Archiving & Backups

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by thefoo, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. thefoo macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2007
    I use Lightroom with a 350D and store most of my photos in RAW format.

    However, my disk space is limited and I would like to shift some of my collections on to DVD or external hard drive.

    A Google search reveals this is way more difficult than it first looks, so I'd like to hear about your workflows and how it helps you.

    From what I can tell you can either store a permanent copy on DVD which you then delete locally (and have to re-import later if you need it), or expand your storage by working off an external drive.

    Backing up to DVD might be cheaper but seems to have limitations. You need to store any metadata in separate files plus the Lightroom catalogue I think. And of course the media may scratch or damage.

    Whereas with an external drive it should be possible to rsync your entire Pictures folder to a second external drive. But it costs more money.

    Some day there will be an online photo hosting service that integrates. Until that time, what do you do and why?
  2. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    At no point have you mentioned a backup solution…

    Lots of people talk about 3 distinct copies of information across 2 geographic locations, but at a minimum you should have 2 distinct copies of anything you don't want to lose.

    What happens if your external drive fails? You lose everything on there? It's just as likely (maybe more likely) than the optical discs failing because you scratch them.

    I'd suggest, at a minimum, using the external HD and then exporting "finals" (i.e. the keepers) to DVDs for safe storage.

    Ideally you'd have 3 external hdds with identical data: two at home, and one at work (or a friend's house, w/e) which you would rotate daily/weekly/biweekly.
  3. onomatopoeia macrumors 6502


    Dec 9, 2007
    DVD is not good long term storage as more recordable DVD's are anything but permanent. It's also a very slow and tedious process backing up to DVD.

    I'd suggest a local hard drive backup (time machine managed) and an external backup at another physical location if possible. It's a lot easier than the DVD option.
  4. thefoo thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2007
    Funnily enough I've spent the past several hours examining online backup solutions.

    Problem is there's little integration with Lightroom's workflows.

    For example, if your backup program notes changes with some Lightroom files and transfers the changes, does that create an inconsistency within the backup if Lightroom hasn't yet saved all it's data. A potential nightmare exists.
  5. steeler macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2008
    I'm not the original poster, but have been thinking about the same thing (backups of digital photos/video). I have been using DVDs as a third distinct copy (others are on different hard drives), but am wondering if buying several hard drives and using them only for backups would be a good method.

    Something like 5 drives total with one of those off-site, 2 on the shelf, and 2 attached for current use. After a week or two or four, the drives on the shelf get refreshed with a full backup and come into service. The drives in service go out of service and sit on the shelf until the next rotation. The off-site backup would get refreshed bi-weekly or so.

    With that scenario, there would be 2 current backups and about 3 that are two to four weeks old (or less) at any given time.

    If any one drive dies, the data will still be available. The only potential problem would be if both the "in service" drives die at the exact same time. Unlikely, IMO.

    Is this overkill?
  6. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Doesn't Lightroom provide the option to automatically save in two locations - e.g. save your file and save a backup copy at the same time? I'm not a Lightroom user, but I thought I'd heard that... In any case, it's not exactly difficult to not be running Lightroom (or any other specific program) at the time you're performing your online backup.

    Different people tend to have a lot of different backup schemes, depending on their level of anal retentiveness (okay, "prudent paranoia"). I just back up to a separate hard drive at my home once a day (more often if I'm doing something critical) using Time Machine in manual mode. Since my main computer is a laptop and it's pretty much always with me, I'm not going to sweat the "two backups in two different places" stuff, personally. I'm sure someone can come up with a somewhat contrived reason why my solution is inadequate, and that's fine for them. But I've seen a lot of disk crashes; not so many house fires or burglaries when the owner is home.
  7. costabunny macrumors 68020


    May 15, 2008
    Weymouth, UK
    Personally I don't use an off-site solution. I keep my incomming imagery on a Mirrored RAID within the MacPro and then that is rsynced each night to my NAS (RAID5).

    This means I have a backup of my entire home directory on the NAS by 06:00 am each day (thus limiting impact from any failure to at most 23Hrs). I keep both systems on UPS's (to prevent power-loss issues and also to keep the power supply nice and clean).

    I clean the NAS regularly (the physical side - dust and kity fur).

    One day when bandwidth permits I will add an rsync job to my server hosted in Germany. (with a 512kB upstream it will take ages to perform the initial transfer with my 16Gb or so of images thus far)....

    I suppose adding a Networked RAID1 drive to rsync once a week and keep in the office would be nice, however as I live sooo close to the office (like 12yards or so) I am not so sure it qualifies as off-site....

    For me the loss of photo data would be a real tragedy, however it would not be the end of the world....
  8. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    the way we back up our work (graphic design, motion and photos) is everything my partner and i work on ends up in intelligently named folders on her mac pro on "disk b" which is a 1TB seagate drive. "disk a" is the boot disk and where itunes, etc.. lives.

    we then do automatic time machine backups "disk b" to "disk c" which is also a 1TB seagate.

    we also do clones of "disk b" to one of two external 1TB drives. we then bring this drive to our safe deposit box at the bank and swap out with the other external, which then comes back to the studio and gets a another clone of "disk b". we rotate these twice a week or so.

    this way all the work is in 3 places - one on disk b, one on disk c, and one offsite on an external.

    for the record, these files do represent our income. so as far as i am concerned, until work exists in 3 places and at least 2 different locations, its not backed up.

    in addition to all of that, i have 2 externals that i superduper my laptop to and swap out at the bank as well. she also superduper's her boot drive in a similar way. we also have a 1.2TB RAID5 NAS that we have some backups of things, repositories of less critical work, etc..
  9. disdat macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2005
    New England USA
    I am the backup queen. I have 4 external hard drives, and countless DVD backups. I don't think you can have too much backup!

