Online Backup

WindburnWindburn Registered User regular
I am an amateur photographer and I have a photo library of several thousand pictures. My work flow includes transferring all my recent pictures to an external drive annually. This drive is kept in a fire-resistant safe in my home office. I also backup this drive to CrashPlan annually.

Or at least I did. CrashPlan recently decided to exit the consumer market. So I have begun to transition to Carbonite. Unfortunately, I have discovered that upon disconnecting my external drive, Carbonite begins a count-down timer of 60 days. If I do not reconnect the drive within the time period, Carbonite will delete the files from there server.

Ok, so here is my question. Is there a better online backup option for external drives?

Posts

  • Great ScottGreat Scott King of Wishful Thinking Paragon City, RIRegistered User regular
    Better? No. But both Google and Microsoft (OneDrive) offer 1TB of storage for $10/mo. IIRC OneDrive gives you a free Office365 subscription as well, so I went with that, but upload speeds on Google Drive seem faster.

    Most of the various online storage vendors seem to be converging on $100/year for 1TB and some lesser amount for 100GB. I don't think there's very much different between offerings other than who is backing them.

    I'm unique. Just like everyone else.
    Shadowfire
  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    edited October 2017
    If you have a prime membership, Amazon prime photos gives you free unlimited cloud storage for pictures.

    Cauld on
  • PyrianPyrian Registered User regular
    How big are we talking?

  • WindburnWindburn Registered User regular
    Not huge. Only about 300 GB.

    I have read that online storage options like Dropbox and Google Drive shouldn't be used for backup. I have a 1TB Dropbox subscription, so I can use it as a stopgap until I find another dedicated backup service.

  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    the anti-dropbox argument is that if you delete a file then dropbox wont keep it

    which is desired behavior for a lot of people

    What you really seem to want is something like an off-site Apple TimeMachine that keeps a perfect history of your file tree

    to be frank, I'm not aware of any such solution, but I think that should be the premise of your search... a remote service you can just hook TimeMachine up to (are you using mac?)

    spool32ceres
  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    Not an answer to you question directly, but maybe more a suggestion to improving your yearly backup routine.
    Regardless of what online solution you pick it will always mean that your not completely in control. I think that in general one is best simply to consider online backup as the easy convenient off-site storage and less as a backup solution.
    If your data is important then make sure to have a backup locally you store somewhere safe like the safe of yours, but do also include having several generations of copies around since bad things can happen. Like say some files are corrupted and you don't notice for a long while so those corrupt files become part of you backup replacing the same files in good condition.

    Bones heal, glory is forever.
  • Great ScottGreat Scott King of Wishful Thinking Paragon City, RIRegistered User regular
    edited October 2017
    Jasconius, I don't update OneDrive or Google Drive with individual files, I upload password-protected archives instead, and manually remove stale versions myself.

    That said, it's good to recognize that many sync programs will delete/refresh already-uploaded files.

    Great Scott on
    I'm unique. Just like everyone else.
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    Do you actually need access to the majority of these files? You might be well served to think about what you use and don't use and consider moving some things into cold storage.

    What is this I don't even.
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Another vote for Google Photos here.

  • AridholAridhol Daddliest Catch Registered User regular
    I use a program called SpiderOak One for my backups and have done for the last few years.

    I'm not sure how much you're invested in creating a backup system or if you just want a replacement solution for CrashPlan.

    If you just want a replacement my suggestion would be a long term backup (yearly) using Amazon Cloud drive (free with prime?) along with something like google photo's for more immediate access to your content.

    If you want a more robust and safer solution my recommendation would be to get a simple NAS that automatically archives files/folders of your choice and then uploads them (real time or scheduled, your choice) to a solution like Spideroak or again, amazon.

    Let me know if you or anyone else reading this is interested in that kind of setup. It's a lot to go over and I am lazy so I don't want to type it out without a reason :)


    I will share the story of why I went with the more robust solution though.
    From when my wife and I met in 1999 (just a few years ago?) we took a lot of pictures of life together like museums, concerts, parties etc...
    I stored all these on my computer but on multiple drives (so if one went it wouldn't lose all the pictures).
    In 2005 the computer died. Everything in the machined died as well. I did not know at the time that there was a chance to send the disks in for data recovery and they were gone by the time I learned.

    We lost nearly 6 years of our lives together and have spent the time since finding photos from friends and physical copies to rebuild. The sinking feeling

    I swore that I would never lose a single important memory or important document ever again and I haven't.

