Is backing up just the library (iPhoto, Aperture, Devonthink, etc.) good enough?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Lastmboy, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Lastmboy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    #1
    This is just a bit of paranoia that I have. I like the "library" approach that many OSX apps take, such as iPhoto, Aperture, and Devonthink for examples. I now have thousands of irreplaceable photos and documents stored in those libraries. I keep a Time Machine backup of them and also back them up to CrashPlan online. Therefore, I SHOULD be really safe, right? But what if the "disaster" is not a drive failure or a fire or a flood? What if the library just goes corrupt? What if I don't realize it until I've actually backed up the corruption?

    Should I be exporting everything from these libraries and backing up the individual files, as well, or do figure I will always be able to put back some backup version of the library file and it will open without problems? It would be a horrendous pain to have to back them up individually, too, but would be a necessity if the library file was corrupt and wouldn't open. Just interested in others thoughts on this.
     
  2. cr2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    #2
    Aperture Vault is Not Good

    Hello,

    Once I thought I had a great backup with multiple vaults on multiple disks. I upgraded my laptop and gave away the old one. When I installed Aperture, I could not import from my vault!

    Spent a lot of time but then Carbon Copy Cloner saved me. I was able to boot from older disk image and read the Aperture vault as well as the Aperture Library which was on the same disk. I don't remember what I did next but I was close to lose all of my photographs.

    There were two months between old laptop and the setting up of the new laptop. During that time Aperture had a minor upgrade which could not read the older vaults. (both were version 3.x)

    Also backing the vault or Aperture library is a pain because it is one massive file (database) in my case it was 70Gb. Even a small change means backing up the 70Gb file. Time machine does not do a good job of it. I have moved towards LR4 and Photoshop. LR4 alone is far better to organize and it is good for 99% of the photo edits.

    I would invest some time in learning LR4 (and possibly Photoshop).

    All the best.
     
  3. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #3
    You should be fine for your photos. While Apple does store all your Photos in the iPhoto / Aperture Library You can open and see the contents of the Aperture Library file in the Finder by Control-clicking the file and choosing Show Package Contents. There is a folder in the library that stores all your original images. So even if the Library becomes corrupted for some reason, then you can always get to your original images. Not sure about Devonthink as I don't use it.

    ----------

    I can't comment on your specific issue with vaults, but I have been using Vaults since the original release of Aperture and never had a problem. In the early days of Aperture and Time Machine there were some issues with Time Machine not making incremental backups, but these were sorted out a long time ago. Time Machine works fine these days with Aperture.

    I don't see the benefit for the OP switching to Lightroom (which is an excellent program) unless he is a heavy photoshop user.
     
  4. Lastmboy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    #4
    It looks like this problem was fixed with OS X v10.5.3. It was doing that if you had Aperture open during a backup. From what I can find, it's entirely incremental now, regardless of whether Aperture is open or not.
     
  5. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #5
    I have exactly the same programs as you (Aperture, Devonthink, and to a lesser degree, iPhoto)... as well as iTunes etc.

    The libraries are NOT one big monolithic file. Instead, they are a "package". If you right click on the package, and select "show package contents"... then you will see that a package is really just a folder, that is made to appear like it is one big monolithic file. Hence... all of your pictures, are really there. If you poke around, you can see them all. Likewise... you will see all of your original documents in your Devonthink database. Hence... the absolute worse thing that could possibly happen is that you lose your database organization... but still have all your pictures, documents, music, movies, etc. The chances of that happening is nil.

    Like you, I back up locally to Time Machine, and also to the cloud using Crashplan+. My total backup set (to Crashplan+) is now 1.5 TB. I just finished (today) backing up my new iMac to Crashplan+ using their seed plan to backup the first 1.2 TB of data (after comression on to the 1TB seed disk)... and then the final 0.3 TB over the past few weeks.

    Additionally... I do keep a pair of rotated 1.5 TB HDDs... one of which is always offsite (locked in a desk drawer at work). For those... I ONLY make CCC clones of my pictures, and my home authored movies (ex: from camcorders). I restrict it to that type of media because that is my irreplaceable media. Everything else... music, movies, etc can be replaced. I do not put my documents on the drive because I do not trust the physical security of these HDDs with any information that could be used to commit identity theft.

    Until recently... I also kept Aperture vaults on these pair of HDDs... but I stopped because I do not think they offer any more value above and beyond the entire library which is backed onto the drive.

    So bottom line: I think you are fine with your approach.

    /Jim
     
  6. Lastmboy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    #6
    Thanks. I hadn't even thought of that. It looks like they're in the Master folder. I discovered that they're actually separated out on Crashplan, too, so I can restore individual photos.
     
  7. Lastmboy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    #7
    Thanks for your response. That reassures me. Interesting to see that somebody else has the same scenario. It all actually works really good. I just started wondering if it was "too easy" :) I think I have about 750 GB on CrashPlan. I keep expecting something bad to happen, like then throttling the connection or failing backups or something, but no problems yet. You're the second person I've heard from that has 1.5 TB up there with no issue. The "unlimited" must actually be that.

    What is (supposed to be) the advantage of the Aperture vaults over backing up the whole library?
     
  8. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #8
    Vaults does back up the entire library. The advantage is Aperture supports multiple vaults, so you could have two or more external hard disks, one of which you can keep offsite. To be honest if you have Crashplan and Time Machine, using Vaults as well may be Overkill.
     
  9. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #9
    To be more clear... Vaults backup the "Managed" portion of your library. If you use referenced masters (I don't), then you need to back them up separately.

    I used to make vaults and back them up along with the entire A3 library. Now I just back up the whole library.

    /Jim
     

Share This Page