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Off-site Data Backup Options?  
User currently offlineHNLPointShoot From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 319 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3528 times:

This isn't directly related to photography, but I'm wondering what people here use to backup digital photos they've shot. The idea of having an off-site backup occurred to me earlier today while reading about a family (that doesn't live too far from me) that lost video and photos of their late son after a burglar stole the laptop the files were stored on, and I realized I'm one break-in away from being in the same position with my own pictures.

Right now, I'm looking at a couple providers, namely Jungle Disk and Carbonite. If anyone here can provide feedback on those two services, or name any other companies worth considering, I'd be grateful for it.

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinestealthz From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 5692 posts, RR: 44
Reply 1, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 3520 times:
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I thought about all the web (cloud) options, went low but sociably tech.
With the price of hard drives these days, I have a matching drive set at my house and one at my fathers, when I visit, I take my HDD to his place and replicate while we share dinner and a wine or three.
With the low cost and speed of broadband connectivity we have thought of realtime replication, just never got around to it,

Having spent a good deal of my career in the storage infrstructure business I am not a huge proponent of some of the online providers.
Cheers



If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 60
Reply 2, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3453 times:
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I use an external hard drive, and I also try to dump each set of photos into unlisted "storage galleries" in my Smugmug account.


Intentionally Left Blank
User currently offline3DoorsDown From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 376 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 3433 times:

David E Brooks, in Digital Help, in Shutterbug Magazine, January 2011 issue was asked much the same storage question. His response was what I have been thinking for a while. "To be candid, the worst place to store photographic image files is on your computer's hard drive. The second worst is with an internet company, as there is no guarantee the company will be there tomorrow or a year from now."
I feel the same way. I think they are worthwhile, but I have heard of one company going belly up a few years back, and their clients lost all their photos. I am not sure whatever happened in the end. I never heard. Too much to worry about so I went dual portable hard drives. You may say, well there's no guarantee your portable hard drive won't crap out tomorrow either. That's true, but I am willing to believe it is in my house and therefore I have more control than some on-line company I have no control over whatsoever. I also do the same think with my portable hard drives. I have one in two different places, so if I ever get robbed.....
David Brooks went on to say all his photos are stored on Mitsui disks and after 20 years of shooting he has not lost one.


User currently offlineJohnKrist From Sweden, joined Jan 2005, 1399 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 3403 times:
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Quoting 3DoorsDown (Reply 3):
dual portable hard drives

Keep one at home, one at work. On top of that I am running 2 640GB HDD in RAID1.



5D Mark III, 7D, 17-40 F4 L, 70-200 F2.8 L IS, EF 1.4x II, EF 2x III, Metz 58-AF1
User currently offlineNicolasRubio From Argentina, joined Sep 2005, 584 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3397 times:

I think that the best bet is the "3/2/1 rule", which means "3 copies / 2 different types of media / 1 off-site".

Nevertheless, two different types of media is a bit difficult. One of those, obviously, would be HDDs, but what about the other one? DVDs is something I'd never consider, and the prices of SSDs make these drives prohibitive. For these reasons, I'd settle for "3 copies / 3 HDDs / 1 off-site".

1- Internal HDD in the computer.
2- External HDD mirrored with the internal one.
3- Copy of number 2, rotated each week between them, stored at XXX.



Regards,
Nicolas Rubio



Gripped 7D + Sigma 10-20mm + 17-40L + 50mm f/1.8 II + 70-200mm f/4L IS + EF 400mm f/5.6L + 580EX II
User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 732 posts, RR: 16
Reply 6, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3383 times:

I've done some experimentation with offline storage, and frankly for the amount of storage I'd be looking for (terrabytes), this just doesn't seem viable. Aside from issues such as cost, reliability etc. there's also the bandwidth factor. While uploading material incrementally isn't a problem, if a disaster occurs, you may find problems downloading gigabytes of material in any reasonable time scale. For instance, my requirements would far exceed the "reasonable use" clause of my allegedly unlimited broad band connection.

These days, I think external hard drives are by far the most cost effective option. Multiple media? I think this was important when using proprietary tape drives and the like, but I don't think necessary now. However, I do think multiple disk copies are essential. Remember it's not IF your disk will fail, just a matter of WHEN. To be safe I would also suggest using different brands of disk for your duplicate copy. If you buy a batch of brand X, then a flaw in that brand will be likely to affect all your backups.

