What is your setup as far as external hard drives?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by 86047, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. 86047 macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    I have an ibook with a 55 gb hd in it and I'm looking to buy external hard drives. What I don't know is how I should manage it.
    What would be better, to buy an external one the same size as my internal for backup, and a second one for archiving purposes? But then I would need to back that up too. Would It be a good idea to get two larger hard drives, and have a partition of one of them for backup?

    What do you use for your hard drive setup? How does it fit into your photo workflow?
  2. weazle1098 macrumors regular


    Apr 6, 2006
    Gods proving grounds, Massachusetts
    I'm using my computer as my main drive right now, bad idea, because its only 80GB and its filling up, but I have an 250GB Porche drive by LaCie as my Vault for Aperture, I'm going to get another one eventually so I can store all my photos on it and then back them up with another, thats what most hard core people do, I think. Most Pro's have a bunches of them. But if you plan on taking lots of photos I'd invest in two more, one for storage and one for a back-up should the unthinkable happen.
  3. mashinhead macrumors 68030

    Oct 7, 2003
    Sadly i don't really have a backup, i have so much media that i bought an enclosure that holds two sata 2.5 drives. It looks like a g-raid, g5 style drive) then i put two 500gb hds. Then i just have a laptop. I should get a back up for it, but when i get around to it.
  4. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    I use a 500GB drive for my system backups and offline photo storage. I use smaller 80G drives for working storage and back up to my colo system when I can for offsite backups. I'm hoping that moving to Aperture will help me with DVD backups as well.
  5. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    I use two Lacie 250mb Bricks for my Documents, Pictures, Music, and what I call my Other Stuff folders. One I keep on site, the other I swap out. The one I swap out out is kept at my sisters house. I see her every couple or so weeks.

    I also keep copies of stuff that might be lost in between those times on my iMac.

    Hope this helps.
  6. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    Greg, I would say this depends on what you are doing. for normal pics, music and system, I would get a large external and use that. i would back up the pics/music on DVDs (as well as doing one system backup which should be easy with a smaller internal HD not taking alot of space up).

    if you are recording to your HD or dloading, you may want 2...1 being the backup and 1 being the 'work' drive.

  7. freebooter macrumors 65816


    Feb 24, 2005
    Daegu, South Korea
    OWC makes some great external drive boxes, etc. They have good customer service, so maybe tell them your needs and they'll sell you what you need.

    1) A firewire box with two drives would suit.
    One large drive with 3 partitions; one partition sized to mirror your ibook drive, the second to store photos movies, etc, and the third to act as a scratch disc for photoshop. The second, smaller drive (the same GB size as your archive partition on the first drive) in the box could could mirror your archive.

    2) Or go with a one drive box with the drive partitioned 3 ways (or 2 if you don't need a scratch disc), and back-up your important archived stuff on dvd/cd.
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Here is your goal: As a minimum, your data needs to be in three places all the time. Two of those places should be as far apart as possable, at least in another building (In case of flood, fire or theft.)

    If you have a backup drive then while you are making a backup you don't have one while the old backup is being over-written. So the one "in progress" does not count for the three you need.

    The best backup system is incremental. That means yo ONLY copy the changes you make and don't copy the whole disk. Leopard will make this easy for the "backup challenged"
    If you do plan on incremental backups you need more space on the backup drive then on the drive you are backing up because you are tracking all those changes. The backup drive should be at least twice as big. "Retrospect" is a great backup program that does incrementals.

    Buy two medium sized fire wire drives. 250GB is cheap enough now that is in not reasonable to save a buck to go smaller. Make increments to one of them and periodically make image dumps to the other then take it some place (The Office?)

    I have a file server for incrementals and a couple FW drives and I do make stacks of CDs and DVDs of make most important stuff and keep that in a fire safe.

    Another method is to rotate the backup media. Some people have 3 or 5 backup and they overwrite the oldest copy and then take one off site.
  9. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    An easy/cheap way of doing remote backup is to take the copy to work (school) and lock it in a desk drawer.

