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Bryan

Backup for cheapskate?

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Sparked by Jill's posting on the 3 TB home cloud, I really need to increase the capacity of my backups. I currently have two 1 TB external drives and back up all of my personal files, i.e. data only, so giving me three sets of copies. I don't need to access my data as a "home cloud", my backup drives are only ever running when I backup my computer's disc.

 

My PC has a 2TB disc and I am rapidly running out of space on the external drives - might have got there actually as it has been a while since my last backup!

 

The whole issue of backup is of course a personal one, if you are running an information oriented business and it's 100% your livelihood, then you need to be absolutely sure that your backups are secure, but for the retired dabbler such as myself, it's not so critical. 

 

I'm starting to think that two mirrored external drives is overkill in my situation and that I could do with using all of the external capacity as a single drive.

 

Do any clever IT persons out there know how I could automate this process? I currently use SyncToy which appears to have done the simpler job to date.

 

Further, are there any real gains to be had in compressing the files on the drives, would this be a better alternative?

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I have a similar problem Bryan.  My concern is that although I have all data backed up on twin 2 Tb drives they are in the same room as my PC.  A fire ot break-in etc, and I could lose everything.

 

I've read many posts on backing up on the 'Cloud' but there are so many confusing pro's and cons mentioned that I'm none the wiser as to which one (if any) are safe to use.

 

I would like 4 TB of on-line storage at an affordable rate but haven't a clue which one to use.

 

Hopefully this thread you have started might bring forth an answer.

 

John

Edited by John Walker

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If you're feeling a little (not terribly) technical and you have a friend with a similar backup requirement and a reasonable banwidth, you can buy a couple of QNAP NAS devices (NAS = Network Attached Storage) of whatever size is appropriate. You can the each save to your NAS and have them automatically synchronise their contents (overnight if you like).  The NAS devices can be highly fault tolerant on their own, protecting you from technical failures and the link provides the off-site backup.  The trick is to clone your backup before you put it in the remote location so any updates are just changes, rather than 4TB eating up your bandwidth when you first set it up!

 

You could, of course, site a backup with a friend or parent who does not have a need for a backup themselves.

 

I do something in that vein myself but I am a bit geeky in that regard.

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I have a similar problem Bryan.  My concern is that although I have all data backed up on twin 2 Tb drives they are in the same room as my PC.  A fire ot break-in etc, and I could lose everything.

 

I've read many posts on backing up on the 'Cloud' but there are so many confusing pro's and cons mentioned that I'm none the wiser as to which one (if any) are safe to use.

 

I would like 4 TB of on-line storage at an affordable rate but haven't a clue which one to use.

 

Hopefully this thread you have started might bring forth an answer.

 

John

 

For protection against fire etc, I store important stuff on my sister's cloud drive and she stores hers on mine.  That way if a fire wipes out all my home drives, I have a backup at my sister's. Never needed to access it, but you never know. Also helps protect against drive failure as well

 

For photo storage, Zenfolio has unlimited storage of photos and videos with premium accounts. Doesn't include RAW files, but you pay a minimal amount to store your RAWS. And you get a nice website for your photography to go with it.

 

Jill

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I have a similar problem Bryan.  My concern is that although I have all data backed up on twin 2 Tb drives they are in the same room as my PC.  A fire ot break-in etc, and I could lose everything.

 

I've read many posts on backing up on the 'Cloud' but there are so many confusing pro's and cons mentioned that I'm none the wiser as to which one (if any) are safe to use.

 

I would like 4 TB of on-line storage at an affordable rate but haven't a clue which one to use.

 

Hopefully this thread you have started might bring forth an answer.

 

John

 

For protection against fire etc, I store important stuff on my sister's cloud drive and she stores hers on mine.  That way if a fire wipes out all my home drives, I have a backup at my sister's. Never needed to access it, but you never know. Also helps protect against drive failure as well

 

For photo storage, Zenfolio has unlimited storage of photos and videos with premium accounts. Doesn't include RAW files, but you pay a minimal amount to store your RAWS. And you get a nice website for your photography to go with it.

 

Jill

 

Do make sure that whatever you do, you test and prove to yourself that you can really recover files if your main site goes up in smoke!  I have seen a few backups in the past where, in an emergency, the data is harder to get at than expected...