Personally, I have a live "working" copy of my files on a mix of internal and external drives attached to the computer, a backup on a network drive and another backup on external disks which are a) of a different brand and b) not connected to anything (in case of power spikes etc.). These are temporarily in the same building, but ideally should be stored elsewhere.

You also need to periodically check your backups - I learned this lesson a while back when a batch of CDs proved to be unreadable a number of years after being written. Now I have a procedure of cycling disks in and out of active service so that any problems are detected before they become major issues.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently onlineunattendedbag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2326 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3361 times:

Quoting 3DoorsDown (Reply 3):
I have one in two different places,

Bending the laws of physics I see? You will have to teach us how to do that!

I have 2 external hard drives that I update twice a year (or after I shoot something really important). A while back, I had a malfunction with one of them and I could not start the drive. Seagate wanted $1500 to diagnose and fix the problem. I about choaked, but that drive had over 5 years of photos. I sought a second opinion and was told that it only needed a new power unit. That scared me, so I bought a second hard drive that day as a back up.

I'm planning on buying one more, just in case the others crap out. Also considering the cost of drives today, I can't say no.



Slower traffic, keep right
User currently offlinedamien846 From UK - England, joined Dec 2006, 661 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 3352 times:

I have two mirrored hard drives in the PC...and one external hard drive which I back up all photos once a month. So have 3 places for photos.....

User currently offlinestealthz From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 5692 posts, RR: 44
Reply 9, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 3330 times:
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Quoting damien846 (Reply 8):
and one external hard drive which I back up all photos once a month

And how far away from your working PC do you keep that external drive?
A fire, storm, burglary etc is not going to take into consderation that one of your drives needs to be left in place and functional for you.

Quoting ckw (Reply 6):
If you buy a batch of brand X, then a flaw in that brand will be likely to affect all your backups.

I make some effort to ensure that the 3(at least) copies of my files are on different.. Brand,/model/version/size devices to ensure systemic faults do not affect the files.
That and the offfsite copy are about the limit... beyond that.. hell they are only photos, if that hasn't saved them I likely have bigger issues to worry about.



If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
User currently offlinedarthluke12694 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3306 times:

I currently have Carbonite. Personally, I think it is great.....but their are pros and cons about it.

Pros
It backs everything up so if your house burns down, you still have all of your stuff.
You can access your stuff away from home using a remote connection.

Cons
Depending on your bandwidth speed, it will take time....meaning months if you have hundreds of GB worth of stuff on your hard drive.
It will eat up a lot of your bandwidth.
You have to manually select videos, and uploading videos is a lengthy process.
Carbonate is currently having a problem with special numbers/symbols, where if you have a slash or a dash in the file name, it will not be able to find it when using a remote connection....which can be annoying if you have to go back and change every file name.

I think it is just your preference when it comes to backing up your pictures. If you feel better with carbonate AND external hard drives, then do it. It's all about peace of mind. I have carbonate and I like it. You can get a free extended trial. Just go to komando.com, and you will see an add with carbonite.

I hope that helps. If you have any more questions just ask me!


User currently offlinedarthluke12694 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3302 times:

I meant to say this in my post above, but keep you external hard drives in a SEPERATE location. Like keep it at work or at a family members house. Very important that you do that. And also, if you get one, make sure you get a big hard drive. There is nothing more confusing then having 5 small hard drives trying to figure out what pictures are on what hard drive.

And also to make it easier for you and to make sure you have EVERYTHING on your external hard drive, download a good sync program. Syncback works pretty good.

[Edited 2010-12-12 12:55:56]

User currently offlinevishaljo From India, joined Aug 2006, 469 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3295 times:

how about backing-up on Blu-Ray discs?

User currently offlinedarthluke12694 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 3292 times:

Quoting vishaljo (Reply 12):
how about backing-up on Blu-Ray discs?

That's actually not a bad idea. I think a blu-ray disk can hold 25GB. So it wouldn't take many disks at all. You would just have to buy the disk drive, and the disks. But that's definitely something to think about.


User currently offlinephotopilot From Canada, joined Jul 2002, 2731 posts, RR: 18
Reply 14, posted (3 years 8 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 3288 times:

Personally, I would never use on-line storage for my images for many of the same reasons listed by other posters in this thread. They loose them, the net is slow for massive up/downloads, and far more likely the company goes out of business.

Instead I have a couple of external drives with the largest being 2TB. I also rotate a couple of 1TB drives through a "toaster" drive bay that I only keep video and images on. At no time EVER, are both backup drives connected to the system at the same time. Just a precaution. One is stored off-site from my home.


