I make extensive use of bus-powered firewire drives in my day-to-day consulting and video editing work.
For instance, over the past few years I’ve been using an OWC Mercury On-The-Go drive enclosure that I’ve partitioned into a half dozen bootable volumes that enable me to install a complete operating system from scratch and perform standard troubleshooting procedures on a variety of client machines running either Tiger or Leopard.
I also use a 200 gb G-RAID Mini to store video projects and my photo and music libraries that I manage using iPhoto and iTunes.
My video editing software of choice is Final Cut Studio 2. I use Compressor to produce web videos and DVD Studio Pro assets (separate audio and video tracks) from my Final Cut sequences. Since this task is very CPU-intensive, I often let Compressor jobs run overnight and configure the program to share the workload with a second, unused computer on my network using parameters that I set in Qmaster, the distributed processing system that works in the background with Compressor.
Clustered computers are defined in the Qmaster program that Final Cut Studio installs in the Applications folder. Service activation requires designation of a shared cluster storage volume from the Qmaster pane in System Preferences.
What I discovered is that while the OWC drive can be used as cluster storage, the G-RAID Mini cannot. I also found that powered drive enclosures sold by WiebeTech were compatible with Qmaster.
In one test, I produced four different output files from a 5-minute video sequence in 32 minutes.