You are here

14 posts / 0 new
Last post
Harddisk Setup and Backup Strategy #1
Tom Bracht's picture
by Tom Bracht
March 25, 2011 - 11:42pm

Joseph,

I know this is probably worth an eBook of its own, but could you very briefly describe your harddisk setup and roughly outline your backup strategy, please.
At the moment I'm using referenced masters on an external (Ubuntu) file server over a Gigabit Network, but would like to switch to an external (Firewire?) drive to increase the I/O speed. Although it has some advantage (backup-automation and such), having master files on a network drive is not ideal, I think. It's also a non HFS file system, but connected to my MacBook Pro using Apple File Protocol.
My library lives on the internal disk of my MacBook Pro. Currently my pictures are backed-up daily/weekly/monthly to an external disk from the Ubuntu Server and I also do upload them offsite using a service called Crashplan (which is fantastic, b.t.w.).
To backup my library I use TimeMachine and do occasional Vault-snapshots to an external USB-disk.
I would love to hear your thoughts and to learn some details about the system you are using. I know you have your main library on an iMac with multiple Firewire drives for your Masters and you do backups (automated? daily?) to a Drobo. Would you be willing to share your setup, please?

Many thanks
Tom

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
March 26, 2011 - 11:44am

Tom,

Sure thing. My setup is pretty straightforward.

All of my Libraries live on my iMac’s internal HD, and all Libraries are Referenced.

Masters live on a variety of G-Tech Drives and RAIDs, all on FW800. I imagine my next Mac and HDs will be Thunderbolt though!

I run nightly backups to a Drobo, also on my desk, using Time Machine. ALL of my drives get backed up there; it has a 5TB partition for Time Machine on it. By the way, if you’re going to use Drobo for Time Machine, you have to set it up right… there are FAQs on the Drobo site for that.

I’m also backing everything up to the cloud using Backblaze, but I have to admit I get the feeling sometimes that it’ll never be done. It seems to perpetually have 2.5TB left of backup to go. I really need to sit on a 50Mbit Fibre connection for a couple of weeks!!

Whenever I have a critical shoot, the final files are uploaded to SmugMug, at full size (JPG). This gives me a few things; client delivery (if needed), a place to show images from, and a way to sell prints. PLUS, I have a full-size JPEG in the could that I can access if all else goes south.

I’ve been recommending lately that people who want an individual image cloud backup but don’t need the complexity of SmugMug Pro to look at Flickr Pro. For $25 a year, you can upload your full-size images. That’s a pretty sweet deal.

I’ve been considering making an offsite Finder-copy backup of just my Master images. The Backblaze one is taking so long that right now if my house burned down, I’d only have what’s already up there, and the backups on SmugMug. Certainly better than nothing but not perfect. I used to do that before “cloud backup” became de rigueur, but those are outdate now. Ideally those drives should live on the other side of the country, or at least out of state—physically as far away from you as feasible in the event of major natural disaster (no point in having your backups at your neighbors house if the big one hits and takes down your whole city).

That about wraps it up! Did I leave anything out?

-Joseph @ApertureExpert

@PhotoJoseph
— Have you signed up for the mailing list?

Robert Sfeir's picture
by Robert Sfeir
March 26, 2011 - 2:24pm

This is very cool, thanks so much for the details. I’ve been looking to give my MaPro an extended life, and for those who have a MacPro as well you might be interested, and one of better options I found (beyond just increasing internal storage) is to add an eSata card in the MacPro and hook up the same Drobo box Joseph uses, or any of the other available RAID array boxes for external storage that would provide redundancy in case of drive failure. The reason I personally haven’t done that yet is because I want to see if anyone will be coming out with a Thunderbolt card that works with my 2007 MacPro :)

As far as remote storage, I’ve though of a couple of approaches, which some might be a bit far fetched but worth the thought:

1- If you use something like a Drobo where you can drop in drives, or if you have a super drive on your mac, you could backup to either a hard drive or a set of DVD ROMs (Using the Vault in Aperture) and store those at your bank’s safe deposit box. You could rotate them fairly easily and I couldn’t think of a better fairly cheap place to store that kind of stuff.

2- You could use Amazon’s S3 service to store your data in the cloud. They are one of the most reliable services out there, in fact we’re considering using them to store our cancer research data they’re so trustworthy. If you think they’re expensive, you can always use their [storage calculator] to figure out how much it would cost you to use that solution. For my own purposes, Amazon S3 with 99.99% redundancy storage (Called reduced redundancy because their premium storage gives you 99.99999999% redundancy) for 400GB of data transferring up 1GB/month up and down would cost $37.00 a month or 444.00 a year.

I don’t know if you’re making at least some money from your photography, or you put a huge deal of value in your images, I don’t see how 37.00 a month is a lot of money. To me it takes selling just one print to cover 2-3 months, and it seems real worth it. You get off line storage with incredible redundancy, and peace of mind that nothing will happen to your data even if God forbid your house or neighborhood burnt down along with your bank and safe deposit box.

Hope that helps add to the options.

One thing for sure, I need to look at starting to use a Referenced library :)

[adding to post]
One last thought: You can also buy a safe for your house. We have one that is supposed to withstand a full fire for 4 hours and keep what ever is inside safe and secure. We use it to store our passports and valuables. They can cost anywhere from 100-400.00 for the bigger ones, and require a couple of people to lift and setup so no one will walk away with your valuables. It might be a third option for some folks looking to keep expenses low. (Ok I’ll shut up now :) )

R

Thomas Emmerich's picture
by Thomas Emmerich
March 26, 2011 - 4:25pm

Robert,

Don’t hold your breath for that Thunderbolt card. Macworld reported that it can’t be added because it requires the motherboard to be modified. Very disappointing indeed. I hope they’re wrong.