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Do make sure that whatever you do, you test and prove to yourself that you can really recover files if your main site goes up in smoke!  I have seen a few backups in the past where, in an emergency, the data is harder to get at than expected...

 

 

Spot on!

 

In a 35 year IT career I have been the vicitim of unrecoverable backups all too many times. I am talking unusable backups in some of the biggest, and supposedly most professional, data centres in the UK. In some cases we had to go to the previous month end back up rather than last night's or any of previous week's nightly backup.

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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Thanks folks but please can we get back to the cheap part of cheapskate?

 

I note that it is possible to buy a Samsung badged Seagate or indeed a Seagate 3TB drive for about £80, with the Western Digital 3TB about £10 more. Looking at the user reviews they show a large majority of pleased customers, but a worrying percentage of failed drives and huge fees to recover data.

 

My humble 1TB drives have so far proved reliable, had them for over a year but probably only accumulated maybe 100 hours of rotation, so still have life left in them, so a software solution, using both of them may still be preferable.

Edited by Bryan

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It's human nature just to report on the negative - most people don't write about the stuff that works. In my experience, I've had 1 out of about 6 Seagate portable drives fail bit that was dead on arrival and I got an immediate refund. I've never had a problem with the others. I've had about 10 WD portable drives (mostly WD Elements) and I've never had one fail - except for the one that dropped on the ground. I was using portables mainly for lightness and ease of offsite backup. 

 

My most recent backup scenario is using 3 4TB G-Technology USB3 drives - very robust drives in metal casing - to back up my main working Thunderbolt 4Tb. The G-Technology drives were a bit more costly at the time than the equivalent WD 4Tb desktop but worth it.  I've dropped two of them onto a carpeted floor and both are still working perfectly. These G-Technology drives generally get very good reviews as far as I know. I would highly recommend them from my limited experience in any case.

 

I really don't believe in going for cheap as possible in terms of backup - my images are more valuable to me than my camera or computer kit. If they were destroyed or lost, I would lose countless hours to years of irreplaceable work. But I do believe in finding a sensible solution for my workflow which doesn't need RAID or the like and which would be much more costly. A daily manual backup onto a second drive of new or stuff that has changed and a move offsite every few days is sufficient to cope with most scenarios for me. USB3 is very fast and I can back up my day's work in minutes. Going from USB2 to USB3 has made a huge difference to my backing up scenario.

Edited by MDM

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My primary backup is a couple of external drives. After a couple of months I delete all the images (JPEG/RAW) that are 'rejects', and then back up the remaining source images to Amazon Glacier Storage - that's my 'house burns down' backup. I also backup my 'output images' and low res jpegs of everything on cloud storage.

 

I use Lightroom, so one of my big concerns is whether in 5 or 10 years time I'll be able to recover the source files and all the adjustments that have been applied to be able to recreate the output files. The answer is almost certainly no, unless I continually update the catalogs, but I take the view that I won't be going through a whole scale review and reprocessing of all my past images (I have trouble keeping up with the images I am generating now!). I'll either use the existing output images, or, in a few cases, I'll have to input the RAW file into the popular 2025 image processing software and start from scratch!

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Most storage is pretty cheap nowadays - 3 and 4 TB drives commonly found here for $135 - $180 CDN. Tha'ts a lot of storage pretty cheap.

 

Jill

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I use Lightroom, so one of my big concerns is whether in 5 or 10 years time I'll be able to recover the source files and all the adjustments that have been applied to be able to recreate the output files. The answer is almost certainly no, unless I continually update the catalogs, 

 

I think you are being a bit pessimistic here. As long as you keep the raw and xmp sidecar files, then you should have no problem opening them in 2025. At worst, the DNG converter will do the job on your current raw files and, if you are really worried about it, convert to DNG now and save the DNGs. Avoiding stuff that is Lightroom specific such as colour labels is key. I think the main problem will be making sure that the physical media on which images are stored stays useable.

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I have photo storage with Zenfolio and Smugmug. Smugmug hosts video.

I also have Amazon.com storage  for document and music storage under another company name I have.

