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Best Way to Back Up Photos and Video?

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the pray-to-cthulhu dept.

Data Storage 642

jsalbre writes "I do a lot of digital video work, and my wife is a professional photographer. With raw DV from the video camera using up 11GB/hr, and raw images from the digital SLR using 7MB I'm quickly using up a lot of space. I currently back up all my important files each night from one harddrive to another, but I now have over 200GB of irreplaceable data (more than just DV and photos, but those make up the largest chunk) and I'm having to exclude the "less important" irreplaceable files as my backups have started failing. Several people have suggested backing up vital unchanging files to DVD (video, images,) and continue backing up frequently accessed files to harddrive, but with recent studies showing that optical media doesn't last very long I don't want to come back in a few years and find that all my backups are useless. Not to mention that some of my DV files are larger than even a dual-layer DVD, and it would be near impossible to automate backup to DVD. How do other Slashdotters back up their important data? I'd appreciate distinction between methods for frequently accessed files and for infrequently accessed files. Any suggestions will be highly appreciated!"

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wedding video (-1, Offtopic)

10110100 (891439) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911784)



LATEST: Beloved US TV dad ALAN THICKE married for the third time at the weekend (07MAY05) when he exchanged vows with 30-year-old TANYA CALLAU.

The former GROWING PAINS star, 58, and his new bride were married in a beach ceremony in Cabo San Lucas, northern Mexico.

The bride, groom and ushers all wore white, while Thicke's wedding band was the same one he wore on TV hit Growing Pains.

He explains, "My ring wasn't engraved on time."

Thicke's pop star son ROBIN performed at the reception.

Anti-slash salutes you! []

Re: Backups (3, Interesting)

hendridm (302246) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911785)

with recent studies showing that optical media doesn't last very long I don't want to come back in a few years and find that all my backups are useless ... How do other Slashdotters back up their important data?

Why not make two optical backups. Store at least one in a fireproof safe. For the massive files, you might have to invest in one or two hot swappable drives you can use as 'tapes', storing one in your safe. Mirroring might help.

Re: Backups (4, Interesting)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911817)

I concurr. For digital media, I would definitely do two of at least two different back up strategies.

First that comes to mind is Tape backup. They store huge about of data, and are very cheap these days, and have been proven to last for a while. Keep a good backup schedule, and keep one copy of the tapes offsite.

Secondly, I'd do optical. Optical's cheaper, but it's also not as long lasting, and takes longer to make the actual back up.

Thirdly, I'd do RAID. Mirror all the files onto a second set of hard drives. If you really want to get paranoid, mirror onto two sets of drives, and once a week swap out a copy of mirrored drives from a fireproof location.

If your data is truely irreplacable, then this is a good regiment. But it's also very expensive.. so you'll have to make up your mind.

Re: Backups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911853)

as i recall the articles on the optical drives,
the problem was with the CD/DVD RW/W drives.
If however you use a proper WORM drive that
burns holes you should be ok

Re: Backups (4, Informative)

gui_tarzan2000 (625775) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911877)

Fire proof safes aren't all heat proof. I was told by our insurance company recently that the FP safes and cabinets are only rated that for durable goods such as paper (which can withstand a lot of heat in some situations), metal, etc. but CD/DVD substrates will melt or distort rather quickly because they're so thin. I'd guess the expensive ones would be ok but I wouldn't count on that for the cheaper ones. I'd sooner put them in a safe deposit box at a bank where the vaults are much safer in most scenarios.

One thing good about paper & film is they withstand decades of storage vs. years of normal magnetic storage. Photos and films from the late 1800's/early 1900's are still around whereas you're really gambling with current storage media.

Re: Backups (2, Interesting)

KiwiRed (598427) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911915)

I'm amazed that someone has yet to come up with a combination of archival-grade photographic film or paper for storage and an optical 'reader' for truly long-term archiving...

Wouldn't it be ironic if paper backups were to become the way of the future.

Re: Backups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911949)

Actually, most businesses use paper backups. In fact all the businesses I've worked for use more paper now then when they use to have no computers. Paper is much harder to change then a bit is. So paper is already the backup method, at least for critical business purposes.

Re: Backups (1)

markwalling (863035) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911897)

i believe what the author is refering to is the fact that the layer of the disk where the data is stored deteriates over time

raid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911787)

a poor mans .5TB raid?

Re:raid (1)

confusion here (827020) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911802)

RAID is not a backup solution

Re:raid (4, Funny)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911832)

Tell that to my bosses.
Except for one server which we don't even own, all of our servers (about 10) are RAID "backed up".
One of these days is gonna be really fun.

