Online Backup

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Eric Miller, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. Eric Miller

    Eric Miller Guest

    Is anyone using an online backup service to store images? I have been
    looking at the Carbonite service and thinking about giving it a try. Tales
    of good or bad experiences and recommendations for alternate providers would
    be appreciated.

    Eric Miller
    Eric Miller, Apr 3, 2009
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  2. I heard of one instance where the online storage company went out
    of business with short notice, and many people lost their images. With
    external HDs, I would use multiples with identical sets of files on them,
    and run them periodically to keep the drives in good operating condition.
    Some people say that archival-type DVDs are good, CDs better than
    average-quality DVDs (but without much capacity), and that Blu-ray
    disks may be reasonably archival (I find that last hard to believe...;-).
    Maybe photographically copying your best work is best? (Just joshing! 8^)
    David Ruether, Apr 3, 2009
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  3. Eric Miller

    ray Guest

    I'd recommend an external hard drive backup instead. You can remove it to
    another location after backing up. Since it is a one-time expense, in the
    long run it will be to your financial advantage. Another consideration:
    all you need to back up is your data - it's really rather pointless to
    back up the OS.
    ray, Apr 3, 2009
  4. Eric Miller

    J. Clarke Guest

    If you treat it as a backup to another storage source then that approach is
    fine if you have enough bandwidth.

    The big advantage is that it's off-site and usually in a different city, so
    you're protected from just about any disaster short of nuclear war.

    The big disadvantage is that you're dependent on the business acumen of the
    site operators--if they go under then everything stored there goes away.

    Don't put your only copy of anything important there--use it to supplement
    your onsite storage and backups.

    DVDs or a hard disk stored in a safe deposit box in a bank is another
    wortwhile option--if you get Katrinaed you may still lose that but you're
    protected if your house or studio burns down.
    J. Clarke, Apr 3, 2009
  5. Another big disadvantage is security. Unless _YOU_ encrypt your data
    with _YOUR_ encryption program before sending it offsite for storage
    there is no telling who might read your files.

    Jürgen Exner, Apr 3, 2009
  6. Eric Miller

    bowzer Guest

    It'll be a great day when they figure out how to put a film recorder inside
    the cam, no?

    bowzer, Apr 3, 2009
  7. Eric Miller

    Mike.G. Guest

    My feeling is that your first line of defense should be frequent
    complete backups of all your active drives to local (probably external)
    drives. I personally do complete drive images every night (baseline +
    14 incrementals). All is scheduled, and just happens while I'm asleep.
    Over the years, I've had a couple of drives tank, and it's so nice to
    be able to just run a complete drive image onto a new drive, in just an
    hour or so, and be done. Nothing to reinstall, reconfigure, etc. Looks
    just like it did before the failure.

    Having said that, and having lived through a house fire many years ago,
    I worry about fire, theft, tree falling on the house, you name it. So a
    few years ago I set out looking for reasonably priced offsite storage.
    Everything I could find was *very* expensive. Then I read a review by
    Walter Mossberg, the tech guy for the Wall Street Journal. He was
    pretty impressed with an outfit called Mozy. They are a subsidiary of
    EMC, the big data storage company, and offer up to 2GB of storage free.
    For free, I thought I'd give them a try. Everything worked out great,
    and I was soon up against the 2GB limit, so I opted to try their 'pay
    me' service. It's $4.95 a month, with a free month if you pay annually,
    for *unlimited* storage.

    I've been using it for something over 2 years now, and they really seem
    to mean unlimited. I currently have around 35GB, and before I decided
    that I really didn't need to save all of my original photoshop files, I
    had over 80GB. It has it's own scheduler, so it also 'just happens'
    each night. You configure which folders and/or files you want to be
    included. It's intended to be for important data files, and not program
    files. The upload speeds are pretty slow, but that's a function of your
    ISP. I get 550-750 megabits/sec., a mere fraction of my download speeds.

    I've recovered a couple of files from them, just to test that it worked
    OK, which it did.

    There are different opinions about whether to use your own key or their
    public key. The point they make is that if you use their key, they can
    always get your data back for you, no matter what. If you use your own
    key, and it gets lost, they simply can't do anything for you, It's all
    lost forever. They offer the choice of yours or theirs, so you can do
    whatever you're comfortable with.

    Based on my experience, I can recommend Mozy without hesitation. You
    can find them at

    I'm not familiar with Carbonite, but having just quickly looked at their
    website, they seem to be a very similar operation to Mozy. I have no
    basis for recommending one over the other. I do, however, endorse using
    such an offsite backup service.
    Mike.G., Apr 4, 2009
  8. Eric Miller

    Eric Miller Guest

    This was my general idea. I alreay have a RAID 1 to cover disk failure,
    optical backups and use an external drive for additional "grab and go"
    back up, but realize that it is just too much of a PITA to constantly
    ferry external drives offsite. Bandwidth isn't much of a concern and I
    plan to only backup the important parts of my current image library and
    future selected files. The price of 50-60 per year with unlimited
    storage seems like a good value and worth the price of not having to do
    my own offsite backup with external drives.

