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Ask Slashdot: Best On-Site Backup Plan?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the giant-stack-of-floppy-disks dept.

Data Storage 326

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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Gluster (0)

El_Isma (979791) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951057)

Make a gigant gluster? Then at least you will ony have to worry about it not catching fire (and not about how many duplicates and where do you store them)

Re:Gluster (2, Informative)

Errtu76 (776778) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951509)

Gluster can't be told where to store something. So even in a gigantic cluster you still run into the problem that 2 duplicates of a file can be located on two storage nodes that are physically near to eachother. Let's say right where your fire begins ..

Offsite != cloud (5, Informative)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951063)

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.

Re:Offsite != cloud (4, Insightful)

Fwipp (1473271) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (5, Informative)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951361)

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.

Re:Offsite != cloud (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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 :)

Friends who live far enough away. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951427)

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.

Fireproof Hard Drive (4, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951067) []

Re:Fireproof Hard Drive (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951379)

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:Fireproof Hard Drive (4, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951475)

It works [] . It really works [] .

A friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951075)

Copy them to a few cheap external drives and mail them to a trusted friend/relative.

Re:A friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951455)

and by trusted, you mean trusted to keep paying the rent. Seriously, for the volume you're using, a large drive a year + DVD-R or BD-R after shoots.

Find a friend with same issue (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951085)

Find a friend with same issue and figure out a plan to place two cheap NAS servers one at each house and back up to the NAS at your friends house encrypt if you wish and problem solved.

USB Stick (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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

Re:USB Stick (2)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951257)

"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)

megaupload (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951093)


Storing locally will cost you more, not less... (2, Interesting)

winkydink (650484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951103)

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?

Re:Storing locally will cost you more, not less... (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951127)

I dunno, what does unencrypted stored data at an unsecure location cost?

Re:Storing locally will cost you more, not less... (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951153)

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

Re:Storing locally will cost you more, not less... (5, Informative)

sirwoogie (979566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951293)

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.

Re:Storing locally will cost you more, not less... (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951387)

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.

Re:Storing locally will cost you more, not less... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951459)

Someone will correct me for sure, but I compute that 8 terabytes uploaded at 1.5M bits/sec will take roughly 12,000 hours or about fifteen months. With a cap of 250GB/month cap, it will be a minimum of 32 months to upload (and do nothing else). Maybe this is not a good plan.

raid 0 swap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951105)

raid 0, periodically swap a third drive out and put in a safe deposit box.

RAID 0?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951123)

Are you insane? I think you mean RAID 1.

Re:raid 0 swap (3, Informative)

hawkinspeter (831501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951315)

Repeat after me:

Raid is not a backup

And RAID 0 is never used for reliability as it has no redundancy - the more disks, the higher chance of failure. You must have meant RAID 1.

Re:raid 0 swap (4, Funny)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951487)

My RAID goes to 11, man....

if it has value, pay up (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#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

Tape Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951135)

You could backup to take. Cycle two tapes. Keep one at home and one in a deposit box. Switch monthly. In the event you lost everything at home you would at most lose one months worth of data.

Adjust to a shorter cycle if a month is too long.

Professional Photographer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951141)

I'm a professional photographer and I keep backups of my network drives in a safe deposit box at my bank. I have a couple terabyte drives and then once a month I update the drives at the bank. This may not be very sophisticated but it's simple and it works for me.

A note about fireproof safes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951143)

Just a note about fireproof safes. They are fireproof in the sense that they will protect paper from getting hot enough to catch fire and burn. However, they will still get hot enough in a fire to destroy any electronics or plastic items stored inside.

Re:A note about fireproof safes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951241)

Their effectiveness also depends on the conditions, during the recent fires in CO there were several cases of "fireproof" safes melting with all the contents destoryed

A couple options (3, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951147)

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.

Get your backups offsite (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951149)

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.

Safety Deposit Box (2)

foradoxium (2446368) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951151)

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.

Re:Safety Deposit Box (1)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951383)

They dont need to be fire resistant when they're in a different building. It's great and all, but if your house and your bank have a fire at the same time, you probably have bigger problems..

