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How are you backing up your photos?
Old 06-22-2011   #1
Avotius
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How are you backing up your photos?

So it occurs to me that having my photos on two different hard drives is not really enough to be a real backup so I am wondering what solutions the Rangefinder minded folks are using.

Yes yes film and all that but I have thousands of dollars in scans and hundreds of thousands of digital photos.

I have seen there are online solutions but in fact where they claim unlimited storage (such as carbonite) they dont really give you that, if you go over what they consider a large amount they arbitrarily cancel your subscription. Not to mention our upload speed is caped at 60kps and we rarely get that speed anyway.

DVD's are not a choice for me because I have seen far too many data DVD's go bad over a not very long time and also I would need a bazillion of them and a place to keep them, plus the humidity problem here etc etc etc.....

I have been considering some sort of hardware backup like a Drobo or the sort. Also been thinking about one of these network storage things but dont really understand how they work yet.

Anyway....how are you dealing with this problem?
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Old 06-22-2011   #2
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Everything exists on three matched hard drives, one of which is kept in another location on the other side of the city, in case my house burns down.
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Old 06-22-2011   #3
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And how are you keeping that hard disk on the other side of town up to date? Updating it now and then?
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Old 06-22-2011   #4
john neal
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I put my negatives, very carefully, into acid-free sleeves and store them under the bed in a big box


Good question for digital users though - how permanent is any form of backup, and how many copies do you need to be "safe"? At the moment, I only have 2 copies of the few digital files that I have made, big external HDD and DVD.
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Old 06-22-2011   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avotius View Post
And how are you keeping that hard disk on the other side of town up to date? Updating it now and then?
Every couple days I take my new files to it on a thumb drive
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Old 06-22-2011   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avotius View Post
So it occurs to me that having my photos on two different hard drives is not really enough to be a real backup so I am wondering what solutions the Rangefinder minded folks are using.

Yes yes film and all that but I have thousands of dollars in scans and hundreds of thousands of digital photos.

I have seen there are online solutions but in fact where they claim unlimited storage (such as carbonite) they dont really give you that, if you go over what they consider a large amount they arbitrarily cancel your subscription. Not to mention our upload speed is caped at 60kps and we rarely get that speed anyway.

DVD's are not a choice for me because I have seen far too many data DVD's go bad over a not very long time and also I would need a bazillion of them and a place to keep them, plus the humidity problem here etc etc etc.....

I have been considering some sort of hardware backup like a Drobo or the sort. Also been thinking about one of these network storage things but dont really understand how they work yet.

Anyway....how are you dealing with this problem?
I suppose you are somewhat correct now that I think about it.

I presently have my image data on 2 drives but they are in the same location. Still, storage is so cheap these days (eg under $100 AUD for 1 terabyte pocket drive and about the same for a 2 terabyte "big" drive) that its not a big deal to keep a back up drive at another location offsite.

I honestly do not think that any more sophisticated back-up is needed in this situation. After all, many major IT systems still rely on daily tape backups of their key data. There is seldom need for a "hot" backup and recovery facility (ie one that involves replicating data in real time) - certainly not for what we are talking about. I simply do not bother with DVDs these days for all the reasons you gave. Plus that HDD storage is cheap as well as convenient and stable.
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Old 06-22-2011   #7
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I had two external HD developing data-reading problems from one minute to the other. None of them was abused, exposed to voltage spikes heat or similar and out of nothing data became unaccessable. I could recover the data from one of these HD but only partially from the other and it were mostly files of digital images...

Finding a reliable and affordable data back-up solution would be essential for me before I would even start thinking about the X100, a NEX or the M9.
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Old 06-22-2011   #8
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Get ready...

I store my files on my main internal drive, these are synced without loss to an external drive. By without loss, I simply mean that when the sync happens it copes new files over but will not delete any files from the external. This external sits next to my Mac.

This external is very high speed, and syncs itself to my server which is in another room. This server has mirrored copies of everything and every night syncs with my servers at work. These servers have multiple redundant copies and are backed up to tape which is vault stored every month.

