I have been using G-Tech drives for a year or so, they're well built, they look good on my desk, they're firewire 800 and that means I can use just one cable to plug them up to my Mac. I use "Time Machine" which means that I plug in my drives, and the backup "just happens" Now, what this also means is that we take things for granted and then, all of a sudden one day, the drive is full and you're buggered.
So - what are your options? A mate, and a pro photographer, recently said to me "So, what do I do? Just keep buying drives?" Well, I guess so... Or do I?!...
Options? Well, you can keep buying disks, and, up until a few months ago I'd have said to go and buy yourself the Seagate Barracuda drives, but I am leaning towards the Western Digital Caviar Green 1tb SATAII 32Mb Cache 3.5 Inch Green Power drives now.. Cost v's space v's problems means that this is an OK piece of kit...So, you could get one of those, or, better still - two! (Or four, and mirror them and.. well.. how about a nice Raid 10?)
What else, that's some serious cash... You could start "shooting smart" - Only pressing the shutter when you really had to, but then - I guess part of digital photography is to be able to try and try again (Oh, I'll be slated for that by purists) You could go through your entire back catalogue and delete the crap... (If you're like me, there IS no "crap" you could make something out of EVERYTHING!) Yeah, there goes that idea!
So - I guess it's down to either multiple drives, one BIG drive or switching back from uncompressed RAW to small jpgs?
What about OnLine? Is there a product that is cost effective, robust and quick? The Cloud? ...So, I do me a google search and the first one that pops up is freevirtualservers... 1gb free for life, or £39.99 a year for.. well "fair usage policy" ...Just what does that mean? Well, according to these guys it means this.. "Free Virtual Drive offers packages with an unlimited storage capacity. Free Virtual Drive reserve the right to suspend or terminate any account found to be using storage to such an extent that, at our sole discretion, is deemed to be excessive or otherwise jeopardises the service for other Users" OK, that's cool, but I have many many gigabytes worth of digital images that I want to store - is that fair? Who knows... the right to suspend or TERMINATE any account... "Sorry, your images are gone, we terminated you" All it takes is one over zealous administrator - and I know what they're like, I was one... Oh, and I signed up, and then couldn't access the drive anyway - #FAIL http://www.freevirtualservers.com But try them out if you like...
What about backing up to CD? or, hey - there are still FLOPPY drives!!
1.4mb OK, how many floppy discs would it take to hold my photo library? Anyone?
So, yeah - there are alternatives, but do they suit you? Here are a few more from the Mozy.com website...
- Burn a new CD or DVD every Sunday night and store it at your brother-in-law's office.
- Pay $200/year for an online backup service that uses old, mediocre software.
- Buy a $200 external hard drive and hope your office doesn't burn down.
- Do nothing and don't worry about backup. (We suggest closing your eyes, plugging your ears and repeating "I'm in my happy place, I'm in my happy place.")
- Run a cron job of rsync, gzip and mcrypt piped over ssh to your friend's server over his DSL line.
So, good people of the known (and unknown, for some of you!) universe... What do you do to back yo s*** up? (I'm sorry, a line from a movie over took my stream of thought) Please share with me, and others, your amazing methods.
In closing - let me do one small piece of maths for you...
Flickr hosted over 2 billion images at the start of 2008, by the end of 2008 there were over 3 billion images being hosted by flickr and they were being viewed by 27.5 million people per month...
Storage for digital photos is going to continue to grow and you're going to need, at some point, to think about it - SO, over the next few days, stick with me and I will walk you through some of the options you could choose! AND maybe point you towards a competition for a new storage device that I am about to review for dpS (You will need to be a signed up member - HERE)