Re:raid (1)

neonenergy (888041) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911858)

Of course not, its a bug poison. oh wait Nevertheless, Raid is an extremely flexible and reliable solution for backing things up. You can undergo multiple drive failures while your data is uncorrupted.

Re:raid (1)

huber (723453) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911896)

Ok then What happens when someone deletes all your files. RAID isnt gonna help you out there. A Back Will. RAID is for data availability. IT can be used as a mediuem for rotated backsups but by itself. it is not a backup.

Re:raid is not a backup methodology (2, Insightful)

aauu (46157) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911900)

Raid is a hardware methodology to increase reliability of disk based storage systems. Backup is an archival strategy to recover data lost for many reasons including inadvertant deletion or modification. rm * or del *.* or delete from table or a fire at the site all will mean your raid system now has faithfully lost all your "backed up" data. Make copies to external media stored off-site and locally so that any catastrophe that occurs will not destroy all copies. Tape is still cheapest for archival.

"Methodology"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911932)

RAID hardware is a method. Tape archive is a method. "Methodology" is the analysis of these methods to determine which better suits the needs.

Next, we'll learn about "functionality".

Re:raid (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911929)

RAID alone is not a backup solution. But a RAID array at a remote site (buried in the garden is fine, it'll be safe from thieves and fire) is pretty good.

Stick a Linux box with a RAID 5 array (less disk wastage than RAID 1) under the lawn or in a neighbour's house and use permissions to guard against accidental deletion. Your really important stuff goes onto DVD, GMail and the 10GB of space your friend gives you on his FTP server.

Proper backup may be a $3000 tape drive, a whole bunch of tapes and a whole bunch of locations, but that's impractical for home users. Hard drives are the only practical backup solution for large volumes of media that doesn't cost the earth.

On-line backup also lets you regularly check your backups for integrity and take action before it's too late.

Th old fasion way (3, Funny)

MSDos-486 (779223) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911789)

File -> Print

Re:Th old fasion way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911921)

how the hell do you print a video? frame by frame? christ that would take about 3000 trees.

Re:Th old fasion way (1)

quarkscat (697644) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911942)

Longevity measured in millenium:
Number one choice: vellum
Number two choice: papyrus

Longevity measured in decades:
Number one choice: DVD
Number two choice: EIT-3 (tape)
Number three choice: RAID-5 (hard disk)
Number four choice: RAID-5 NAS (disk)
Number five choice: RAIT-5 (EIT-3 tape)

Since you indicated a need for a long term solution, but didn't mention price range, why not consider redundent RAID-5 NAS, which could be platform agnostic?

what the article is pointing to -- (4, Informative)

Oceanplexian (807998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911790)

i think you might want to take a look at tape drives

Re:what the article is pointing to -- (3, Insightful)

nametaken (610866) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911924)

Agreed. I realise tapes aren't the new hotness, but they're the most reliable, and they have good storage capacity. In addition, I'd consider a larger capacity storage server. Together this stuff may not be as cheap as tossing everything on DVDs, but apparently this is for people who work in digital media for a living. From that perspective, its worth investing in your profession.

Perhaps better than slashdot, they're bound to have a huge network of friends in the profession who have already crossed this bridge. It couldn't hurt to ask how people specificaly in these professions manage their media storage.

To a second hard drive? (1, Flamebait)

Talez (468021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911791)

Seriously. Where have you been for the past 5 years? We've all fucked off optical media for its unreliability. Hard drives have a decent cost per gigabyte storage and onboard RAID makes it easy to just RAID 1 your drives or backup to a RAID array. Don't have drivespace? BUY ONE OF THE THOUSANDS OF FIREWIRE HARD DRIVES OUT THERE.

Sheesh. Talk about your "fucking duh" questions.

Re:To a second hard drive? (0)

MSDos-486 (779223) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911803)

Hard drive maybe cheap. But there is no garuntee that that data will be there 50 years from now

Re:To a second hard drive? (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911855)

In fifty years, he'll have put that data on a really small, really reliable, really cheap, storage crystal, and have multiple copies of it in different locations (including one in his flying car).

Really, in even ten years, the big harddisks of now will be considered to be small.

"duh" indeed (4, Insightful)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911818)

Not from TFA, from TF synopsis:

"Several people have suggested backing up vital unchanging files to DVD (video, images,) and continue backing up frequently accessed files to harddrive"

They've already considered hard drives. Since he's dismissed hard drives and seemingly all forms of optical media, the only thing that I can think of for this article getting posted is that the submitter *really* wants Slashdot to tell him that "Yes, it's ok to mortgage the house to buy that new Network Appliance SAN you've been drooling over."