This entire process is automated, the software which does it is my own and is part of an ongoing archiving system I've been writing for a while. Digital Archiving is of interest to me, which is why the pictures are stored as RAW, TIFF and PNG and are also reduced to what is essentially plain text. At home I just have the RAW files, all the conversions are done on my servers at work.
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Old 06-22-2011   #9
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I use a Drobo FS.
Its great for storage. It has a build in redundancy so if 1 or even 2 disks fail it can still rebuild it self once you replace the bad drives.

In addition one can store off site on a separate HD or Online.

I have found that optical media is unreliable http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...s/banghead.gif
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Old 06-22-2011   #10
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Main data drive in the PC (separate from the system drive). Main backup to a separate drive in the PC, done daily at 0600. Second backup to an external hard drive, every couple of days. Third backup to a compact 1T portable hard disk (WD Passport) that is also run every couple of days, and lives in my bag. I don't feel confident that this is totally disaster-proof, but the multiple redundancy is comforting.

With the rapid growth in my storage requirements I've been replacing hard drives every 12 to 18 months, so I don't think my drives will wear out from old age! :-) Next step will probably be a NAS or similar with a set of several 2T disks in a RAID array, but I'll keep the portable backup option running. I use the freeware version of SyncBack to run my backups, because the backup it produces is a simple copy of the files - no special software needed to read the backed up files.
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Old 06-22-2011   #11
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External USB-drives. I had them configured so that I only had to push 1 button on the drive and it backed-up new and changed files automagically. And I did have a disk crash on my computer and was glad I had the up-to-date backup!
No off-site backup yet.
Some of my negatives are scanned too, so enyoy the digital backup, but most of them just sit is sleeves, hoping the cupboard won't crash.

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Old 06-23-2011   #12
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DVD-RAM was designed for archival storage, with both extended lifetime and better recovery from failing media. But the (archivally superior, as the grease from finger prints is the most common starting point for plastics rot) caddied drives are getting hard to find nowadays.

As far as strategies go, I save relevant images to two DVD-RAMs (stored in different places) and keep two external duplicates of the work disk (one out of home again).

Last edited by sevo : 06-23-2011 at 00:19.
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Old 06-23-2011   #13
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I use a removable hard drive. Just one. So far onto my second which is just about to fill up. I only plug it in when I need to back up and it sits on shelf.
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Old 06-23-2011   #14
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My work software manual states there are only two types of people: those who have lost data and those who will. Larky's solution looks close to exhibiting the right amount of paranoia, as does Chris Crawford's. The National Library in Australia had a contribution on this in a recent Australian photographic mag. Triple redundancy seemed to be the minimum required, but even then, regularly accessing the drives, and indeed, individual files is crucial, as is regularly turning over the drives. Printing important photographs and storing in archival boxes might be the only secure way to keep an image for more than 15 years.

I backup my MB Pro by Time Machine to a Time Capsule, manually to two external hard drives just for photos all at home, and at work to the server, which mirrors to another internal hard drive and then alternating to two Lacie 1TB external hard drives by FireWire 800, one of which goes home with me alternate nights after work. I am still worried and am never up to date with printing important images.
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Old 06-23-2011   #15
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I'm a mildly paranoid computer geek but I don't do anything fancy. I have my photos on one big HDD and backup every now and then to a second drive sitting next to it (using rsync). I have an additional two disks off-site that I update less frequently.

I don't think the importance of storing a complete backup in another physical location can be overstated. I still cringe every time I see someone's only backup sitting next to his or her computer.
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Old 06-23-2011   #16
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Thanks for the info, lots of stuff here to consider.

