Photo Storage - iCloud vs Amazon vs DropBox

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by AbSoluTc, Aug 16, 2015.

  1. AbSoluTc macrumors 68040

    AbSoluTc

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    #1
    I have about 80 gig worth of photos that I don't access very often on my PC. They are sitting on a 7200 RPM WD 2 TB drive. It's approaching 3 years old. I don't have backups so if it dies, I lose it all. I have iCloud storage for my Mac and iOS devices. I also have Amazon Prime which gives me unlimited photo storage. Drop Box is limited as I have only 12 GB of storage (I would have to purchase more). I am also a Flickr Pro account holder. If you were in my position, what would you do?

    I don't mind using Amazon for storage but was unsure of the pros/cons as far as keeping everything original. Also, are they scanned internally (data harvested)? Flickr is not an ideal place for these photos as I don't want them seen by the public, even by accident. Family photos, private and the like. I would like to keep iCloud for my Mac stuff. I mean, I could probably upgrade to the next level if needed (currently at 200gb and using 120 of it). Dropbox is also an option. I know iCloud and Dropbox are pretty secure.

    This would be my backup. I had plans on using a physical disk but my experience with moving drives and data backup has not been good. Don't trust them.

    What would you suggest/do?
     
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #2
    Personally I use three drives. Internal on my Mac, external Timecapsule and a WD backup using CCC which I keep offsite.
    I do keep quite a bit on Flickr, but these are only JPEGS only, so not ideal.
    I don't really trust an external site due to what could happen, and the size of my growing library.
     
  3. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #3
    I see no reason to trust any cloud storage. Even if you can get to and through the net, what is the guaranteed availability and reliability on their side? What happens if they go out of business? I will stick with my local RAID array for high availability and TM backups to seperate backups. If revenue were attached, I would swap backup drives offsite at least once a week.
     
  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #4
    This seems radically Luddite IMHO; sorry. I find it hard to believe that some individual with a couple of hard drives on public power, even with them stored in two locales, is a more secure backup than say Amazon S3's server farms with power backups, massive redundancy, etc etc.

    The free services all have various annoyances, like ads. Flickr is actually quite secure if you set permissions correctly, and lends itself well to organization (you can use a Lightroom publish service to put stuff there organized into albums, for instance). And you're got Pro already, but no RAW storage. Amazon and Google are much less organized, Amazon does store raws of some types. iCloud is perhaps less secure than Dropbox (at least if you're an actress with nude photos :(), and maybe more expensive.

    If you are more concerned about privacy, etc, then a paid service is the way to go. Sounds like your are more interested in backup, which means that one of the many backup services might be in order. I use SpiderOak, but there are tons out there depending on your needs.
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #5
    Nope. While you shouldn't trust any one device or service in particular, if you spread yourself across several devices and services, you are on the safe side. I have my data on my machines, my NAS, an external hard drive, Backblaze backups and Crashplan backups. I don't care if Crashplan goes bellyup tomorrow, I still have other backups.

    @AbSoluTc
    I recommend you have a look at something like Backblaze: $5/month gives you unlimited storage to back up a single machines. That includes external drives, but you need to make sure to plug them in once every 30 days. You should definitely store your data on more than one device/service. You don't need to trust the external hard drive if you have a second safety net. And hopefully a third. Regardless, I'd probably replace the external hard drive after 3~4 years.
     
  6. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #6
    Having lost about 500 photos on iCloud that Apple had no idea what happened and then another 200 on iCloud when they dropped support for Journals, I'm quite happy in my Luddite world. Fortunately all backed up on my "radically Luddite" local drives.

    Then of course there's transfer times, Comcast reliability at one home, Swisscom fibre line at another great -- when they're up. But even in the best of times, over a 100mbps on local versus struggling to obtain 1mbps on the net. No thanks.
     
  7. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 8, 2014
    #7
    How practical is Backblaze or Crashplan for 6tb of desired backups? Drives are always on, always connected, but how long for the initial load? Not unusual for 10 gigs to be deleted and replaced each week.
     
  8. CHNO-Chris macrumors newbie

    CHNO-Chris

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2013
    Location:
    Herts, UK
    #8
    Nothing wrong with any of the online storage companies, but there are a couple of things I recommend you bear in mind:
    - be aware of what that company might do with your data (use it for serving adverts to you, their own advertising etc etc)
    - bear in mind that, to my knowledge, none of them offer a guarantee of no data loss
    - do some research into how safe/secure they are (Dropbox have had several breaches for instance)
    - you need a lot of bandwidth for uploading lots of images. If you're shooting 000's of hi-res images weekly, online might no be practical

    Most importantly, I would suggest that you never trust anyone else completely with your data. By all means have an online provider be your 3rd copy, but always, always, always be in a position where you should be able to retrieve your images yourself locally before having to resort to going to a cloud copy.