Re:"duh" indeed (2, Insightful)

hacker (14635) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911954)

"They've already considered hard drives. Since he's dismissed hard drives and seemingly all forms of optical media, the only thing that I can think of for this article getting posted is that the submitter *really* wants Slashdot to tell him that "Yes, it's ok to mortgage the house to buy that new Network Appliance SAN you've been drooling over."

The question he really needs to answer is... what is worth more? Losing your data? Or spending $5,000 on a NAS server or a RAID machine?

Second drives plus tape (1)

GedLandsEnd (537573) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911955)

Hey, you could always build yourself [] a .5 TB RAID array for $250 bucks.

Seriously though, I prefer to use tape for backups in the long run up to about a year, for my own usage anyway.

A non-tape setup is great until you delete or corrupt a file, and your automated nightly mirror to the RAID set hoses your backup as well. You'll suddenly wish you could go back to last week's tapes.

Tape Backup? (2, Informative)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911792)

Would tape backup work for you? It's archival quality, but you get what you pay for...

And supplement that with LaCie external firewire drives.

Re:Tape Backup? (5, Informative)

Kevinv (21462) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911856)

since when is tape archival quality? It's barely backup quality. I've had way more properly stored tapes fail than I have properly stored optical media.

Treat optical media like magnetic media (store in cool dry place) and use high-quality media and you'll get far better results than tape.

Add in the speed at which tape drives become obsolete and tapes hard to obtain, while CD's are still readable. And I've found optical to be a superior archive medium.

If you examine the study cited you'll notice that the study is for optical media in harsh conditions. Additionally they specifically state "It is demonstrated here that CD-R and DVD-R media
can be very stable (sample S4 for CD-R and sample D2 for DVD-R). Results suggest that these media types will ensure data is available for several tens of years and therefore may be suitable for archival uses."

Re:Tape Backup? (2, Informative)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911923)

Tape is reliable, if you spend enough money on the hardware. You just have to decide, do you want a reliable tape drive or a shiny new car?

Tape... (4, Informative)

StillAnonymous (595680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911793)

Well, it's expensive, but maybe you can find a deal on an LTO2 or SAIT tape drive on Ebay. These babies boast 200GB and 500GB of native storage respectively . The transfer rates are nothing to sneeze at either.

And as long as you store the tape properly, it should last a long time.

Compression (2, Insightful)

Osmosis_Garett (712648) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911795)

Have you considered compressing your video using one of the many codecs available? DivX is quite popular, and RMVB offers some of the best quality:size ratio I've seen. I understand how nice it is to be able to store raw mpeg for later use but is it really necessary for your purposes?

Re:Compression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911860)

A professional video maker using DivX. ROFL!@!!

Re:Compression (2, Informative)

PsiPsiStar (95676) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911910)

But what if he wants to reuse the clips. I think he needs a lossless format like HUFFYUV, and that's not going to compress much.

Re:Compression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911926)


Paper tape... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911796)

... is where it's at. Keep it dry and cool and it will last for a very long time.

hmm ... (1)

rd4tech (711615) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911797)

I keep my originals (video, images) somewhere on DVD and use a smaller, screen optimized version to show to family and friends.

Tape Drive (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911798)

With that kind of Data load, I'd say good old tape drive is your best best. hard drive for frequently accessed stuff, Tape drive for long term storage. BTW, Seagate has a nice 400 GB HD storage solution for about 300 bucks which should solve your storage needs temporarily until you can get the money together for a tape drive setup.

for video back-ups... (4, Informative)

BobWeiner (83404) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911800)

I typically take the edited footage and back it up to another miniDV tape from the computer (using my miniDV camcorder). I then lock the tape to prevent accidental erasure and store the tapes offsite. For photos, I'm taking my chances and burning them off to DVD. I also periodically make digital prints and send them to my parents and sister, who live in two separate locations. Worst comes to worst, at least they have a hard copy available should I lose the original digital version that I have on my computer.

Backup your data to a RAID if you can afford it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911801)

Backup your data to a RAID if you can afford it. preferably either a RAID 1 or RAID 5 (mirrored or checksummed respectively)

Raid Array (1)

RoofusPennymore (151772) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911804)

I have a similar issue with photos. I have 2x 160GB drives set up in a mirrored raid array on a external FireWire HD. I use MacOS X's software raid. Not the best but cheap and effective. I'm planning on upgrading to 2x 400GB drives in the next year. I also use Flickr to "backup" my best photos.

