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Local Backup vs Online Backup: What Say You?
Old 10-20-2011   #1
wgerrard
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Local Backup vs Online Backup: What Say You?

For those of you with digital image files to store, I'm curious about your opinions on local storage and backup versus online or cloud storage.

I just cancelled an online backup service after using them for more than a year. Cost wasn't the issue ($60 per year). Very slow upload speed was, thanks to my cable internet.

Online storage meets the requirements for off-site storage, but "unlimited storage" really isn't for flat fee services, and costs for pay-per-megabyte add up quickly with large image files.

With 1 TB drives selling around $100, I've opted to go with some external RAID1 drives.

Anyone with a different experience? How are you using online storage?
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Last edited by wgerrard : 10-20-2011 at 15:11.
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Old 10-20-2011   #2
willie_901
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Local storage is remarkably affordable.

The problem is: what happens if your home is robbed or destroyed ?

The solution is inconvenient but effective. Every week or so, depending on how much new data you record and how valuable it is, swap external drives to an off-site location. You can use a family member's or friend's home or a safety deposit box at a nearby bank.
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Old 10-20-2011   #3
yossarian123
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I just bought 3 TB of storage for $130. It's not RAID but it does the job. I now have 3 separate external drives that I'm backing up to - it doesn't cover the case of theft or fire though. For that catastrophic scenario I think the cloud is ideal - figure out a way to classify or tag certain files as "essential" (those files that absolutely MUST survive a catastrophic event) then figure out a way to automate a backup of all tagged files to some cloud service. That way you're not spending an arm and a leg to maintain all of those useless RAW files that you'll never revisit again. And you have the peace of mind knowing that at least your best stuff will be saved

Quote:
Originally Posted by wgerrard View Post
For those of you with digital image files to store, I'm curious about your opinions on local storage and backup versus online or cloud storage.

I just cancelled an online backup service after using them for more than a year. Cost wasn't the issue ($60 per year). Very slow upload speed was, thanks to my cable internet.

Online storage meets the requirements for off-site storage, but "unlimited storage" really isn't for flat fee services, and costs for pay-per-megabyte add up quickly with large image files.

With 1 TB drives selling around $100, I've opted to go with some external RAID1 drives.

Anyone with a different experience? How are you using online storage?
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Old 10-20-2011   #4
wgerrard
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Yeah, my bank has a branch 200 yards away. That's a lot closer than any relative. I should get a box there.

I've accumulated 3 little RAID1 units. Two are 2gig and one 1 1gig. I recently began using Aperture. The plan right now is to store original files -- out of the camera, on one unit. When it's full, the drives are pulled, stored, and replaced. Another drive is effectively my Aperture work drive, holding the Referenced Masters. The Aperture Library lives on the drive in my MacBook and gets backed up, with the Masters, on the third unit.

I have an Amazon S3 account. If I put anything online,it will be my best jpegs. I thinking that over.
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Old 10-20-2011   #5
Frank Petronio
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You should realize that you need to do both to be truly "backed-up".

My Time Warner cable account offers a Turbo speed class for more $. Even if you only did it for a month while you upload it would be cheap.

Some of the better online storage places offer a service that allows you to send in a hard drive to do the bulk of your backing-up, then you can do the new incremental back-ups online from that point on. Likewise, should you need to restore your data, they'll send you a new drive to restore yourself.

On a lighter weight scale, a pro account on Flickr allows you to upload pretty decently large 20mb high quality jpg file. That isn't as good as your original but it's enough to rebuild a decent portfolio from. That plus local drives would probably serve many people's needs.

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Old 10-20-2011   #6
Steve M.
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Since mistakes happen, I'd rather be in control of that (and hopefully in position to fix matters if possible). Hard drives, even the good ones, are reasonably priced. One thing I wouldn't do is put everything on one big aux HD though. Better to back up everything on multiple hard drives just in case.
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Old 10-20-2011   #7
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Rolling hard drive backups to two external locations (client's offices ). Planning on getting an OWC Qx2 enclosure and 4 matched WD drives for my next kit.



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Old 10-20-2011   #8
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Image files eat up space, even if they're just jpegs. I have access to 150 gigs of online space, bought and paid for with no recurring fees. Filling that up is easy.The cheapest price for 1TB of online space I've seen is Google's, which offers it as an upgrade to Picasa, etc., at $246 per year. That's just about 3 1TB drives if you look around.

I agree about offsite storage. It seems to me, though, that it really needs to be offsite storage of everything. So, you'd be accumulating disks there, as well.

