« on: January 31, 2014, 07:33:03 PM »
Multiple drives, multiple locations - even when traveling. In addition to my current working copy, I have 2 complete backups (one 2.5" USB3.0, one 3.5" SATA drive that are updated when I download from camera or weekly) in a firesafe, and another 2.5" USB3.0 I store offsite and update monthly. All this times 2 since I have a different sets for different purposes.
The 2.5" backup travels with my so I can download to it on the road from my laptop. I also download to my Ipad and let it upload to a PhotoStream on the road when I've got a WiFi connection for my offsite backup.
I retire my drives every 2-3 years and start with a fresh set. I keep the old ones around for archive, just in case. I store them offsite with other family members.
The only failures I've had were not the drive mechanism itself, but the cheap USB interface card (Seagate and WD, 2.5" and 3.5"). In both cases I was able to remove the hard drive from the enclosure and plug it into a SATA enclosure with no problems or lost data. After that I began buying enclosures and drives separately. I'm currently using a Thunderbolt enclosure on my Mac - noticeably faster than USB3 and FireWire.
I currently store all my photos and videos in a 9TB RAID5(3TB x4) with WinFS. I backup all of them into another 4TB internal hard drive and backup two external hard drives. I rotated the two external hard drive every month and bring one of them to my company to insure the data is safe.