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11-22-2017, 01:07 AM   #1
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Looking for suggestions for photo and video storage and sharing.

Hello all!

I am attempting to tackle the daunting task of organizing our photos and videos. We have lived overseas for 5 years and between all the moving and traveling and different devices, our pictures are a hot mess. I'm looking for a solution and have no idea where to began. I do have an external hard drive that I plan to keep all of our photos, videos, music and important documents on, but I also want an online cloud type storage that will give me access to all of our photos and videos across both apple and non apple devices, won't change the quality or size of the files, will host photo and video, is secure and won't cost me an arm and a leg. Any suggestions?

11-22-2017, 03:39 AM   #2
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You could host them yourself on a Network Attached Storage device in your home.
11-22-2017, 04:16 AM   #3
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Don't trust cloud services. At least keep duplicates on your own system, which rather defeats the object. Get an desktop type old system unit (very cheap on ebay if you never kept your own old one), put a big hard drive in it, put it in the cellar or attic, and network it, headless. Back up you files to that. Even if you are burgled, it would look unattractive as loot.

"The Cloud is only someone else's computer". My son works for a cloud provider (one of the safer ones) and he and some of his co-workers actually wear T shirts that say that, being their sense of humour.
11-22-2017, 04:31 AM - 1 Like   #4
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+1 for a NAS, but you'll need to think the storage strategy through fully.

I use a two disk Synology NAS, in RAID 1 configuration, which means each disk is an exact 'mirror' of the other. Attached to the NAS is a usb external hard disk which is used to back-up the most critical files from the NAS.

On one of my PC's is a file containing all my photos, which is copied on a regular basis to the NAS, plus another usb external hard disk attached to the PC.

So, counting the two disks in the NAS, it's back-up, the PC and it's backup, I have five copies of my photographs.

The risk, however, is that they are all in my house, so a fire would see them all destroyed.

I'm just in the process of looking for external storage, be it physical or virtual (cloud), that I can back up to too.

I might go down the route of installing another NAS at a family members house, as the NAS units can be accessed remotely.

Over the top? Yes, but it's a life time of memories.

11-22-2017, 05:05 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnX Quote
The risk, however, is that they are all in my house, so a fire would see them all destroyed.
Last time I inadvertently played host to a house fire, I got out - but a million memories didn't.

If it happens again - I'm staying.
11-22-2017, 06:11 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jenntray Quote
Hello all!

I am attempting to tackle the daunting task of organizing our photos and videos. We have lived overseas for 5 years and between all the moving and traveling and different devices, our pictures are a hot mess. I'm looking for a solution and have no idea where to began. I do have an external hard drive that I plan to keep all of our photos, videos, music and important documents on, but I also want an online cloud type storage that will give me access to all of our photos and videos across both apple and non apple devices, won't change the quality or size of the files, will host photo and video, is secure and won't cost me an arm and a leg. Any suggestions?
That's a big list to of items to get into Santa's sack for Christmas, and as I'm not Santa I can only talk about my experiences and what I'd recommend.

I expect you'll get a range of advice from forum members, but in the end a bit of research around the recommendations provided should point you in the right direction for price and capabilities that you seek. I use three data storage systems, the first being the storage in my computer, the second is a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device and the third is a Dropbox account. Storing locally on a single computer is not really a viable option for security and accessibility to others so this leaves us with an NAS solution, a cloud solution or a combination of these.

Lets start with a cloud storage solution. With cloud storage you will have tiered options based on cost. This will be based on storage capacity, accessibility and other functions. Some options include OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and Amazon Cloud Drive. I expect there's more too, but the principles will be the same. Most will give you some free storage, get you into their system then once you're there you would look at a subscription to gain more storage capacity and options. There's lots of info on these options via a Google search so I'll leave that up to you and focus on the one cloud storage I have experience with: Dropbox.

I established a Dropbox account several years ago, I started with a free option and then upgraded for the extra space and ability to manage access to selected the folders I had in Dropbox. The free version for an individual is only 2GB with the two paid options offering 1TB. There's two paid levels with the storage capacity the same but the control and access options better in the Pro subscription that's twice the cost of the Plus version. Depending on how much space you actually need you might want to adopt a Dropbox 'Team Plan'. These are more expensive with a 2TB option and unlimited options if you're prepared to pay. Obviously these are aimed at business solutions but it's worth going to the cloud solution websites to see what you get for your money. For others to access your Dropbox folders you need to add them to individual folders using an email address. With the right folder hierarchy this is not a big issue but it's something to be aware of considering what you seek to do. You can be the only person to add new members accessing files or allow others to do invites so there is flexibility that might work for you.

The other option previously mentioned is to use an NAS. Again there's several options to consider but if you want a solution with the greatest flexibility for who can access it whilst maintaining control and backing files up this is the one I'd use. I'd suggest you consider two NAS companies as the best choices, these being QNAP and the one I use, Synology. How much space do you need? Well both these companies (and all the others doing NAS) will give you options to look at. Just remember though, to buy an NAS may mean you also need to buy the HDD's too. So the cost of a 2 bay device might seem reasonable until you add the cost of two drives to go in it. But here you also have the choice to pick hard drives by size to reduce costs. Just remember though that you want to install HDD designed to work in an NAS like Western Digital Reds. Other HDD options might be less reliable in the NAS role due to the higher up time an NAS is expected to maintain.