    I prefer a mirrored RAID (RAID-1) as my first two copies of the data, swapping out one drive weekly to have an offsite copy. See my video on this here:
    I do also have a 4th copy of all my images in the cloud should someone come to my home, steal my computers and RAID, find the address of my offsite copy and steal that too - that's the way I prefer to use cloud backup, as a last resort should all other avenues be closed to me.

    EDIT: I did a blog post on storage a little while ago (minus the cloud backup): https://www.chno.co.uk/storage-workflow-for-photography/
     
  9. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #9
    Very. I didn't have the fastest internet (24 MBit/s down, I believe ~3 MBit/s up), but after an initial upload (which took several weeks) they have more than been able to keep up with the amount of data I add daily. (I should have ~2 TB on Backblaze and 1.5 TB on Crashplan; on a daily basis I transmit several hundred megs to a few gigs.) Even adding 16 GB or so does not take an eternity as everything is happening in the background. With Backblaze, they have even added the option to increase the number of network connection so that you can balance CPU and bandwidth usage. After my move I'll configure Crashplan directly on my NAS, although I should have significantly faster internet at my next apartment.

    Having just local backups is not sufficient, in case something happens to your home, your data is toast. You should have a copy of your data offsite. Backblaze and Crashplan offer just that. Relying only on local backups is asking for trouble.
     
  10. etsi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    #10
    You can combine amazon cloud, google drive, dropbox, onedrive with arq which encrypts data locally.
     
  11. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #11
    I agree. Obviously having good broadband helps; it isn't an option if you don't have that.

    But it can trundle along in the background, overnight, etc. Some services will accept a hard drive in the mail and copy that to start your backup, and many will ship a hard drive with your backup back to you in the event you need to restore all of that.

    Having sat through another earthquake yesterday, I was reminded how glad I am that in addition to local backups and an offsite backup of my own (unfortunately, near enough that it too could be wiped out by an earthquake) I have online backups elsewhere in the US and other countries.
     
  12. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #12
    Thanks. I do keep a couple of 2tb 2.5" drives in a bank deposit bank as our main home is located on the water in a hurricane zone. They contain everything other than video and music. Crucial data and is on an encrypted image on Dropbox. Probably a couple of gig at most. If something happens to my home I have far more important things to deal with than data availability. Don't work, what business interests I do have is on DropBox.
     
  13. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #13
    If you're lucky, you'll have your phone. But access to passwords, insurance records, inventories, receipts, etc can be one of the most important things about a disaster. I was lucky, but after a firestorm in my neighborhood we housed a couple who didn't even have their drivers licenses or wallets. Having all that stuff available would have saved them TONS of headaches. Photos just for insurance claims were especially helpful if one had them.
     
  14. CHNO-Chris macrumors newbie

    CHNO-Chris

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2013
    Location:
    Herts, UK
    #14

    Hmm, to be fair, being in the UK, we generally never have to worry too much about disasters like earthquake, volcano, tornado etc. The worst we face is heavy rain (by American standards I doubt we could even call it rain!) causing local flooding.
     
  15. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #15
    There are plenty of other issues such as theft, water damage and such? You should definitely have one copy of your (important) data offsite.
     
  16. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #16
    Are you sure? What about a lifetime worth of photos? (If you asked most people before the digital era what they would want to rescue in case of a fire, they'd say their photo albums.) And if you own a business, loss of data usually means you lose your business as well in large probability.
     
  17. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #17
    As I said in what you are responding to, everything other than music and video is off-site, I don't work and what business interests I do have are backed up. To give you an idea of the level of importance I give to those off-site backups, they are refreshed once a year.

    I have been in disaster situations. A typhoon in Japan as a child and several bad hurricanes in the USA. Believe me, old photographs are not top of anyone's mind. Nor are they years later when the dust has settled. That includes a very close friend and very successful high-end fashion photographer who lost near everything in a freak shipping container mishap. He's mentioned the loss of photographs perhaps 2 or 3 times in the decades since it happened.

    Maybe it depends on how people live their lives. For those who look backwards, it would be a loss. For those who look forward, nothing is lost. I enjoy the practice of photography. Nothing is lost.