  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    Print them all out. Put them in shoe boxes and put those in a closet. Never look at them after that.

    This system has worked flawlessly for my mother, grandmothers, and aunts for decades.


    Also, most the draw backs to using Google Photo's/Dropbox/etc don't really apply to you. You have an offline backup for your files. So if you delete them, you can get them back. It just provides you an offsite back up incase of a fire or such. So as long as you don't delete all your pictures, have a house fire, and destroy the files in your fire-proof safe...You should be fine using one of them as your off-site.

    How do you spell Justice?B D S Non-Violent Resistance to Israel Apartheid & Occupation.
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Aridhol wrote: »
    If you want a more robust and safer solution my recommendation would be to get a simple NAS that automatically archives files/folders of your choice and then uploads them (real time or scheduled, your choice) to a solution like Spideroak or again, amazon.

    @Aridhol I've actually been looking for a solution for this and would love to know your process. I have hundreds of photoshop and other art-type files and it seems to be more difficult than I'd like to get them into the cloud in a more automated way. The free photo spaces are nice, but they dont support the mammoth files I'd like to hold onto, usually, or the variety of types.

    My plans are currently to build a media PC (something I plan to do anyway) and create a network where my boyfriend and I can backup our files to it for redundancy, but also that PC has an automatic process that backs up that data to the cloud, somewhere. The automated process is not one I've heavily researched, but it seems like my options are slowly dwindling. Amazon seems like the only real choice, but trying to figure out how much it costs and how I'd get it going is complex enough that I just haven't gotten around to it.

  • AridholAridhol Daddliest Catch Registered User regular
    I use a system that puts my data in 3 places.
    • The PC's I'm using
    • My NAS
    • Off-Site

    We use a combo of windows machines, linux machines and mac's. It's not really critical to having a backup system but try to keep the files organized as best you can. Messy file organization will result in forgetting to back up something. I use lightroom to play with photo's and I store them in a central folder "Images" that has subfolders based on some other personal criteria. A "top" level folder allows you to easily select what to backup. Everything goes in that bucket.
    I do the same with documents.

    Backup layer #1
    I use a program that sync's files from my computer to my NAS (Network Attached Storage) device so that every day I have the files in two places. I set the software to sync in real time. 99.9% of NAS devices will have software to allow you to do this.

    If my computer is destroyed, stolen or the HD dies I haven't lost anything as it's stored on the NAS.

    Backup layer #2
    Hardware redundancy. The NAS uses RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks) that essentially makes it less likely to lose your data because of a HD failure. As an example if you have an external HD for backup it's likely just one drive and if it breaks you're out of luck. With RAID, depending on the setup, you can lose one or more drives and still not lose any data.

    Backup layer #3
    Off-site storage in the "Cloud". Again virtually every NAS has software that will replicate your data to a cloud storage service (scheduled or in real time).For the home PC's I use one that is called Glacier Backup which essentially uses Amazon to store lots of data cheaply. It's not easy/fast to retrieve but it's intended as an absolute last resort (i.e. house burns down).


    For my laptops (we have 3) I use SpiderOak One which backs up directly to their servers. I use this as my laptops aren't always on my home network and me and my wife take them to work regularly. I'd rather the backup happen right away than take the chance of needing to go home, plug in and wait for the sync. You could use both if you felt like it :)


    I'd recommend everyone with more than one machine (and even for one really) get a NAS that fits your needs. It's a good place for backing up data and it also serves as a central place to store files. Most NAS's come with software to do other cool things like a media server, downloader, remote file access, etc...)

    I'd be more than happy to get a PM if someone wants a hand building their own solution. I've done this for some friends and family and a couple small businesses (wedding photog).


  • AridholAridhol Daddliest Catch Registered User regular
    Iruka wrote: »
    Aridhol wrote: »
    If you want a more robust and safer solution my recommendation would be to get a simple NAS that automatically archives files/folders of your choice and then uploads them (real time or scheduled, your choice) to a solution like Spideroak or again, amazon.

    @Aridhol I've actually been looking for a solution for this and would love to know your process. I have hundreds of photoshop and other art-type files and it seems to be more difficult than I'd like to get them into the cloud in a more automated way. The free photo spaces are nice, but they dont support the mammoth files I'd like to hold onto, usually, or the variety of types.