Anyone using an online cloud solution? I looked at google's thing but I would be using a minimum of 200 dollars a year to do that and it is not really for what I am planning on doing. Sure it would take months to get all my stuff into the cloud but it might be worth it as the off site solution.
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Old 06-23-2011   #17
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My next big move is to upgrade to a drobo - it's a good little machine. Maybe keep 1 or 2 extra HD's offsite for environmental protection.
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Old 06-23-2011   #18
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I'm not too concerned about data loss, so I do only minimal backup. My MacBook Pro is backed up with an external drive once a week using time machine. The external drive is at my office.
Things got complicated lately because I ran out of disk space in my MBP so I began to "outsource" older or not so important photos on a 2nd external hd that is in sync with a 3rd external hd (2 and 3 at my home).
With that every file is on two hard drives.
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Old 06-23-2011   #19
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Working files are on a NAS (QNAP) in a RAID 1 configuration. I always build a RAID 1 with drives from two different manufacturers - Seagate & Western Digital - as buying two drives from the same manufacturer at the same time is likely to get you drives from the same production run with the same problems.

I store files in sequentially numbered folders that are no more than 4.3GB each. I regularly copy these files from the NAS to two individual internal drives. As each folder reaches the 4.3GB size I burn them to 2 Taiyo Yuden DVDs; I dont label the disks but place them in labeled sapphire cases. Each set of these DVDs are stored in separate locations.

So all up, 6 copies across 4 drives and 2 DVDs...
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Old 06-23-2011   #20
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while there are many good strategies mentioned so far, one thing to consider - someday it may all change when the disk format you're using goes out of favor. then you more or less may have to migrate everything to a new version of the same system.

i've got 3 main computing systems in my past, 2 of which are near-impossible to read media from without actually firing up the old hardware.

not to discourage, just pointing out that there are extra steps to long-term digital archiving that haven't happened to us (yet) so much in the film world - likely since the introduction of proper archival negative sleeves.
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Old 06-23-2011   #21
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As terrible as it sounds, I don't actually keep any backups. I know I should, but luckily I've yet to have a hard drive failure.

I will eventually get around to running a multi-bay RAID setup, though.
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Old 06-23-2011   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sykotec View Post
not to discourage, just pointing out that there are extra steps to long-term digital archiving that haven't happened to us (yet) so much in the film world - likely since the introduction of proper archival negative sleeves.
Archiving is not the same as backup, though. Different purposes, different tools/techniques/etc.


Quote:
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I will eventually get around to running a multi-bay RAID setup, though.
RAID in itself is not a backup solution. It only protects you from a certain kind of hardware failure.
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Old 06-23-2011   #23
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It's bound to happen. Do yourself a favor and at least order an external HD for backing up. They're cheap. Much cheaper than paying for a HD recovery service once your disk dies...

Quote:
Originally Posted by shyoon View Post
As terrible as it sounds, I don't actually keep any backups. I know I should, but luckily I've yet to have a hard drive failure.

I will eventually get around to running a multi-bay RAID setup, though.
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Old 06-23-2011   #24
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I use Carbonite. It backs up my hard drive on a continuous basis. I can access Carbonite on my IPhone and IPad for display purposes. What could be better for $50 a year?
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Old 06-23-2011   #25
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I send my digital files to NASA, they copy the files to a Jaz Disk and a Zip Disk, and send them to a space station that orbits around the Earth.

My negatives on the other hand, are kept in a box under my bed.
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Old 06-23-2011   #26
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Good thread this. Reminds me that I need to start rotating external hard drives for off-site backup.

My current strategy:
Photos stored on PC on RAID1 mirrored hard drives.
External hard drive attached by USB and use SyncBack software to handle the copying.

I think my next step is to get another external hard drive and do a back up once a week and leave it in another location.

I have toyed with the idea of selecting my absolute favourite photos and uploading them to the 25Gb of free on line storage on microsoft skydrive
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Old 06-23-2011   #27
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Quote:
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Damn, that's gotta be expensive. Sounds secure though.

What about the monsters?
I also keep those in a box under my bed.
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"In the Cloud"... and then into Bankruptcy....
Old 06-23-2011   #28
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"In the Cloud"... and then into Bankruptcy....

In my time working with computers as a consultant, (20 years), I have seen three on-line solutions simply disappear from the "cloud", ie internet. One was soliciting and storing files for professional photographers. One, I personally had files stored with.

Interesting thing about hosts and storage sites that fail on the internet. They commonly do so without notice and are simply one day no longer available. Have you ever tried to run down the owners of a web site that disappears from the internet?

