How do you back up your work?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Dallas, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. Dallas

    Dallas Guest

    I clone my whole drive and keep the drive off-site. Trouble is... at 5
    megs a shot I'm filling up my drive pretty fast and I don't feel like
    going to the trouble of upgrading to a new disk and moving everything
    onto it, blah, blah, blah.

    It strikes me that backing up photos is different than backing up a
    drive with an operating system, all you need to do is back up the
    actual files.

    I have a few thoughts, a USB disk drive, a USB solid state drive,
    several large flash drives... even burning DVDs (after all those are
    non-volatile and can be read on any machine.)

    I'm liking an idea of putting all my photos on a portable USB drive and
    using it as the working photo drive... just put all photos on it, then
    perhaps using one of the Internet based "cloud" backup services to
    backup everything on that drive.

    That would cover virus destruction, computer theft, total loss in a
    fire and drive failure.
     
    Dallas, Mar 7, 2012
    #1
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  2. Dallas

    Alan Browne Guest

    DVD's, even if kept in benign conditions (dry, cool, dark) have a life
    expectancy of about 5 - 10 years. Plan on re-burning or migrating the
    data in 5 years.

    There are "Gold" standard DVD's that should keep for 100+ years (cool,
    dry, dark) but be sure they are manufactured in Taiwan. The Indian ones
    have proven faulty to date.

    New storage technology will be coming out in the next few years that
    should exceed 1000 years.
    For the volume of photos I have, scans, raw, finished in various sizes,
    crops, printer preps, that would be a horrendous amount of cloud. It
    would precipitate and people would drown in pixels.
    [1] First off I have automatic backups 2x daily onto a "on beyond RAID"
    drive (Drobo). This machine has 4 drives and I can hot swap at any time
    and with any sized disk (equal or larger size). So if a drive fails,
    the light turns red - I can still work - no losses, and then pull the
    "red" drive and put in a new drive. Restoration is automatic and
    transparent. And I can keep working through it all.

    Further, I can upgrade any of the 4 drives at any time without shutting
    down the unit. Just pull any drive out and slap in a new one. The
    drive then rebuilds the redundant data. When the 4 lights are green
    again, I can then add another drive... and so on.

    [2] Secondly, all my photo work (projects) are on individual DVD sets.
    (1 or more disks).

    [3] Thirdly, all my photo work is also stored on 2 other HD's with those
    volumes being updates on a project by project basis.

    The sole weakness in my system at present is I have no offsite storage.
    I should really keep some drives over at my buddy's house or across
    the street at my neighbour's house. And rotate these every couple months.
     
    Alan Browne, Mar 7, 2012
    #2
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  3. Per Dallas:
    I use a half-dozen naked one-terabyte drives.

    Instead of being in USB wrappers, I pop them in to a sled in the
    PC that is made for that purpose.

    The application I use is called Second Copy. It backs up
    everything I tell it about to whatever drive is in the sled and I
    tell it to keep 10 old copies of anything that changes.

    I probably ought to shuffle the drives more often, but I do it
    when I think of it.

    The drive being used goes into my car. The drive in my car goes
    in to my garden shed, another drives lives at one remote
    location.

    The other drives sit on top of my desk.

    Right after I pop a new drive in to the sled and just before I
    remove a drive from the sled I run a ChkDsk on the drive. They
    are usually OK, but not always.

    If that seems like overkill, consider:

    - You can fry 2-3 drives just from a flaky card and
    not realizing that the card is bad until several drives
    have been ruined. Been there done that.... and that's
    part of the reason for the remote drive - to save me from
    my own stupidity. The rule there is that if I ever get
    down to the remote drive, I back it up on another PC before
    I bring it home.

    - Drives are cheap. 1-TB drives are less than a hundred bucks
    and smaller drives are even cheaper.


    Also, something else that I'm prone to rant about: keep your
    data and your system on separate drives - or at least in separate
    partitions. That reduces your exposure to malware and makes
    restoring your sys from a known good image without losing data
    much easier.

    There's more.... but that's the essence of it for data.

    System is another rant.

    -
     
    (PeteCresswell), Mar 8, 2012
    #3
  4. Dallas

    mike Guest

    I'm not a pro, I would only loose memories if all my digital pics
    disappeared so I look for a quick, cheap and simple solution.

    I keep all my pics in folders by year on my PCs HD which is
    automatically backed up weekly, cover for HD failure.

    I backup the pics onto DVD at the end of the year and keep the DVDs at
    my mums house in case of fire/theft of the PC.

    I back up recent (i.e. since the last DVD) pics & important files onto a
    portable HD every week or so or so and keep that in a fire safe along
    with insurance policies etc. This is in case of the PC being stolen.

    Worst case scenario and the house burns down and it's hot enough to
    destroy the contents of the safe, I will loose a years pics. If that
    happens I wont be worrying about pictures ....

    I switched to DVD media from CDR a five years or so ago so I'll have to
    consider re-burning them soon.