To summarise my recommendation: An NAS can provide primary file storage in your own home, it can be accessed remotely by others and even be set up to have a back up at another person's home using a similar system. This will give you good access to yourself and others via the internet, provide control options to manage the files and allow a back up remote to the primary source in case of fire, theft etc.

I've not explored hosting of a website using my NAS so I won't make comment on it other than it could be another option to provide a workable solution for people to access files remotely.

The last thing I'd consider is a standardised file naming system. You can look for software to help you with this but a simple folder/file naming discipline based around year/month/day might be a good upper level approach, or maybe you have an association to places and circumstances/events that would suit you better. Getting this sorted as you decide on your storage management solution will save you time once you've identified what best suits your needs.

I hope you find your solution soon.

Tas
11-22-2017, 06:29 AM   #7
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Google Photos. The free version downsamples your images but the paid versions maintain full resolution. Supports stills and video. Access is easy via a browser.
11-22-2017, 07:21 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
Google Photos. The free version downsamples your images but the paid versions maintain full resolution. Supports stills and video. Access is easy via a browser.

Google Photos is a great service - just be sure you know how Google uses your photos and make sure you are comfortable with that.

11-22-2017, 07:41 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tas Quote
The other option previously mentioned is to use an NAS.
My earlier suggestion of using an old PC in your home with a large HDD is of course a NAS, and probably a lot cheaper than QNAP etc. The HDD should be NAS quality as you say, but it does not matter if the PC itself fails - just transfer the HDD to another one. A Raspberry Pi with an HDD will do the job too.

Of course, I've no doubt QNAP etc put a very pretty interface on things. My old PC just shows its file system over my network. Nevertheless there is free software such as FreeNAS specifically designed to use an ordinary PC as a NAS.
11-22-2017, 12:00 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lord Lucan Quote
My earlier suggestion of using an old PC in your home with a large HDD is of course a NAS, and probably a lot cheaper than QNAP etc. The HDD should be NAS quality as you say, but it does not matter if the PC itself fails - just transfer the HDD to another one. A Raspberry Pi with an HDD will do the job too.

Of course, I've no doubt QNAP etc put a very pretty interface on things. My old PC just shows its file system over my network. Nevertheless there is free software such as FreeNAS specifically designed to use an ordinary PC as a NAS.
Yeah, old computers are great for this use case. Fast, and easy to maintain. Not only that, but if say you have household Macs by getting an old desktop PC used with a copy of Windows on it you have something that you can use for that occasional Win OS task.

I'd still use a cloud service though, in addition to local storage. Cuz houses burn, fall down, flood, etc. And it is convenient to have access to stuff when away. But go with something paid, that has very clear privacy and access policies, and has proven to be reliable. Alternatively, get a hard drive caddy (I use Plugable's) and rotate some bare drives offsite for backup.

And BTW if you need to manage a mess of photos over lots of different computers, mobile devices, drives, NAS, online, etc look hard at Mylio. It's maybe the best at doing that. But IMatch might be a candidate too if you use Windows.
12-06-2017, 04:32 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tas Quote
The last thing I'd consider is a standardised file naming system. You can look for software to help you with this but a simple folder/file naming discipline based around year/month/day might be a good upper level approach, or maybe you have an association to places and circumstances/events that would suit you better. Getting this sorted as you decide on your storage management solution will save you time once you've identified what best suits your needs.
I would say do this first. No matter what you end up with, you'll be better off with an organized set of photos. This will help on a backup hard drive / NAS / or online backup so I would advise organizing and sorting before you backup so you don't have to sort the backup too. I have mine sorted into folders labeled by "YYYY MM DD - Short Description" so it's chronological and I can find anything easily. Even if you make one folder for each year and use sub folders, I would still recommend using YYYY MM DD ___________ for the folder names since that will make sure it's always sorted right no matter how you move things around later.

For online storage, I use a free Flickr account. The free accounts are limited to 1 TB, so I only upload JPEG since RAW would chew up too much space. For mass uploading a lot of pictures all at once you can pay for a subscription to Flickr Pro which lets you use their photo upload tool to upload a marked folder (including subfolders). Once you're backed up it's just a matter of uploading photos as you go which you can do with a free account. I upload them in albums named just like the folders on my computer so it's easy to find, and Flickr can sort by date too. It's also great for sharing and viewing photos on both Android and iPhone. You can also set photos (or entire albums) as public, private, or viewable only to registered users you mark as friends and/or family.

If you have an old computer at home I would suggest looking at OpenMediaVault for local storage and backup. You can run it on most hardware, and one of the greatest features is you can use software RAID and SnapRAID to protect from disc failure while using any old hard drive. It does take some know how and time to setup and there are so many available features and plugins you could go wild if you wanted to.

If you can afford it you might be happier paying for a pre-built solution like QNAP or Synology or even Buffalo's Terrastation / Linkstation. (These aren't too expensive for what you get: Link 1 Link 2) Whichever you get, make sure it holds twice as much as you need and set it up in mirror array to avoid losing everything if a disk fails. I ran a 4 TB Buffalo Linkstation (2TB x2 in mirror) until I had more than 2TB of stuff, and then I ended up building an OpenMediaVault file server with 6TB of multi-redundant storage since I hate putting all my eggs in one system.

Just a note for buying hard drives, if you can afford them I would say go for NAS drives or enterprise drives. However, if it came down to a choice of one copy on a single NAS disk or multiple copies / RAID mirror on cheap disks, I would lean towards cheap disks for redundancy.

Last edited by TheOneAndOnlyJH; 6 Days Ago at 02:33 PM.
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