Thomas

Robert Sfeir's picture
by Robert Sfeir
March 26, 2011 - 5:25pm

Indeed Thomas, no holding my breath on it. I suspect that Macworld is right that you’d need a motherboard mod, not only that but I suspect to get the benefits of Thunderbolt and the speed of the data path, you might even need Intel’s latest chips to help managing the data’s flow through the system.

The eSata card is not a bad option since you can get either a 3Gb/s or 6Gb/s card and that’s not only tons of speed, but also much faster than any firewire solution you could grab.

R

Steve Jackson's picture
by Steve Jackson
March 26, 2011 - 11:42pm

Thought I’d drop in my current setup for comment:

My 2TB iMac (& thus OSX & Aperture) is still fairly new to me and was a hardware/ photography hobby related purchase (the iMac seemed the easiest and tidiest way to upgrade from a 15” business spec laptop (using ACDsee Pro 3) to a glorious 27” screen).

Being a Windows guy professionally, I still need to back up from Windows machines … so I needed an additional solution for the new iMac. So I bought two 2TB WD FW800 My Book Studio drives for OSX backups.

I back up to one of these external drives regularly using Time Machine, and this backup includes an Aperture Vault which catches the metadata for my 53k+ referenced images (using the Vault was from an ApertureExpert tip).

My Mother-In-Law comes around once a fortnight to babysit, and when she does, she brings with her the other drive which otherwise lives at her house. I swap them over, and she takes the old one home with her. Voila – images on the iMac, and on two separate external drives, one of which is stored off-site.

Rgds

Steve

David Edge's picture
by David Edge
March 27, 2011 - 12:22pm

Just my three ha’porth…
There’s an option in Time Machine to switch the TIme Machine off. A lot more useful than it looks because you can still manually trigger a backup when you’ve finished working in Aperture.
I’ve heard it said here that Aperture is now better behaved with Time Machine, but problems I’ve encountered include running slow while TIme Machine backs up, can’t get into Aperture until the backup is complete and incomplete backups because the various files weren’t backed up at the same time.
hth
d.

d.

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
March 27, 2011 - 3:22pm

Robert, Steve, David,

You all offer some fantastic alternatives. Amazon’s S3 is very good; I use it for the content delivery of my Live Training videos. The fire safe is also a great option, and would protect against most common house fires. I assume they are waterproof too in the even of a flood (or tsunami… shudder). However I do still hold strong that offsite is just better. There are too many disasters that could take out your entire area, so I prefer to keep my offsite backup far, far away.

For the interrupting Time Machine, I use a utility called Time Machine Editor and schedule my backups for once per day, late at night. Because yes, it absolutely does slow things down to have that running in the background.

-Joseph @ApertureExpert

@PhotoJoseph
— Have you signed up for the mailing list?

Robert Sfeir's picture
by Robert Sfeir
March 27, 2011 - 3:25pm

OOOOO I was looking for something like Time Machine Editor! This site keeps the good info coming and keeps the noise down unlike the other forums like the Apple forums. This group kicks butt!

R

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
March 27, 2011 - 3:32pm

Robert,

hehehe “Kickin’ but without the bull”, that should be the site’s new motto! ;-)

-Joseph @ApertureExpert

@PhotoJoseph
— Have you signed up for the mailing list?

Tom Bracht's picture
by Tom Bracht
March 28, 2011 - 3:59pm

Many thanks, Joseph and all others for sharing your setups. It’s always great to see how people organise their hardware, libraries and backup strategy. Your replies pretty much covered all my questions and there are great options and suggestions here.

Joseph, as far as offsite backups are concerned, I’m using a service called Crashplan which backs-up all my masters automatically. You can also send them a drive (or several) which content they then add to your backup. That way you wouldn’t need to wait for the initial upload to finish. I haven’t used it myself, as my library is not that huge. Maybe Backblaze has a similar thing to offer?

Best Regards
Tom

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
March 30, 2011 - 2:43pm

Tom,

Backblaze doesn’t, unfortunately. I’m so invested now (three computers completely backed up; the primary iMac at something like 2TB in) it’s hard to imagine switching. But I’ll check out Crashplan, for sure. I know I’d heard of it before, and looked into it once, but I don’t recall why I didn’t go that route.

-Joseph @ApertureExpert

@PhotoJoseph
— Have you signed up for the mailing list?

Robert Sfeir's picture
by Robert Sfeir
April 9, 2011 - 7:02pm

Thanks to those who mentioned crashplan. I just downloaded their apps and am giving it a serious try. At 5.00 a month (if you don’t pay in advance and have 1 computer) for unlimited storage, I don’t know how you really beat that. The data is elsewhere in the world, well backed up and taken care of, you get free software and continuous backups, some pretty advanced functions and the backup goes over 448 bit encryption for security.

I’m still looking to see if amazon offers anything similar, I’m not looking to serve my files from anywhere, I just want to backup personal records, photography files, iTunes music files, and the recording work I do in the studio.

The one drawback I see right now is that the initial backup of some 300gigs is going to take 14 days. I have a local backup so I’m not too worried, the key will be what happens after the 14 days; is the backup so slow that it almost never catches up, or is it smart enough to change only what’s needed?

But unlimited storage… wow you can keep files that you’ve deleted in perpetuity…

R

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
April 11, 2011 - 12:09am

Robert,

Tom pointed out above that you can mail a hard drive of content to them for the initial backup. I checked it out, it seems like a great system. If your initial backup is taking too long, I’d consider that for sure.

-Joseph @ApertureExpert

@PhotoJoseph
— Have you signed up for the mailing list?

You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
Passwords are case-sensitive - Forgot your password?
randomness