It has to be said, I’m pretty paranoid when it comes to data back ups for my photography. Although only an amateur I can’t imagine ever losing my archive. If you’re a professional then you’d think it would be as important as maintaining your equipment.
Here’s a horror story to make you think. A professional photographer finds her hard drives stolen on Christmas Eve. I can’t imagine how gut wrenching this must feel. She describes the ’empty feeling inside’. I’m sure every photographer out there feels for her.
For my first ever photography blog post I’m going to show you my back up set up. There are a number of options available which vary in cost and level of automation. Mine, I would say is low cost and rudimentary but offers both redundancy and resilience. Hopefully this will provide some thought for others and avoidance of catastrophic loss of data.
In summary, I store all my data on a NAS drive, and then in turn back up that NAS once a fortnight for redundancy and keep this backup off site so that if I am burgled/house fire etc then I have resilience.
My primary data store for my images, Lightroom catalogue, client data access is My NAS (Network Attached Storage) Drive. I reviewed a few different devices of varying complexity and access options (this could be a blog in itself), but for my relatively simple requirements and budget, I opted for a Western Digital MyCloud NAS (3TB).
This is my primary drive where I access all my photos. I don’t store on data my Toshiba laptop (Intel i3 6GB RAM) to maximise as much performance while running Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CC. My home network communicates wireless via TP Link Powerlines. This does need optimising to get the best performance, but again that could be another blog!!
The WD MyCloud NAS makes my data available across all my devices (Laptop/phone/tablet/Kodi) so is accessible for all my needs. However, a single storage facility is neither resilient nor provides redundancy.
This is where I employ my trusty old Iomega 500GB Portable HDD. On a regular schedule (every two weeks) I back up the NAS to this HDD.
To make this backup process as pain free as possible I use a free piece of software called SyncBack from 2BrightSparks. This allows me to setup some simple profiles that allow me to mirror the data source and data destination. Once profiles are set up (5 minutes in the first instance) its a simple click of a button to run. This invokes a scan of the source and destination and logs what the changes will be (move/delete) and the file size volumes involved. Once scanned, you can hit run to commit the mirroring. My data change is generally around 3-5GB and it takes about 30 mins (dependent on network transfer speeds).
Once complete, I have redundancy, and this Portable HDD is then taken back to a different geographic location, giving me data resilience.
This as I say is, is relatively rudimentary but in mind does what it needs to do. After initial set up its a couple of mouse clicks, which is worth its wait in gold should the worst happen to your data. There are a variety of other options, some free, some with higher budgets. A popular solution amongst photographers is Synology devices. These offer mirroring and remote access and racks. Other people also look to cloud solutions offered by Amazon (free via Prime), Google etc.
I hope this has been helpful to even just one person, who may not be backing up their data. If it stops just one person experiencing the example above, then this has been a good use of my 30 minutes.