April 22, 2018, 10:48:39 AM

Author Topic: Back up software and hardware...  (Read 2195 times)

Mikehit

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Back up software and hardware...
« on: January 08, 2018, 10:51:39 AM »
I am looking at different ways of backing up my photos and was after any advice from people who have better routines than I do.
I am purely an amateur and I have all my photos on a portable hard drive so I can take photos between the laptop (for initial culling and keywording) and the desktop (for fine processing). My computer has USB2 ports (no USB3) and an eSATA port.
So my routine is normally:

Download images from the card, using LR and use it to send the images to the portable 'Working drive' and create a second copy on a second disk (BackUp1). I don't touch BackUp1 - it is there if anything happens to the downloaded images on the Working Drive. I delete old images from BackUp1 every few weeks/months (on the assumption that if I had no reason to visit BackUp1 then I have all the images I need on ther working drive).
I use Cobian to back up the Working Drive to two external HDDs (BackUp2 and BackUp3) and these drives are big enough such that at any one time I have a history of 3 historical backups. One of the BackUp2/3 are stored in the cellar bagged with silica gel.

At the moment, BackUp2 is connected to the computer through the eSATA port and BackUp3 is connected to a USB2 port (lack of USB3).
Sometimes I do back-ups sequentially because of the time they take  (16h for USB2 vs 11h for eSATA) and I want to work on the images in the meantime. Why eSATA is quicker than USB2 when the working drive is also connected to USB2 I am not sure....
I am doing full back ups every month or so and incremental back ups weekly in between (when I remember!!)

However, now I am looking at streamlining this a bit.

So as I see it, I have two options:

Option 1 - NAS as a place to back up files
I am ambivalent about having a NAS as a NAS for the following reasons: I don't do gaming, we don't stream videos around the house and everything I have read suggests it is slower to move photos around a network than between disks (any comments on this?) and I like the speed of having images on the hard disc. However, what NAS does have in its favour is inbuilt software for back up routines. Whether I become enamoured by the advantages of NAS over time is to be discovered but it is low on my list of priorities. I am interested only in back up options at this time. For domestic reasons the NAS would be connected to the router via powerline so I am not sure how that would affect its performance (?comments)

Anyway, in terms of transferring data from the working drive to the HDDs in the NAS, I am not sure if it would be quicker to attach the NAS to the desktop using USB2, connect the NAS to the desktop using a network cable, or connect the NAS to the network with powerline (for domestic reasons the NAS cannot be connected to the router).
The advantage of the NAS is that I could then use the NAS internal proven back up software.


Option 2 - HDD dock plus back up software
Buy a twin-hard drive dock connected to the desktop through the eSATA port and use back up software to back up the photos/catalogs. Does anyone have any recommendations for back up software? A lot of comments on the internet suggests they all have their quirks (I like things to 'just work') and Cobian is no longer being developed/supported which concerns me. Maybe I should just try Windows own back up software - does anyone use this? 
The advantage of the dock is that it is significantly cheaper than the NAS device.
The downside as far as I can see is that when the dock is plugged into the computer Windows Explorer sees only one drive even if there are multiple drives loaded and you are relying on the dock's internal copying software to create the second backup (which can be done offline so there is a speed advantage). I like the idea of being able to browse both drives to check their integrity.


I am also considering RAID options and given that my images are on the portable hard drive - I believe RAID1 is the easiest. But given my routine above, I am not sure it is even necessary as the most I would lose is the processing I have done. Any comments?

Thank you for any help or suggestions you can give. 

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Back up software and hardware...
« on: January 08, 2018, 10:51:39 AM »

Halfrack

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Re: Back up software and hardware...
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2018, 12:11:15 AM »
How much storage are you dealing with?  2tb, 5tb, ???  What are you looking at for a budget?

First thing, find a way to get USB3 into your systems.  USB2 is the biggest thing slowing things down.  A NAS is faster, when using gigabit networking.  Only the latest powerline options would be viable - Ubiquiti has a new EtherMagic on the way, or a 802.11ac wifi.

I would focus on sync software over RAID systems - since all RAID does is protect from a drive failure, not corruption or accidental deletion.  You want to do a 1 way sync from your working drive to the backup.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_file_synchronization_softwar

Here's a lot of different topics that fall into the backup and workflow for photographers.
https://medium.com/@PNWMF/storage-systems-and-methods-for-photographers-86e04f940013
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Mikehit

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Re: Back up software and hardware...
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2018, 03:40:38 AM »
Storage - I have 1TB of photos plus music but I think 2 x 6TB disc will give me enough room for three historical back-ups duplicated.

Budget? I guess a couple of hundred pounds  (250USD)

I have just found a kit that will convert a PCI Express to USB3 so that may well solve the speed issue on the local computer. But the more I think and read about NAS, the more options it opens up so those articles have really given a lot of guidance. Thank you for posting them.

