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05-08-2009, 04:16 AM   #16
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Sorry to be so dense, but what is a RAID, please?

05-08-2009, 04:52 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sean Nelson Quote
The thing is, hard drives can and sometimes do fail suddenly and catastrophically. In that case, NOTHING on the drive can be recovered.
Not true Most of the time almost all data can be recovered in special labs, but it costs a lot of money. We have the leader firm in data recovery here, they could recover data even after fire damage. Of course the customers are usually companies with invaluable business data on the damaged/destroyed disk.

QuoteOriginally posted by Sean Nelson Quote
But RAID doesn't protect you against accidental or malicious deletion of files, and it certainly doesn't protect you from theft.
Sure, that's why having an offline/offsite backup copy is recommended. RAID protects against hw failures only.
05-08-2009, 04:53 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by smf Quote
Sorry to be so dense, but what is a RAID, please?
RAID - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
05-08-2009, 08:09 AM   #19
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the most common RAID setups (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) are RAID-0, RAID-1 and RAID 5. Although there are other configurations they do not affect the average photographer.

RAID 1 and RAID 5 (drive mirror) is more than just avoiding down time. Every minute that you have not backup fresh data on a non-mirrored drive you risk losing something that took time and effort to create. Sometimes the drive can be recovered and sometimes it cannot (see below)

As for what is recoverable - in the early days of digital photography I kept my backup drive beside my computer which seemed like a great idea until the people that robbed my house on Christmas Day thought that the backup drive looked just as interesting as the computer and took it all. We all learn from our own experiences but perhaps someone else will read this post and they will also learn from my mistakes. My point is that there are lots of ways to lose data on a hard drive and only some of those ways have the ability to perform a recovery.

05-08-2009, 09:22 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Shooting the 14+mpx K20D for the last year would easily have loaded me with 100+ DVDs.
True, the practicality of DVD can depend on how much you shoot. But if you are in the habit of sorting through your pictures to separate out the "keepers" from the rest, you wouldn't actually need to back up everything to DVD. And in your case in particular, if you're firing off a burst of 10-20 shots of a given action sequence, chances are only a few of those really need to be kept, I would imagine.

But in any case, 100 DVD's a year in pictures take up far less room than, say, my tax records for, which somehow I also manage to find room for going back fopr many years. Assuming you aren't putting each in a full size jewelcase, that is.

Basically, there are potential risks and flaws with *all* backup schemes. Online services can go out of business. Hard drive can fail, be accidentally erased, be stolen, be the target of a virus, etc. DVD's can fail on their own, and can be easily through careless handling. And all of the above are susceptible to natural disaster, acts of war, etc. *NOTHING* is foolproof. So pick a couple of solutions, try to keep them in separate locations so risk is reduced, and keep up with them both so that if one fails, you will know about it and can replace it before the other has a chance to fail too.
05-08-2009, 10:38 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
True, the practicality of DVD can depend on how much you shoot. But if you are in the habit of sorting through your pictures to separate out the "keepers" from the rest, you wouldn't actually need to back up everything to DVD. And in your case in particular, if you're firing off a burst of 10-20 shots of a given action sequence, chances are only a few of those really need to be kept, I would imagine.
In the high-volume scenario I proposed, if I'm accruing that many images, I'm likely too busy to cull the non-keepers as I go -- it's much safer to archive EVERYTHING, then build a select set of the best images. That's not quite how I operate, I go at a much slower pace and DO cull as I go, but only the absolute worst (unviewable) shots. On my first trip across Guatemala with my first digicam, I thought I was saving space on my tiny HD by deleting the shots that didn't look good. Bad move - many of those could have been rescued in PP. Since then, I delete only the worst, and test shots, and keep everything else, Just In Case. Hence my 2TB RAID1 drive. It's cheaper than another round-trip ticket to wherever.
05-08-2009, 12:51 PM   #22
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Here is my work flow, FYI. Some modifications to this flow might work for you.
  1. Copy files from SD card, using SanDisk reader, to a folder on the internal drive in my laptop. (ThinkPad T60, Core Duo 1.83 MHz, 3 Mb RAM, 80 Gb drive)
  2. Process the images in DxO, saving outpout in a different directory. At this point I have three copies of the images.
    1. On the card
    2. On the import directory
    3. On the output directory
  3. Import the images with Lightroom with settings to
    1. Copy files to a new location on E: (500 Gb LaCie USB Drive)
    2. Backup files to F: another USB drive while importing
    3. I now have 4 copies of the images on three separate hard drives, plus the originals on the SD card
  4. Once finished with the batch, I format the SD card in camera, bringing me down to 3 copies.
  5. Periodically, I backup the files to another USB drive on G:, maintaining my three copies.
  6. Periodically I backup the "killer" shots to DVD.
This works for me, and takes not very much time at all, most of it being done during other processes on the computer. Maybe that is why they made DxO run so slowly - I can do my backups while it is working on the latest batch.
05-09-2009, 11:22 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
But in any case, 100 DVD's a year in pictures take up far less room than, say, my tax records for, which somehow I also manage to find room for going back fopr many years. Assuming you aren't putting each in a full size jewelcase, that is.
My experience isn't that the physical size of DVDs is an issue, not even that they're unreliable (quite the contrary - after burning and scanning 100's of video DVDs at regular intervals I've found that burns to quality media are very stable IF the intial burn is a good one).

