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Ask Slashdot: Best On-Site Backup Plan? 326

Posted by Soulskill
from the giant-stack-of-floppy-disks dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I know most people use backup services in the cloud now, off-site, but does anyone have good ideas on how to best protect data without it leaving the site? I'm a photographer and, I shoot 32GB to 64GB in a couple of hours. I've accumulated about 8TB of images over the past decade and just can't imagine paying to host them somewhere off-site. I don't make enough money as it is. Currently I just redundantly back them up to hard drives in different rooms of my house, but that's a total crapshoot — if there's a fire, I'd be out of luck. Does anyone keep a hard disk or NAS inside a fireproof safe? In a bunker in the cellar? In the detached garage? It's so much data that even doing routine backups bogs the system down for days. I'd love suggestions, especially from gamers or videographers who have TBs of data they need to back up, on what options there are with a limited budget to maximize protection."
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Ask Slashdot: Best On-Site Backup Plan?

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  • Offsite != cloud (Score:5, Informative)

    by flaming error (1041742) on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:41PM (#40951063) Journal

    There are offsite options besides the cloud. I shuffle hard drives between work and home. If you work from home, you could do the same at a friend's house or something.

    • by Fwipp (1473271) on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:44PM (#40951115)

      And if you don't have any friends, keep one in a bank's safe deposit box. They're usually not that pricey.

      • Re:Offsite != cloud (Score:5, Informative)

        by networkBoy (774728) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:00PM (#40951361) Homepage Journal

        I do this.
        Whenever I finish a project I make two copies onto notebook sata drives. One in my media vault (a mechanics tool chest with drawers that happen to be the right size) for reference, and the other to the bank deposit box. A deposit box that holds ~30 2.5" sata drives is $25/year.

        If there is even an event that takes both the bank and my house out at the same time, then I have vastly bigger problems.

        For active work I do snapshots onto a drive and my working set is on a mirrored volume.
        -nb

        • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:17PM (#40951561) Homepage Journal
          I'm looking to make a freeNAS setup at home, with multiple drives.

          Once that is working...I'm looking to maybe set up a second mirrored one at my parent's house, in another state...and just keep them sync'ed. Back their stuff up to the one up there, it sync's with mine...my stuff backup to mine and sync's with the backup up there.

          If not with family, why not make a deal with friends to do the offsite backup with each other...just encrypted the partitions and all to keep things private...but that should help, eh?

          • If you decide to encrypt your offsite backup, make sure you have another offsite backup (safety deposit box, another friend, lawyer, etc) of the encryption keys!!!
          • Here's what I do (with about 3TB data now):

            I've got a dedicated backup server at home that backs up all machines there automatically and rsync's the backup to another machine offsite overnight.

            I've got an uncapped but relatively slow connection, uplink speed in practice about 2MB/s, but that's enough: it rarely takes more than three hours to do the rsync. Occasionally (like after returning from a two-week trip to Kenya) I've got so much new data (photos) that it takes more than 24 hours, but that's rare (an

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:04PM (#40951419)

        And if you don't have any friends, keep one in a bank's safe deposit box. They're usually not that pricey.

        Be careful with that, I store my expensive 200+ pound pull strength rare earth magnets in mine :)

      • by glassware (195317)

        $75 per year for a safe deposit box large enough to store 3 external USB hard drives. Definitely the best way to go for inexpensive peace of mind.

        Although, be careful about your external drives! If you accidentally leave them in the car, even briefly, they're liable to overheat and melt down.

      • by Culture20 (968837) on Friday August 10, 2012 @10:30PM (#40954207)

        And if you don't have any friends, keep one in a bank's safe deposit box.

        Don't forget to poke holes in the safe deposit box so he can breathe.

    • Not your next door neighbor (particularly if you are in an apartment). You need a friend who is far enough away that the same disaster that hits your home will probably not hit your friend's home.