One thing to remember when you put files online is how you're going to get them back when you need them.
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Old 10-20-2011   #9
Paolo Bonello
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I am just going through my storage/backup plan at the moment so this thread is quite timely.

They say hindsight is 20/20 vision and only after a very rotten experience I am thinking more like I should have done a couple of months ago.

I recently had a very severe drive failure which cost me about $1000 with a data recovery service. That's why I've not uploaded any images to the Gallery here on RFF lately. I was, at the time, exposed for about two weeks without a second drive (back-up) cause the one I had filled-up and I decided to dump the images to free up space temporarily and as murphy's law prevails, the main drive I stored my images on sh#t itself in the meantime. Never had a failure before that so I was getting complacent, like - Oh yeah, I'm busy now so I'll transfer the files on the weekend to the new HDD I bought.

Anyway, this awful experience lead me to some serious thought on my back-up storage plan and I'm now considering both a Raid with 5 bays so it can cope with an immediate double failure. Also had seen offsite (cloud type) storage service which looks attractively priced or simply a data transfer program which runs in the background at slow speed which will send the files to an off-site computer and storage device at work for example or at a family member's place.
Upon serious consideration I think the Off-site storage is an absolute must even before you get a RAID drive. You could have a theft or irrepairable damage like fire or flood to your local storage device.

They say if it's not backed up at three locations then it's not safe. I'd be happy with just the two above but I could if I were in an unsafe environment opt to do the third option of archiving. Either a HDD or CD type storage archived at regular intervals and sent to a safe house or Safety deposit box. Of course if you shoot film then the film negs would be your third means of storage after scanning them in but not so for digital.
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Old 10-21-2011   #10
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I don't entirely trust online backup but I may incorporate it in the future for specific file types. 3.0TB hard disks are cheap and currently a disk-intensive system makes sense for me. I don't have that many image files but I do have a lot of data from a small business that would need to be encrypted if it were to go online. Different issues to JPEG storage but I do like local media backup for the control.

I appreciate the need for an organized system; several years ago when I was running rolling tape backups I had a severe server crash. After a rebuild of the errant server and data recovery from a local tape drive on the same day it was as if nothing had happened.

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Old 10-21-2011   #11
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My desktop's HD is my primary storage and it's backed up to an external disk which is dedicated exclusively to image and video files. Once a week (or sometimes once a month, depending how much I'm shooting and scanning) I back up the external HD to a second portable drive that I keep locked in a desk drawer in my office.

It's easy and works well enough for my needs.
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Old 10-21-2011   #12
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Typical RFF answer: get both.
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Old 10-21-2011   #13
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Fast uploads would make online storage much more usable. Maybe as cloud storage becomes more mainstream, players like Apple and Amazon will pressure internet providers to stop throttling their customers' uplinks.
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Old 10-21-2011   #14
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Quote:
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Typical RFF answer: get both.
+1

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Old 10-21-2011   #15
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both
i have 2 forms of local backup (latest image + versioned deltas) + 1 form of online backup
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Old 02-19-2012   #16
Stephen G
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Just wanted to make an update here-
I would advise all be very careful around online backup services.
I have just stumbled upon a massive bug in Sugar Sync.
It appears to have struck many others, as I can find posts in blogs and their own support forums.

Essentially:
If the folder you backup data from is on a drive that you unmount for any reason, sugarsync deletes the remote copy. Here's where it gets worse: When you remount the drive, sugarsync then deletes your local copy to sync up with the remote deletion.
*Poof* it's all gone.
Yes it resides in a "deleted items" folder on their side, but restoring from it is manual or requires contacting their support... who only work M-F 9-5ish business hours.
Can't see the path to folder, assumes you deleted it. No intelligence around seeing that the entire mount is missing, and thus probably just temporarily unmounted.

Here are some other experiences-
http://community.dynamics.com/produc...sugarsync.aspx
http://sugarsync.hivelive.com/posts/...=1#comment8293
http://coreygilmore.com/blog/2008/04...for-primetime/
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Old 02-19-2012   #17
N. Bruce Nelson
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I think get both is the right answer. With the US government taking down web sites without warning for copyright infringement, including raids on server farms, thousands of legitimate sites have been taken down as co-lateral damage. Until there is more due process, cloud storage is not as safe as one would think. I have written more about this issue here:

http://brucescommentaria.blogspot.co...ver-cloud.html
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Shades of the red menace....
Old 02-19-2012   #18
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Wink Shades of the red menace....

