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backing up files
Old 04-10-2013   #1
msbarnes
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backing up files

I'm looking for an easy-to-use and not incredibly expensive way to back up digital images.

Ideally, I would have two identical drives be replicas of one another so that if one fails the other one would take over. Is there an easy way of doing this without manually overriding one drive? I'm not familiar with raid and such but I think that is the concept of raid.

Any thoughts?
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Old 04-10-2013   #2
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID

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Old 04-10-2013   #3
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RAID is not a substitute for a proper backup. RAID couples together two or more disks in a single box, with the right configuration that will enable you to keep running if one of those disks fails. So it maintains uptime, but does not do much for disaster recovery. You need storage in more than one location.
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Old 04-10-2013   #4
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Yeah I realzied that

What would you recommend?

I'm just a hobbyist and I'd be sad if I lost ALL of my work but it isn't crucial for me.

Currently I am 90 percent film and I post most my favorite images (jpegs) on flickr, keep all my negatives, and print the best. I would like to backup my digital negatives...but I haven't looked into the best way of doing so.

For now, I was thinking of starting with the hard drive and perhaps in the future buy another hard drive or store it in a different medium (blue ray / internet / and etc.). But that alternative medium/location is a different issue.

Any thoughts and ideas in doing so with a hard drive / raid? I don't want to spend a terrible amount of money. There are like 10 different ways to raid.
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Old 04-10-2013   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msbarnes View Post
Yeah I realzied that

What would you recommend?
Just get another hard drive and copy your files from time to time.
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Old 04-10-2013   #6
Bill Clark
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Quote:
Just get another hard drive and copy your files from time to time.
Agree.

I use USB portable hard drives one as a "work drive" as well as others for backup. I don't have any photo files on the hd of my computer.
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Old 04-10-2013   #7
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a second stand alone hd seemed to be the most obvious answer. I just thought that copying the contents from one to another might be tedious. I'm not sure if it is better to over ride the entire drive for backups or just to add files. Overriding would make sense if I do a massive renaming/reorganization.

Since backuping up files is so common, I was wondering if people sell drives / devices that have them paired or something. Maybe something slicker.

Maybe there is no need to complicate things...and I should just get multiple drives.
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Old 04-10-2013   #8
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I just use an additional hard drive, and Lightroom. With Lightroom you can make a backup copy on the second drive at the same time as you download the image to your target drive, as long as you let Lightroom manage the import process. Dead easy. You can tell Lightroom which drives and folders you want the images to be copied to.

However you should keep a backup copy of your images off-site, in case of theft, fire, flood etc.

I've stopped copying backups to DVD as I've occasionally experienced some bacterial attack on the surface. However that may be related to local conditions. Also this technology is slowly disappearing, just like video tape.

Keeping a printed copy of all the most important images is probably a good idea.

Edit: copying a whole bunch of files from one HDD to another is tedious. There is a gotcha if you use Lightroom - if you rename or move original files that are also referenced in the Lightroom library (i.e. files that you have imported via Lightroom) using another file utility, the Lightroom library will not be able to find your files. If you rely on Lightroom for image management (and it's very good at that), remember to do any moves or renaming from within LR.
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Old 04-10-2013   #9
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What I do is plug in my CF card.

Then, after it boots up, I open the folder and drag it to a folder on the external HD.

I set up my external HD as follows:

Folder for the year, 2013.

Open Up.

Set up a folder for labeled 01 January - June 2013.

Set up a folder for each month.

Within each month set up a folder for each even.

Repeat process for 02 July - December 2013.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-10-2013   #10
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Simplest way might be to buy two identical NAS boxes (from a large vendor, for easy replacement) and four drives, or however many fills the NAS's. Put one unit at a second location.

Use the local one for all your file storage with a planned schedule of regularly pulling one drive and taking it to rebuild your offsite NAS. You might also want a static archival 'snapshot' of projects and so on which could be done by using more hard drives and storing them.

USB hard drives will just make it hard work, and therefore one day most humans will let the routine slip at just the wrong moment . . .
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Old 04-10-2013   #11
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The Lacie 2Big Network Accessible Storage (NAS) system has two hard drives in it that can be set to mirror another, using RAID.

Mine contains all my digital photographs and scanned images, from 2008 onwards. Even have older stuff on there, the oldest file being a ZIP-file with stuff I used in 1994 to create a birth card for my daughter with. RAID can keep things safe for decades.