      You can ignore this advice in cases of asteroid impact, zombie apocalypse, super volcano or robot uprising.

    • Our major physical offsite solution is literally packing out physical media that everything is backed up to on Sundays and then taken to a safety deposit box on Monday. Of course, the business has three locations, so we also make sure key data from each location is backed up to the others, but that's probably overkill for this guy. The point is that if it's not offsite, cloud, tape in the bank, whatever, you risk total loss.

  • Fireproof Hard Drive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:41PM (#40951067) Journal

    http://iosafe.com [iosafe.com]

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      I wonder if it really works? I bought a LipoSack to protect my R/C lithium battery from burning down the house, and then I saw a video on youtube where the sack also burst into flame. :-| The supposed "protection" I thought I had was worthless.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The spec states that it is only rated 1/2 hour for 1550F. This is enough for a small fire, but is not enough for a fully involved house fire. (Firefighter for 20 years :-)

      Store your backup offsite at a friend's/relative's house.

  • USB Stick (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:43PM (#40951091)
    My preferred way is to copy the data to many different USB sticks. I write a little note with my name and address on it, slip the that and the stick into a bottle and pitch it into the ocean. Data is safe from fires and most other natural disasters. Best of all, people around the world contact me (we even become FB friends after!) and return the USB with all my data!

    Works like a charm

    • "Real men don't back up their data. They post the source online and let the world mirror it" -Linus Torvalds.

      (that's from memory, I don't know if he ever actually said that)

      • Label it as "Britnay Spear'z Donkey pr0n" and torrent it.

        I swear right down some doilem will have a copy and be seeding it 4 teh evor.

  • megaupload (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    megaupload

  • in the short run and in the long run. Also, storing locally does nothing to protect you from flood, fire, theft, etc... Backblaze is $5/mo, unlimited storage. I'm sure there are others with similar/better deals. What's a NAS inside a fireproof safe going to cost?

    • by jhoegl (638955)
      I dunno, what does unencrypted stored data at an unsecure location cost?
      • by winkydink (650484)

        My backups are encrypted before they go over the wire. I'm fairly sure this is not a feature unique to Backblaze.

    • by sirwoogie (979566) on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:55PM (#40951293) Homepage
      Uhh, he did say 8TB worth of data. Not knowing his internet connection, this is still pretty much out of reach for most residential services except extreme FIOS connections. If you factor in caps it could take a long time. For example, lets be generous and figure he has a 350G/mo cap. Even at this rate for 8 terabyes it would take nearly 2 full years to get it to the cloud without exceeding the cap. That's just for the upload. Same amount of time for the download. Now let's also say he didn't have a cap, and also had a great connection at about 50Mbps (which most of us don't in the US). That would take over 16 days full line rate accounting for overhead just to get it up there, same amount back down. If you had an unmetered Gigabit line, that might be one thing. Sounds like he's a starving artist with low budget. Gotta work with the requirements. I think sneakernet an array to a friend that you trust that lives far enough away from you or take them to work (if you don't work at home) are the best options.
      • I never take my drives to work. We have a no HDD leaves the building policy, and even if it is my personal drive I don't want the hassle.

        • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:35PM (#40951793) Homepage

          Not everybody works for the CIA. I have my photographs and other data on 2 GB external drives. I rotate them weekly or biweekly, backing up new stuff and checking the older. Total storage now about 6 TB.

          That said, if you're doing 64 GB in a couple of hours, a little more practice with shot discipline will help you both in storage and in workflow time. That's too many pictures.

          Then the DELETE key is your friend. Especially if you're doing that many shots. They can't ALL win the Pulitzer Price.

          • by Achra (846023) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:50PM (#40951961) Journal

            That said, if you're doing 64 GB in a couple of hours, a little more practice with shot discipline will help you both in storage and in workflow time. That's too many pictures.

            Then the DELETE key is your friend. Especially if you're doing that many shots. They can't ALL win the Pulitzer Price.

