Dec 30, 2009


If you do a lot of Photoshop work to your photographs (like I do) it is important to keep original RAW format photo files with layered Photshop files with color adjustment information preserved so that I can go back anytime and make final tweaks. When I store RAW files and layered Photoshop files the files are so large I cannot fit an entire photo session on 1 DVD anymore. I have been keeping them on an external hard drive for the last 6 months but it has been nerve racking because I have had drives in the past fail especially SEAGATE and MAXTOR.

So I finally decided to find a reliable backup and storage solution. I have accummulated 500 MB of data in the last 6 months so I will base my recommendation on the requirment that I would need additional 500 MB every 6 months. I looked into web based storage solutions and external hard drive storage solutions. I need to explain the difference including pros and cons between the two choices:

External Hard Drive Web Based Storage
-You plug a physical storage box to your computer usually in your home/office and you drag and drop your files -You use internet browser to put your files on someone else's computer/server and is not physically stored in your home/office
-Are faster because you are not relying on your internet connection speed -Is slower and you are 100% depending on your internet connection speed
-More secure when it is on your secured network and computer -Less secure even with encryption because the copies of the files reside on many computer/server on many locations now vulnerable to hackers
-Less reliable because if your files are only in one place and if that box fails/crashes you lose everything -More reliable because if one of their servers go down, your files are still stored on another server with identical data so you will not lose everthing
If you are away from home/office you cannot access the files If you are away from your home/office and have an internet connection you have access to your files

This is my strategy:

External Hard Drive Web Based Storage
-Store my RAW photo files, layered Photoshop files, and final manipulated files on a RAID Hard Drive -Store only final copies of compressed jpg photo files (as larger files take hours to upload) that I would like access away from home/office
-I work from this hard drive everyday -Weekly put new or updated final files
-I would put personal photos/videos on a separate hard drive with a password protection and place that inside a security deposit box -I personally would not put any personal, or nude photos/videos just in case your server provider gets hacked

After much research and talking to different sources, I bought the LaCie 2big Quadra 2TB 2-Bay RAID I. It has two separate hard drives that use RAID to mirror the data on Drive #1 to Drive #2. This means that in the even Drive #1 fails, the same data will be on Drive #2. There is very little chance of both drives failing at the same time however, this won't survive a house fire.

If you are really serious about your data, you may want to keep another one of these in a safety deposit box or in my case I will put my most important 100 GB on by LaCie as the web storage solution. I find these prices the most reasonable:
  • 10 GB for $25
  • 50 GB for $95
  • 100 GB for $160
  • 500 GB for $630
  • 1 TB for $1000
and it save me the trouble of from driving to the safety deposit box every week/month. BTW, placing 100 GB data on to any web server will take few days with fast internet connection speed and weeks with moderate internet connection speed.

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