We all like to take pictures with our digital cameras and copy the precious files to our computers for easy access and online posting. Eventually, we’ll end up with thousands of photos on our computer hard drives. So what is the?
1.) pick up an external USB hard drive | Mac Users may prefer a version with firewire
2.) If you have a lot of files and need a networked NAS server with RAID functionality, I’d highly suggest purchasing a Drobo with automatic drive redundancy
3.) If you have a lot of files, but don’t need the network functionality, I’d get a 5-bay Drobo with USB 3 and Thunderbolt
Drobos are a really amazing way of storing your files locally (I have two(!) 5-bay units, one NAS and one Thunderbolt version)
4.) In addition to local storage – Sign Up for crashplan cloud storage
5.) A good and affordable way is to save your photos to your web server – as low as $3.96/month hostgator, is fast, reliable and wordpress friendly
original article from 2008:
What happens if that computer hard drive fails? Nothing! The family pictures will reside in digital nirvana! The good part? There are data recovery services. The bad part? There are data recovery services, but there is no guarantee of the results, meaning some of your photographs, and a good part of your paycheck, will be gone forever.
The only solution is to back up your data. It is relatively easy to do so and ultimately keeps you sane, letting you sleep safely through the night.
Optical media like CDs and DVDs are the obvious choices to back up your data, since they are cheap and seem to be safe–but they’re not necessarily safe. The chemical compounds of CDs and DVDs will disintegrate after a few years. I experienced this myself the hard way. Recently, I tried to retrieve family photos from a DVD that was less than five years old and I got nothing but an error message and a few corrupted files. Go figure.
Some manufacturers offer “archival quality” optical media for big bucks, but your best bet is to pick up an external hard drive from amazon any brand (Seagate, Samsung, Western Digital) will do. 2TB drives go for $179 or less -as of this writing- and prices are dropping by the day. Copy your digital photos to that drive. Immediatedly! Your back-up is accessible right away and your work is pretty safe. To be even safer, make your computer work for you and set up automatic backups. Mac OS X comes with Time Machine and Windows Vista sports a Backup/Restore center.
The worst-case scenario sounds like this, though: your house burns down; home owner’s insurance pays for your loss and you get to sleep in a fancy hotel for a few nights, but your computer is in ashes. The new external, back-up hard drive is a piece of charcoal and the DVDs have turned into a chunk of 21st century junk–every digital photo you ever captured melted into oblivion. Digital nirvana. Your family’s memories just got barbecued. You’ve got zip. Nada–unless you have a print. No wait, that got burned too.
To avoid all of this, another copy of your digital photos at a remote location sounds like a great idea, but this scenario may turn into a logistical nightmare… I mean, who wants to get off their sofa on a Sunday afternoon to shuffle disks around town?–online storage service to your rescue! After shopping around for solutions, I opted for Amazon Simple Storage Solutions, namely Amazon S3, to backup my digital photographs and scans of negatives. Why Amazon? you may ask. On one hand, I don’t want to backup my photographs to a photo-sharing website like flickr or smugmug; I only want to backup the data, since my portfolio is on a website already and nobody needs to look at my bloopers. On the other hand, Amazon has been around the block for a while and I trust their services. More importantly, they save my data securely on their datacenters at a measly 15 cents per GB a month!
How do I get my stuff on Amazon S3?
Jungle Disk is the perfect vehicle to backup your data from your computer to your Amazon S3 storage and vice versa. Once you’ve entered your S3 “access key” and “secret access key”, provided by Amazon, your Jungle Disk shows on your computer like an external hard drive and you can copy your photos back and forth… Everything Jungle Disk does is encrypted and on top of that, Jungle Disk can do automatic back-ups for you – neat feature. Your photos are safe now, so it’s time to get back on the sofa and finish that movie on cable TV.
*** A lot has changed since I wrote this post back in 2008 and there are now plenty of easy to use cloud storage services, crashplan is one of the ***
I have since moved my data to Sign Up for crashplan which offers excellent backup software and unlimited storage for less than the cost of a hard drive
Buy an external hard drive from Amazon today to save your digital files