I recently bought a USB hard drive docking station and it totally changed the way I backup my files. Previously, I had a mish-mash of external hard drives, multi-bay drive enclosures (for JBOD), and a RAID array. It was getting very unwieldy: storing the drives was difficult since most had different form factors and they couldn’t be stacked on top of each other, I always ran out of trays for the multi-bay enclosures, and finally keeping all the AC adaptors together with the right external drive was a chore.
This past year, I’ve tried a new tactic by purchasing a USB docking station for my hard drives (Kingwin EZ-dock 2). The way it works is that you simply slide a bare SATA drive into a slot and the dock connects the drive to your computer via USB.
This made life so much easier for me. I now just keep my bare drives in anti-static bags (I have a dozen or so) and they fit neatly into an old padded camera bag. I just pull out the drive I need, slide it into the dock, and return it once I’ve performed my backup.
I have the Kingwin EZ-dock 2 which has two slots for hard drives. It is not particularly fast, and when I timed my rsync backups I only achieved a transfer rate of 22 MB/sec for a transfer of several hundred GB. Nevertheless, the speed is more than adequate for my usage and it has greatly simplified the physical storage of my backup hard disks.