    I also have a MBP, and with RAW files, space fills up fast.

    I still use iPhoto, and I use the app iPhoto Library Manager to create and maintain more than one library on an external hard drive, along with my main MBP iPhoto library.

    From there, I make backups of each iPhoto Library onto another external hard drive.

    I also keep offsite backups on an external hard drive at another location other than my house. I only update that backup once every couple of weeks, so I use Amazon S3 with Jungle Disk to backup in between backups to the offsite external.

    Once in awhile I make a few DVD backups, but as another poster said, it can be so tedious and time consuming. And 4gb DVD doesn't hold many RAW files.

    I used to try to make DVD backups and keep them offsite, but it just took forever. I shoot a lot, and it was a never ending battle. The external hard drives work much more efficiently.
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Hard drives are not expensive. The Local Fry's store has 750GB drives for $100. But one disk drive holds 75,000 image files and costs $100 That's what? a tenth of a penny per image. Not really expense is it? OK you need at least three drives for a rotating backup system but the cost is still a half cent per image file. If you shoot 1,000 images backing them all up costs you a nickel. Adding a fire safe only doubles the price, Now it is 1,000 images for a dime. I stongly suject buying a water proof fire safe to store the backup media.

    Currently Im organizing some old film,
    I buy those plastic "print file" pages to store film negative. They come in 100 page packs for $20. That's only 2 cents per page. Two cents is cheap to hold an entire 24 exposure roll but that price is comparable to what I spend on disk drives to hold digital images, nothing. I think I've spent $140 on plastic print file pages. enpensive? Not compared to the 700 rolls of file inside.

    Whatever workflow you use needs to have backup build into it. Some people burn their images to CD or DVD as soon as the come off the camera. I don't trust CDs to last very long and trust DVDs a lot less. But if you verify the disc after it is made and store it correctly t might be safe for a week or 10 years, you don't know.

    Aperure makes backups easy because it has abackup feature built-in. You just plug in an external disk containing an "Aperture Vault" and it can sync your library t it. You un-plug it and take it away some place. People generally have two or three of these "vaults".

    Time Machine can do a decent job too and it is totally painless to use and automatic so it does get done. I use TM is one of the three copies I keep

    You need an off-site backup too. If if some one breaks in and steels your euipment or there is a fire? Get to drives. Keep one at work, copy your data to the other and then take it to work and bring home the other one that way one is always "away".

    Recently I started a project to scan some old family photos. Some of these date from the early 1900's. My gues is that I'm the last generation to be able to look at old family photos. Most of what is shot today will be lost to hard disk failures or "operator error". Very few people follow the rule about keep three or more copies and an off site backup. All of those willl b lost if not this year then in 50 years.
  11. ticomac macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2008
    costa rica
    Hello, what is this " app iPhoto Library Manager", where can i find it? won't it
    mess up the start up if iphoto cant find all the external disks?

  12. ButtUglyJeff macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2008
    New York. The state, not the toilet.
    My main drive is "Time Machined" to my second internal drive. Then all my files go to my Drobo/Droboshare. Each photo exsists 4 time, allbeit in close proximity to each other.

    I'm by no means anything more than an amature. The nice thing is my photos are available over the network this way.
  13. disdat macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2005
    New England USA
    google is your friend

    and no, I don't always have my external drive attached. It doesn't mess up at all. I keep my main photos on my laptop hard drive, and iPhoto Lib Manager won't open anything unless I tell it to.

    I launch the library from my HD most times.
  14. eddx macrumors regular


    May 12, 2005
    Manchester, UK
    If you can justify the intial costs, I cant recommend the Drobo external hard drive enough. All my raw files are on there and it works wonders in my nearly 12 months of using it.
  15. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Aperture directly address this problem and lets you keep a subset of your main library on your notebook drive and sync up when needed. It also neatly address the backup problem by lettingyou have any number of "vaults" and it keeps track of what is sync'd to each vault. Perhaps LR will do this in a future rev or consider switching.

    OK if you must manage this maunally,your best bet is to keep a set of about three external disk drives and rotate them.

    DVDs are only cheaper initially, You can't make a copy to DVD and expect it to last forever you have to periodically re-record all of them. When I used DVDs I'd have to make two copies and took one set to work. Then every so often I'd re-make the one entire backup set keep that one at home and take the one it replaced to the office and then throw the thirst oldest copy at the office away. It was way to much work.
  16. ButtUglyJeff macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2008
    New York. The state, not the toilet.
    Did you see that the next generation Drobo came out, and its now firewire? If it was a 6 bay, I'd upgrade in a heartbeat......
  17. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    I use to use optical media for image storage of images scanned from film.

    That was until I tried to read a CD I created a few years prior and it failed.

    Thank god I still have the film negs.

    We now use multiple external HDD's

    We do weekly backups on one that is stored off site.

    We do daily backups on one that is here in the house.

    I keep my 'home' backup at the office and the office backup at home.

    I must say that having *Time Machine* helps keeping backups up to date.

    We also have 3 of those pocket sized USB drives, 320 Gig, and use them as well.
  18. seenew macrumors 68000


    Dec 1, 2005
    Wow, drobo sounds like exactly what I need...
    Now I just need to convince myself to put the money towards that and not another lens or something..

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