The Lacie drives are hot-swappable, if you buy an extra bracket and a third drive, you can swap them out without even switching the NAS off. Then take drive no.3 with you off-location or put it in a safe, and you'll never lose an image or anything else again.

I wouldn't want to risk a crash where I had missed a simple copying action to the USB, and subsequently lose work or images...
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Old 04-10-2013   #12
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Quote:
USB hard drives will just make it hard work
It's very easy for me.

I'm a nerd!

And it's cheap.

I like seeing my money grow, work, rather than spending it all the time. When a person gets to my age they're happy they saved rather than spend, spend. Haven't received any dividends from cars I drive but I do get some from Ford as I've owned the stock for a while.
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Old 04-10-2013   #13
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Old 04-10-2013   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzardkid View Post
The Lacie 2Big Network Accessible Storage (NAS) system has two hard drives in it that can be set to mirror another, using RAID....
This is what I use too. File synchronization software looks for incremental changes and once you've done the initial backup, which could take some time, subsequent backups are very fast. In conjunction with this, I also have off-site storage of really critical files, copied again using software that looks only for changes so backups only take minutes. The NAS device is really convenient, but for that extra security, another copy somewhere else gives you peace of mind.

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Old 04-10-2013   #15
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People seem to run NAS boxes with the mind set that if one drive dies, I always have another copy. Something to keep in mind is, where is your backup strategy if the NAS itself dies? Most NAS operating systems are not your everyday systems, although many are Linux based. What that means is knowing ahead of time how you would access your data in the event of a NAS hardware failure.

For a Linux based system using a file system like EXT3, there are drivers available to allow your MAC or Windows machine to read them, so no real problem. However, be aware that if your are running a RAID configuration in the NAS it becomes more of an issue. RAID 1, assuming no proprietary encoding is used, can usually have one of the drives accessed via another PC. Be very cautious of anything outside of RAID 1 - here, all other configurations require multiple drives to get a single copy. In the vast majority of SOHO NAS devices available, you could have issues as the firmware that controls the RAID configuration is usually proprietary and, even with the bigger brands, they often don't allow RAID volumes to be transferred to a new NAS rendering all the data inaccessible.

Personally, I take multiple approaches to back up but a simple option, especially with a desk system is to attach a bare-drive enclosure via USB/FW/SATA (they look like this: http://aluratek.com/media/catalog/pr...00f_image3.jpg) and use incremental backup software to ensure consistency and scheduled backups. That way you can rotate a couple of drives easily and know they're up to date.
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Old 04-10-2013   #16
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I use Carbonite for backups off my PC. I can access any of my files, photos in real time on my iPhone or iPad. Perfect
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Old 04-10-2013   #17
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I have a DROBO. A simple way to set up a RAID, and you can continue to expand it. Redundancy is built-in.
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Old 04-10-2013   #18
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Originally Posted by CK Dexter Haven View Post
I have a DROBO. A simple way to set up a RAID, and you can continue to expand it. Redundancy is built-in.
But outside of RAID 1 it still has potentially real issues of complete data loss with a controller failure
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Old 04-10-2013   #19
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USB drive(s) and/or NAS make sense, and that's what I use. Off-site storage is also a critical element. I keep my most recent backup USB drive in the car.
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Old 04-10-2013   #20
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I looked into Drobo - from what I could tell, you need the Drobo hardware to read files that have been stored on a Drobo hard drive due to its proprietary file management system. If Drobo were to go out of business, how would you access your files?
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Old 04-10-2013   #21
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My arrangement:

Data on one drive in the PC.

Backup #1 is another separate hard drive inside the PC.

Backup #2 is yet another separate hard drive inside the PC.

Backup #3 is an external hard drive (Western Digital passport) via USB.

All backups made with the free SyncBack software which supports manual backups as well as unattended scheduled backups. Copies are directly readable without special software.
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Old 04-11-2013   #22
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My set up for my macs...

1- RAID 1
2- Time Machine (OS X) for ease
3- CCC to NAS
4- Weekly backup of just photos to another random drive on the network
5- Off site drive that gets backed up once a month

I'm a paranoid hourder. I have files from the early 90's!
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Old 04-11-2013   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lynnb View Post
Edit: copying a whole bunch of files from one HDD to another is tedious. There is a gotcha if you use Lightroom - if you rename or move original files that are also referenced in the Lightroom library (i.e. files that you have imported via Lightroom) using another file utility, the Lightroom library will not be able to find your files. If you rely on Lightroom for image management (and it's very good at that), remember to do any moves or renaming from within LR.
A simple command :
xcopy c:\mypictures\* g:\* /D/E

will copy only new or changed files on a MS XP system.
Every O/S has equivalent command/option
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Old 04-11-2013   #24
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Just get another hard drive and copy your files from time to time.
Exactly. You need only copy the new stuff, after all.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 04-11-2013   #25
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I use two Western Digital LifeBooks running in parrallel. No effort to do anything ... it's all backed up twice automatically
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Old 04-11-2013   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Clark View Post
Agree.