            This.

            To quote Ken Rockwell: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/howto.htm [kenrockwell.com]

            Only show your very strongest images.

            Throw away most of what you shoot. I do. Most of my photos are awful!

            Go through the few photos you save out of a roll, and then throw away all but the one strongest image.

            Next time, go through the few you've saved from a few rolls, and throw more away.

            This isn't painting. In photography it is a requirement to throw away most of what you do.

            You'll see that if you only save or show your strongest images that your body of work will seem to improve. Guess what: as you show only the better images, your body of work as seen by others has improved!

            Do you think I shoot a roll of film and get a roll loaded with the images you see in my galleries? Of course not. Most of what I shoot is crap. I'm just good enough to throw most of it away and only show the good stuff.

            Ansel Adams said that if you can produce one strong image in a year that you are doing very well. Don't expect to turn out miracles every roll, or even every month. Ansel didn't, I don't, and I don't think anyone does.

      • by winkydink (650484)

        The initial Level 0 backup for my 2.5TB took weeks, yes, but eventually completed.

  • by alen (225700) on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:44PM (#40951107)

    if you earn revenue from it, pay for backups
    if it has sentimental value then think about paying for backups

    hard drives go bad all the time so if you're going to back up to hard disk and its important buy a few external ones and keep them in different locations

  • A couple options (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:46PM (#40951147) Journal

    First, going strictly by your requirements, I would suggest either a fireproof safe or fireproof drive enclosure. I don't have experience with the enclosures, but the safe itself should be able to handle your normal everyday fire and protect your data.

    However, I'd suggest that you don't store your safe at your location at all. Surely you have a friend or someone you know that would let you borrow a few square feet of their basement for the safe. This would create a physcial barrier that would enhance your securiy if not always convenient. I'd also recommend a second copy somewhere else if this data is that important to you.

    Remember that as with (almost) anything else, there is a cost-benefit tradeoff. I'm not convinced that a "cloud" based solution is your best bet anyway. But a simple, low tech solution seems to be what you need anyhow.

    • Re:A couple options (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kjella (173770) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:32PM (#40951763) Homepage

      First, going strictly by your requirements, I would suggest either a fireproof safe or fireproof drive enclosure. I don't have experience with the enclosures, but the safe itself should be able to handle your normal everyday fire and protect your data.

      Most "fireproof" safes are only designed to keep paper from catching fire, which is higher than a lot of computer media can stand. You need to get a media rated safe, which has more insulation and is more expensive.

      However, I'd suggest that you don't store your safe at your location at all. Surely you have a friend or someone you know that would let you borrow a few square feet of their basement for the safe. This would create a physcial barrier that would enhance your securiy if not always convenient

      I'd go with a deposit box at a bank, so you don't have to bother your friend all the time. If you want to make regular backups then it better not feel like you're hassling somebody. For the money you save on the fireproof safe you can probably rent one for years.

      • by sirsnork (530512)

        THIS!

        Unless specifically stated, a fireproof safe will not protect computer media. All they are rated for is to not exceed the ignition point of paper (233C or 451F).

        Also a flood or decent natural event won't care about your safe.

        A deposit box at a bank is the only way to go, and don't make it the local branch, somewhere 30mins drive away is a better option. You might also want to make sure the bank is in it's own building, not in a mall or and shared tenancy. An Earthquake could happily destroy/damage a ma

  • Backing up to portable hard drives is fine. Better if you have at least two copies of the data, on different drives of course

    Keeping your backups on site is great if you are concerned about user error, but offers nothing for disaster recovery. Put them in a safe deposit box. Store them at a friend's house. Put them in a Zip-lock and bury them in the woods. Do something, but get them out of the same building where your primary storage is if you really want to have a useful backup for disaster recovery
  • Have you thought of getting a safety deposit box at a bank? Usually they're in a fire resistant box inside a fire resistant room.