Of course off-site backups would be best but that's a lot of data to send via wire.

Cost? (1)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911805)

You don't really say just how much those irreplaceable files are worth to you. A lot of people have things are irreplaceable until they find out how much it will actually cost them to back it up properly. Then suddenly little Timmy's first steps don't look so hot.

Go pick yourself up a xRAID or the like and back all of your files up to a nice RAID 5 system. Once a year or so do a dump to optical media but just add additional space as necessary.

Re:Cost? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911833)

RAID is not backup, it's just a more reliable way to store it.

Backup makes another copy that you can take to another location, and is protected against your own "rm" command.

Re:Cost? (1)

InfinityBuffer (750053) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911948)

He didnt say use the RAID as your primary storage. He said use it to back it up. RAID can be used as a backup.

Don't know if this will help but... (3, Insightful)

PrivateDonut (802017) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911806)

(i have no experience in the matter) you should place all the un-changing files on a hard-drive which will then sit in a draw and is only plugged in when required. I have been lead to believe that this will reduce the likelyhood of harddrive failure to close to 0. Then you can setup a RAID type setup for you changing files.

My methods. (4, Interesting)

sglider (648795) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911807)

Let's face it, one method won't fit all, so I hope your search proves fruitful. That said, here's what I do.

I have a 'cheap' system (sub 500) that acts as my data server. It houses 3 DVDrom drives, and a DVDRW drive, as well 1 200 GB drive. (the processor speed and ram really aren't too important, but for curiousity, it's an athlon 2000+ with 512 meg of ram). It runs gentoo, and I essentially pull the files to burn to DVD over the network weekly, and I keep the stuff I don't access alot on DVD, and the stuff I do access alot on HD -- but I primarily use the HD for holding images waiting to be burned.

Re:My methods. (1)

markdesign (630416) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911911)

This is my method..

For my DV video.. it stays archived on the orignal DV tape. I buy a bunch from Costco

I also burn a edited copy on to a DVD viewing.

As for pictures, when i collected near 700 mb, it gets burned on to a CD, then I throw the images into another folder and when that folder reaches 4 gb, I burn that copy to a DVD.

Hence having two copies of everything.


Optical Media Doesn't Last Long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911808)

I don't care what they say, get a blu-ray disc drive!

USB HD (4, Interesting)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911811)

To a hard disk in a USB enclosure. Better yet, but more expensive, to a NAS box.

RAID 5 (1, Informative)

mstrjon32 (542309) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911819)

Seriously, you can put together a nice RAID 5 setup; if a drive fails, replace it and rebuild the array. You're stuff is automatically "backed up" from device failure--maybe not from other issues, but device failure seems to be you're main concern. On top of that, you get the side bonus of fast disk access for your DV work; and you can expand the array pretty much whenever you want for more space.

Re:RAID 5 (1)

stienman (51024) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911851)

RAID 5 is a compromise due to expensive storage devices. There are more appropiate (not to mention less complex and easier to deal with) RAID arrays that are more suitable to the cheap availability of storage these days.


Re:RAID 5 (1)

mstrjon32 (542309) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911885)

The Tekram ARC-1110 PCI-X SATA II RAID controller does RAID 5, supports 4 drives, and does it to the tune of about $400. A fair price to pay, for that kind of reliability, I would say. Another hundred and fifty or so and you can step up to a controller that supports 8 drives.

Re:RAID 5 (1)

Strolls (641018) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911947)

RAID 5 is a compromise... there are more appropriate... less complex and easier to deal with RAID arrays that are more suitable to the cheap availability of storage these days.
Could you elaborate, please? I'm in the process of setting up a RAID server, and studied the definitions at [] before choosing RAID 5 - it honestly seemed to be the simplest to me.

I don't know if configuration of software RAID might make level 5 more complicated, as my system is a secondhand Proliant with hardware RAID, and setup was 2 minutes in a GUI. RAID 1.5 or 15 looks promising, but I don't remember being aware of that previously - the definition says it's a "nested level", so I'm guessing it's not one of the simple options my SCSI controller does automagically??

Re:RAID 5 (1)

DanteLysin (829006) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911866)

If the data is *really* irreplacable, I suggest both RAID-5 and tape backup. Using both technologies together gives you added benefits.

1. The RAID-5 gives you an "online" storage.
2. The tape provides backup in the event 2 drives fail simultaneously - less likely, but it has been known to happen.