    Mike
     
    mike, Mar 8, 2012
    #4
  5. Dallas

    Dallas Guest

    Salivating... that's a backup system.

    But yeah, you'd be wiped out in a fire. I do keep a third clone of the
    HD at the bank in a safe deposit box. In theory, I should swap it once
    a month, but it winds up being more like 2-3 months. Still, much
    better than losing it all.
     
    Dallas, Mar 8, 2012
    #5
  6. Dallas

    Dallas Guest

    That is wise... if you get infected with sophisticated malware you
    can't let any device connect to the infected machine until it's
    certified clean.

    I had hardware going out that acted just like a virus on the hard
    drive. For all practical purposes, it had to be treated like a virus.
    I wish I could have that 50 or so hours back spent on that endeavor.
     
    Dallas, Mar 8, 2012
    #6
  7. Dallas

    Robert Coe Guest

    : Alan Browne wrote:
    :
    : > Further, I can upgrade any of the 4 drives at any time without
    : > shutting down the unit. Just pull any drive out and slap in a new
    : > one. The drive then rebuilds the redundant data. When the 4 lights
    : > are green again, I can then add another drive... and so on.
    :
    : Salivating... that's a backup system.
    :
    : But yeah, you'd be wiped out in a fire. I do keep a third clone of the
    : HD at the bank in a safe deposit box. In theory, I should swap it once
    : a month, but it winds up being more like 2-3 months. Still, much
    : better than losing it all.

    You get 95% of the benefit by just throwing your next-to-last backups, on
    whatever media you have available, into the trunk of your car. I've never
    understood why so many people find that riduculously simple procedure to be
    beyond their reach. It's far from the most sophisticated backup method, but it
    allows you to sleep nights if you have nothing better.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Mar 9, 2012
    #7
  8. Dallas

    Joel Guest

    I just burn mine to DVDs. Stories I read from some experts sharing what
    they do

    1. They backup to a hard drive

    2. Then they worry that the drive may go bad so they backup to other drive

    3. With 2 hard drives that feel little safer so they find some other thing
    to worry by worrying that the house may get fired. So they backup to
    another hard drive to keep at the spouse's parent house (his/her parent may
    be too far or some other reason), then they worry that they may get divorced
    and will never see the backup again

    4. And they backup to the 3rd or 4th hard drives.
     
    Joel, Mar 9, 2012
    #8
  9. Dallas

    Joel Guest

    Read the expert stories. You may wanna backup to 5 hard drives then
     
    Joel, Mar 9, 2012
    #9
  10. Dallas

    tcroyer Guest

    I have a Carbonite account to cover most of my system. But, since Carbonite
    doesn't back up external drives, once a week, I manually copy that (with
    most of my new photo work) to a removable, portable 1T drive.

    If you have all your work on an internal drive, Carbonite makes the back up
    date essentially invisible. Cost is OK, too: $59 per year.
     
    tcroyer, Mar 9, 2012
    #10
  11. Dallas

    Pete A Guest

    5. Then they worry that the hard drive interface (SCSI, IDE etc.) will
    become obsolete.
     
    Pete A, Mar 9, 2012
    #11
  12. Dallas

    Alan Browne Guest

    Something I do plan to rectify shortly. It's the "do" part I have to
    get round to... (Just need to buy a few 2 TB disks to setup a rotation.
    I have a "toaster" style drive (EZ Dock-2) that's appropriate for the
    scheme.
    I also have a fireproof safe in the basement with room for a few hard
    drives. I could do that as well. It's down on the concrete in an area
    that would be last to get "hot" in a fire. So that plus 30 minutes
    could be enough...
     
    Alan Browne, Mar 10, 2012
    #12
  13. Dallas

    Alan Browne Guest

    I'd be concerned with the continuous vibration applied to the hard drives.

    For CD/DVD's the humidity would be a concern, and perhaps heat as well
    depending on local conditions.
     
    Alan Browne, Mar 10, 2012
    #13
  14. Dallas

    Alan Browne Guest

    Hard disks are not a long term strategy so obsolescence is not a
    particular issue.

    Further, while obsolescence was an issue for past formats, it is less
    and less an issue going forward if for sheer volume of machines out
    there alone.
     
    Alan Browne, Mar 10, 2012
    #14
  15. Dallas

    tony cooper Guest

    A lady from this area is in critical condition in the hospital. Her
    house was on fire, she ran out safely, but ran back in to rescue a cat
    and was overcome by smoke and passed out.

