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FORUMS General Gear Talk Data Storage, Memory Cards & Backup 
Thread started 02 Jan 2016 (Saturday) 20:54
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A safer way to backup files other than external Hard Drive?

 
mlech
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Jan 02, 2016 20:54 |  #1

Haven't been on this forum in a while.. hope this is the right section to ask.

I use 3 to 4 external hard drives, mostly 1TB Seagate. These hard drives hold a lot of my valuable files and all photos dating back 10 years. I've always had the thought at the back of my mind what if a hard drive breaks or fails... which would be very bad for me.

I'd rather take care of this now just in case anything ever happens.
Is anyone else dependent on their hard drives or are you using another method of storing all your digital files?

Cheers.


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Trvlr323
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Jan 02, 2016 21:05 |  #2

My approach is pretty simple. My photos reside on a raid 1 array (2 mirrored drives in a single enclosure). You don't need this. You could just have 2 separate drives mirrored using a software like GooodSync or even mirror them manually. No amount of backups will be useful if they are all in the same place so I keep a copy offsite in my safe deposit box at the bank. I update it every few months or after every major shoot. If you prefer you could use a cloud backup service. I used backblaze for a while. Service was very good and economical.


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Scatterbrained
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Jan 02, 2016 21:06 |  #3

mlech wrote in post #17842008 (external link)
Haven't been on this forum in a while.. hope this is the right section to ask.

I use 3 to 4 external hard drives, mostly 1TB Seagate. These hard drives hold a lot of my valuable files and all photos dating back 10 years. I've always had the thought at the back of my mind what if a hard drive breaks or fails... which would be very bad for me.

I'd rather take care of this now just in case anything ever happens.
Is anyone else dependent on their hard drives or are you using another method of storing all your digital files?

Cheers.

I use RAID cases. I have 4 2TB RAID units on my desk right now. When set in safe mode that gives me 4 1TB drives with duplicates of each. I also use BackBlaze as a cloud backup. It's $5 a month and they offer unlimited storage of all your drives.


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Jan 02, 2016 21:56 |  #4

Scatterbrained wrote in post #17842021 (external link)
I use RAID cases. I have 4 2TB RAID units on my desk right now. When set in safe mode that gives me 4 1TB drives with duplicates of each. I also use BackBlaze as a cloud backup. It's $5 a month and they offer unlimited storage of all your drives.

What is a RAID case? Do they automatically back up your computer? I do not prefer encrypted backup as I want to be able to see the files individually so I know how to use them if needed....


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Scatterbrained
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Jan 02, 2016 22:30 |  #5

Inspeqtor wrote in post #17842058 (external link)
What is a RAID case? Do they automatically back up your computer? I do not prefer encrypted backup as I want to be able to see the files individually so I know how to use them if needed....

Just an external drive enclosure with two (or more) drives set up as a RAID array. I use these: http://www.amazon.com …795070&ref_=sr_​1_1&sr=8-1 (external link)

They have two drives each, set up to mirror each other so if one goes down you still have the other one. Your computer just sees one regular external drive.


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Jan 02, 2016 23:13 |  #6

You have two issues:

1) Your data is scattered among multiple devices
2) You need to back them all up

I solved #1 with a Synology NAS. Nearly all of my data lives there. One drive can fail and the data remains accessible. When I run out of space, I just replace a small drive with a larger drive and expand the array.

For backup, I use locally attached large hard drives and Crashplan for off-site backup.




  
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Inspeqtor
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Jan 03, 2016 00:52 |  #7

Scatterbrained wrote in post #17842093 (external link)
Just an external drive enclosure with two (or more) drives set up as a RAID array. I use these: http://www.amazon.com …795070&ref_=sr_​1_1&sr=8-1 (external link)

They have two drives each, set up to mirror each other so if one goes down you still have the other one. Your computer just sees one regular external drive.

They come with pre-loaded software I am guessing? Do they copy the files or do they encrypt the files?


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Jan 03, 2016 01:18 |  #8

All my stuff is on a 4TB external hard drive. It is always connected to the computer and is my working drive.

Every day, new files are backed up to the internal drive. I consider this a temporary backup. The backup is done by FreeByte (free) and Windows Scheduler.

