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Archiving, Backing Up etc........What Hardware & Methods.

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Gyles, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. Gyles

    Gyles Mu-43 Veteran

    265
    Feb 15, 2012
    Sunny Norfolk, UK
    Travelographer and self confessed Hexaholic
    Embarrassed to say that I only rely on the HDD in my PC to store my images, I must sort this out.

    So what hardware do I need to buy and how should I use it to store and backup my images?

    What do you do?

    Thank you.
     
  2. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    775
    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    This has been hashed out a number of times, but a quick summary would be:

    - DO NOT use DVD or CD as any form of "backup". They are totally unreliable and worse no amount of testing you do can ever establish or verify their reliability. Worse still they are extremely difficult and slow to migrate to new media.
    - Have at least *two* backups. Though since you are starting from zero going to at least one is a good start ;)
    - Backup disks should not be continuously connected to your working machine. Cryptolockers or other malware will just as quickly delete files on a connected USB drive or network drive.
    - Backups should in some form be automated or you are unlikely to maintain them.
    - You should periodically validate your backups are working - i.e. test retrieving some files from your backups.

    Personally I use TimeMachine on my Mac going to an external network drive combined with CrashPlan which is a cloud based backup.
     
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  3. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    And one copy should always be off-site.
     
  4. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    And there are no clouds in my house.
     
  5. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    414
    Dec 6, 2012
    Netherlands
    Jan (John) Kusters
    My real archive is print work; large prints for on the wall are kept in acid free boxes or in frames. Smaller work is printed in photo books.
    My digital archive is the hard disk in my computer (only files of recent years) and two large external hard disks. I copy files to one of them at least once a month (or right after a big shoot) and copy that external disk to the other one every 6 month (or after a big shoot).
     
  6. manzoid

    manzoid Mu-43 Regular

    137
    Jun 9, 2011
    I like FreeFileSync FreeFileSync and an external hard drive. It does require you to run the program and select a the two folders. I just "mirror" my computers picture folders with one on a hard drive.
     
  7. Gyles

    Gyles Mu-43 Veteran

    265
    Feb 15, 2012
    Sunny Norfolk, UK
    Travelographer and self confessed Hexaholic
    Thanks for the quick replies.

    I see some people using a Raid 1 NAS, but I didn't think that this was ideal for backing up.

    I'm thinking external HD and cloud.

    What do you all save, RAW files, processed files or both?
     
  8. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran

    626
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    Good points made, but to the OT: Consider what you really need - and what's within reach. Off-site backups are cheap nowadays, but only really feasible if your internet connection is up to transfering huge amounts of data sufficiently quickly (or if you have a place to store a physical backup - i.e. removable or portable HD - off-site and still maintain it regularily; that's old-fashioned, but still not the worst thing to do).

    I have integrated image backup into my usual backup routine, but treat images a little differently beforehand:
    1. Backup images from camera (SD) to dedicated portable HD - this way, I can carry my whole collection. I use an autonomous drive for this, so I can do this on the go, too. I shoot mostly RAW, btw.
    2. As soon as possible (usually at the same time!), backup the whole collection to my main NAS at home for safety; this has to be done on-site for the time being. Note that this could be done from all over the world if my internet connection were up to it - it's not (i.e. it's doable, but not feasible).
    3. As an additional step, backup all processed images *again* a) on the portable HD and b) the NAS - this makes for another safety round, incidentally (since the directory that contains my processed images is also part of another backup routine).
    4. The whole NAS has a double automated backup behind it (onto another server, then onto a removable HD). That's actually not done for the images, but by the way they're stored, they're part of it.
    5. When I leave for longer periods of time, the removable HD can be disconnected and stored elsewhere. Usually though, it stays put - less safety, but more convenience (and no manual intervention, only automated routines).
    This means that in most cases, if my home were suddenly and unpredictably destroyed by some kind of elemental damage (fire or water), the images would be gone - but only in this case of extreme emergency. I'm not sure if and how much I'd worry about them in this case anyway ... As you may have noticed, no cloud backup - I'm still wary of placing my own stuff on someone else's server, but as someone who used to be a server admin for some time, I'm really, really paranoid in certain respects. As indicated, cloud storage is free (or cheap) and easy to use.

    M.
     
  9. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    775
    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    No form of RAID is a backup. RAID only protects from HD failure and then only partially. It offers no protection at all from other loss (accidental deletion, malware, corruption, etc.). Having RAID configured on your working machine or NAS is certainly a nice sensible thing to do but RAID itself doesn't in anyway mean you have a backup at all.

    I'll add also that sadly most RAID 1 implementations never scrub the RAID meaning that surprisingly often when one disk in the pair fails you get to discover the other disk in the pair has many not previously detected bad sectors corrupting some of your data.
     
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  10. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    764
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    All good tips above, but I will say right now you NEED to create a backup immediately. While there are many different ways to create backups, I would just go and buy and external hard drive right now and back up all your stuff even if you do it manually. For a hundred US dollars or less you can pick up a 2TB portable or with desktop models you will get at least 3TB. We can debate manufacturers and models all day long (people have their favorites), but I would say right now it doesn't matter since you have nothing. GET SOMETHING NOW! Best <$100 you will ever spend.