    Completely understandable if she had run back in to rescue her
    photograph archives on disks, but a cat? You can always get another
    cat.
     
    tony cooper, Mar 10, 2012
    #15
  16. Dallas

    Robert Coe Guest

    On 2012-03-08 21:53 , Robert Coe wrote:
    : > On Thu, 08 Mar 2012 17:23:10 -0600, "Dallas"<[email protected]_me_not.Hotmail.Com>
    : > wrote:
    : > : Alan Browne wrote:
    : > :
    : > :> Further, I can upgrade any of the 4 drives at any time without
    : > :> shutting down the unit. Just pull any drive out and slap in a new
    : > :> one. The drive then rebuilds the redundant data. When the 4 lights
    : > :> are green again, I can then add another drive... and so on.
    : > :
    : > : Salivating... that's a backup system.
    : > :
    : > : But yeah, you'd be wiped out in a fire. I do keep a third clone of the
    : > : HD at the bank in a safe deposit box. In theory, I should swap it once
    : > : a month, but it winds up being more like 2-3 months. Still, much
    : > : better than losing it all.
    : >
    : > You get 95% of the benefit by just throwing your next-to-last backups, on
    : > whatever media you have available, into the trunk of your car. I've never
    : > understood why so many people find that riduculously simple procedure to be
    : > beyond their reach. It's far from the most sophisticated backup method, but it
    : > allows you to sleep nights if you have nothing better.
    :
    : I'd be concerned with the continuous vibration applied to the hard drives.

    Don't the heads on a hard drive lock when you turn it off? In some early PCs
    you were supposed to run a command to lock the heads if you were going to move
    the computer. Then they came out with drives that locked the heads
    automatically; it seemed a great step forward.

    : For CD/DVD's the humidity would be a concern, and perhaps heat as well
    : depending on local conditions.

    You think? I'd be surprised if got so hot in Montréal that heat would be a
    problem in the trunk. In the main part of the car, maybe.

    In any case, there are better ways to handle backups, but any protection is
    better than nothing. Yesterday a complex of four $1,000,000+ houses in a
    Boston suburb burned to the ground in minutes. The wind was so high that there
    was nothing the firefighters could do.

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Mar 10, 2012
    #16
  17. Dallas

    Savageduck Guest

    The lesson here is, always make sure you have a backup cat in a
    fireproof safe, or off site.
     
    Savageduck, Mar 10, 2012
    #17
  18. Dallas

    Alan Browne Guest

    Or keep the cat in a fireproof safe.

    My SO would go for her cat, not a doubt.
     
    Alan Browne, Mar 10, 2012
    #18
  19. Dallas

    Alan Browne Guest

    Certainly. But vibration has other effects on electromechanical devices
    as well that could damage the unit over time. Most HD's are extremely
    robust - but vibration and time...
    I wasn't being specific to anywhere.

    There's humidity to consider as well.
    I'm not saying the car is a bad idea, it isn't. One should just
    consider all factors.

    A similar fire here (more like $25M+ total) happened a few years ago
    when a roof fire started by the roofers spread very fast across several
    buildings. Winds spread it. All but one of the buildings were still
    under construction.
     
    Alan Browne, Mar 10, 2012
    #19
  20. Dallas

    Pete A Guest

    Geographically diverse redundancy using three locations is, I believe,
    considered to be a highly fault-tolerant system. Such triple-redundant
    systems have an extremely low probability of failure provided that
    there is no common point of failure which has been overlooked.

    If one stores a HDD in a car then attempts to use it before giving it
    several hours to stabilize to the new environment, it will be operating
    well outside of its design limits (for goodness sake, it was probably
    initially shipped in a cargo hold that went well below its minimum
    storage specifications). HDDs are designed to be most reliable when
    continuously powered in an environment of moderate (and slowly
    changing) temperature and humidity.

    The traditional CRC-16 sector checksum used on most mass storage
    devices is a completely useless guarantee of data integrity. If it was
    useful, CRC-16 would be used for integrity instead of MD5 (poor), SHA-1
    (moderate), AES-256 (quite good). Even Zip files use the CRC-32 plus a
    recording of the file size to detect data corruption, which is actually
    very robust for reasonably low error-rate systems; unfortunately it has
    no redundancy to recover a corrupted file, but that was not its
    intended purpose - the recipient simply asks the provider to send the
    file again.

    CD and DVD media were designed to provide reasonably accurate data
    retrieval to inherently fault-tolerant systems, not to provide
    archive-quality mission-critical data integrity. Digital audio and
    video are transmitted via media with an alarmingly high error rate: as
    the error rate increases, the decoding algorithms try to provide
    graceful degradation, which is tailored to human perception rather than
    data integrity.

    I would suggest to anyone using CDs, DVDs, HDDs, or other mass storage
    devices for backup that they seriously consider using RAR (or an
    equivalent) because it adds redundancy that seems to cope quite well
    with recovery from errors on both mass storage devices and the Internet.

    Also make sure you that have a computer with ECC memory and an OS that
    _correctly_ responds to it. Without that combination, you may be
    backing-up corrupted data. This is one of the common points of failure
    that I referred to in my opening paragraph. The occasional hardware
    glitch is not as uncommon as we would like to believe. Some calibrate
    their monitors quite frequently to ensure colour fidelity, but do these
    same people frequently run exhaustive computer hardware test software?
    If the reader has a tendency to paranoia, I strongly recommend that you
    never run these very long test programs.
     
    Pete A, Mar 10, 2012
    #20
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