To reduce the risk of 2 drives failing at once, make sure the drives are from different lot numbers.

hard drives are cheap and reliable (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911820)

I have old full height 5.25 hard drives from the IBM XT days that STILL BOOT and still have viable data on them over 20 years later..

200gb drives can be had for under $100 on ebay.
Load them up, remove them and store them in a fire proof safe..

Problem solved..

Re:hard drives are cheap and reliable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911901)

Notice that you're surprised by the fact that the data is retrievable 20 years later -- for a real backup, we need a solution where it's NOT a surprise that the data is still available next century.

Re:hard drives are cheap and reliable (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911933)

Load them up, remove them and store them in a fire proof safe.

Most "fire proof" safes have walls filled with a moist material. While this provides some fire resistance, the high humidity also tends to promote corrosion of metal in objects like hard drives. It's probably not the best place to archive sensitive electronics.

Media backup (0)

timecop (16217) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911822)

Well, why exactly are you "backing up" DV video? My idea of DV is that you capture it once before production, then edit/etc it, and turn it into something more manageable such as MPEG2 on DVD, etc. DV is 11Gb/hour is because its hardly compressed (it uses some kind of lossy compression that I dont remember), but once you have teh video and are done editing it etc, there is no point in keeping it as DV - just encode to MPEG2/AVI/your choice of format here. And if stuff is that important to you, well, find a place that will press your DVD-Rs into silver disks, and there you have it, more or less permanent storage of your favorite data.

Lord knows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911825)

This irks me to no end. I think back and cringe at all the data I've lost over the years. I'd kill for a look at the source of some programming projects I did in high school. In retrospect, I should have gotten a cheap black and white laser printer and printed it all out. This won't help archive pictures or DV though.

I think that we're in a strange place right now. We're able to produce digital content that has a real value to us, but we're not able (yet) to back it up on an archival medium.

Your best bet, as it stands right now, might be to use DVD's. Don't expect them to last forever, though. Buy the best (most expensive?) media you can, and store them away from light. Maybe where you keep your family photos, somewhere cool, dry, and dark. Then every couple of years, take them out and inspect them. Recopy if you feel it's necessary.

Sooner than later, someone will develop an archival method that really works. Until then, we have to use what we've got.

Memory (5, Funny)

vjmurphy (190266) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911826)

"How do other Slashdotters back up their important data?"

I memorize it.

Lots of gmail accounts (1)

shobirama (895105) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911828)

Lots of gmail accounts

Long-Term and Short-Term needs (2, Informative)

Shag (3737) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911830)

There are a couple different factors in play here.

First, there's the need to keep things around long-term. Second, there's the need to have things protected from disaster in the short term.

I once used an external firewire HD for backup, and was reminded of the importance of burning things as well when that HD went tango-uniform on me, destroying months of work.

I'd suggest looking into some sort of RAID - even just a simple mirror - for the short-term protection. That way you don't have quite as much a single point of failure that can wipe out your data, so you can do backups more because you need the space than because you need to sleep well at night.

As for the backups, optical discs are very convenient, but magnetic tape might have a longer lifetime depending on environmental conditions, and although I've seen CD-R comparisons [] , I've yet to see something similar for DVDs.

There are times where a high-capacity removable hard disk looks very attractive. Shades of the old Bernoulli's or whatever.

(This may not be first post, though there were none when I started. Maybe I'll have to settle for first useful post.)

RAID 5 (0, Redundant)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911835)

Use a RAID 5 array, keep a replacement drive handy, and watch the drive temperature.

firewire drives and faubackup (1)

backtic (24190) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911837)

My solution (linux-based) has been to buy external firewire drive enclosures, put IDE drives into them, and use the faubackup [] utility to mirror my files. faubackup uses an extensive system of hard links to perform backups at whatever time interval you desire without demanding huge amounts of space - old files that have not changed from the previous backups are stored as hard links and take up no further space (lots of inodes are required, however). In combination with 1 firewire drive (or set of drives) on-site, 1 off-site, rotated, seems sufficient for my purposes.
-Nathan Siemers

use bacula ( (1)

JohnDonagher (86927) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911840)

it's not the easiest thing to set up, but it's basically maintenance-free once you've got it working.

for backend storage your best bet would probably be a RAID5 array of SATA drives. Do it right and you could make it growable, so as you need more capacity, you just add more drives. Is this going to be a cheap solution? Probably not, but it's probably the best delta of cost/reliability/usability you'll find.