    This is what I do. I picked up an External HD ... but one whose drives are actually mounted on sleds ... and then picked up a couple of extra sleds. This system absolutely prevents me from succumbing to the temptation to put all of that storage media online at once :D

    I've mentioned more specifics of the system in the past. Try looking up "Coolgear" and/or "Cooldrives" (I think they're probably the same company).

    Which reminds me...I'm overdue to run my backup!

  10. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Actually, if one of those places is accessible online, then you only really need two places. This is the ideal scenario, since it means that you can have your offsite copy almost as quickly as possible. If you're really paranoid, backup to a small drive as you shoot, but don't reuse memory cards until you've got that backed up data to your archive.

    Also, *all* your data doesn't have to be at all three places if you choose to do the shuffle, you could have two for current work and one for in-transit, since you're going to have exposure to loss during the time that you're replacing the last generation with the newest copy of whatever it is in the three-drive shuffle anyway

    If you're doing weddings, then it probably pays to be more conservative than if you're doing anything that can be re-shot.
  11. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    Leopard/Time machine is too far off to be useful to me, and I'd rather wait to upgrade again because of cost. I'm already buying the hard drives remember, and tiger works fine for now. I can always obtain a copy of Super Duper! or something similar in which to backup the external drives on a schedule, and only copy what was changed. I was planning on this all along actually to do this. By the second part of that statement, I assume that you would advise a backup drive twice the amount of the first not because of incremental changes, but of being able to go back and restore froma certain date (e.g.) time machine. I don't know if I'm more concerned with this right now. I think I just want my photos on two drives in case one goes down. I can always reinstall the operating system if something gets annoying, or go to the backup if I lose a file. I don't think I'm working on anything that is so important that I would need to make sure it wasn't deleted, and go back to that file last thursday. Most of the time I would have that file just saved in one of those "Oh, crap I just ****ed up the file!" and I would go back to the backup to get it. I don't think I would really need to get the copy from a while ago, and I don't just delete random things necessitating that need. It may look nice on paper, but honestly, for me at least, it's a waste of time, money, and hard drive space i could be using for other uses.

    What a great idea. I didn't even think of using a partition as a photoshop scratch disk.

    I don't think your second method would apply to me, as My ibook has no superdrive, and this would be more money added to the cost, and I don't have very much to work with. I don't know though, DVD burner vs second large hard drive, not to mention that DVDs will most certainly last longer.....
    But then I have to worry about the cost of DVD-Rs, where I'm going to put them, How I would organize them, and it would be relatively hard if my first hard drive ever went down, to reimport everything back into my lightroom library (unless all the metadata and images in it are referenced in the home folder of the user, and there was some kinda thing in lightroom that would allow easy importing from DVDs/CDs (oh well maybe next version)

    First of all, I am a photographer at heart. But I listen to lots of music (planning to keep that on the internal drive in the ibook)

    Four questions:

    How much would this setup set me back? (assuming maybe that I buy maybe 2 500GB drives and the firewire enclosure? Would two 500s be too much, or could I get away with less)
    How do I partition a drive in OS X, and is there any way to edit the partitions sizes after the fact (like boot camp does with a slider sort of thing)?
    And, third, how would I make a partitioninto the scratch disk?

    Last but not least, though, is how should I split the remaining space not used for the ibook backup among the scratchdisk/working drive? And the second drive in the enclosure would only be for backup of the working drive correct?

    By the way, the whole point of the backup of my entire ibook drive would be so that I could boot from it if my internal goes down. Can you boot from a partition of a larger hard drive in Tiger? Thanks
  12. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    By the way, I'm planning on using lightroom for my photo software, partnered with photoshop. If all my photos are on that working partition, and I want to bring my laptop to go work somewhere with my photos, or show them to someone, how would that work?

    I'm afraid I'd get extremely disorganized if I just started copying images to the drive in my ibook, and plus, I wouldn't be able to use lightroom to view and edit them (I think). Or, does lightroom have a way to reference and sync the files from two locations, both internal and portable hard drives. I would assume, however, if it had this feature, that it would be for the entire library, not just pieces of it, and that would totally defeat the purpose for me, as I need more space for my photos.