My biggest beef with DVDs for data storage is that once you get beyond a couple of dozen of them it's just too much hassle to be loading them into the drive all the time. Hard drives are great - hook them up, start a transfer or verification pass, and then do something else while all the work gets done.

05-10-2009, 05:03 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sean Nelson Quote
My biggest beef with DVDs for data storage is that once you get beyond a couple of dozen of them it's just too much hassle to be loading them into the drive all the time.
Indeed. An offline archive is an usused archive. Pictures or sounds or data or software stored on CDs/DVDs in binders on the shelf, stay there until I absolutely must load them, if ever. Back in the early days of CDs, I subscribed to a couple magazines that regularly snailmailed me discs. I'd ooh and aah, load a couple items onto my minuscule HD system, then carefully put them in storage, next to the floppies of stuff I'd downloaded from BBSs over the years, all arranged with index tabs. And how often did any of those discs actually make it into a drive? Ha. Cheap big HDs are the great gift of our Brave New World. Let's make the most of them.

Historical background: I built (soldered together discrete components) my first home micro in 1981, a HeathKit H8 (1mhz 8080 cpu, 16k RAM upgraded to 80k at great expense) running CP/M. Storage initially consisted of three 5.25" floppy drives using 90k disks. I was a COBOL programmer; the COBOL compiler itself occupied three 90k floppies. Software development consisted of swapping around floppies variously containing the OS, utilites and editor, the different phases of COBOL compilation and linking, the various bits of source code and compiler output, the linkage and debug libraries, and the assembled application components. Tedious, to say the least. My first 5mb HD brought tears to my eyes, and not just due to its price. At last! No more swapping (and losing) floppies! Develop everything online, then archive the finished product! Hmm, now where did those archives go? Migrated to CD-ROM, sitting on a shelf somewhere.
05-10-2009, 09:09 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
In the high-volume scenario I proposed, if I'm accruing that many images, I'm likely too busy to cull the non-keepers as I go -- it's much safer to archive EVERYTHING, then build a select set of the best images.
I can see that - but it remains the case that you don't need to *permanently* archive everything from the shoot. I wasn't talking about deleting in camera anyhow - I was talking about doing this as part of your normal workflow after downloading. At some point before delivery to the customer, or before spending a lot of time doing PP, or printing or uploading images, you're going to be doing this anyhow. So you only need to keep "all" images until you've finished processing a shoot.
05-10-2009, 09:30 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sean Nelson Quote
My biggest beef with DVDs for data storage is that once you get beyond a couple of dozen of them it's just too much hassle to be loading them into the drive all the time. Hard drives are great - hook them up, start a transfer or verification pass, and then do something else while all the work gets done.
Very true. Although you can certainly trade off convenience against security - say, spot check your DVD's by verifying one older DVD every time you burn a new one. Better than nothing, but not as good as doing a complete verification, obviously.

Bottom line for me is about diversifying to reduce risk (much like investment!). Hard drives and DVD have different advantages and disadvantages. Using both is better than using one alone, obviously. As for whether two hard drive backups beats one hard drive and DVD, that to me is the more difficult question. I suppose if you keep your two hard drives in different locations, verify both regularly but use different computers to reduce risk of problems being *caused* by the software issues (eg, virus), that probably beats HD + DVD in most ways. But maintaining the sort of separation necessary to guarantee this might be a hassle in itself.