 

I have 7, 2 and 3 TB drives and a few offsite.But I still do not like the idea of keeping them here. Someone could break in and download your stuff and you'd never know.Or,just steal the device.

 

Can these drives be password protected from this end so no one could access them without a password? I'm on a Mac.

 

 

L

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Can these drives be password protected from this end so no one could access them without a password? I'm on a Mac.

 

 

L

 

I've had my WD for about 4 years. Here is the set up page for the WD and it can be password protected. They can be set up for Macs or Windows, or you can buy them dedicated for MACs.

 

twonky.jpg

 

I have not bothered putting a password on mine as it is used by my hubby as well as we stream video from it to our various media streaming devices.

 

Jill

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 It might be a good idea to protect it. Big thing on the news recently where hackers were getting into the cloud services that people use while at work to watch inside their homes.The hackers were posting and streaming everyone's videos.Why? They said to show people what can happen when you don't use a password for these cloud storage services.

 

L

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Hmm. Cheapest storage? :huh: Maybe shoot less? 

  • Upvote 1

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Crikey... there is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation out there!

 

There are plenty of secure, encrypted (essential), password storage solutions (local and off-site for all platforms).  But you have to use long complex passwords (not that complex but long).  You just have to chose something that is suited to your needs and think about what it is actually worth someone's while making the effort to break into.

 

Did I mention passwords and encryption?

 

On the hardware side, the stories are always about things failing. Ultimately they're the only important ones. If you can't do without your files, if their loss would seriously impact your livelihood then you would be foolish to rely on any hardware to survive, local or cloud. To have any degree of security you must build in redundancy (hardware, physical location etc.) and likely several layers of that.  Being based in Japan a lot of my work includes consideration of securing data - here you have to worry about earthquakes, radioactive contamination, tsunamis, typhoons and so on... it isn't enough to keep a copy "down the road".

 

A couple of specific notes:

Passworded is not the same as encrypted - the Twonky Media server passwording does not guarantee encryption (i.e. I could take the drive, plug it into another computer and read it with my own password and no knowledge of the server password.  [Linda - you are looking for encryption, not just passwords on your portable drives]. Windows can encrypt drives, I presume the Mac can too.  Network-attached devices need to be looked at separately.

There are server drives and desktop drives, the server drives last a lot longer (MTBF) but that is only on average - you may be unlucky.

 

The good news: there are cost-effective ways to backup and protect your data but you have to think about it a little.

 

Apologies if I am sounding as though I'm preaching and to those who already know!

  • Upvote 3

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Hmm. Cheapest storage? :huh: Maybe shoot less?

 

I like your lateral thinking Eddo, a genuine cheap solution, but I'm already pretty well up to speed with the delete key, and I don't store TIFFs or PS files.

 

It looks like cheap and secure are incompatible, it comes down to your degree of risk aversion, and the real value of your files. Playing on the side, as I do with photography, it doesn't make too much sense to spend lots of pennies, although I would hate to lose my relatively few personal shots of friends and family. Maybe a return to printed media for them would be the cheapest solution.

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 It might be a good idea to protect it. Big thing on the news recently where hackers were getting into the cloud services that people use while at work to watch inside their homes.The hackers were posting and streaming everyone's videos.Why? They said to show people what can happen when you don't use a password for these cloud storage services.

 

L

 

That also applies to the big Cloud Services. They represent an attractive target to hackers looking to make a name for themselves!

 

As well as being potential targets for hackers, they also can be cut off from users via DDoS attacks that will prevent all users from accessing the servers. Sony PS servers were down for nearly a week and have been subject to many other attacks since then.

 

Personally I wouldn't rely on cloud services as a backup. Basically someone else has your data on a big internet hard drive that can be seen/targeted by any hacker who could sell on any material gained. Also, don't expect these companies to tell you if they've been breached as it would ruin their business.

 

From a risk management perspective, you've surrendered control of your most valuable asset to a third party and you don't have any say on how they manage or protect the data.

 

Line One.

USB / Compter harddrives synced to NAS.

 

Line Two

NAS drives. 1 main drive plus a 2nd that takes a backup of the first. Ideally in two separate locations. NAS drives set to RAID1 ideally for speed or RAID5 for max space.

