Need recommendations for backing up

LensTrippingLensTripping Registered Users Posts: 6 Big grins
edited July 9, 2020 in Digital Darkroom

Hi all!

I'm hoping y'all would be willing to share your backup strategies for your files?

I no longer store important anything on my computer hard drives because, more than once, computer drives have failed and eaten everything on it. So I always work from and store on external drives.

I am now getting to the point where I've almost used up my 1TB external drive, and I'm looking for a backup solution that allows me to store all file types. I would use my SmugMug account, but I don't think it allows me to do upload RAW files (most important) or edited PSD etc files.

I've looked into Backblaze, but will need to research it as I've never heard of it before.

What are your solutions for backing up your files?

TIA :)

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  • Lille UlvenLille Ulven Lille Ulven ScandinaviaRegistered Users Posts: 538 Major grins

    Hi @LensTripping

    I am using multiple external hard drives, three of which are connected into one Raid 1 system (third one as a fallback if one of the other two decides to fail), and have the original files backed up across three or four hard drives at my place plus one at my parents' place (different country). Whenever I travel one of the original file hard drives goes, including an updated LR catalog, into my locker at work.

    And then all of those drives are backed up at Backblaze. However, be aware, that the "standard" plan at Backblaze is not really a backup, if you delete a file from your hard drive it will get deleted there as well after, I believe, 30 days. They have some solutions to keep your files for longer which cost a tad extra (if my memory serves me right 1 year and forever). I have opted for the 1-year storage. My main reason to have my data stored with them is that should a drive fail completely they can send you a new hard drive with all the data of the failed one, the only thing you pay for are shipment and customs (if you don't live in the US). I chose that option, because downloading 2-4TB per hard drive would, even on a fast connection, take ages.
    One tip (probably valid for whoever you eventually choose to use): once you have set the connection up for backup and the first files seem to arrive in your online storage, make a download of one or more files and see if that works too. Occasional hiccups with the setup can happen, and it would be bad if you'd only discover after hard drive failure...
    I have had to use the hard drive shipment service once so far - about two months after I signed up, so I guess I signed up just in time because of course, it was my main LR hard drive at the time that gave up. (And yes, this is also the day I started the RAID system setup).
    If you should decide to go for Backblaze (and I am certain there are others who will come up and have other options to share and have a look into), send me a message and I can get you a code that gives you a month of free service.

    https://www.lilleulven.com - The Photos of my travels
    https://blog.lilleulven.com - The Stories of my travels
  • RichardRichard Mildly bemused Madrid, SpainAdministrators, Vanilla Admin Posts: 19,211 moderator
    edited July 10, 2020

    There are many strategies involving combinations of online and local storage with varying degrees of redundancy. The one you choose should reflect the importance you attach to your data. If you are a pro, besides needing off-site copies, you might also be concerned with how long recovery could take. Another factor to consider is how automated you want the process to be. You will probably want to consider the cost of various alternatives. It might be useful to have different approaches to archived and working files, using automated cloud backup for the working stuff, but (possibly multiple) off-site removable drives for archive copies. A good rule of thumb is that at every step in your workflow, you should have at least two copies of every file on separate media. This can be accomplished with a combination of memory cards, local hard drives, external hard drives, and cloud storage. You should systematically plan how you would recover if any single component in your scheme failed, and also understand what would happen if several components failed simultaneously (a house fire, for example). Assuming you're using LR or some other photo catalog software, you should think carefully about how it integrates with your recovery scheme--recovering your files won't do you much good if you can no longer find them. Finally, whatever scheme you select should be tested by you personally, both the backup and the recovery--all IT pros have horror stories to tell about what can happen if you don't test recovery.

  • denisegoldbergdenisegoldberg Major grins North Andover, MASuper Moderators Posts: 12,923 moderator

    Be very careful to understand the behavior of the backup product that you choose.

    Many of these products are essentially mirrors - if you delete a file from your computer the product will delete the file from your backup after a specified amount of time. If you want a true backup that doesn't remove files when they disappear from your computer make sure the product you choose supports that.

  • LensTrippingLensTripping Registered Users Posts: 6 Big grins

    Thank you everyone for your help! :)

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaSuper Moderators Posts: 14,544 moderator
    edited July 15, 2020

    I wish to re-emphasize what RIchard said - test all facets of your recovery system, so there are no surprises when you do need them. You WILL need them some day.

    I know of several folks who thought they had back ups. but when they really needed them, they did not work for one reason or another.

    My primary b/u system is triply redundant hard drives and RAID arrays - and I have used them several times over the years - SuperDuper from Shirt Pocket software has been my primary back software for over a decade, and has rebuilt my systems after failed OS upgrades from dead bricks.

    Richard said
    "Assuming you're using LR or some other photo catalog software, you should think carefully about how it integrates with your recovery scheme--recovering your files won't do you much good if you can no longer find them. Finally, whatever scheme you select should be tested by you personally, both the backup and the recovery--all IT pros have horror stories to tell about what can happen if you don't test recovery."

    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
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