    Store backup copies of disks in there, and swap them out, similar to tape backup strategies.

  • You could put some backup drives in a safe deposit box. With as much as you're storing, it may be beneficial to store just the bare drives.
  • Delete more (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:48PM (#40951175) Journal

    Any pro photographer will tell you that 95% of what you shoot is crap. Prune it mercilessly.

    • Re:Delete more (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:00PM (#40951347)

      "Any pro photographer will tell you that 95% of what you shoot is crap."

      That depends ENTIRELY on the kind of photography. For example, if it's portraiture like yearbook photos, or wedding photos, or many other such things, the customer decides what's good and what they want to keep, and they typically have the option of coming back and buying more prints later.

      In cases like that, you can't prune. You have to keep it all.

      • by raaum (152451)

        "Any pro photographer will tell you that 95% of what you shoot is crap."

        That depends ENTIRELY on the kind of photography. For example, if it's portraiture like yearbook photos, or wedding photos, or many other such things, the customer decides what's good and what they want to keep, and they typically have the option of coming back and buying more prints later.

        In cases like that, you can't prune. You have to keep it all.

        A very good point. However, with some modification, the GP's point still holds.

        If the OP is able to prune, he or she should. Film photographers were limited by the cost of film and processing; digital photographers are limited by the cost of storage and backup.

        If the OP is unable to prune, for the reasons you note, then the costs of a reliable offsite backup service needs to be included in the cost of his or her services. So, it would cost $X to shoot 1000 photos and make sure that they are available for a

    • If he only had 7 TB, then I'd suggest he is pruning already or is new to the business. Even a not-so-good photographer like me has over 100 GB of "good" (for me) pictures though I'm sure I could reduce this somewhat. A person who does this for a living can accumulate TBs a year easily. And, if he is doing client work, he is likely to want to store a lot of what he takes just in case the client wants a particular shot.

    • Re:Delete more (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DarwinSurvivor (1752106) on Friday August 10, 2012 @07:04PM (#40952713)

      A 10MP image in RAW form is probably at most 20MB (a little overhead for meta data, etc) in size. At current HDD prices ($150/2TB == $75/TB == $0.073/GB) that comes to about 0.14 CENTS per photograph ($0.0014/photo). Lets say you can go through your photos and delete 20 photos per minute (3 seconds per photo on average is reasonable), that's 1200 photos per hour, or $1.72 worth of HDD space per hour (for your first copy). Even if you have 4 redundant backups (5 total copies), you are still deleting photos at $8.58/hour, which is below minimum wage for any modern country. Your time is worth more than that and I doubt you would feel comfortable having a minimum-wage intern deciding which photos are worth keeping.

      Another way to look at it is with each photo (with 4 redundant backups) costing $0.007 to store, if you delete 10,000 photos ($70 HDD savings) is that really worth the risk of a client possibly wanting a $100 print of even ONE of those photos?!?

      Moral of the story: With today's HDD prices, unless you have a lot of VERY big files or can automate deletion, deleting stuff is actually more expensive than backing it up 4 times.

      • by thegarbz (1787294)

        A 10MP image in RAW form is probably at most 20MB (a little overhead for meta data, etc) in size.

        The OP is a photographer. I guess you haven't seen the trend in current top of the range cameras have you? Nikon D4 TIFF files are 105MB each. RAW about 60MB. Similar cameras from other manufacturers come in about the same. That's not even taking into account that he may be shooting high def video with the thing at his events too.

        Not only does that significantly increase your numbers, but you're missing the knock on effects of the deleting. Suppose you need to go back and find a photo, would you rather sort

  • by quadra (2289)

    Safe deposit boxes aren't expensive and they're not a bad offsite location to store copies of you data on external hard drives. I don't really like using hard disks for long-term archiving but it's one of the lowest cost practical solutions. A tape drive would be something to look into but they're not cheap.