I use USB portable hard drives one as a "work drive" as well as others for backup. I don't have any photo files on the hd of my computer.
This is my ticket also.

I use a Mac and time machine disk to do back up stuff. It copies what I do as I go along.

Then there are two back up drives which I copy files to monthly or yearly. I put the same file structure on them as the main computer. Then I copy new photos to them. They are duplicates of each other so I do it twice.

I am not a complete purist , so I only hold current pictures on my computer HD. By the time they are erased, there are triple copies elsewhere.

I spent $300 total on 3 LaCie terabite drives on sale. Brand does not matter.
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Old 04-11-2013   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msbarnes View Post
Yeah I realzied that

What would you recommend?

I'm just a hobbyist and I'd be sad if I lost ALL of my work but it isn't crucial for me.

Currently I am 90 percent film and I post most my favorite images (jpegs) on flickr, keep all my negatives, and print the best. I would like to backup my digital negatives...but I haven't looked into the best way of doing so.

For now, I was thinking of starting with the hard drive and perhaps in the future buy another hard drive or store it in a different medium (blue ray / internet / and etc.). But that alternative medium/location is a different issue.

Any thoughts and ideas in doing so with a hard drive / raid? I don't want to spend a terrible amount of money. There are like 10 different ways to raid.
Re RAID.
RAID 0 just enables 2 or more disks to appear as one (span)
RAID 1 duplicates on two disks
RAID 5 uses three or more disks with one providing check on the rest.
all other RAID designations are variations or combinations of the above.


Now for your backup requirement. Buy a couple of portable USB Hard drives. Periodically copy everything from your computer's hard drive to these. If possible keep one elsewhere (ie not in same home or at work) When you make a backup to the onsite disk, take it away and swap it with the offsite disk, then make you next backup to the other (now onsite) disk.
If you are using Windows or Mac the poratable disk with almost certainly come with software on the disk to make incremental backups (so you only need to copy changed/new images). If using Linux use rsync.
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Old 04-12-2013   #28
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Lacie, Western Digital, Seagate, Drobo, etc with dual hard drive and mirroring feature (RAID 1) should be good.

Mirroring (RAID 1) in a dual drive system (box) means both hard drives in the box will have identical data. Let's say if one drive die for some reason then the other will carry on working. You can then schedule repair at soonest possible time to replace the dead hard drive.

The downside to RAID 1 is you get only half of the total capacity. Let's say you buy a 4TB system then you can store files up to 2 TB where the other 2TB will contain exactly the same data, a mirror image.

Most newer system (such as Western Digital Live Duo) is very easy to use, and configurable through simple menu.

As mention by DtheG (Clark?) they normally come with some software that allows you to synchronise files on your notebook/PC to the external storage. This will cut down backup time as old unchanged files will not be copied, only newer and modified files will be copied to the external storage.

RAID 0 (stripes) is not suitable for this purpose as you will end up with useless data if one hard drive (out of two) dies. Normally this mode is only used on high performance graphic workstation (CAD, 3D, etc).
RAID 5 is complicated and also not suitable for this purpose (personal use).

I don't mean to endorse certain brand but last week I installed a Western Digital Live for a customer and it is easy to setup with intuitive menu. Perhaps this might come useful in your case.

Hope this might help.
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Old 04-12-2013   #29
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I have all my photos/music/important documents/backups stored on a local linux file server I set up which I then backup weekly to a RAID on my computer. Then monthly I back that up to a 2TB external which I hide away offsite at work... just in case the home ever burns down, gets burgled, etc..
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Old 04-13-2013   #30
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Quote:
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Personally, I take multiple approaches to back up but a simple option, especially with a desk system is to attach a bare-drive enclosure via USB/FW/SATA (they look like this: http://aluratek.com/media/catalog/pr...00f_image3.jpg) and use incremental backup software to ensure consistency and scheduled backups. That way you can rotate a couple of drives easily and know they're up to date.
This looks great. I have three USB drives, but I think it would be easier just to use this and just switch the HD, rather than having to worry about what drive letter is what drive, etc.
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