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06-07-2012, 02:04 AM
Sossity Sossity is offline
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Backup solutions?

I have been reading about hard drives , & wanted to know if it is ok to use one for offsite backup of data, have it unplugged or a bare hard drive stored in a case offsite away from my home.

I have read that there does not seem to be any real reliable offsite storage methods for longterm archives of data.

I have used discs, but it is very tedious to go through all the content of my hard drives, & burn to discs, it would take me awhile, & take time away from my art & other endeavors. I am spending alot of my time with digital content, but it is important to me, as I am trying to adapt to a very small space in my home, & cutting back on paper documents is helping me in that regard, but I am accumulating digital data; ie photos, word documents, scans, videos & other content. I am an artist, with the problem of lack of space, so i thought going all digital or at least partially digital will help me.

I am finding keeping my digital content safe & backed up a bit time consuming & difficult, as I do not have an office or any place outside of my home of my own to store copies offsite, I have to do it through my mother who works outside our home in an office.

i just bought another 2tb wetern digital WD20EADS green hard drive for backup. I read that using hard drives unplugged for longterm backup does not work. I read that discs do not last long, & online storage is not reliable either. the article stated that magnetic tapes were superior to hard drives, & were the best longterm offsite storage method.

so I am not sure what to do, being able to just offload all my digital content to online storage does sound appealing in that, I do not have to be concerned with all these physical mediums.


I do not know if anybody here has heard of DAM, or digital asset management, I have been using the principles of this by the author Peter Krogh; http://thedambook.com/

basically, in the book, it tells photographers, to have hard drives for types of digital media; an originals hard drive for original photos right from the camera unaltered, & a derivatives drive for edited & other versions of those photographs. this is meant to keep a photographer from accidentally losing or deleting an original photo. These photos on both the originals & derivatives hard drives are then arranged in folders that have about the same amount of data as a blank disc, so the photographer can go through & incrementally burn these folders to archival blank discs. i have done this, but I am finding it a bit tedious to do this & am not sure how all my other digital non photo content fits in with this system.

this has worked well for my original photographs from my cameras, but it does seem that the DAM system as constructed by the author I linked is more aimed at just photographs only.

I have posted in their forum on what & where to arrange all my other types of digital content, with some help but not much as the focus is on photography.

To add to this, all my digital content for my art, I take photos of my paintings, & have text documents & scanned references for my art as well, & recently have begun to produce digital art with my wacom tablet & in Photoshop.

I have also made a separate hard drive for all my music, flac & mp3 rips along with scans of album art, & my itunes library.

I still am having a little trouble figuring out how I should store & backup my art data. Would I keep all this art stuff alongside all my original unaltered photos? or would it go into a derivatives hard drive?


I hope someone here can wade through my rambling post & help, otherwise I guess I am on my own to figure this out.

Last edited by Sossity; 06-07-2012 at 02:39 AM.
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06-09-2012, 08:33 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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I broke up your post a bit, to make it less rambling.

I'm quite familiar with DAM. ... but it really has nothing to do with backup. So let me address only the backup:

People who believe that there are no reliable methods of off-site storage are silly. They're trying to create an unrealistic utopian idea of "reliable backup" instead of making use of what is available. The truth is that there are several excellent methods, and all it really requires is redundancy across unique formats.

For example, this is a reliable method for backup:
  • Extra hard drive, stored at home.
  • Extra discs of most important content, stored at home.
  • Temporary discs of the most recent content, stored at home.
  • Extra hard drive, stored at office or other second site.
  • Extra discs of most important content, stored at second site.
  • Temporary discs of the most recent content, stored at second site.
So that makes 2-3 copies, including the original.
Or maybe 4 copies for the most important long-term content (portfolios, resumes, financial documents, etc).

Do the hard drive copies once every 6 months, and burn DVDs in the interim for new projects. At the next backup, trash the temporary discs. Make new long-term important discs as needed, and replace when needed.

I would avoid online storage.

To say that no good solution exists is really silly. So don't pay any attention to those people.

DAM is unrelated. DAM is organization, not backup. Some people try to cram backup into DAM, but that's just overcomplicating what DAM is supposed to be, and there's no sense in that.

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06-09-2012, 10:56 AM
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kpmedia kpmedia is offline
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Q: Do hard drives deteriorate, if left in storage for data backup?
A: No.

I'm assuming your time frame is the same as the typical lifetime of an in-use drive, or about 5 years. Longer storage requires you to consider aging problems, such as capacitors and lubricants drying up. But that happens to a drive whether it's active or not. More important are the storage conditions, not length of time. Basements, attics and garages would be bad. They're also best stored in anti-static bags, followed by something to protect it from physical damage (wood, plastic, aluminum, etc). And then the drive has to be handled gently. Do not put it somewhere where there is vibration, like in/on a computer desk. Nor be banged around regularly, such as a desk drawer or file cabinet. I'm also leery of metal file cabinets on carpeted floors in offices, as there's a lot of static. Keep it away from vacuum cleaners.

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06-10-2012, 04:58 PM
Sossity Sossity is offline
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I would probably be storing them offsite in an office under a desk, it would be at my mother's office, & her office is fairly small, & there is only so much room, & so many places she can keep them. She would carry it in her work bag, into the car & then take it out of her bag & place it under the desk.

Also, can I get just plain anti static bags? & is it safe to store the hard drives in something like this?http://www.amazon.com/Silicon-Forens.../dp/B002IY6B9U

& how do I handle a bare hard drive when I have them at home, & am switching them out of my enclosures?

right now, I just bought another one, & I have it in my room, in some bubble wrap that it came in.

And for those who know about DAM, would it be best to divide up my digital content into; a hard drive for just plain originals straight unedited out of my camera, & then all edited versions of photos, & other content such as text documents, ripped movie DVD's & documentation of my art on a separate hard drive designated as derivatives?

In the system of DAM where one has originals & derivatives, where would digitally generated art go? art or sketches that I make in Photoshop or such with my wacom tablet? would these be considered in the same class as camera originals/photos straight out from a camera? or derivatives?

I tried asking this in the DAM forum section in the DAM link I provided in my 1st post, but had no replies.
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06-18-2012, 07:39 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Anti-static bags are fine, and then put the bagged drive in something hard (the silicon box is fine).
Don't use bubble wrap, as it has static.

DAM is really separate from the hardware. One of the rules of photography is to not molest your sources. Don't destroy negatives -- or in this case, the original files. Save those wherever you want on the drive (or drive array), separate however you've decided is best, and then save process copies how/where you want. Then backup all of those drives as needed, on scheduled intervals. Create in-between backups after major projects, portfolios, etc.

The biggest issue of DAM is to use metadata to keyword files, using a DAM tool like ACDSee, Bridge, Lightroom, etc.

I separate everything by master folders (DVD artwork, photography, video samples, etc), a number of subfolders, and then use metadata to further sort. My method should be different than yours, as mine is custom to me. This is one of those areas where you'll need to make decisions on your own, unfortunately. Sit down with a piece of paper, and start trying to organize by date, topic, medium, or whatnot. Then do it. The DAM tool will create a metadata database, so you can sort for items by keywords.

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