Actually, here's a way of looking at it I think we can all agree on: any backup strategy you like enough to actually *use* beats one that you think is perfect in principle but is too difficult to actually bother with. If DVD's sound like a hassle, then do something else - like a second HD. If maintaining separate HD's sounds like a hassle, then do something else - like DVD. Any backup beats no backup, and any duplication beats no duplication.
05-11-2009, 10:04 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Backing up to CDs and DVDs is tedious, and they have a short life span - and some of them die very soon, as I found when some less than a year old, holding scans of old family photos, showed bad sectors. Fortunately I'd given my sister copies of those and so was able to restore, but it was a scare.
Yes, even some of the so-called 'gold' DVDs or archival DVDs have become unreadable in less than a year for me. And that with constant temp/humidity storage. As others have mentioned, cataloging/retrieving images becomes a major effort when you accumulate a large number of discs.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Actually, here's a way of looking at it I think we can all agree on: any backup strategy you like enough to actually *use* beats one that you think is perfect in principle but is too difficult to actually bother with. If DVD's sound like a hassle, then do something else - like a second HD. If maintaining separate HD's sounds like a hassle, then do something else - like DVD. Any backup beats no backup, and any duplication beats no duplication.
This is true. Even if you use DVDs exclusively for backup, chances are good that you'll lose no more than 10% of them due to deterioration, and having 90% saved is better than none at all.

Going from 90% to 99.99% involves exponential increases in effort and cost, something that each of us has to decide personally where they fall within that range.

Something not often mentioned in these backup threads is printing. While a print is still vulnerable to fire & theft, it does let you drop out of the digital storage madness.
05-11-2009, 10:42 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by OregonJim Quote
This is true. Even if you use DVDs exclusively for backup, chances are good that you'll lose no more than 10% of them due to deterioration, and having 90% saved is better than none at all.
That's one of the advantages of DVD that I probably should have been more explicit about. With a hard drive, most of the failure modes tend to be catastrophic - if something happens that makes you lose *something*, chances are good you've lost *everything*. With DVD, most of the failure modes are partial - a higher chance of losing *something*, a lower chance of losing *everything*. That's one of the things that makes it interesting as a supplement to a hard drive, I think.

QuoteQuote:
Something not often mentioned in these backup threads is printing. While a print is still vulnerable to fire & theft, it does let you drop out of the digital storage madness.
Well, sure, but if you think the cost and storage space for 100,000 *digital* images is a bit overwhelming, imagine the cost and storage space required for 100,000 prints - especially if you print them at a size where you are retaining most of the detail you captured. You'd need to be *incredibly* selective about what you archive in order for this to be feasible for most. And note you can reduce digital storage requirements *immensely* if you only keep the images at a size that a 4x6 print would have reproduced, and are even slightly selective about what you keep. I keep 1200x1800 pixel JPEG's "proofs" of my "keepers" - about 30-40% of my images - on my laptop drive. I normally think of those as being expendable - if my laptop dies or gets stolen, I can always regenerate those from the originals. But in fact, they serve as yet another form of backup - if my external hard drives and DVD all fail somehow, there is at least the chance that I'll still have these "proofs".
05-11-2009, 01:09 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Well, sure, but if you think the cost and storage space for 100,000 *digital* images is a bit overwhelming, imagine the cost and storage space required for 100,000 prints.
I don't think I will ever come close to 100,000 images in my entire lifetime. At one picture every day, that's 274 years of shooting! If you were to make 10 prints a day, it would take nearly 30 years to reach 100K prints.

I get your point, though. For a pro who works every day, prints would be overwhelming. But for the average amateur, printing their best keepers is a reassuring way to combat electronic failure/obsolescence.
05-11-2009, 07:28 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by OregonJim Quote
I don't think I will ever come close to 100,000 images in my entire lifetime. At one picture every day, that's 274 years of shooting!
One picture a day? I'll go days without shooting, but when I do shoot, it's as likely to be 100 as 1. I typically take a few thousand shots a year, and at that rate should indeed accumulate close to 100,000 over my lifetime. I'm in my forties now, and hope to have as many years ahead of me as behind me.

If you only average one a day - a few hundred a year - backup options do indeed get *MUCH* simpler and cheaper!
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