Regards RAID I am starting to think of having something like a 2-disc Synology with 2 mirrored drives (RAID1?) to cover for drive failure then 2 drives for back-up (stored elsewhere) that I create with back up software.
hhmmmm.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Back up software and hardware...
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2018, 11:56:45 AM »
A NAS is not for gamers, it is for storage.  Its accessable all the time, so backups can be scheduled to run at night.  If you must use portable hard drives, SSD's are cheap, you can pop one into a inexpensive enclosure with a USB3 interface or a SATA interface and have a much more rugged drive.  The weakness in portable drives comes if they are bumpted while accessing a disk, that can destroy one.  They use slower hard drives because they are more rugged.

I would not edit files directly from a NAS, they are not that fast.

I don't even consider a NAS unless it has 4 drives, 6 is better.  A 2 drive NAS wastes 50% of its space on redundancy, a 4 drive loses 25% and a 6 Drive 17% for Raid 5.  With a 6 drive NAS, you can consider using Raid 6 for more reliability, but its a 33% hit, so 8 or more drives is better for that.

I have two NAS units, one backs up the other.

One thing to look for in a NAS is the ability to take snapshots.  A snapshot is basically a backup that lets you roll back to a earlier date.  But, they are not susceptible to ransomware attacks, so your data is safe.  Ransomware can attack anything on your network, wireless or hard wired, and will move itself to a portable drive as well.  It often delays a attack, waiting until its had a chance to spread into your backups for a few months.  I keep snapshots every month for a year. 

I keep all of my raw photos and the lightroom catalog backed up, so there is no need to keep jpegs, they can be easily generated. 

You will not find a faster backup than your esata, its faster than your disk drives, so if your computer does not have USB 3, you would not gain speed by getting it because your disk drive speeds become the limiting factor for large file transfers.  Using SSD's is a different story.

Another thing to be wary of is that somesolutions that convert to USB3 are nowhere near as fast as native USB3, I wasted money learning that a few years ago.


RGF

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Re: Back up software and hardware...
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2018, 12:15:10 PM »
let me echo get USB3.0, 3.1 I think is better.

I am on a newish Mac and running Thunderbolt 2 which is great.  I can daisy chain drives which you cannot do w/ USB.  If you use a splitter with USB all down stream connections slow down, even if you are not using them.

for backup - starting reading a Backblaze.com   They are a cloud service but offer good advice which is free.

Here is what I reco for backup.

Beside from your disk(s) holding your images

1  backup of your main disk (for a mac I recommend Carbon Copy Clone) which is kept offline and unplugged.  This protects against a power surge and some one locking your files.

1 copy offsite - friend's house, your office if you have one, I use our bank vault.

1 copy in the cloud.  Backblaze charges $5/month, $50/year or $95/2 years (I think these are correct).

On my mac I use OWC (MacSales) thunderbay IV drives (4 drive enclosure) and run SoftRaid software - Raid 5 configuration.

Zeidora

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Re: Back up software and hardware...
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2018, 12:39:02 PM »
Unless you need the network aspect, I would stay away from NAS, just adds one layer of unnecessary complexity. Remember the KISS principle. Straight HD of whatever flavor is simpler and more reliable.
USB 3 or thunderbolt is what I use. USB2 is WAY too slow for TB level data.
Re RAID flavor, RAID 1 and 10 (for >2 drives) are the most reliable. You take a reliability hit with RAID5 and 6. Given how cheap drives are, the "hit" in storage space is irrelevant.

Re software solutions, I have not found anything I like. I tried Retrospect a long time ago, but was unclear what it does. Started fooling around with the LaCie backup solution (Intego), but I think it has trouble when moving files around, and gives me literally thousands of errors, and I think it actively screwed things up.

Maybe have to look at time machine.
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Halfrack

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Re: Back up software and hardware...
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 11:31:18 AM »
Hey Mikehit,

So, 1tb of data, plus some other fun stuff.  I would recommend against the 2x6tb as a backup on the same disk only covers for accidental deletion, not hardware failure, corruption or other bits.  If the USB3 is PCIe you'll get full speed out of that.  So now you're on to maybe a refresh of the external drives you're using, the 2tb portable ones are super slim, and unless you're going to add a whole lot of data over the next 18 months, I wouldn't go bigger.  Keep in mind that technology is changing fast, and what was $400 18 months ago is now $150.

IF you were to do a NAS, I'm tempted to say the lowly Synology DiskStation DS115j - a 1 drive NAS might be the best bet for you.  Yes, there isn't a second drive inside to setup mirroring, but you can re-purpose one of your externals to sit next to it, and be the backup target for the NAS.  The NAS would hold a full copy of everything, and back itself up to the external drive.

The other option instead of a NAS would be to add a second or third internal drive to your desktop computer and leave it turned on.  The internal drives are MUCH faster than the external USB2/3, and with a drive bay can be made super easy to remove or swap when the computer is turned off.

Your working drive would still plug in directly, for much faster actual speed.

To create an updated offsite backup, swap the external drive on the Synology.

I don't think your volume of data needs RAID, just a good backup.  :D

Hopefully that leaves money to do the PowerLine networking, or a newer laptop with USB3 in the future.
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Re: Back up software and hardware...
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 11:31:18 AM »