Supermicro makes 3U boxes that can hold 15 SATA drives. Pair that with an Adaptec 16 channel SATA RAID controller, Linux, and Bacula, and you've got at least 3 Terabytes of storage at your disposal.

For a small fee, of course

DVD R/W don't fade... (0)

Achra (846023) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911843)

It's worth mentioning that Rewritable media doesn't have the shelf-life problem that write-once media has, due to their using metallic material instead of dye.

Streamload (1)

JoshuaDFranklin (147726) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911844)

I was just looking into this, and I decided that the best idea was probably Streamload [] .

They offer unlimited storage but you pay to download more than a certain amount a month--but if you have hardware failure that leads you to really need it, you probably won't mind paying, or spacing out your downloads.

Tape drives (1)

nsasch (827844) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911846)

As probably half the responses will say, use tape drives. They are affordable and store very large amounts of data.(500GB) Also, LaCie drives can come be about 2TB(or 1TB after formatting ;-) 2TB drive: 8 [] Last time I checked, it was about $5,000 for 1TB, so get 2 1TB drives and never have to worry about space again.

Alternatives (1)

MythicalPuma (881502) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911854)

You might try to rent a server somewhere with tons of storage space and then back up all your new files every other day and all your files monthly. But you would be putting them on the internet and you would need a huge upriver bandwidth. Lots of problems with this idea but it could be good for a quick fix and it would allow accesibility because you could download or upload files from anywhere.

Bitter old fart says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911857)

If your still images were on Kodachrome they'd be good for over a hundred years.

As an old timer watching a superior media being driven to extinction by a still shitty media that's "convenient" I can't seem to engender any sympathy for your perdicament.

"Sorry", is perhaps the thing to say. Sorry.

Here's an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911859)

If you haven't seen it, used it, or thought about it > 6 months... CHUCK IT.

somewhat obvious solutions (1)

slashjames (789070) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911863)

Why not get a multi-terrabyte raid array? Pricey to get started, but it'll keep your data reasonably safe.

You also could use a tape backup. Any of the results from here [] could do the trick. At work, we use one of the 200/400GB tape drives for backup and are only using about 10-15% of the space (and that's for a dozen servers). We haven't had to test the lifespan of one of these, but tapes typically have an excellent lifespan compared to hard drives or optical media.

RAID (1)

kf6auf (719514) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911864)

My recommendation is to put a nice RAID array in a different computer. I suggest RAID 5 because it is more efficient ("wastes" less space on redundancy and still gets the job done) than RAID 1 but they have roughly equal reliability. The advantage is that it's an entirely separate computer and you even have redundant backups. Hell, you could even put it off-site, but then the connection speeds drop a bit. If you use a RAID array on your local machine you may be tempted to treat the RAID like it is itself a backup (it isn't!) and while I've never had an issue with a motherboard frying all the hard drives in a system, maybe it could happen, and double failures aren't unheard of, but if you have your originals and redundant backups I think you'll be ok (since that's effectively 3 copies). It also wouldn't hurt to have a firewire drive for backing up pictures and video while you're on the road or something (I don't know if you have a laptop) or are really paranoid about certain irreplacable things. Just my 2 cents.

Re:RAID - One more thing.... (1)

kf6auf (719514) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911895)

It only costs $250 for 500 GB [] too!

tape and hard drives (1)

k2enemy (555744) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911867)

a lot of people have been recommending hard drives, which i think are great for frequently used files and frequent backups. the problem is that they fail to get your data off site.

you probably want to occasionally back up to something that you can store in a lock box away from your house. i guess you could do this with disk drives, but i'd rather use tape. more reliable than optical media and plenty of capacity.

Backing lots of data on the cheap (1)

SocialEngineer (673690) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911874)

I'm a solo recording artist, and after losing an entire album in a hard disk crash a few years ago, I decided to do something about it. As hard drive prices started going down, I decided to start buying 200GB plus drives to expand my storage capabilities.

Right now I have a 200gb HDD and a 250gb HDD for backup purposes - both are in USB external enclosures, and are IDE drives.

I wait until prices hit around 35 cents or less per gig, and buy then. Keep an eye out on sites such as Fatwallet [] and Deal News [] for deals. My favorite time to pick up a new HDD is black friday - day after thanksgiving. Most stores have really great deals on IDE hard disks. I pick up my external enclosures @ Newegg [] .

