a drive, the reliability of both the electronics and the mechanics (such as the spindle motor and actuator bearings) degrades as temperature rises. Running any disk drive at high temperatures for long periods of time is detrimental and can eventually lead to permanent data loss or the drive just dying.


Vibration issues are more pronounced in multi-drive systems, because drives tend to be installed alongside each other, in arrays. The vibration caused by the rotation and seek activities of nearby drives can affect the other drives, progressively disturbing the operation of each drive in the system.


Off-the-shelf disks are not designed with connectors for frequent removal. The action of frequently removing wears out the connectors and can result in flipped bits and data corruption.


Disks are rated for certain amount of operation and non-operational shock. Accidental dropping can cause the disk to get damaged and result in data loss.

Shamelessly promoting our product

Idealstor addresses all of these issues with our removable disk-based backup system. The disks are encased in shock-protected, anti-vibration and anti-EMI frames. Redundant fans keep the drives at ambient temperature to make sure that the disks don’t overheat. Besides addressing all these common issues related to off-the-shelf disks, Idealstor offers our Disk Management software that not only ensures that each disk is always assigned the same drive letter for backup software, but also flushes the data sitting in cache before each disk is ejected to avoid data corruption. Last, but not least, should any issues arise, Idealstor technical support is standing by.

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