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Thread: What's the best way to archive my pics?

  1. #1

    What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Hi All,
    I know I'm a pretty paranoid person. I have been using personal computers ever since I stop using my abacus. I am very fearful of a crash and losing all my work. Right now it totals about 250 gb of files I have a second drive I backup to when I import the pics and I also have a raid 1 g-tech outboard setup that is hooked up to the time machine. I am now thinking I should somehow archive the files on some sort of disk. I just read about a new disk that is suppose to last 1000 yrs but it seems the size is only a standard 4.7 gb dvd. Which would mean I would need some 50+ disks and god knows how long to do the job.
    I would like to know what the other paranoid photographers are doing to protect their work from the digital gremlins that inhabit our computers. Please keep in mind whatever system I use I will most likely need to buy some sort of outboard burner and software (Mac user)to accomplish the mission which I'm willing to do.
    I hope to hear anybody's thoughts on the subject.
    Thanks,
    Mike

  2. #2
    PhotoRob's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    I've always been an advocate of 'multiple locations' - accomplishing that has changed over the years, so my question for you is what's your 'x'? As in 'should x happen, I expect the recovery to go like this...'

    Scenarios, from most likely to least likely (my 'x' list):

    A) mistake that deletes data
    B) local disk corruption or physical failure
    C) fire, theft

    Personally, RAID and local backups covers A and B, and offsite / cloud backup covers scenario C... (I happen to use RAID, Timemachine, CarbonCopy for SD card backups when I don't have time to import, JungleDisk + Amazon S3 for remote data and Carbonite for remote Oper. System backup)...lot's of options out there, for sure, but regardless of the products you choose the approach probably won't change much.

    My newest concern is storing the data in a format that's future proof - Adobe's digital negative format, etc...would like to see if this thread addresses that aspect of long term storage / maintenance.
    Last edited by PhotoRob; 28th November 2011 at 01:44 AM.

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    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Fellow Mac man myself. I just use external hardrives. I got a 1tb one. And when that fills up I'd get another. I also chuck the photos that's no good. I only keep the best ones. There is no 100% gaurentee that anything rlectrical will last.

  4. #4

    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Hi PhotoRob,
    I think my main concern would be "C". since I have multiple redundant drives the chance of all the drives failing at once are pretty slim. The one thing you didn't address was an electrical spike even if you have a line conditioner in my 40 yrs as an electrician I've seen them fail more than once and all your gear gets fried. I guess I should look into an offsite service.
    Your other question regarding "what format is future proof?" that will be left up to the cybergods to decide. I import all my files into lightroom in dng format but lightroom backups in the original nikon raw file. If someone comes out w/ a new superdupper format they will most likely have a way to convert your old format to the new one and if we're dead hopefully the keepers of our files will convert them for posterity.

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    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    If it helps, for my commercial work I currently ...

    - Save to a RAID1 Mirror onboard the PC
    - Write to a DVD that stays in the studio
    - Write to a DVD that goes home
    - Backup to extermal HDD periodially
    - Upload to the cloud (Recent addition)

    I think that with backups, perhaps a good philosophy is "any backup is better than no backup" - so if you invested in M-Disks - burned 1 a day (and kept it offsite) then in 50 days you'd be "all backed up", whereas if you think the problem is too big - procrastinate - do nothing for 50 days - then in 50 days you'll be ... right where you are now.

    Sean wrote a tutorial on this topic a while back -- you might find it helpful ...

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...oto-backup.htm

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    PhotoRob's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Mike, I wouldn't wish total, simultaneous disk failure on anyone, no doubt. Few more points on the offsite / cloud backup I mentioned:

    I'm sure others will chime in re: if their particular solution accomplishes the same thing, however one of the more interesting points re: using JungleDisk + Amazon S3 is that your backed-up data is stored as-is, not nested behind someone's API, back-end proprietary solution or file format. You can mount S3 storage as a WebDav drive (feature of JungleDisk, however you're not limited to using their client by any means), browse, copy and open files just as if they were local (sans the speed of course). Actually works just like MobileMe / IDisks (yes, there's an IPhone / IPad client available).