 

Line Three

Copy of data on a SSD drives in a fireproof safe.

 

That is the ideal way but on the cheap, use USB SSD drives (can get for less than £100) as backup for RAW & Jpgs while using normal USB drives as your working drives etc. Keep the SSD drives in a small fireproof safe bolted to an external wall.

Edited by Duncan_Andison

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Hmm. Cheapest storage? :huh: Maybe shoot less?

I like your lateral thinking Eddo, a genuine cheap solution, but I'm already pretty well up to speed with the delete key, and I don't store TIFFs or PS files.

 

It looks like cheap and secure are incompatible, it comes down to your degree of risk aversion, and the real value of your files. Playing on the side, as I do with photography, it doesn't make too much sense to spend lots of pennies, although I would hate to lose my relatively few personal shots of friends and family. Maybe a return to printed media for them would be the cheapest solution.

 

 

Prints + Fire = gone forever!

 

As I said above, for long term storage/backup use SSD drives. They have minimal chance of technical failure and have literally 1000's of times of 100% total re-write capacity and are dropping in price all the time. As an extra perk, they are extremely fast.

 

Forgot to say in the previous message, use Inateck drive enclosure for SSD for max speed. Enclosure serial code is FEU3NS-1E. Great value, solid build and you can open up easily and slide in and out any number of SSD drives etc.

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I've been a peripheral player in the IT game for a while, and have seen numerous storage systems come and go. Of those that I can remember, and have used, here is a subset :-

 

Punched cards

Paper tape

Winchester discs

8" floppies

5/25" floppies

3.5" floppies

3" floppies

Zip drives

CDs

DVDs

 

I have absolutely no confidence that any IT hardware storage solution is going to be around for any meaningful length of time, or that data stored therein will be accessible by tomorrow's  hardware. A sealed plastic box of prints and negatives, buried underground, is fairly safe, provided that you tell anybody who might be remotely interested, where they can find it. Eye technology is hopefully not going to change overmuch, the pace of human evolution has slowed (stopped?).  They should still be usable in a few hundred years time.   :)

 

Back to IT, I've still not found a genuinely cheap solution compatible with my photo earnings. Maybe distributing my work to numerous agencies and having no home backup would be the most cost effective solution - but the time taken to do this.......

Edited by Bryan

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My humble 1TB drives have so far proved reliable, had them for over a year but probably only accumulated maybe 100 hours of rotation, so still have life left in them, so a software solution, using both of them may still be preferable.

 

Software solution. I am on Mac and use Carbon Copy Cloner for auto backups. It was free when I got it 3.3 but see that issue 4 is out now which is paid for, about $40 (£26 approx).

 

I have found this software to be very good and takes the hassle out of backups.

 

I do not have a vested/financial interest in the company or the software.

 

Allan

  • Upvote 1

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Thanks Alan, I'll take a look!

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"I'm starting to think that two mirrored external drives is overkill in my situation and that I could do with using all of the external capacity as a single drive."

 

Bryan, when I was a newbie at stock, I had only one external drive. It was pretty full when it failed. I had to pay $100 for extraction, and not 100% of them were recovered. I've mirrored my backups ever since. If one HD fails, I can run out, buy a new one and load it from the working one.

So I don't suggest only using one. You would be issuing an invitation to Murphy to apply his law. :) plus the panic one feels when that happens is not a pretty thing.

 

Betty

  • Upvote 2

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I haven't forgotten the day (years ago) when I turned on my desktop to see these evil words:  "Operating system cannot be found"

 

I kept turning it off and on to hopefully just to get it to start once so I could move anything from the drive. I had family photos on there that I ended up losing forever.

 

Never again.

 

I always backup everything and actually keep very little on the computer that hasn't already been backed up. That is the only time I want to learn the hard way.

 

Jill

 

Edited to correct spelling

Edited by Jill Morgan

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Bryan - I can only echo the sentiments expressed in the last 2 posts.

 

For info, I've also been mirroring backup storage with 2 x 1TB WD ext hard drives. Just replaced one of the 1TBs (now full) with a WD Elements 3TB from dabs.com for £84.99, with 2% Quidco cashback. The full 1TB will go to a relative's house for safe keeping.

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