    With that said, I have a Mac and use a pair of drives hooked up as Time Machine backups. the Mac automatically does an incremental backup every hour and automatically switches between the two drives each time. One drive is a 2TB portable and the other a 3TB desktop. I paid less than $100 for each of them. In addition, I have three other portable drives (1TB, 2TB, & 2TB) on which I create backups and keep all three offsite (in this case in my desk at work). I paid only about $61 for the latest 2TB one with a coupon from eBay & Newegg. Cheap insurance. Every month or so I bring one of the drives home (which ever is the longest since its last update) to update the backup. I have another application I use (besides Time Machine) that updates the backups with changes or new items.

    Ya I have a lot of drives. But I also have a LOT of family photos and videos of my kids, our vacations, etc. over the years. It would be DEVASTATING to lose those. There is absolutely no way to replace them. So back up, back up often, and store copies offsite.
     
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  11. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror!

    940
    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Clint
    I use my smugmug website as a means to back up my full-size edited files in the cloud. All my RAW files are backed up to two external drives.
     
  12. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    guess?
    Yeah, RAID will happily copy corrupted files al day long.

    I have two separate HD's besides the one in the computer with sycback and recently purchased a WD Cloud drive (networked HD) which is easy to set up.
     
  13. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    764
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    As a follow up to my post above, just ran across a great deal. Rakuten.com (I believe back in the day they were Buy.com) has the WD 2TB My Passport Ultra portable hard drive for $76.99 with free shipping. But if you use MasterPass checkout and the promo code, you get $20 off, so final price shipped to your door is only $56.99 for 2TB.

    Really no excuse for people to not have at least one backup external drive. If I hadn't just bought one for $61 a few weeks ago, I would be jumping on this one.

    WD My Passport Ultra 2 TB Portable External Hard Drive, Black (WDBBKD0020BBK-NESN) - WDBBKD0020BBK-NESN
     
  14. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    775
    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    Yeah, external HDs are so cheap these days that if you have no backup at all that should really be the first and quickest step.

    As far as forgoing offsite storage goes remember one often overlooked way to lose all the data in your house - theft. You don't need a hurricane or fire to lose it all. Burglars will just sweep up your whole workstation and everything nearby. So if you really, really just can't be bothered with offsite of some form then at the very least make sure one of your onsite backups is someplace where thieves are unlikely to look.

    As far as cloud and slow connections go this doesn't have to be the end of the cloud option. My first CrashPlan backup of about 200 GB did take over a month to complete, but it just plugged away in the background and got their eventually. If I download a massive shoot from say a week long vacation it might take a day or two to get that all up to the cloud - but then it is there for the long term. Right now have a bit over 1TB on CrashPlan from four different machines.
     
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  15. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran

    626
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    @kwalsh@kwalsh Thanks for mentioning CrashPlan - looks quite interesting, and it's actually affordable, even for multiple computers, though the distinction between one and more machines makes it a little more expensive than one might first think. Even so, the package itself is quite impressive - the "permanent (incremental) backup" feature is definitely worth considering for photography, and control and encryption options are top notch. If this kind of safety appeals, it should definitely be worth it.

    I have free Google Drive, Dropbox and Box accounts, but I don't use Google Drive all that often for image sharing (it feels like donating them to some questionable cause ...), Dropbox and Box. Dropbox is quite limiting and frankly simplistic - not what I call reassuring. Box, on the other hand, is very usable - but storage (including individual file size) is limited for all their "Personal" plans, whereas their "Business" plan isn't available for single seat setups (though I could probably simulate a small business :p). CrashPlan certainly offers more for your money!

    M.
     
  16. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    The easiest form of backup is to just use a USB drive or two and rotate them periodically to a friend or relative's house that is just far enough away to isolate from local disasters. My office is 15 miles away, so I store a copy there. Depending on the level of protection you need, you could then consider using a cloud backup service as a second layer, or just copying your best stuff to an online host like Flickr.

    I also think creating prints and albums regularly is a great backup method that is also technology independent and provides enjoyment.
     
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  17. Gyles

    Gyles Mu-43 Veteran

    265
    Feb 15, 2012
    Sunny Norfolk, UK
    Travelographer and self confessed Hexaholic

    Lucky you UK price 1gbp = 1.3usd or there abouts
    linkhttp://www.rakuten.co.uk/shop/buyur/product/167702/
     
  18. dwig

    dwig Mu-43 Top Veteran

    621
    Jun 26, 2010
    Key West FL
    I think you need 3 external HDs. 2 for "Archive" use and one for continuous backup.

    One drive should be connected all the time, or at least very very frequently in the case of a portable computer. This drive is used for TimeMachine (macOS) or File History (Windows). This is for quick file recovery and not for use as a true "archive".

    The other two drives are for periodic archive backups of critical files. These are used in an A & B fashion where you backup to one this month and to the other next month, ... . It is best to keep these off site if possible. They should at least be left disconnected between use and stored with as much protection as practical (waterproof, fireproof safe, ...). The frequency of these periodic backups should be determined based on how frequently you add or change files. You may want to do these weekly, monthly, or every few months. When your computer's drive fails (that's "when" not "if") you will loose everything since the last backup. Hopefully that won't be much and depending on the type of failure the omissions may be recoverable from the TimeMachine/FileHistory drive.
     
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  19. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I have two internal copies (2 different hard drives in the Mac Pro), one local external copy (NAS box) and one cloud. Some of the older stuff is also on a few external drives that I need to get around to sorting properly, but at least 3 copies of everything.

    I use backblaze as the cloud solution. Not super fast, but fast enough, and it's essentially a 'if the house burns down' kind of solution.
     
  20. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    If you have a Mac and are factoring in online backup, always consider Arq.
     
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