    I'm showing my age but having read comments about data backup over the years I suggest many people need to get a life. Those bits, bytes and snippets of history are all pretty irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Not to sound harsh and not directed at anyone in particular.
     
  18. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    #18
    I think you make a very good point. It's what you have readily available somewhere or another that can make a bad situation a little bit better. People need to think just what they need and respond accordingly. For me, if it's not available at someone else's website, it in the encrypted image I keep on DropBox. Photos of driver's licenses, passports, immigration papers, 1-Password is up there chock full of a plethora of little details and copies of important records. That image is perhaps 3 gig of data which is largely composed of scans of a very rare disease my wife has and the associated software to access them on multiple platforms (we've run into top neurological hospitals and university departments that need to see what they're looking for so they recognize it). The rest, could fit on an everyday sd card.
     
  19. brent12 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    #19
    I've had great luck with Crashplan. You can backup to both the cloud and a local external hard drive resulting in a cloud backup if your house burns down and local backup that is much faster if need to do a massive restore. Crashplan also offers to send you a hard drive of cloud backup for a price - which I've never tried nor needed.
     
  20. WabashSphinx macrumors newbie

    WabashSphinx

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    Jan 14, 2015
    Location:
    Indiana
    #20
    What I wouldn't be able to do--sleep! But, it depends on what those photos mean to you. But it also relates to my experience with a WD MyBook or whatever it was called. Didn't use it much, luckily, and it died, with no support from the company and nothing salvaged. Last WD drive I'll buy. As for going forward, after spending many hours scanning family pics from the pre-digital age, I backed up copies on Blu-ray disks and put them in my safe deposit box. Bought a Blu-ray drive from OWC for my elderly MacPro. My primary storage is a Drobo--but that's pretty safe storage, not backup. My cloud backup is Dropbox, although that's only partially implemented. I chose Dropbox so I could easily share old family photos with cousins around the country and in Europe. Although this has worked well for batches of pics, which they can join for free and share, it doesn't work out that way for a large collection. I got a TB for $99 a year, but if my content is over their free limit, they have to buy up to share, even if they only download a portion. So I'm still working on how to break my files into folders so they can be accessed one at a time for free (easy enough for me but clunky for cousins). In the meantime, a big benefit was Dropbox's Carousel. On a European trip in May, I went iPhone-only for video and pics. I could set the Carousel app to automatically upload my day's worth of photography when I got to wifi at the end of the day. I had daily back-up. Plus Carousel has an option to take pics off your phone when you're close to capacity. It all worked brilliantly.
     
  21. CHNO-Chris macrumors newbie

    CHNO-Chris

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    Oct 20, 2013
    Location:
    Herts, UK
    #21
    Yes, of course, see my post above. My point was that I have less risk than someone in an earthquake zone for offsite data stored a couple of towns away for instance.
     
  22. stiwi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2010
    Location:
    Singapore
    #22
    Does anyone have experience with SOS Online Backup? It seems to tick all boxes (CrashPlan + Backblaze combined).
     
  23. stiwi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2010
    Location:
    Singapore
    #23
    I gave SOS a try, forget it. Their OS X app doesn't have half of the features they are advertising.
     
  24. JMarkNY macrumors newbie

    JMarkNY

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2016
    Location:
    New York
    #24
    Sorry for resurrecting an older thread, but it looks like a lot of these cloud services are getting a lot more popular now.

    I'm somewhat of an amateur photographer. I just picked up a nikon d5300. Here's the specs: http://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-products/product/dslr-cameras/d5300.html

    After quickly realizing that my harddrive would never be big enough to hold all my photos, I set out on a mission to find a safe and secure cloud service to store all these photos.

    This post (http://www.cloudstorageboss.com/cloud-storage-for-photos/) seems to be pretty new and has some good recommendations for cloud services specifically for photography.

    I had tried icloud, but it's kind of annyoing. I'm going to give Amazon's cloud drive a shot for a few months to see how I like it. If not, I'll probably just go with dropbox.
     
  25. Robotti macrumors regular

    Robotti

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2014
    #25
    I did what you are doing and gave Amazon a shot a year ago. Decided to stick with it, because of the exceptionally good transfer speeds. Using the desktop app, I can upload to Amazon at around 900 MBit / s at the workplace, so basically the speed my PC can handle. It's not the most convenient UI (in the desktop app and mobile both), but getting slowly better.
     

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