    My plans are currently to build a media PC (something I plan to do anyway) and create a network where my boyfriend and I can backup our files to it for redundancy, but also that PC has an automatic process that backs up that data to the cloud, somewhere. The automated process is not one I've heavily researched, but it seems like my options are slowly dwindling. Amazon seems like the only real choice, but trying to figure out how much it costs and how I'd get it going is complex enough that I just haven't gotten around to it.

    This is crazy because that is exactly the scenario I have. My wife is a graphic designer and does a lot of freelance so she needs to store not only photo's but also illustrator and indesign files. We bought a quality NAS (which would be the media PC in your scenario) that allows easy access to all the files on any PC.

    Automated sync to cloud services aren't that great and I haven't tried to use them as something for quick or regular access. I use it simply as a last resort disaster recovery.

    There are solutions that use your NAS that can create your own "cloud" which basically means you can access your files remotely and securely but it relies on your own internet connection so if it's slow it's no better than the normal cloud services (albeit free).

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    To me the whole point of cloud is to put the files somewhere else. Redundancy in-house is useless if we see massive flooding, for instance. Having a compact enough NAS would make it so I could grab it if I were evacuating, but what if I'm somewhere else when disaster hits? Its kinda silly to think about sometimes, but I've now lived in three different hurricane prone areas and see this shit happen to people.

    Unless I leverage my family for some tri-state file redundancy, which isn't entirely impossible, I think getting stuff up on amazon is the comfort I'm looking for. I dont need to access the files too often, its mostly archival.

    Thanks for the write up! I'll for sure reference this later.

  • WindburnWindburn Registered User regular
    edited October 2017
    Jasconius wrote: »
    the anti-dropbox argument is that if you delete a file then dropbox wont keep it
    The problem is that many of these services see a disconnected external drive as a deleted file.

    Not an answer to you question directly, but maybe more a suggestion to improving your yearly backup routine.
    Regardless of what online solution you pick it will always mean that your not completely in control. I think that in general one is best simply to consider online backup as the easy convenient off-site storage and less as a backup solution.
    If your data is important then make sure to have a backup locally you store somewhere safe like the safe of yours, but do also include having several generations of copies around since bad things can happen. Like say some files are corrupted and you don't notice for a long while so those corrupt files become part of you backup replacing the same files in good condition.
    That's a good suggestion. Thank you.

    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Do you actually need access to the majority of these files? You might be well served to think about what you use and don't use and consider moving some things into cold storage.
    No, I don't. Lightroom keeps preview files which are adequate for many of my needs. I only need the originals infrequently. What do you suggest for "cold storage?"

    spool32 wrote: »
    Another vote for Google Photos here.
    Google Photos will not work for my needs because the folder structure is part of Lightroom file organization.

    Print them all out. Put them in shoe boxes and put those in a closet. Never look at them after that.

    This system has worked flawlessly for my mother, grandmothers, and aunts for decades.
    Lol. Some of the women in my family have a similar system, but they add them to scrap books instead of shoe boxes, then put them in a closet an never look at them again.


    Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions. I think I'm going to use Dropbox as an annual mirror of my local back up. I will also look in to some redundancy as suggested by @BlindZenDriver.

    Windburn on
  • djmitchelladjmitchella Registered User regular
    Thanks to the people here who suggested Google Photos -- I've accumulated an awful lot of photos (by being too lazy to sort through them properly) and so my 'Pictures' folder is ~650gb or so by now; I should probably sort out an actual backup solution for money at some stage, but in the short term I pointed the google backup thing at I:\pictures and a couple of weeks later:

    guUyQbK.png

    There is a size limit because I'm still using the free version, but none of my cameras take high-enough resolution pictures to hit it (other than stitched panoramas, I guess), so now if this PC crashes and burns, things are saved away in at least one other place.

  • Great ScottGreat Scott King of Wishful Thinking Paragon City, RIRegistered User regular
    djmitchella, note that depending on a lot of settings, those Google Photo images might not be at full original size. I'd recommend double-checking that.

    I'm unique. Just like everyone else.
  • djmitchelladjmitchella Registered User regular
    https://support.google.com/photos/answer/6220791?hl=en has the way to set them to high res which I set when I started this stuff, but you're right, I should make sure it's actually doing that.

    ...

    yup, looks like photos are there and still the same size as the original. Downloading it to triple-check, the EXIF info is stripped out which isn't ideal, but I'm just using this as an easy free way to make sure the images are _somewhere_ other than on this single hard drive, in case of accident.

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