This topic is related to a recently closed question for a recommendation for an external hard drive enclosure. I goal here isn't to debate that single question, but instead debate whether or not an external hard drive enclosure is on topic.
From What is Hardware?, our definition of "hardware" is:
Hardware is any primarily electronic item that can perform more than one task, designed to interface with, connect to, or be, a primary computing platform in day-to-day operation.
I've argued previously (in a larger argument about "cases" in general) that a hard drive enclosure does fall in our scope:
[...] [A] hard drive sits in an enclosure which then has to interface via "something" (usually USB) to the computer itself. It fits the second portion of the above definition: "designed to interface with..."
I still support that argument. Such an enclosure needs to perform the following:
- Interface with another device (computer, router, etc)
- Send/receive data
- Store the data long term
The biggest difference between "hard drive" and "external hard drive" is that these devices sit outside of the computer. Otherwise, it is performing the same tasks as a regular hard drive.
I think an external hard drive enclosure is a piece of hardware that should be on topic here.