  • Why not get a firesafe?
    Some of them are rated for higher temperatures than house fires usually attain, and the response time of your fire department should give you an idea of how long they need to hold out for.

    If you get one that has a decent lock you can keep your gun and your pot in there without the kids playing with them.
    • by whoever57 (658626) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:04PM (#40951415) Journal

      Why not get a firesafe? Some of them are rated for higher temperatures than house fires usually attain

      Because they are rated to prevent paper from catching on fire. And what temperature does this happen (hand in your geek card if you don't know the answer!): 451 Farenheit.

      Think your hard drive will survive 451 degrees?

      Yes, you can get a special fire safe to protect media, but it is more money.

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        Think your hard drive will survive 451 degrees?

        Physically? Yes. Floppy discs, no, DVDs, no, but hard drives, yes. Aluminum or glass platters melt a 1200-1500 degrees Fahrenheit.

        The data, on the other hand, might suffer significant damage because of the superparamagnetic effect, depending on what type of magnetic material is involved and possibly on whether the drive is based on perpendicular storage. Or it might be completely unaffected. Hard to say.

        • HDD's are more than just cases with platters. At those temperatures expect circuit boards to fry, magnets to lose their strength, seals to melt, connectors to "fall off", voice coils to become wires, spindles to warp, plastic to drip, etc. Transplanting platters is NOT something you do yourself and costs THOUSANDS to get done professionally (and hope it works).
  • I have redundant drives at home, but what about a fire, flood, or theft? Two options:
    (1) Put the data on an encrypted hard drive and bring it to work. This is what I do. It is safe in my desk and even if someone at work broke into my desk, they wouldn't get past the TrueCrypt.
    (2) Same as number 1 but use a SSD and put it in the trunk of your car if you don't work in an office. (SSD is less sensitive to vibration)

    -d

  • If the workplace burns-down, I have the home copy. And if the home burns-down, I have the work copy. The most-important files (resume, government clearance) and small-sized text files (ebooks) I have a triple-backup through Google Drive. 5 gigabytes free of charge.

  • CrashPlan Software (Score:4, Informative)

    by FunOne (45947) on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:53PM (#40951255)

    http://www.crashplan.com/

    Unlimited backup for $5/mo to the cloud. FREE backup to other computers using their software which is cross platform on Windows, Mac, and Linux. I'd purchase an external HD(s), backup to it then get a friend to put it at their house. You can adopt the backup on their computer and then backup to their computer (FREE) and to your external HD(s) with their software automatically from your own computer.

    Or you can just sync it to the cloud, but 8TB might take a while to get everything up there.

  • Go to your bank, and for around $100 a year you can keep your drives in their vault. You should be able to fit 4 2GB external drives in the smallest-size box (but bring them with you to make sure).

  • by condition-label-red (657497) on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:55PM (#40951283) Homepage

    In addition to your "hard drives in different rooms" strategy, consider keeping a copy offsite in a bank safe deposit box.

  • by Legion303 (97901) on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:57PM (#40951323) Homepage

    "does anyone have good ideas on how to best protect data without it leaving the site?"

    If it's not leaving the site, you aren't protecting it. At the very least, get a few portable drives and rotate backups to a relative's house.

  • Any company that I've ever worked for that had money to spend did tape backups and stored them in a vault offsite. Tapes get verified as they're written, and don't have parts that fail like hard drives do. They have a 30-year shelf life, and you'll always be able to find a way to read them in the future. Go to ebay, buy a used LTO3 or LTO4 drive, (400GB and 800GB uncompressed, respectively). Tapes are about $25/ea for LTO3. Then put a backup somewhere safe.