    Eric Miller
    Eric Miller, Apr 4, 2009
  9. Eric Miller

    Ray Fischer Guest

    The backup that works best is the backup that you will use regularly.
    It's it's too much of a PITA then it won't get used.

    That said, everything has risks. The goal to to reduce risk appropriately.

    If you can set up an external disk with automatic software to make
    VERSIONED backups then that takes care of most computer failures.

    If you make a copy of that backup disk regularly and then keep that
    copy outside of your home (office, safe, bank, etc.) then that will
    take care of most of that bad things that can happen to your house.

    If you make two copies then you improve security against disk failure.
    If you buy a new disk every few years that has the latest technology
    then you protect yourself against obsolescence.

    An online backup service has the advantage of being highly secure
    against most physical catastrophies, but is weak against economic
    problems (the company can fail). It also costs more.

    Optical backup protects against overwriting valuable data, but because
    it's not dynamic you run the risk of having it go bad/unreadable and
    not knowing that it's gone bad.

    So, how valuable are your data?

    And that reminds me - time to update my 2nd backup.
    Ray Fischer, Apr 4, 2009
  10. Eric Miller

    Hans Kruse Guest

    My local backup strategy is that I have 2 external USB 2.0 drives of the
    same capacity as an internal drive in my desktop PC. I use synchronization
    software (SureSynch) to synchonize the folder regularly to both drives.
    However there is, of course, no history involved in this backup strategy. I
    do have a limited history backup in the sense that when I import images from
    my CF cards into Lightroom I backup all imported images on a separate
    external drive. Only when this drive runs out of space do I delete the
    oldest folders. So far I have not lsot anything by accident using this
    strategy. I do the same when I'm travelling on my laptop and in addition I
    synchronize all relevant folders including new images from my laptop to en
    external drive (rugged LaCie 2.5" drive powered via USB). My card reader is
    my Vosonic drive which serves as a card reader, backup drive for my images
    imported and as a backup to my laptop if it fails. I always bring two
    Vosonic drives, so if the laptop fails I can copy my CF cards into two
    Vosonic drives.
    For disaster backup for the reasons you mention I use Mozy and have done so
    for more than a year now (and for all PC's in the house including my wife's
    laptop). The Mozy service is rather clever in the way it backup as it
    cooperates with the Windows Shadow Copy Service to let applications that are
    aware of this, that a backup is going on. This means that e.g. Output will
    know that a backup of a PST file will be needed and this can be done even
    when Output is running and has the PST file open.

    For photo backup I have now around 350GB backed up by Mozy. They also claim
    that you can move the folders on your hard drives and avoid rebacking up
    everything, but this requires a manual intervention from Mozy support. I'm
    going through this at the moment and it has not worked yet. I think this is
    rather critical since this will be needed e.g.when upgrading from one
    machine to another or OS upgrades (e.g. XP to 64bit Vista which I'm
    I have tested this only on a limited basis and it seems to work.
    I don't use a private key and I have no concern about that.
    My recommendation also provided that the backup without complete reload can
    happen across OS upgrades and HD upgrades.
    Hans Kruse, Apr 7, 2009
  11. Eric Miller

    Mike.G. Guest

    I've had a couple of experiences with moving things around, including
    both a new machine build, with new drives all totally reconfigured, as
    well as simply moving and/or renaming folders, both within a partition,
    as well as to another physical drive. Until your post, I never thought
    to see if they could make it go smoother.

    However, even though I just 'bit the bullet' the first time, and plowed
    ahead, I was pleasantly surprised that they didn't need to reload the
    (at that time) about 70GB of files I had on their servers. Even though
    the dialog box indicated they were going to back up 70GB, instead the
    transfer dialog box spent a lot of time at 'Communicating with MozyHome
    Servers...". Then suddenly, the progress bar would jump forward a bit.
    Sometimes a file would start to transfer, but after maybe 10 seconds,
    it would terminate, and again the progress bar would jump. Looking at
    the History file of the session later, I found that although all of the
    files were listed, most were marked 'File already on MozyHome Servers',
    so apparently their software was able to match each file at it's new
    location with it's old location, and simply change the path designation
    on their servers. The whole process ended up taking just a few hours,
    rather than the few weeks that were originally projected.

    Mike.G., Apr 7, 2009
  12. Eric Miller

    Mike.G. Guest

    An added thought: After any reconfiguration, no matter how minor it may
    seem, one should *always* check the Configuration setup to make sure
    that the affected files/folders are still selected for backup. My
    experience is that sometimes yes, sometimes no
    Mike.G., Apr 7, 2009
  13. Eric Miller

    Hans Kruse Guest

    Thanks, I'll see how it goes.
    Hans Kruse, Apr 7, 2009
  14. Eric Miller

    Hans Kruse Guest

    I see that a lot of the files in the moved folder has exactly message as you
    mention 'File already on Mozy.....'. So that's great. It appears that a
    unique ID is calculated per file which makes it possible to recognize a file
    even when it is moved to another folder. Pretty neat.
    Hans Kruse, Apr 8, 2009
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