What I did... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911880)

I had a similar problem a few years ago. At the time, I had a PowerMac G4 so I was limited in my connectors to Firewire (nobody's going to back up 200 GB with USB 1.1). I looked into RAID arrays and tape drives and found they were far too expensive. At the time, I didn't trust software RAID (if it was even available on MacOS X then). Since the majority of my data was video, I thought about getting a DVD-R drive to simply make movies out of everything, but I wanted to be able to edit things together first... and who has time for that?

So my eventual solution was to purchase hard drives of (generally) equal or bigger size. It cost much less per GB (even after the external enclosure was taken into account) than anything else I was able to find. Every few weeks (okay, months) I would make a mirror copy with the backup software I bought at the time. I ended up with about 0.75 TB of spinning storage, split between 3 computers and their external backup drives.

Today I have a new G5 with a 200GB main drive... both it and the older G4 have software RAID set up for automatic mirroring. I'm looking for dual drive enclosures so I can do the same with my external drives. I'm pretty sure this is the best, and maybe the only, way to go, and these days even 200GB drives are pretty cheap. I wouldn't go for tape at this point... though I would consider a Firewire 800 RAID, or Gigibit Ethernet Network Attached Storage device (if it were RAIDed too)... well, I'd consider them if I could afford them.

One thing I've never understood... (4, Interesting)

tenzig_112 (213387) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911883)

(other than the continual confusion of "backup" and "archive") is that the same people who talk about how unreliable CDR/DVDR discs are for longterm archival purposes seem to be the same ones who advocate buying a portable firewire drive for every project and putting it on a shelf until the client calls with changes.

Something about that seems horribly backward.

That said, Exabyte still rocks my socks

Use Kanguru Drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911884)

There's a company called Kanguru [] that makes a USB-pluggable device holding up to eight 400GB removable drives. That's 3.2 terabytes without changing media.

(Geez, my porn collection is nowhere near that size)

Wasn't this already covered today? (1)

btgreat (895041) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911886)

I believe this [] is what you are looking for.

If I were you I would buy a few large (2-400gb) hard drives and, once filled, put them in a safe location. A USB storage center may also be necessary for easy access. For backup of these proportions, I simply don't think that any other method can be as cost effective as what has proven again and again, a standard hard drive.

Archive solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911890)

Back up to tape.

Back up to optical. Do not leave backup archival disks in sunlight or under flourescent light as this deteriorates them more quickly. Store them in a dark place.

You've already got tape backups (1)

tji (74570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911893)

For the MiniDV video, just save the MiniDV tapes.. don't re-use them. What you don't need online access to, you've got on tape.

The digital images should be more manageable on their own. Buy a couple redundant backup hard drives. or, save them to DVDs, etc.

8.4 TB Tape Backup (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911903)

I can recommend an Exabyte 270020-1438 tape Library system. This unit can hold 21 Slots and can backup 4.2TB native and 8.4TB Compressed.

If you want to save some money, an AIT 4 tape drive system works quite well. AIT 4 tapes can hold up to 520GB. A used AIT drive can be had for less than $200 on ebay and can eaily backup 260GB

Solid state? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911905)


more questions (1)

eriktempleton (895106) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911912)

You need to ask yourself a few more questions. How much are your files actually worth? How much is your time worth? What kinds of failures are you trying to prevent?

If your time and your files are both worth a lot, and you are worried about your hard drives failing, then put up the money to get a good RAID setup. If you are worried about accidently deleting something, then you'll need to have actual backups going to something else (maybe another RAID setup in the closet down the hall). If you are worried about a failure that will wipe out everything in your house (fire, flood, tornado), then you need to look into some large tapes and a secure place to put them.

But first, decide how much everything is worth. If it is not worth much, just forget about it. If it is worth a lot, then you'll feel better about putting up the money to protect it.

The cheapest way... (5, Funny)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911913)

Rename all of the files so they have filenames like "Teen_Lesbian_fff_Hot!Hot!Hot!.avi". Now make them available through your favorite p2p service. Even better, prepend these files with short snippets of pr0n. You'll find that years later you can kick up just about any p2p client and you'll find your files are still available.

permastor (3, Interesting)

joequser (215949) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911918)

A friend of mine recently started a small business to address exactly this need. His product is a Linux based RAID box that plugs in to a home network, and supplies reliable storage via samba. []

The Obvious Alternative. (1)

Mulletproof (513805) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911919)

I suggest cardboard punchcards. With the right care, those will be in your archive for years to come and have virtual no chance of failure.

RAID+LVM snapshots (2, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911922)

I use RAID to defend against hardware failures trashing my data, and I use logical volume management snapshots to protect against most user errors.