  • by Derling Whirvish (636322) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:00PM (#40951363) Journal
    I see this all the time with photographers. Bottom line: your photographs are not all that valuable. Some are, yes. Most are not. Pare them down. Delete the bad ones, the failures, the misfocussed, the bad exposures. The greatest photographers the world has ever known are only known for a few dozen photos at best. Do you really need an 8 TB photographic archive? Who's going to ever look at them all? Save the best. Delete the rest.
  • Crashplan (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anubis IV (1279820) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:01PM (#40951373)

    Not to sound like a shill (I'm a fanboy, which, while different, will sound somewhat similar in practice), Crashplan [crashplan.com] has a free option available where you and a friend can both run it and can use it to back up to each other. If you have a photographer friend (ideally in a place far enough away that you won't be hit by the same natural disaster), this can be a pretty good option. It'll likely take awhile to do the backups, however, and you'll also need to have adequate hard drives on hand to store not only your own work, but also your friend's, which may get in the way of going cheap.

    That said, for $140 (the price of a hard drive or two) you can get a 4-year subscription for their cloud hosting with an unlimited backup size. The company I work at uses their business-level product, and I recently started using Crashplan+ at home for my own computers. While it does take awhile to back up, it's painless to do so. At least so far, I prefer it quite a bit over Carbonite, which is what I was previously using at home.

  • Mom? (Score:5, Funny)

    by microcars (708223) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:02PM (#40951385) Homepage
    Give your mom a box of backups and ask her to hold on to it, it is "stuff you made"
    She'll never get rid of it.
    and if the house catches fire, it will be the first thing she grabs when she runs out.
  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@@@comcast...net> on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:03PM (#40951399)

    Set up a RAID 6 array at a friends or relatives house. Do an initial dump of all of your data to it before you bring it over to them. Offer to pay their Internet bill in exchange. Set up a VPN and run rsync between your place and theirs.

    That has got to be about the cheapest and simplest off site back up you can possible have. You can even write off the cost of their Internet as a necessary business expense if you can get a receipt (since you are a photographer for a living and not a hobby).

  • I suspect that what Hatta said is completely true. I doubt that 100% of what you have is really worth keeping forever. I take photos when traveling and some are mistakes or just didn't turn out that well. One of things I like is that if I take enough photos, some will turn out to be really good. Note that I said "some" not "all".

    If you have a friend who doesn't mind you could make a backup to the biggest hard drives you can afford and have your friend store them. I'm an IT guy and on a previous job
  • by bingbong (115802) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:06PM (#40951449)

    If you're going to put things in a fire rated container, there are a few things to consider. Those containers are not "fire proof" by any means. Get one whose rating is reasonably high as they will buy you some time.

    Most house fires are either a basic 'room and contents' or a much more involved fire where whole floors are exposed (and largely consumed) by flame.

    When you put your fire rated container somewhere, consider that fire burns upwards, and the thermal difference from floor to ceiling is around 400 degrees F on average. Before you put the container in the basement corner, remember that firefighters use water to put out fires. Lots of water. 150-200GPM per handline and 1000-2000GPM for the big pipes on the ladder trucks. Most of the damage in a house fire is from water. You'll get us much as 6-12 inches of flooding per floor (until the firefighters cut holes in the floor to drain it so the floors don't collapse.

    Also should the roof or ceiling collapse, the best places to have things are near the corners of the load bearing walls.

    This is my long way of saying store your fire rated container on a solid hardwood (not particle board) or metal shelf, about knee height on a low floor near the corner by load bearing walls. This way in the event the whole house is a write off, you still have a reasonable chance of saving some of your data and personal effects.

  • by radish (98371) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:06PM (#40951451) Homepage

    I use a backup service called Crashplan [crashplan.com]. They have clients for Linux/Mac/Windows and support backups either to your local network (free), "friends" machines in a p2p type configuration (free) or to their servers (paid). Everything's encrypted locally and the client app is pretty decent IMHO. Best of all is that the paid plans are pretty reasonable - I have the unlimited plan for something like $100 a year, and it really is unlimited (well, they claim it is and I have no reason to doubt them). I currently have about 3TB up there so I don't see why you'd have an issue.

