Image Backup Dilema
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Old 09-24-2014   #1
Vicuna
 
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Default Image Backup Dilema

I've recently realized that my backup setup is not sufficient.

The problem is that RAW files take up alot of space and I have limited space on my external drives. Is there a way to reduce the size of RAW files while backing up and not losing any file information?

Amnon

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Old 09-24-2014   #2
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Default Re: Image Backup Dilema

In short, no.

If you shoot a lot of images you need to learn to edit aggressively. This means getting rid of all useless images (blurred, frivolous, compositionally off) and many duplicates (though not all of them). Some photographers argue that you should keep all images shot, but that's not only impractical but unnecessary. Others have the philosophy that they only keep their usable images and nothing else. I feel that's dangerous, specially if you do not have a redundant backup system in play. Actually, if you don't have a redundant backup I strongly suggest you get one.

That said, memory is relatively inexpensive these days. You can get external drives for under $100 for a 1 TB drive. Hot swappable external drives such as a Drobo or any Raid 1 system allows you to have one unit that can handle many drives. All you have to do is take the drives out, replace them with others and you're off to the races.
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Old 09-25-2014   #3
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Default Re: Image Backup Dilema

Thanks for the info.

Just two clarifications. What is a redundant backup, and how does a Drobo or Raid 1 system work?
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Old 09-29-2014   #4
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Default Re: Image Backup Dilema

A redundant back up means a set up that has multiple copies, in case one fails. One method of doing this is with a RAID based system. This is a collection of drives to which your information is written more than once. If (or rather when) one of the drives in the RAID array dies your data is safe on the other drives and you simply remove the dead drive and add a replacement.

One problem with a RAID system (for home users) is that the RAID drives are usually in the same location as the computer. That means that, in the event of fire, flood or theft, the computer and the back-up system may both be lost. For this reason many people add an off-site back-up capability to their system using something like Crashplan or Carbonite
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Old 09-30-2014   #5
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Default Re: Image Backup Dilema

To expand on Dan's comments, the benefit of RAID is that the "extra" copy is written automatically. If one of the hard drive fails, you'll get a notification and can replace it. Once you replace it, the RAID array "rebuilds" and you get your redundancy back.

Note that not all RAID configurations are for backup--some are for performance. At the entry-level consumer price point, you want RAID 1, not RAID 0.

I'd also encourage you to have a workflow that exports RAW to a manageable JPG and syncs to the cloud (Dropbox, Amazon S3). In a nightmare scenario where your hard drive fails / your house burns down / your gear is stolen, this way you still have some back up.
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Old 09-30-2014   #6
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Default Re: Image Backup Dilema

Thanks again for all the info.

If I understond correctly a RAID or DROBO system allows you to have several copies of your backups.

What I wonder now is, can one of these drives be removed to be replaced by another and the copy stored at a remote location? Or must the pack of drives always be kept as a set and not split up?
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Old 10-01-2014   #7
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Default Re: Image Backup Dilema

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnon View Post
If I understond correctly a RAID or DROBO system allows you to have several copies of your backups.

What I wonder now is, can one of these drives be removed to be replaced by another and the copy stored at a remote location? Or must the pack of drives always be kept as a set and not split up?
No sorry, my explanation wasn't clear. A RAID backup is ONE backup, which is protected against failure by duplicating data across multiple drives. The whole point of RAID is that it contains multiple drives that are connected and constantly mirrored. So, if one drive fails you don'y lose your backup, you just swap the drive for a new one and the RAID array rebuilds itself. If you remove a drive then it can no longer mirror what is on the other drive and ceases to be a RAID array.

You can have a multiple disk backup system (which is not a RAID array). Many backup systems supports this, where you have multiple external drives and a backup is written to each one. The benefit of this is that one of these drives can be a weekly backup with is stored off-site when not being backed up. An alternative is the Cloud approach where you backup to a cloud storage facility.


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