    Example:

    Background window = Data Volume, local (source)
    Foreground window = Backup volume, mounted using JungleDisk

    What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Would not want to be hemmed into a product or solution, so the more you can break down the offsite storage puzzle into it's component parts, the better.

    If you're concerned about loosing pics. between your camera and your import / backup, EyeFi + an IPad is interesting....would be curious to hear if anyone's using that and how it works in practice.

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    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    PhotoRob is right on with worrying about those three areas for backup.

    I've long since moved beyond using cd/dvd as a backup/storage medium, it just doesnt make sense anymore with how cheap hard drives, internal or external are now a days.

    If I'm going to be travelling, I'll have an external drive for backup along with my laptop.

    For when I'm at home, I'll have my working copy on my main computer, then a backup on a local NAS which is RAID5. I then have backups of my photos zipped up by event and then uploaded to Amazon S3.

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    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Quote Originally Posted by jwalsh View Post
    I've long since moved beyond using cd/dvd as a backup/storage medium, it just doesnt make sense anymore with how cheap hard drives, internal or external are now a days.
    I use both, but to be honest, my biggest issue with "cheap hard drives" is how much data one loses if one fails (and I've seen quite a few fail), whereas with DVDs, they're cheap as chips too - and the limited abount of data is somewhat of a bonus in that there's less to lose if one fails to fire up. Obviously in both cases there are other copies, but personally, I feel like the old DVD isn't quite done and dusted yet. Works for me anyway.

    How much is Amazon charging for their storage?

  9. #9

    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Being as paranoid as I am, just stopping short of the tinfoil under my hat, I did some fast calculations and it seems Amazon's system will run me about 70+$ U.S. per month that's for 200+ gb pics and 280 gb of music and that's ad infinitum. If I take out the music it's still over 30$. I'm not sure I can justify the cost. If the price comes down I may reconsider. There are other cloud storage company's to look at, I will continue to check into it. I do have a fireproof safe in the house that I can store backup disks in. I would really like to use both systems but i'm leaning toward the disk for backup at the moment.
    As far as cheap drives go, when I bought my latest mac pro I pulled out the hard drive and installed a couple of the best ones I could find w/ the longest guarantee, hoping to stave off the cyberwolves as long as possible.
    I would still like to hear from more ppl. on their system they use for backup.

    Can anyone recommend burning software for the mac?

    thanks
    Mike

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    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?


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    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Ahh, the costs. Good thing is that drive space is getting cheaper (maybe not in the short term, but certainly going forward). Mike, for 500gb (and growing I'm sure) you probably should look at tape - 1.6tb media for $25, maybe $30 (if that) and you have one tape per 300 dvd's - twin it and you even have a backup of your backup. The more media you have to manage the more likely you'll encounter failure. Easier to store and catalog as well...

    Colin's right you do diversify your risk when you use lots of low capacity disks, however I'm not sure that your overall risk of losing data hasn't gone up.
    Last edited by PhotoRob; 28th November 2011 at 01:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeci View Post
    I do have a fireproof safe in the house that I can store backup disks in.
    Uh-oh - BIG red flag. A fire proof safe and data safe safe are different animals. Put money and documents into a fireproof safe - heat them up to 100 deg c - its probably not going to bother them ... Do the same with a DVD and it's ruined ... With a HDD it's pushing it.

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    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Why do you need burning software for the MAC it's already in there. Its usually the last icon on the right in Finder. I use it all the time.