Neither is perfect. Some hardware failure modes could theoretically kill two or more of my four hard drives at once, which would destroy my data. Large power surges are the most likely danger, so I use a high-quality surge protector. I consider the remaining dangers unlikely enough to accept the risk.

Snapshots are also imperfect. When you create a Linux LVM snapshot volume, you have to specify how much storage is allocated to it. If changes on the source volume exceed that snapshot capacity, the snapshot stops storing the deltas and the snapshot becomes effectively useless. However, the most likely way that I might screw up and trash my data is by deleting large numbers of files. Since deleting files only updates the blocks that store the directory and inode data, not the contents of the files, a relatively small snapshot partition would hold the changes from deletion of all the files on the source. Now, if I were to accidentally run "shred" on bunches of files... I'd be screwed. I choose to accept that risk, too.

Although the RAID+LVM combo doesn't do quite as good a job as "real" backups, its failings are pretty minor, and unlikely, and it's advantage is huge: I don't have to think about it. I don't have to mess with lots of removable media and I don't have to remember to do backups.

The one thing I still worry about is some sort of catastrophe that destroys my whole system. Suppose my house burns down, for example. I'd lose it all. So I still need to find some way to get offsite copies of the most important stuff.

Even companies have this problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12911935)

Especially smaller businesses which largely ignore the problem until it becomes serious.

My friend's previous company had to learn the hardway when an unsatisfied employee who left the company also set the office on fire. Talk about burning bridges. Almost all their customer's information and designs were lost and luckily a few harddrives were recoverable. The majority of the stuff that was recovered actually came from employees who brought their work home with them.

Seriously think about hiring a company because once it's gone, that's your livelihood gone.

all digital media is flawed (1)

scan300 (895107) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911937)

I run a design studio with similar problems to yourself. I back-up current work to tape and archive completed work to optical media. 2 copies: one for internal use and the other for offsite storage. To help ease your storage burden I suggest lossless compression where possible, eg PSD for your image files and something like Pixlet for your video. As a rule of thumb I buy only 'name brand' optical media with some archival reputation, either stated on the pack or reviewed in the media. I have archive CDs going back to 1995 which still read fine. Tape can shed it's magenetic layer over time, hard drives can fail and need expensive recovery. There are no guarantees, but there will be other solutions in the future, so put together a system you can afford to run at the data rate you need, with a view to it lasting 8-10 years and that you'll rearchive to a better solution then, or at least a fresh set of media.

Be careful with external drives for backup (1)

ScooterBill (599835) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911944)

We were using 200gig external USB drives for backup and were wondering why they would all eventually start failing. It turns out the manufacturer (Maxtor) recommended against using these drive for backup??? Sounds like they're saying that the drives aren't reliable so what good are they? We switched to drives that were "certified" for backup/archival purposes.

I use a mac mini with firewire drives (1)

e**(i pi)-1 (462311) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911945)

I have a mac mini which also deals with backup. Even when hooking up
a few fire wire drives, the thing is still small and quiet. Then rsync
the data over regularly with a script like

rsync -avzuP -e ssh --delete /home/user/dvds macmini:/Volumes/external/video

and call this by cron. This works reliably also with large files like
vmware workstations or dvd backups with several gig file size. Having the backup
over the network allows having the backup machine in a separate place
which limits the risk (for example of theft). I personally also do not rely on
a single backup and mirror also the backup (again with rsync). Since you are
dealing with video and photos which do not compress well, it would make sense
to leave the "z" flag in rsync away.

A direct network attached storage system would be cheaper. But the mac mini
can double also for many other things like a music box or dvd player in an
other room. With some cheap firewire enclosures and harddrives, the prize is
comparable with network attached storage systems from the shelf and the storage
can grow arbitrarily by adding new firewire drives.

How to archive DV footage? (1)

edwinolson (116413) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911946)

Um, how about on mini-dv tape?

You probably recorded it onto mini-dv tape in the first place, so it's easy. After I do my edits and produce a final output, I lock up my tapes as my backup of last resort. (I could always reconstruct the final output using the tapes.)

I only keep final output on my primary storage (hard disk), but it's generally much smaller anyway.

Our solution (1)

jgold03 (811521) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911951)

We have a server with RAID 5+0 and 8 250 GB hard drives. Other than having a backup at a different storage point, that's pretty fail-safe for our budget.

Obligatory Linus quote (4, Funny)

Rocky Mudbutt (22622) | more than 9 years ago | (#12911952)

"Real men don't use backups, they post their stuff on a public ftp server and let the rest of the world make copies." - Linus Torvalds
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