Dude (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951155)

Crashplan is wickedly cheap, and for Unlimited Storage its worth the buy

Re:Dude (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951225)

You can also use Crashplan to backup to a friend's remote hard drive, online, free.

Re:Dude (2)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951539)

And if you run a server that runs a Crashplan compatable OS like Linux or Windows, you can put that somewhere and back up via Crashplan to that server. Personally I use a BSD box with ZFS as the repository.

You can mix and match al the options, backup local, backup to friend, backup to the Crashplan cloud.
Crashplan does a good job of compressing and de duping data, so you might not have to upload all 8TB.

Oh, and you can pre-seed by sending data on a portable drive to Crashplan and then just catch up.

Safe deposit box (2)

AMDinator (996330) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951157)

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.

Friend (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951173)

A friend and I just keep external HD's for each other. Every now and again we go to the other's house and swap them. They are small... and fit easily on a shelf in an unused closet....

If you don't trust your friend enough you can even encrypt the HD....

Cheap, effective, works.

Delete more (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951175)

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

Re:Delete more (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Delete more (2)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951463)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951499)

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

Ha. This is a bit dated (it's from the film era), but still applies:

How do you tell the difference between an amateur photographer and a professional photographer?

The amateur wants every shot they take to come out really well.

The professional is happy if they get one good shot per roll.

Safe deposit box (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951193)

Get a couple external 3TB drives. They are under $150 each and keep them in a safe deposit box. I store 2 at my local bank and switch them out from time to time. Depending on your bank and balance you can get them for free.

The Bank (2)

quadra (2289) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951195)

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? (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951197)

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.

Re:Why not get a firesafe? (3, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951415)

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.

USB hard drives in a safety deposit box in a bank (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951199)

I have two USB hard drives that I use for backing up. They have the same data on them. I keep one at home and the other in a safety deposit box at the bank. I backup about every week or two, but once a month I will do a backup, then take that drive to the bank and swap it with the other, bring it home and back up to that drive.

Inexpensive Online Backup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951201)

I use crashplan plus backup for my online backup as well as local backup solutions. Crashplan Plus is only $5/mo for unlimited data on one computer or $10/mo for an entire family of computers and unlimited data. That is a lot cheaper than buying 8TB or backup drives. Software is easy to set up and recover from . You can use the same software to do a local backup and a cloud backup.

Steve C
Apple Certified Technical Coordinator 10.6-10.7

Split them up (0)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951205)

Take your current 8 TB of backed up data (which is on redundant drives you said), store them in your mom's basement... now you have an offsite backup. All new data from now on, store them in Dropbox or some other cloud service. Bite the bullet and pay the $5 a month.

Re:Split them up (1)

frostilicus2 (889524) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951477)

But we're talking terabytes here: most cloud storage providers will not cater for such users (or charge exorbitant fees). Moreover, he's not interested in cloud backups. There are many, many good reasons to resist dumping your stuff onto some cloud service.

Lockbox (1)

Alvarex (2704755) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951211)

I don't know if you'll ever find online solutions that will store 8TB of data for free/cheap, so I suggest just loading up on the harddrives and putting them in a lockbox. This could be at a friends house, work, a hidden panel in your car, the bank, etc. There are tons of places you could put it, but if you find a cheap online solution that'd obviously be excellent.

Forget firesafes, go semi-offsite! (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951213)

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)


Re:Forget firesafes, go semi-offsite! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951431)

An 8 terabyte SSD. Sure, I've got one right here!

My USB backup is at work. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951221)

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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951229)

'Simultaneous' on-site and offsite backup. Cheap - and they are committed to unlimited storage... I have just over 1TB with them - encrypted with my own key - backed up to their data center and to two separate local locations.

Re:CrashPlan (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951421)

I have to throw in my non-anonymous endorsement of Crashplan. You can pay their reasonable unlimited rate or work out an agreement with a friend, family member, or other person in a similar situation to backup to their instance while they backup to yours. At the same time, you can have it direct a backup to an attached USB drive or NAS... everything except their cloud storage is free. And cloud storage is a whopping $5/month for unlimited.

