Storing digital photos

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras & Equipment' started by skupaychck, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. skupaychck

    skupaychck Member

    Hey folks! I couldn't find where this may have been posted before: How do folks backup or store your digital photo files? My last online backup company said that it is NOT for storage. Confusing. Anywho, do you burn CD's, use thumb drives, store online, something else??????
  2. Tim

    Tim Administrator Staff Member

    I use a Drobo... I have an older 4-bay drive but now they come with 5+
    The concept is redundant data - if one of the drives fails, the others can pick up the slack until you put a new replacement drive in there and it will rebuild the missing data. To oversimplify - it uses RAID concept (redundant array of inexpensive discs).

    Others use a much more elaborate system but I like to keep it simple.
  3. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    Everyone has their own favorite method. Here's mine:
    1. Copy from memory cards to the hard drive (physical drive 2, logical drive H: )
    2. Back up H: drive to a 4-drive RAID-5 NAS using Retrospect backup software.
    3. Copy files to a 2-drive RAID-1 NAS.
    This has some flaws in that the computer and both NASes are in the same room, so I don't have off-site backup. And it assumes that the version of Retrospect that I will install on my next computer can read the old backups.
    I personally don't trust the cloud. Who backs up the cloud and how do you get files restored? What happens if your cloud provider goes out of business? I prefer to keep total control of my data.
  4. gary

    gary Member

    older 4 bay drobo, which i just tonight will be filling out the other 2 bays, with 2 more 3tb drives. the advantage to the newer 5 bay drobo storage is that most models can be daisy chained for almost infinite backup, that and some of them recognize 12 tb drives, which even by pixel mania shoot em up standards can take awhile to fill, but then again 744 shots in 1 indiana jones show will take some space
  5. Jeff Krause

    Jeff Krause Member

    I have two 5 drive Drobos synced by an automatic backup program for Mac OS named Carbon Copy Cloner. My risk is spread across 2 redundant drive arrays. Each can lose a drive and not lose any data. The software wakes you the drives and syncs every hour.

    Then one of the Drobos gets automatically uploaded to Crashplan cloud backup. My offline risk time window is less than 1 hour to several hours depending on how many files need to be uploaded.

    I'll need to switch my cloud provider next year because they no longer offer plans for individuals. So, the answer to the question about losing your cloud backup is you have to upload everything all over again. I'm storing over 6TB in the cloud so I'll need to plan carefully and pick a new provider ahead of time to start uploading again. It could take 6 months or more to complete full backup online.

    Restoring from the cloud is easy enough. If I lose my local backup I can either request and pay extra for the provider to mail me a drive with my backup on it. Or if I'm not in a hurry to restore, I can download everything from them online. All backups in the cloud are stored and uploaded encrypted. You can even generate and use your own custom encryption key so the provider won't have access to your files.

    Simple right? No worries.


    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
  6. skupaychck

    skupaychck Member

    Thank you so much for the information! It makes me feel a bit overwhelmed, but it is a great idea. Thanks again!
  7. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    I'm a bit less tech-savvy and modern in my approach - I also back up to external drives - two different is I keep a second drive always plugged in and running real-time data backup from my harddrive...just so I have two drives containing the same information...though both are in the same location. Second is I manually back up to external portable drives, which I do about every 2 months or so. When I do the manual backups, I do three different ones - Full harddrive backup including photos, music, etc to a drive kept in a fire safe in my house, another full harddrive backup which I bring to my office to store at a separate location, and the third just a backup of photos only.
    At any one time, I'll have my harddrive, the backup external drive, a portable drive of photos, and two portable drives of my harddrive both updated no older than about 2 months, with one in a fire safe at home and one stored in a separate location.
    Jeff Krause likes this.
  8. ddindy

    ddindy Member Staff Member

    I like your use of portable drives and the fire safe, @zackiedawg . I may start doing that instead of using DAT tapes (which are too small to contain my photo collection anyway).
  9. zackiedawg

    zackiedawg Member Staff Member

    This thread just reminded me that it's been a bit over a month since I did the manual drive updates, and since it's the beginning of a new year, I decided to do both a manual full HD backup plus the backup of all photos last night, so all shots through 12/31/17 are now updated and saved on the externals.

    I've always kept a fire safe around for the passports and special docs, and it fits the small portable drives just fine. I used to use tapes as well at work, but as you say, too small. The portables at 2TB are super cheap, and the 4TBs are around $100ish - so prices aren't bad at all. I use a 2TB for just the photos, and the 4TB for the full drive. May need to upgrade the 4TB full drive though, as I'm running around 3.6TB used now.

    I also have a firm 'cleanup' process where I go back through older photo folders and clean out shots I never processed or used...after a few years, I like to run through those older folders and find originals that I never processed, and make a decision if it's worth keeping or not - by cleaning out older photos that I'll never use, I can reduce by about 150-200GB each year (in Dec 2017, I cleaned up 2015 year, I'll clean up 2016). Since I have photo folders going back to 1997, it's helped to keep those cleaned up before I do the year-end backups!
    Jeff Krause likes this.

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