The whole 4TB working HD is synchronized every week or so to one of two 4TB external HDs. I use FreeFileSync (free, duh) for this. After this is done, the temporary backup on the internal drive is deleted. These external HDs are rotated off-site every month or two or when I feel like it. These backup HDs are encrypted to reduce the chance of data theft.

So this way I have two copies of all files that are at least a day old, and three copies of older files.


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mkoller
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Jan 03, 2016 01:22 as a reply to  @ Archibald's post |  #9

Use a swappable raid 1 enclosure and keep a third rotating copy offsite in a safety deposit box.


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Jan 03, 2016 04:00 |  #10

Inspeqtor wrote in post #17842230 (external link)
They come with pre-loaded software I am guessing? Do they copy the files or do they encrypt the files?

There's no software that you need to work with, and no encryption (unless you choose to encrypt your files yourself). It's plug and play. The RAID controller simply writes everything to both drives at the same time. You're computer sees it as one drive, no different than a regular single external drive.


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Jan 03, 2016 04:24 |  #11

Be aware that a RAID setup by itself is NOT a backup. RAID is designed to keep the system running in case a drive goes down. For a proper backup you need a second, independent storage solution that is optimally offsite.


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Jan 03, 2016 09:40 as a reply to  @ drmaxx's post |  #12

these days with cheap offsite storage it is easy and inexpensive to also use an a cloud storage site time consuming due to slow upload times unless you have fiber but it allows disaster proofing in addition to home back up. I use the amazon service which is like 11 bucks a year for unlimited storage.


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Jan 03, 2016 09:44 |  #13

dashotgun wrote in post #17842555 (external link)
these days with cheap offsite storage it is easy and inexpensive to also use an a cloud storage site time consuming due to slow upload times unless you have fiber but it allows disaster proofing in addition to home back up. I use the amazon service which is like 11 bucks a year for unlimited storage.

So if you lose everything, how long to restore 2TB from the cloud?


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primate
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Jan 03, 2016 11:01 |  #14

The backup rule of thumb is 321. 3 Copies, 2 Formats, 1 Off Site.

I've been burned, so I might backup more than you.

If important, I burn the out-of-the-camera files to optical disk, 2 copies. This is done before editing or sorting. If time and equipment permits, I print a contact sheet.

The computer gets a full back up about monthly. I use two different external drives in a rotation. This covers any edited output or work in progress. If there is a lot of work not backed up, I will back up sooner.

For an external drive, I get a bare drive and an enclosure separately, allowing either to be changed when the technology improves. Usually the second largest drive available is the best price point.

After editing, I might burn the files to optical again and file it with the disks created right out of the camera.

If your system croaks, you may not immediately get it back up. I have a number of USB sticks of different sizes. From time to time, I'll copy select photo folders and other often used files onto to these. This bag of sticks means I can use another computer to work with them.

Offsite can be family, or someone you make an arrangement where they have a filing cabinet at your place, and you at theirs.


3-2-1 might cover half your backup problem.

Over time, storage is replaced with new technology and it will become more difficult and expensive to get information off it. From time to time, bring files on older media forward. When you get a new computer is a good time to do this.

File formats need to be brought forward too. Adobe no longer supports older Pagemaker files in InDesign -- it went away one day. There are only a few programs you can use to read Kodak PCD disc files. Popular file formats of the past are unreadable now.

For [lossless] file format protection, DNG and TIFF might be the two formats to bet on. There is no way to predict where this will go.

Finally, no backup system is worth anything unless you test your restore process from time to time.




  
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Jan 03, 2016 11:31 as a reply to  @ primate's post |  #15

Good point about old file formats and the ability to access what is in them as time moves along. I'm not sure what to do about it, though. I still have Lotus 123, WordPerfect and Harvard Graphics files. It is really impractical to redo all that work in modern formats. So I'm assuming that there will be specialty programs around in the future that will be able to read just about any legacy file. And I've seen some programs like this already. Or possibly future historians could run the relevant ancient programs in a DOS shell or whatever.

The other point worth making is to try to keep things simple. If you have a crash or your computer gets stolen, and you are well backed up, putting all your data together again could still be a nightmare if it is in many different places. So I would not want files scattered over several USB drives and DVDs. As much as possible, I want all my files on a single drive, replicated as necessary.


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A safer way to backup files other than external Hard Drive?
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