    The way I have it configured is that all the machines on my network backup to both my local fileserver and to their cloud. The local backup has a higher priority so any changes get pushed over the lan immediately and then batched up and sent offsite over the slower link. Speedwise I can't saturate my uplink when uploading to them but I get a pretty consistent 1-2MB/s, so figure maybe 100GB a day? I think my initial seed took a couple of weeks. I've done a couple of small test restores and download speeds were similar (although in all but complete disasters I'd be restoring from my local fileserver which is obviously far faster).

    Disclaimer - Not related to the company in any way, just a very happy customer.

  • I use backblaze http://www.backblaze.com/ [backblaze.com] for off-site backups. $50/year for unlimited storage is more than reasonable. I currently have about 2.5TB backed up there.
  • by Robbat2 (148889) <robbat2@orbis-terrarum.net> on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:08PM (#40951473) Homepage Journal

    Look for a used LTO3/LTO4 tape drive, then bulk-buy tapes.
    Write each set of content to two tapes, ideally of different brands, and store in different places if you're really concerned.

    I've been backing up to LTO3 tapes for ~3 years now, i've got 50+ tapes, mostly in my safety deposit box at the bank (cost $75/year)

    LTO4 based on eBay prices right now would be an initial expenditure of ~$1k for the drive, and $25-30 per 800GB of storage.

    The cloud options aren't really feasible for me, as the upload time & bandwidth cost is horrendous.

  • What's a good way of ensuring data integrity (and possibly repairing any corruption) that might happen? Is two copies and a checksum enough to be able to reasonably repair a (not too) corrupt file?
  • Since the vast majority if your files aren't changing frequently, use daily an incremental backup. There's options out there which will let you run it at the end of the working day and turn off your machine once its done.

    Can you throw some cabling into the garage? Else WiFi would probably do. Stick a NAS in there, configure the software, make a once-monthly entry into your calendar to check the backups are viable and you can forget about it. Well, until winter maybe.

    Run a second backup say over the weekend

  • I'm a photographer and, I shoot 32GB to 64GB in a couple of hours. [...] I don't make enough money as it is.

    Be selective. Back the good ones up - to a USB key.

  • I started this long, convincing post about why cloud backups are so much better in terms of durability and availability. Then I looked at the cost.

    Holy smoke! According to Amazon's handy cost calculator [amazonaws.com], your 8 TB of data would cost $915.86 per month to store in Amazon's cloud. I would argue that kind of cost may be acceptable to back up your entire livelihood, but that really depends on your cash flow, doesn't it?

    My new recommendation is to burn your pictures to DVDs or blue-ray discs and bury them in your

  • by zigziggityzoo (915650) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:20PM (#40951611)
    As a photographer myself (Though only around 4TB of photos at current) here's my setup:

    Onsite backup: Drobo to Drobo.

    Offsite backup: Backblaze. I pay $4/mo (2 years prepaid). This is a secondary backup. It still has everything, but I rely on the local backup to retrieve something should my primary storage fail, and the offsite is for when things burn to the ground or someone steals my stuff or lightning takes everything out. Really it's cheap, it's just that initial backup which takes an eternity and might get you in trouble with your ISP. Fortunately I was able to use the local university 1gbit connection to reduce my initial backup time to just 18 days (straight).
  • I am betting that you can recover that from your friends.

  • by mrjb (547783) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:30PM (#40951729)
    Upload your photos. All of them. To flickr, facebook, whatever. The good ones will survive. The great ones will be shared. The ones you're ashamed of will go viral and you'll never get rid of them again, no matter how much you want them to.
  • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:31PM (#40951743)

    There is no "safe" on-site storage option. My brother had an expensive expensive fire-proof gun safe at his house - it weighed over 500 lbs.... After his house literally burnt to the ground (rural area, no one home to alert the first department, by the time the neighbor down the road saw the fire and called the fire department, all they could do was put out the fire in the surrounding brush (and cars)), he couldn't even identify any remaining pieces of the safe or the guns that were in it in the debris.