You have a ton of existing data, and that would take a lot of time to upload - but fortunately Crashplan allows you to seed your backup by sending in a hard drive.

BackBlaze ($5/month unlimited storage supposedly) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951235)

This looks like it might work for you and I've been investigating it lately. I can't recommend it, given I haven't used it, but it's an option if you have the bandwidth to upload 8TB of files.

Use eSATA sled & store off-site at friends hou (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951237)

Backup your data and rotate drives off-site to a friend or family members house. Storage is cheap, and eSATA works like a goddamn champion.

Due to large changes in amount of data, delta type backups won't be nearly as effective, so just use something like ViceVersa or Robocopy to duplicate your new data to one of your off-site drives, and then store it off-site for free. No need for complex RAID or costly hardware because your goal is to prevent against loss of data due to catastrophic failure or disaster at your residence.

eSATA or USB3.0 (though I haven't tried USB3 yet so I can't say).

Shutterfly and other photo websites:free intros (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951247)

Create bogus identities, create accounts, upload the max and get as many free prints as you can. Rinse, repeat. You may need a couple of proxies just in case they're smart enough to monitor the IP address.

Stores all those prints in filing cabinets.

I think it'll only take a few months, 10 hours a day.

But it'll be FREE!

CrashPlan Software (4, Informative)

FunOne (45947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951255)

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.

Re:CrashPlan Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951453)

That can't be a viable business plan. I see that site quietly going away in the very near future, and wouldn't trust my data there at all.

Re:CrashPlan Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951527)

They've been around for years. I've used them for years. The majority of their clients don't use much space at all, but the few that do are the ones that sell the service to others.

Re:CrashPlan Software (1)

radish (98371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951553)

It's very viable, they've been around for a long time. Their big money maker is their enterprise product - as their CEO explains the residential/personal product line uses tiny amounts of resources by comparison.

But anyway, what if they do go away? It's backup data, not live.

No such thing as fireproof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951259)

There's no such thing as fireproof , there's only fire-resistant. Fire will burn through anything given enough time , and safes are rated for the number of hourse they can withstand.
AC because i'm at work but i feel like this shold be known by you all.

Why not just buy many large SDHC/SDXC cards? (1)

xaustinx (926033) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951265)

Why bother with other storage technologies that degrade overtime. You already have access to cheap (but slow... in this application that doesn't really matter) solid state storage that doesn't degrade. If your objective is to simply archive the content, buy as many SDXC cards as you need to archive your content, and when you go on shoots charge them for the cost of an extra sdxc card to archive the content on and throw it into your safe.

Re:Why not just buy many large SDHC/SDXC cards? (1)

Psychofreak (17440) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951485)

I know a professional and semi-professional photographer who use this scheme. They state that data cards "go bad" if they are wiped and reused too many times.

Specifically the semi-professional photographer stores her working files on her computers and uses an on-site backup scheme that I believe is simply data mirroring to a USB drive. After the files are copied and mirrored, the original data card gets stored in file cabinet at her parents house.


Re:Why not just buy many large SDHC/SDXC cards? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951517)

Good luck sorting through all of that latter.

SD cards aren't even big enough to label.

SentrySafe QE5541 with USB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951267)

The SentrySafe QE5541 [] has a USB pass-through that lets you store a bus-powered USB hard drive right in the safe. I've got this hooked up to my primary machine, which pushed my backup right into the fire-protected drive.

Get a safe deposit box (1)

moosehooey (953907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951281)

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).

safe deposit box (2)

condition-label-red (657497) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951283)

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

Re:safe deposit box (1)

UnNickname (2645391) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951537)

Definitely have something offsite. I've known more than one person who've had their homes burglarized and their backup hard drives were also stolen. I can't imagine the loss of everything I own digitally. I've also known someone who had a huge expensive looking safe that wasn't bolted down stolen and opened.

Shed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951299)

I just ran a network cable to my shed and run a second NAS unit from there.

