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Retrieving data from multiple IDE drives

I've owned close to a dozen PCs over the past 10 years, between the ones I owned personally and as a part of my interest in a now defunct company. Some of the machines died, and I gave others away, but I've kept all the IDE hard drives. Now I need to retrieve data from many of those drives, but none of my current machines can handle more than a drive or two at a time. I've seen external drive cases for SCSI drives and I was wondering if the same was available for IDE. And, if so, are there any models you can recommend that can house at least four drives at a time? Thanks in advance for your help.
When you say that your current system can only handle a drive or two at a time, are you referring to the disks being physically located inside the server, or is the server only able to address and access a drive or two at a time?

If your server is not able to address or access more than a single disk drive or two at a time, then adding expansion chassis enclosures may not be the answer. If, however, the number of disk drives that can be attached to your server is limited to what can be physically installed, then you could benefit from using some expansion enclosures. However, unlike SCSI bus cables that can stretch out several meters in length, IDE cabling is more distance restrictive.

Your situation is a good illustration of the expression, "you can't get something for nothing." You have the disk drives, but in order to use them, you may have to address some hidden costs. I've been down this road: While it's nice to have all of those disk drives, it can be a hassle to actually use them.

When all is said and done, I would, based on my own experiences, go and get a new inexpensive high capacity disk drive, and copy the contents of your old hard disk drives one by one to this newer larger capacity disk drive. Then give those old disk drives a retirement party and put them to rest. (Be sure to properly delete the data on them).

Dig Deeper on SAN technology and arrays

Portable storage Any thoughts on portable storage? We are thinking of adding external HDs for offsite backups (still using a tape for some critical data). My thinking was that we would get two external HDs that would be exchanged each day (we currently do this with tapes, rotating daily so that every night one tape is offsite with the previous day's backup). The other advantage of adding HDs to our backup system is more storage space. Is there any significant difference in durability between standard external HDs (with 3.5" disks inside), and "portable" external HDs with 2.5" disks inside? My understanding is that the larger format external HDs are intended primarily for stationary use, so I'm not sure how they would hold up with being carried back and forth every day. On the other hand, the 2.5" "portable" drives are often billed as ideal for additional storage to carry around with a laptop. My boss is the one who usually brings the tape back and forth to the office every day. He doesn't plan on using the external HDs for traveling or carrying around all the time, so he's not too concerned about the larger size and weight. Any insights or suggestions would be appreciated.

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