Pro photographer Chase Jarvis has this video on his blog showing his workflow and his approach to data back-ups and redundancy. I’m not embedding the video here but I you should take a look at this, on his blog or on Youtube (though you’ll miss what he wrote to accompany the video).
The thing is, as someone who has worked in IT for more than two decades, and as someone who started out his career as a system administrator and a database administrator, there’s nothing here I don’t already know. But I suspect this is news to a lot of people. There are many bullet points contained in this video, and he talks really fast, but pay attention to how he maintains multiple copies of his original stills and videos separate and apart from the processed/edited versions. And massive data redundancy/protection, up to and including off-site storage. This is a lesson that almost everyone learns the hard way (myself included). But I tell you this, if you do learn it the hard way, one mistake is enough to teach you the proper way for the rest of your life. My mistake, somewhat fortunately, came early in my career, 22 years ago, and I never made that mistake again.
I don’t do off-site storage now for my personal stuff. It’s just too expensive. But most of my data, including all of my photos, is on RAID1 drives. They’re cheap enough and easy enough to set up that there’s almost no excuse not to do this. My C: drive isn’t RAID (just slowed things down too much for me) but I do a nightly automated back-up to a RAID drive.
If your data is important enough to you, you do this. Pure and simple.
It was probably not the best idea for me to watch this video right before heading out to the Wanchai Computer Centre. I’m running 6 RAID boxes, various capacities, all USB 2.0. I thought I’d see what my options were for consolidating at least some of this. One problem is that there was nothing available here that contained multiple drives in one unit that is also USB 3.0. And at this point, it seems silly to me to spend money on more USB 2.0 devices.
Also it seems that if I want to go for massive amounts of storage (and by massive I mean somewhere around 5 to 10 terabytes) in a RAID configuration, the only drives that will handle that are NAS boxes, and I don’t need that networking component, which adds a lot to the price.
And so, my wallet was spared.