Sorry, but for me, the "cloud" which is simply a new moniker for the good old semi reliable internet, may be conveniant, but it is not secure by the standards I would demand in my own business.

Show me a web site that will divulge their financials to me and give me a tour of their "redundant" systems and I will show you a web site that I will actually consider for storage. For security.. well, hmmmm?

BTW, the last failed photo storage system I encountered was about 5 years ago as I recall.
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Old 06-23-2011   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Gaspar View Post
I send my digital files to NASA, they copy the files to a Jaz Disk and a Zip Disk, and send them to a space station that orbits around the Earth.

My negatives on the other hand, are kept in a box under my bed.
LOL... You, sir, owe me a new keyboard. I just spit my coffee all over it!
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Old 06-23-2011   #30
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1. Upon import to Lightroom, a back up copy of every RAW file is stored on an external drive. RAW files are converted to DNG upon import, but the back up is stored as NEF (D700) or RAF (X00).

2. Internal drive is backed up hourly with Time Machine. The Lighgtroom Catalog (database) is backed up as well.

3. The external drive in step 1 is backed up to a yet another external drive.

The Lightroom Catalog is backed up to the Cloud.

The third external drive is in step three is physically cycled to off-site storage when it fills up.

Recently I decided not to buy any more lenses or bodies for a while. I will use the money to make
9X13 or 12X18 prints.

I do not worry at all about file formats becoming obsolete. Everything is in jpeg or DNG format. Both are open-source formats. This means someone, somewhere will sell a translator when jpeg or DNG becomes obsolete.
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Old 06-23-2011   #31
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I have an external HD backed up wirelessly in my home. Two partitions on the drive: one is for twice-daily "Time Machine" backups, another is for thrice weekly bootable backups of the entire system. I need to figure out a workable off-site storage system. Perhaps, as others have said, a second ext HD backed up weekly, then schlepped to the office for storage there. I tried "CrashPlan" cloud backup. But the damned thing was painfully slow to make the first upload (I was working at a rate that would take nearly two weeks to complete!). So, I ditched that (they gave me a refund) and am stuck with my in-home system.
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Old 06-23-2011   #32
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1) upon importing into light room, it makes two copies on the hard drive. the whole drive is backed up via Time Machine. that makes a total of 4 copies on two drives.

2) then once a month I backup the lightroom files to a separate drive and stored in a different location of the house.

3) high ranking files and choice pictures are constantly uploaded to flickr privatly (last resort backup)

I should bug one of my buddies who works at a huge server warehouse and set myself up with a server and r-sync the files there. that's the 'last mile' I need for enough coverage.

OF COURSE YOU NEED TO IMPORT THE FILES INTO LIGHT ROOM IN A TIMLEY MANNER!

unlike last week, were I failed to import and reformatted my CF card and overwrote the previous pictures... once in a lifetime pictures too of course! *shakes head* that was a real big disappointment for me.
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Old 06-23-2011   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
I don't know how this flew past me, and noticed it when Avotius mentioned it. I really hope this was tongue in cheek...

Hell, I've got over 4,000 photos in my online gallery alone - nevermind what I've got in the archive offline. And that's mostly just the digital stuff.

Yeah now that I have read my reply again it may have been too harsh, just blind sided me ya know?

Heck, its income, I would never dream of culling my photos, so many times something has come up where I just happened to have something that I shot years ago that paid off my this or that.
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Old 06-23-2011   #34
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While this is a valid point and I would never use an online service as the only point of storage, for me, the idea of backing up is not the same as long-time storage. As long as whatever on-line company you have your pictures with does not suddenly disappear without notice while your house is burning down taking your local copy of the pictures with you, you should be ok.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kuzano View Post
In my time working with computers as a consultant, (20 years), I have seen three on-line solutions simply disappear from the "cloud", ie internet. One was soliciting and storing files for professional photographers. One, I personally had files stored with.

Interesting thing about hosts and storage sites that fail on the internet. They commonly do so without notice and are simply one day no longer available. Have you ever tried to run down the owners of a web site that disappears from the internet?