    If you want your data safe, store it off site, preferably in another part of the country so it's not subject to the same local disasters as your house. Mailing snapshots of your data to an out of state relative is probably best.

  • I'm also a photographer, don't make a lot of money on it, and I also backup to hard disk (because nothing else is big enough. Blu-ray? It is to laugh.)

    My strong (really strong) recommendation: Keep at least one backup set offsite. This is a really really strong recommendation. As a photographer, your images are absolutely the most valuable commodity you own. If your equipment is stolen, burnt or dropped off a bridge, it would really suck, but you could replace it. You can't replace your photos.

    ...an

  • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:38PM (#40951823)

    Fireboxes are designed to keep paper from bursting into flame. Sure, your hard drive is mostly metal, but that PCB board on the back could melt, warp, lose solder, etc.

    I guess the part I don't understand is how any of the solutions involving buying another hard drive (or three) and securing them are somehow cheaper than a tool like www.crashplan.com that is $50 a year for unlimited storage. Sure, the upload of 8TB will take a while.. so what? a single T1 (1.5Mbs) line can upload a few TB a month.

    Then its all offsite. Worst case, just download the crashplan sofware, and have a buddy install it too, and use the free person to person backup feature (only pay to store on their servers) to have an offsite backup. Have him bring his PC over for a night, to sync up the initial copy.. then you will just send changes over the internet.

  • These questions pop up a couple times a year, and the ultimate answer for cost effectiveness and minimal complexity is always the same.

    Buy storage in groups of two or three (I'll explain the different options shortly) drives at a time. So let's say your 8 TB can be covered by three 3TB USB HDDs. So you buy a set of three 3 TB HDDs and that's your master copy that you keep at home and work from. Now duplicate that exact same setup and that's your backup copy. This gives you protection against human er
  • Crashplan is likely to be a reasonable option, including the free version, particularly if you're working from an office that is separate from your home, or if you have a friend, relative, or given the size of your daily data increase perhaps just a neighbor who's willing to accept a machine for you. Notes on that at the end.

    What you'll want to do is set up a backup machine with plenty of disk space. This will likely need to be a single monster volume and you probably want to ensure that it's expandable; I can't help with the details of that but others here certainly can. What are the good expandable RAID options?

    The backup machine will receive the initial backup sitting next to the source machine, but will then be moved offsite. Given the volume of data you described, creating a "seed" backup and just moving that would likely be more hassle than it's worth.

    All machines involved should have Gigabit Ethernet, and I strongly recommend investing in a Gigabit network switch or better, an ABGN router with Gigabit ports. If you can find one, I like the WNDR3700v2 (that v2 is REALLY IMPORTANT and hard to find these days) running OpenWRT, but there are plenty of other options. You're still going to need an Internet connection for the machines to identify each other (I believe this uses Crashplan's servers even if you're not backing up to them).

    Once you have all that set up, you're just going to install Crashplan on both machines, run your backup, and move the backup machine to its new home. Crashplan assigns unique IDs to machines and uses those for coordinating the backups between them, so the fact that the backup server has moved won't cause a problem.

    Finally for the note about "just a neighbor" - if you're creating tens or hundreds of gigs of new data per month, just hosting your offsite backup may be a problem for many people (think bandwidth caps), and transmitting it may be just as big a problem for you. If you have or can find a reasonably close neighbor that you'll trust with an encrypted copy of your data and who's willing to host your machine, I'm going to strongly suggest that you set up the machine with a good wireless connector and have it in their house but on your wireless. Ideally this person would not be in the same building you're in (assuming condo/apartment). Wireless-N at 2.4GHz is likely to be your best bet for range, though it's more prone to interference than 5.5GHz.

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