View Full Version : Long term storage -
August 4th, 2007, 03:10 PM
This is aimed at people like Nill and other sports photographers. It seems to me that it is quite easy to shoot 10+ Gbs at one shoot on one day.
Safe storage of these photos is obviously essential.
1. Where do you store these digital images for safe keeping ?
a. do you burn them to disc or store them on a seperate hard drive ?
b. if burned to disc, what sort of disc is best?
2. How long do you keep these digital files ?
a. is there a time limit of how long you keep them, ie. 12 months/2 years?
I'd just like to get some ideas about this. I am starting to shoot up to these volumes, but will soon run out of space on my drives if I don't burn them. Often DVD's are not large enough, so what do you do?
September 12th, 2007, 05:25 AM
I just purchased a RTX-100 drive from Wiebetech which may be a potential solution. These are essentially trayless drives which accept 3.5in drives. The 3.5in drives act sort of like a very very large floppy -- you can swap them out very easily. I purchased four 500GB Maxtor drives (bare) for $99 each. The drive fits into the enclosure with a fan and can be connected to your computer via eSATA, USB, or Firewire 400/800. I've found bare drives so cheap, that this is an economical alternative. I can swap them out, they can be portable, and even better bootable! The only problem is finding a system to catalog all the files in different large drives...
I've made multiple back ups of my photos along with a bootable clone of my harddrive (thanks to freeware Superduper!). I've been very happy and check it out.
September 12th, 2007, 06:02 AM
It's a good question and one that I've struggled with. Here's what I'm doing now, which seems to be (knock wood) working fairly well...
I shoot RAW exclusively. (See my RAW workflow for sports shooters here (http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?p=9804#post9804).) I download my cards to my 1.1TB RAID5 using Breeze Downloader Pro to automatically-created folders, named for date and a short job description (e.g., 070909 AYSA19g for Atlanta Youth Soccer U-19 girls on Sept 9). At the same time, DL Pro automatically copies a second duplicate to one of my several Seagate external firewire drives.
I have my system configured to backup nightly to another external drive. So, as soon as I download I have two copies, and by the next morning I have three.
When I process a session I delete all the non-keepers. Delete means delete — they're gone — except, I still have the backups. Periodically I (a) roll off old auto backups on the first external drive, to free up space, and (b) reconcile the backups on the second disk so that what is backed up long term ends up being the edited/selected sessions, keepers only, rather than everything. But this is only every few weeks/months.
When I process, I convert the RAW files to TIFs with Capture One and then produce the HTML galleries with BreezeBrowser Pro. Then I delete the processed TIFs, keeping only the original RAW files plus the CO settings to produce the processed file again quickly for print orders.
Also periodically, I backup the backups to yet another set of external drives that otherwise stay offsite at my neighbor's house.
What this amounts to, when all is said and done, is that I have ALL my files, going back five years or so, live and instantly available on my RAID5, I have them all backed up, online, to external drives, and backed up again, offline and offsite. They're arranged in rough categories — e.g., Soccer 2007 — and between that, the folder names, and my file naming convention which is similar, I can generally find things pretty quickly.
I have over 50,000 images on my website, and at least a couple of times a year I'll get print orders going back two or three or even occasionally four or more years.
I experimented for a while with DVD storage but it was just too unwieldy for my volume of images. And the idea of having to actually do a restore of all that data from DVD (or worse yet, some sort of internet storage) was too awful to contemplate.
My website is backed up similarly and, after a very bad and educational experience recently, so are my system/application drives. But no system is perfect, and I'm sure I'll find new and interesting ways to screw up using this one.
September 12th, 2007, 06:30 AM
You know, I think the only really safe option is the good ol' fashioned tape drive. HDDs break, and RAID controllers break. Of course, just like with DVDs you have to transfer them to fresh, new tapes every few years, and the hassle of restoring data from them is there as well. Unlike DVDs though, tapes can hold a lot more data, and the tape drives usually have a much longer lifespan than RAID controllers and/or DVD drives.
Maybe a combination of tapes for off-line storage and a large disk array (RAIDed or not) for on-line storage is the best?
September 12th, 2007, 06:59 AM
Kris you're absolutely right that the "long term" aspect of all this is pretty much a joke. What I described is really my answer to the near-to-mid term backup issue, not long term storage, for which I have no solution other than new drives every few years.
September 12th, 2007, 08:36 AM
A few terrabyte drives and like everyone I keep trying to find a good solution. While the DVD backup is a pain, I did buy a program called Backup and Burn. Offload the card and it does an automatic burn for you at the same time.