2 practical options (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951313)

1) Buy a few 3TB drives, backup then store in a Bank Safety deposit box
2) Find a friend who also has similar needs, and over your internet pipes give yourselves access to each other's storage drives (I recommend a small home NAS for this with with some level of RAID mirroring). This solution requires twice the storage space you need just for yourself (one set of drives for your stuff at home + X number of drives to store 100% of the required space for your friend). that said, it would likely still be cheaper than option one due to safety deposit rental charges + buying extra drives anyway. For this solution, I'd recommend you do the initial backup of all you have today over 'sneaker net', but then all subsequent backups can be done over your home internet pipe. Of course, this also requires a) A decent internet pipe with good upload speed (a rarity in many parts of North America) + b) Unlimited bandwidth capacity (i.e. a 100G limit sounds like it would last you all of a couple of days).

Good luck!

No (2)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951323)

"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.

No easy answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951329)

Onsite-only backup is risky.
Offsite backup is intrinsically expensive, since it involves the costs of a 2nd site.
To roll your own offsite backup you would have to, for example, buy a second house to use as the other site, or rent some space in a warehouse or something.

If you can't afford that, you could always use a cloud backup service, but the bandwidth will be expensive.

If you can't afford that either, then maybe your data isn't as valuable as you think it is.

Of course, the other side of the coin is that you could try to use the space you have more efficiently. Even for a professional photographer, you probably don't need every photo to be in 10+MP RAW format. JPEG with high quality settings is actually quite good. If you used compression appropriately instead of senselessly hoarding every last subpixel of sensor data, you would never have had a problem in the first place.

And on the coin's third side, Moore's law says the longer you hold out before getting a real backup system, the cheaper it will be when you do. Maybe you should just accept risk for a while, and then deal with it later.

final note: Going by cost-per-gigabyte, the cheapest backup media, in order of increasing cost, excluding tape drives and other such nonsense:
$30/TB Single-Layer BD-R
$50/TB 3GB Hard Drives
$70/TB Dual-Layer DVD-R and Single-Layer DVD-R

You really DO want offsite backups (1)

camionbleu (1633937) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951337)

Buy enough hard drives to make two backups of your data. Keep one copy of your data onsite, ready for a quick restore if necessary . Keep the other copy offsite, in case there is a fire, flood or burglary at your main location(i.e., you really DO want one copy of your data to leave your site). You don't need to pay for a fancy offsite backup service -- just keep them at a friend's house and be sure to rotate your back drives regularly. This is what I do with my 3TB of data and it works very well. Use backup software that automatically copies only the changed data. Otherwise, you will not be able to do a full backup of 8TB every day. On Windows, you can do this cheaply with Robocopy. On Linux or Mac, rsync does the same thing (or use Time Machine on a Mac). You can schedule the backup script to run automatically every night.

If you need to keep all 8TBs spinning all the time, you'll probably want to look at getting hardware RAID devices. If you only need to keep the most recent data instantly available, RAID might be unnecessary.

Async Replication and multihomed storage (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951353)

Drop a box at a friend or relatives home, preferably one with a big pipe. Setup two storage systems, I would look at ZFS on FreeBSD (FreeNAS perhaps). And then setup async replication rules. You write to one, it will eventually catch the other one up, constantly. If yours fails, go get the other one, put them on a local highspeed network and clone again. You can increase reliability with more georedundancy. More boxes, more places. Since you are not replicating the entire dataset daily, only the change state, it wont bog things down badly.

Tape is still king (2)

ZorkZero (6507) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951355)

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.

Delete, delete, delete (3, Insightful)

Derling Whirvish (636322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951363)

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.

Amanda and LTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951369)

Speaking as someone who has to manage the backing up of a good few hundred TB of data each day, as a home solution I would use something like Amanda with a cheap tape drive off eBay onto LTO then stick the tapes in a safe deposit box or under a rock somewhere. It's a cheap method of duplicating how its done professionaly

Re:Amanda and LTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951403)

Read "professionally"

Crashplan (4, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951373)

Not to sound like a shill (I'm a fanboy, which, while different, will sound somewhat similar in practice), Crashplan [] 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? (4, Funny)

microcars (708223) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951385)

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.