Sorry, but for me, the "cloud" which is simply a new moniker for the good old semi reliable internet, may be conveniant, but it is not secure by the standards I would demand in my own business.

Show me a web site that will divulge their financials to me and give me a tour of their "redundant" systems and I will show you a web site that I will actually consider for storage. For security.. well, hmmmm?

BTW, the last failed photo storage system I encountered was about 5 years ago as I recall.
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Old 06-23-2011   #35
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Time machine and Aperture "vault", on different drives, at home.

Time machine at work, also.

One computer moves between these environments. Pretty well covered. I've lost drives before, but never photos (yet).
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Old 06-23-2011   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andersju View Post
Archiving is not the same as backup, though. Different purposes, different tools/techniques/etc.
agreed - I'm somewhat challenged for a specific common reference in this case, as I see archiving the one 'original' in the case of a negative as a rough equivalent of effecting availability of a copy (unaltered) of digital images.

if you accept a digitized image of a negative as equivalent to the negative itself, then the same means can be applied from that point on - archiving and/or backup. otherwise you've only got one original in one case, and generally keep only copies of the original in the other.

i think the amount of work I put into data availability in my day-job alone could keep me from ever wanting to involve computers in my photographic workflow!

Quote:
Originally Posted by andersju View Post
RAID in itself is not a backup solution. It only protects you from a certain kind of hardware failure.

exactly. further comment for the OP - RAID lets you survive a failure of a drive or drives, however it doesn't prevent many possible forms of corruption, nor does it provide you with copies in separate locations. this last part is an advantage of digital, again, unless you accept something other than the original negative as viable.

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Old 06-23-2011   #37
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The most important files are kept on my main hard drive. Backups are kept on an external drive. And they are backed up daily to an online storage site - in the cloud, so to speak.
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Old 06-23-2011   #38
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I use an iomega StorCenter NAS as primary device and backup on tapes, which I bring once a month to my bank safe.

But I will change backup procedure with a second NAS to mirror the data.
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Old 06-23-2011   #39
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I have an Original Archive folder on my data drive, a copy of that on another disk, and a second backup to an external HDD. Likewise for my Working folder (which has my Lightroom catalogs), Derivative Archive, and Movie Archive. I really should add an external HDD dock so I rotate a couple of disks to an off-site storage location.

Within each Archive folder, I organize files by subject then put them in DVD-sized buckets (which I can collect to Blu-ray sized buckets someday). I rely on Lightroom for all my categorizing and collections based on metadata.

Whatever strategy you pick, make sure you use a copy utility that verifies file integrity after the transfer. I use Teracopy for quick stuff and Syncback for my automated archiving. It's surprising how much file corruption can happen during transfers, especially over a network.
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Old 06-23-2011   #40
furcafe
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2 Drobos, each about 2 TB, 1 dedicated solely to photos & the other just for backing up my desktop Mac Pro, which is where most of the working files are located. Right now, I'm screwed if there's a fire/flood/earthquake/evildoer attack, but I plan on eventually putting negs & slides in a different location for archiving once they've been scanned.

I use Backupify for flickr, FB, Twitter, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avotius View Post
So it occurs to me that having my photos on two different hard drives is not really enough to be a real backup so I am wondering what solutions the Rangefinder minded folks are using.

Yes yes film and all that but I have thousands of dollars in scans and hundreds of thousands of digital photos.

I have seen there are online solutions but in fact where they claim unlimited storage (such as carbonite) they dont really give you that, if you go over what they consider a large amount they arbitrarily cancel your subscription. Not to mention our upload speed is caped at 60kps and we rarely get that speed anyway.

DVD's are not a choice for me because I have seen far too many data DVD's go bad over a not very long time and also I would need a bazillion of them and a place to keep them, plus the humidity problem here etc etc etc.....

I have been considering some sort of hardware backup like a Drobo or the sort. Also been thinking about one of these network storage things but dont really understand how they work yet.

Anyway....how are you dealing with this problem?
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