User currently offlinevishaljo From India, joined Aug 2006, 469 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 3209 times:

Just saw Bryan's tweet > http://www.the-digital-picture.com/N...ws=503&Title=YOU-NEED-TO-READ-THIS

Its about what has been established in this thread as the 'best' option for now, until the next great innovation/discovery.

Although, i'm personally leaning more towards Blu-Ray burn-backup but the high price of Burners is keeping me at bay.


User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 732 posts, RR: 16
Reply 16, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 3202 times:

Couple of points:

1 - some one mentioned power supply problems. I've had this with a couple of Lacie drives. The power supply didn't fail completely, but caused the drive to lose connectivity after a period of time (30 min or so). I would have never have guessed it was the power supply, but a Google search identified the problem and cause. Happily Lacie replaced the power supplies FOC.

2 - it's all very well having backed up archives, but in my opinion, your files are probably at their most vulnerable to loss - either technical problem or user error when making the initial captures and transfers to storage. I try and have 2 copies at all times (for important stuff) - in the field, flash card + portable storage, and then never clear cards/portable drive until 2 copies are on my main system. More than once, due to tiredness and general stupidity, I have erased a card I thought I'd downloaded!

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineflightkid9 From Canada, joined Jul 2010, 65 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 3187 times:

I have a 500Gb external hard drive with a mirror of my main drive in my computer on it which I sync ever two weeks or so unless I have something really important than I'l sync it right away. Which is stored in my fireproof safe in my basement (behind a file cabinet which is in a very small room that's hard enough to find so I have no worries about it being stolen too if my computer is ever stolen) but I also have another mirror of my drive on some blu-ray discs as a last resort if my backup drive also fails.


Can we make this quick? my Boeing's double-parked.
User currently offlineckw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 732 posts, RR: 16
Reply 18, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3163 times:

Its about what has been established in this thread as the 'best' option for now, until the next great innovation/discovery

The problem is innovations come pretty fast! I've been through various types of cartridge backup (all now obsolete), CD and DVD.

Unless you have a specific requirement for this sort of media (eg. you need to post disks), I'm not sure there is a lot of value to DVD type backup anymore now that hard disk has become very cost effective.

The biggest issue in my mind are the archival properties of the media, unless you are prepared to pay a big premium for archival quality disks. And of course you won't know if the disk is corrupt or damaged until its too late.

Then there is the time factor - copy to DVD etc. isn't too bad, but restoring many disks, or copying to another media can be really tedious. When looking at a backup solution, the effort required to restore your data should be given at least as much consideration as the time required to save the files.

Of course, disk drives may also be subject to failure, but it is far easier to check the condition of a 1tb disk than many DVDs. Bad hard disks also have a higher chance of being recovered. And while it is true that sooner or later hard disks in their current form will become obsolete, it is also true that IDE drives of 20 years ago are still fully supported and useable, and they are not about to become obsolete in the near future.

I guess the next big thing will be large capacity solid state devices, but it will be a little while before these become cost effective for backup.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
User currently offlineGeezer From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3049 times:

Thank you, 3DoorsDown !

Quoting 3DoorsDown (Reply 3):
David E Brooks, in Digital Help, in Shutterbug Magazine, January 2011 issue was asked much the same storage question. His response was what I have been thinking for a while. "To be candid, the worst place to store photographic image files is on your computer's hard drive. The second worst is with an internet company, as there is no guarantee the company will be there tomorrow or a year from now. "
Quoting 3DoorsDown (Reply 3):
David Brooks went on to say all his photos are stored on Mitsui disks and after 20 years of shooting he has not lost one.

I was about to mention the same thing; I read "Shutterbug" all the time, and I've been following David Brooks for a long time now..........very sharp fellow !

Actually, I think the main thrust of what he was saying is, regardless of what you have on any kind of hard drive, get it backed up on archival "gold" discs media; as for "blue ray" DVD media, sure, they hold a lot, but it's really not about capacity, but more about longevity. I have been hearing for years now that audio C.D.'s don't last forever, and never having had any problems with them, I just tended to put it out of my mind. I have tons of music on CD's, but I also have most of what I listen to all neatly typed and arranged in my iTunes list on my two Mac's. and I almost always listen to music with a set of ER ear buds and my iMac; photo files ? Don't even want to think about it ! All over the place! Hard drives, CD's, DVD's, slides, and SD cards ! YUK !

Dave Brooks' article really got me to thinking !
Charley



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
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