  14. #14

    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Hi Howker,
    unless I'm wrong mac software will not break up the data into a size that will fit to a dvd if it is larger than the disk itself.
    Mike

  15. #15

    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Uh-oh - BIG red flag. A fire proof safe and data safe safe are different animals. Put money and documents into a fireproof safe - heat them up to 100 deg c - its probably not going to bother them ... Do the same with a DVD and it's ruined ... With a HDD it's pushing it.
    Hi Colin,
    I think the m-disc has an upper limit of 175C or 347F I need to read the specs again to be sure. if not I can buy a small data safe safe. thanks for the heads up.

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    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Don't even think of a DVD/CD being trustworthy beyond 5-10 years, depending on storage conditions, and even the best have had bad batches. Magnetic medium still has the best longevity.

    I replace HDDs every five years and it's no big deal to copy a TB of data to a new drive. I don't think the method to redundancy is so important, rather that you do keep running redundancy. I have a non-stop backup program running to an internal and an external drive and copy the whole drive(s) to a new external archive drive(s) periodically.

    Oh, and make sure you use good antivirus software such as Kapersky.

    Otherwise, you just keep up with the latest technology and let somebody else worry about it when you die.

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    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeci View Post
    Hi Colin,
    I think the m-disc has an upper limit of 175C or 347F I need to read the specs again to be sure. if not I can buy a small data safe safe. thanks for the heads up.
    Hi Mike,

    Are you using M-Disks?

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    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    Don't even think of a DVD/CD being trustworthy beyond 5-10 years, depending on storage conditions, and even the best have had bad batches.
    Agreed, although I have to say that I've yet to have a problem so far (I keep mine in soft wallets - in a dark / constant temperature / dry place).

    Magnetic medium still has the best longevity.
    To be honest, I still struggle to fit them into my workflow in a systematic way. Backups of an entire library are easy (albeit they take a long time, so are not done as often), but it's the regular shoots with 10 to 20GB of data that I struggle the most with (of which the keepers inc PSD files) will usually fit on a DVD. For me, finish processing - write the important files to 2 DVDs - one goes home with me in the car - the other stays at work, so immediately I have 4 copies (inc 2 on the RAID 1). With an HDD solution though, assuming I want at least 2 disks in different locations, and that I don't want the two disks to be together at the office at the same time, it's just not something that fits together well for me. Perhaps I need to re-think it some more.

    Of recent, I've taken to using MediaFire - $10 USD a month for unlimited storage - they only charge for bandwidth used. Admittedly they point out that they're not a backup service, but they keep at least 2 copies, and I'm happy to run with the chance -- after all it is just another form of redundancy.

    Oh, and make sure you use good antivirus software such as Kapersky.
    That's been my weapon of choice for clients for several years now.

  19. #19
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    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeci View Post
    Can anyone recommend burning software for the mac?

    thanks
    Mike
    Check out Carbon Copy Cloner - in addition to outright cloning images of everything you can throw at it it can also run schedules / incrementals - not bad for open source / free software...

    I'll echo that Kaspersky is a great package, and doesn't take a noticeable toll running in a VM, which is very important these days...

  20. #20
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    Re: What's the best way to archive my pics?

    I had a large project remastering an audio, video and photo archive some years ago, took six years to complete. The biggest question was what media to use cause it was the sort of archive to be preserved for the millennium. Though I'm sure DVD/CDs are being continually improved, the problem is the metal layer the data is burned into, as for reasons of oxidation and chemical reaction, microscopic failures occur that may grow from very slowly to relatively quickly, partially influenced by storage conditions. When the recorded material is audio or video, the player can often interpolate dropouts and you would never see or hear the dropouts until they could no longer be interpolated. With photos, however, there is no interpolation, pixels are just gone. Then there is the matter of the disk's plastics, their manufactured stability and longevity, and the substances, gases or humidity they come in contact with that may seep in or corrupt their integrity, eventually reaching the metal layer and corrupting your data.

    I added a BluRay drive when I recently rebuilt my system, toying with idea of a redundant archive on that, but nah, you've got to see some real establishment of archival stability before choosing a media, and at the moment magnetic media holds the title.

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