I have my internet service feeding into my (event of nuclear war bomb shelter) bunker built into the hillside behind my house. I do all my computer work in there. So, my OffSite storage is actually in my house. In fact the bunker is lined to resist a very high level EMP (electro magnetic pulse). The bunker is stocked with fresh water and two tons of MRE's.

Considering Iran, Pakistan, and N Korea, too mention just a few, I think this is as pertinent as during the cold war.

I was considering a safe deposit box in my bank, but I did an indepth audit of their finances and realize how much risk was involve there.

When the big one drops, it'll just be me and the cockroachs, but I will have my data and my images.
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Old 02-19-2012   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen G View Post
Essentially:
If the folder you backup data from is on a drive that you unmount for any reason, sugarsync deletes the remote copy. Here's where it gets worse: When you remount the drive, sugarsync then deletes your local copy to sync up with the remote deletion.
*Poof* it's all gone.
Ugh. A terrible bug* indeed, but it also seems like Sugarsync doesn't support one-way sync... which does make sense, and it's important to note that there are different types of cloud hosting providers - some are "store stuff in the cloud and access from anywhere" (think iCloud, Dropbox, synchronizing in both directions), some are more for backup - nothing more than a remote hard drive with no built-in magic. For important backups, I'd be wary of the former kind.

* Although they do write: "It's very important that you sync data stored on internal hard drives. Syncing from external or removeable drives is not supported by SugarSync." (still, no excuse)

I have a couple of external drives stored in two different locations that I update every now and then. I'm going away for a while so I'm just about to set up some online backup for the Really important stuff (e.g., the _good_ pictures, which shouldn't take up much space...). I'll dump it to Amazon S3, or maybe use TarSnap (encrypted backup built on top of S3).
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Old 02-19-2012   #20
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IMO you should consider Google Docs as one of your backups (only makes sense for your fully post-processed JPEGs). I need to get another external HD. DVDs are too slow to be the primary backup for RAW.
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Old 02-19-2012   #21
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Problem was not external drive.
Data resides on primary drive.
I was booting off a backup to run a disk check.
Primary disk was unmount and thus triggered remote, and later local deletes.
This was also a day after my time machine drive died too.
3 copies all hosed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andersju View Post
Ugh. A terrible bug* indeed, but it also seems like Sugarsync doesn't support one-way sync... which does make sense, and it's important to note that there are different types of cloud hosting providers - some are "store stuff in the cloud and access from anywhere" (think iCloud, Dropbox, synchronizing in both directions), some are more for backup - nothing more than a remote hard drive with no built-in magic. For important backups, I'd be wary of the former kind.

* Although they do write: "It's very important that you sync data stored on internal hard drives. Syncing from external or removeable drives is not supported by SugarSync." (still, no excuse)

I have a couple of external drives stored in two different locations that I update every now and then. I'm going away for a while so I'm just about to set up some online backup for the Really important stuff (e.g., the _good_ pictures, which shouldn't take up much space...). I'll dump it to Amazon S3, or maybe use TarSnap (encrypted backup built on top of S3).
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Old 02-19-2012   #22
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I have a 1TB drive that I keep unplugged unless I'm saving data to it. No power or USB, unpowered HDD's don't get corrupted easily. I backup important files when I'm done working on them. An external HDD is the best way to go, as long as you use it correctly. DropBox's EULA says that they own everything hosted on there servers, but I haven't read all the different sites EULA's.
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Old 02-19-2012   #23
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I think that it is prudent to use both local and off-site. I am a big fan of both drobo and self-assembled Ubuntu Linux Servers. I have a four drive Drobo upon which I store important data and it can lose one drive, plus allows you to update storage size while running. It is actually a pre-configured Linux server. I also have a network Drobo which can survive two drives going bad. This serves as a backup to the first Drobo. I also have a Ubuntu Server in a different part of the house, which uses Crashplan.. again everything backed up. Crashplan allows me to place another server.. in another location, like a friends house .. and I can backup to it for free. You can also buy their central underground server farm service. I have both. All is automated. I've had office staff induced data failures where staff tried to recover, but actually destroyed two backups. Luckily I had a third backup. Now, I have four using various programs and never through the same modality.. ie all USB..etc.

Yes, I'm a glass half-full sort of guy.
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Old 02-19-2012   #24
kanzlr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankS View Post
Typical RFF answer: get both.
+1

I do almost daily Time Machine backups locally and have all my important documents (in a truecrypt container) in a team-dropbox, along with the final (print ready) JPGs my more meaningful photo sessions
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Old 02-19-2012   #25
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