    Can Lightroom edit the images with only the previews that it creates in the home folder of the user, since it's edits are sets of instructions on top of the original file? Or would I have to have that external drive connected to see or edit any of the photos?
  13. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    :p okay, those were two rather long posts:
    let me summarize

    I need to know:

    -What size drives I should buy, according to the two drives and enclosure method w/ partitions, or possibly replacing the second drive backup with a dvd burner/ dvds

    -The cost of a two drive and enclosure

    -What backup method I should use: e.g. retrospect/time machine go get something from last thursday backups (more costly) vs Super Duper! scheduled type backups, where only the date of the last time I backed up is available (less costly)

    -If Lightroom edit the images with only the previews that it creates in the home folder of the user, and if the original image files on the separate drive needed to be accessible
    -If Lightroom has sycning ability between two hard drives
  14. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    The jury is still out on that, and there are lots of factors that affect DVD/CD longevity. There are reports of unreadable disks after as little as 14 months. It depends a lot on temperature, humidity, labeling and the original disk's make-up.

    I'm not saying the *won't* last longer, I'm saying they're not certain to last longer.
  15. 86047 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2006
    I don't think it's really an option for me anyway, as I need to make changes to those photos not on my ibooks drive, and then have them sync with the backup. This would require something slow and clunky like CD/DVD RWs. It wouldn't work, not to mention that the RW portion would completely eliminate any benefit in longevity. Of course, the dyes of CDRs fade much faster than commercially pressed music CDS anyway, so it really doesn't matter.

    just curious, even thought the reader part of the hard drive is broken, since it's magnetic, would a failed hard drive be readable as long as the data isn't corrupted (e.g. if you used S.M.A.R.T, and saw the drive would corrupt stuff)?
  16. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    It depends on what caused the issue. For a head crash, the part where the heads impacted the platter would be unreadable, how much data that affects tends to vary, and how quickly things get shut down affects how much the particles flying around cause more damage with other heads. If it's just the controller card, then it's about a two minute exercise to swap out the card on most drives these days given an identical "donor" unit. Reading the platters from a crashed drive is generally a clean-room exercise, Kroll-Ontrack being the dominant player in the game- it's not cheap, but it's generally effective and I've yet to see anyone lose everything on a drive.

    Generally, you don't want to power on a drive that's suspect if the data is important. Just arrange for Kroll or your favorite vendor to deal with it unless you *know* it's just the controller. I haven't tried to swap out bearings or a motor, I'd probably send those out- cards I only do as a last resort and if $victim totally understands the circumstances (generally because I want what's in unallocated or slack and Kroll won't do anything not in a filesystem.)
  17. lamina macrumors 68000


    Mar 9, 2006
    2 drives.

    Lacie Brick 160GB USB2.0
    Lacie Mini 250GB FW400

    I much prefer the 250GB FW drive, it is about 2x faster than its USB sister. I keep the 160GB USB one around if I need to transfer files to a non-firewire computer.
  18. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2006
    I use this

    just kiddin.
    I have odd set up. I copy my laptop to my G5's internal 80gb hardrive becuase I can screw up osx real bad real fast. And The G5 has another 300gb drive which I boot from. I have an external drive 250gb drive as a third copy for important stuff and carry it with me to transfer huge files. I need another 300gb to back g5.
  19. islandman macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2006

    I have an Infrant ReadyNAS NV+ with 1.5TB of data. I work directly from it with iPhoto and Aperture. It's a bit expensive ($1100 or so), but I do photography for a living.
  20. Over Achiever macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

    Jul 22, 2002
    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    As most people have said, have three sites of backup for your data. After having my old powerbook hard drive fail on me, scaring me into losing my pictures, then having my DVDs fail on me as well, having smugmug is a great investment offline storage of my photos.

    I have an 500 GB external hard drive which mirrors my two laptop's hard drives as well as an archive for my photos. I burn my RAW images on DVD as well as upload the JPG on smugmug, which both work as my "offsite" backup.

  21. ribbonthecat macrumors regular

    May 23, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Can anybody recommend a particular two-disk firewire enclosure?

Share This Page