Re:Mom? (1)

ran-o-matic (667054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951489)

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.

That made me smile. Thanks.

Secondary Site (2)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#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).

Accessibility vs security vs redundancy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951405)

You have to ultimately ask yourself a few questions:

1) How accessible does this data have to be.

Do you need quick access to it any time of day? Will there ever be an emergency need for access?

2) How secure does it have to be.

Should other people be restricted from accessing it? If someone stole it, what would the ramifications be?

3) How redundant should the copies be?

Raid levels? Mirroring? Multiple copies?

There will always be compromises between these issues, and you'll have to come up with a solution that makes you the most comfortable. Is there a 100% secure way to guarantee against data loss? Nope. The whole point is to mitigate against casual loss and/or minor catastrophe. If a meteor comes out of the sky which is the size of Texas, well, no backup plan is going to save that data.

So some options: Find a friend who has broadband and put together a NAS (FreeNAS ZFS box with multi TB drives) and see if your friend will host it. You can transfer your data across the net to it, and it gives you 24/7 access to the data. Then, as a secondary backup some WD 3TB USB drives in a safe deposit box. This gives you multiple locations, fire/theft proof backups, and hardware redundancy. Might cost a few hundred bucks to put together, and some time each week or so (depending on your shoot schedule) to maintain, but it gives you security and flexibility and redundancy. Once the system is set up though, it should be pretty simple to keep going.

Give a backup to a friend (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951409)

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 I actually was authorized by my company to keep a set of backup tapes for our development servers at my house so we didn't have to pay an offsite storage company to store them.

I have a question - are you really going to argue that your photos are so valuable that you can't let them go into the cloud for fear that others might get copies? I'm in no position to judge whether that is true or not and even if you say it is, the rest of us may disagree. I know that some professional photographers have some really warped ideas about their own work and think that the wedding video they just got hired to shoot belongs to them and the paying customer is some kind of leech they'll deign to give one copy to under duress. If you got oodles of old wedding photos, for example, that you were hired 10 years ago to take, I doubt that it's really critical that you keep copies. I participate on a video forum and we see people all the time who want to watermark stupid crap like videos of their kids playing tee ball* because they are so delusional that they think the whole world wants to see their kid. I get that these photos may be just incredibly important to you, but do you really think that others are just waiting to steal them if they go on the cloud? Cloud backup would be your most cost effective solution.

* For the non-North Americans, "tee ball" is version of baseball that small children play in organized leagues. They hit the ball off a tee, hence the name.

Only one answer (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951443)

Who can you trust? Yourself! Burn them onto double sided blue ray disks and keep them in two of your locations in a fireproof safe.

mitigating 'fire' risks (4, Informative)

bingbong (115802) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Crashplan (2)

radish (98371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951451)

I use a backup service called Crashplan [] . 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.

Re:Crashplan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951551)

They also will mail you a disk with a copy of your backup if you want to pay for a faster restore (or even a faster way to seed data to them, you can mail them a drive to start)

I use (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951465)

I use MyCleanPC along with a custom hosts file to redirect my documents to my online backup service. I'm mostly backing up my GameMaker projects.

Backblaze (1)

OiBoy (22100) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951471)

I use backblaze [] for off-site backups. $50/year for unlimited storage is more than reasonable. I currently have about 2.5TB backed up there.

Seriously tape backup (3, Informative)

Robbat2 (148889) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951473)

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.

Integrity (1)

frostilicus2 (889524) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951503)

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?

usual basics (1)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 2 years ago | (#40951535)

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 and swap drives at a family/friend house. Safety deposit box if necessary.

After each shoot, be realistic about what photographs you keep. I'd wager a smallish fraction of what you're keeping now. Remember there is some overhead cost in retaining those files, nevermind in hard drives but in your time sorting through it.

Hard drives on a sneaker net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40951545)

Take your data, store it on several independent HDD's (not RAID).

On thanksgiving or christmas when you visit your family, take the drives with you and store the drives there.

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