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Cloud photo storage


mrdale

Question

What does every one use for online or off site storage ?  :Presently all of my photos are on an external drive but I feel I should have an offsite storage mechanism as well.   Currently each shoot is in a separate folder which contains all the raws, jpegs + raw edits and jpeg edits.  As you can imagine this takes up a lot of space (around 550GB).  I could eliminate the jpegs and save some space, its still going to be large.  It would be nice if there is a free site that can handle the volume or it might be cheaper to buy another external drive and keep it in my safe deposit box at the bank.  What are your thoughts ?

Thanks

dale

www.flickr.com/photos/photodale

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I use a Startech HD Dock to backup to bare hard drives.

 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1263502-REG/startech_sta_sdocku33ef_external_docking_station_for.html

 

then store the drives in a protective case

 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1067729-REG/cru_dataport_3851_0000_11_drivebox_anti_static_case_for.html

 

This allows me to store the drives offsite as well as provides a use for the drives I've replaced in order to gain additional storage.  A fringe benefit is the dock also hosts 2.5" SSD drives so I can clone a rotating drive when replacing it with a SSD.

 

 

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This is a dilemma for me too. I am presently looking into some cloud storage options, including Dropbox. The costs do get a bit heavy though, considering it's a monthly commitment, plus the bandwidth required for your initial upload. I like the Dropbox option because it integrates well with the Mac Finder. There are probably others that also integrate, so I am also keen on hearing any suggestions. 

 

The problem with off site storage is the inconvenience of actually trekking to and from the place where you store the drives. 

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I tried it using iCloud but gave up in the end. Bandwidth was an issue but for some reason it seemed to have a will of its own regarding file organisation despite a very careful setup.

I'm back to using an additional external hard disk ... much more reliable.

Still trying.

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My solution is similar to @Luke_Miller - in so much as my backups are all on my physical hard drives not in the cloud. Also similar to the article that @Dallas linked when I ingest images from cards they go to two places right away - my main working drive and an attached back up drive. Usually I'll work on them for a while (at this point they are in three locations) and then back them up to my local detachable backup drive. Now I can reuse the cards and the images are still in three places. Once a week so so I'll take that detachable backup drive offsite and bring the other detachable backup drive home. Then I run a backup to sync all the images to the other back up drive. Now my images are in four places and one is 20km away. That's my cloud solution - a desk drawer 20km away.

 

Remember there is no cloud 🙂 - just someone else's computer: https://teespring.com/shop/there-is-no-cloud#pid=369&cid=6514&sid=front

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After some research I think I will go back to Dropbox and external hard drives.  I looked at Backblaze, Carbonite and a few others but they are more for backup rather than storage.  Dropbox is pretty much seamless to use so I'll pony up the $100/year for now (I'm getting a a small discount for re-subscribing).  So I will have cloud storage plus an offsite hard drive plus the onsite working  hard drive.  Should be enough.

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www.flickr.com/photos/photodale

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I am using a Synology DS1517+ NAS as my network and personal cloud drive.This gives me 20tb of cloud storage with a lot of room for expansion. For backup I use portable drives that go into both a fire safety box and safe deposit box at my bank.

 

With Synology Photo Station I can access and edit my photos from anywhere using a phone, pad, or computer. The only limitation is wifi speed when traveling. On1 PhotoRAW and Alien Skin Exposure X3 are working fairly well when I need to process an image this way.

Have a purpose that will outlive you...

 

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Updating this question with my eventual decision. I went with Google Drive. It's really very cheap and it scales as you need it, so right now I am delivering all my client jobs on there as well as using it to backup important folders on my iMac and its connected drives. I'm not even using 100GB yet, but as it grows with new jobs added I will be able to increase the storage I need. What I really like about this option is that they are billing me in my local currency so I am not at the mercy of the wild swings in forex that come with the territory of living in Africa. 

 

I also decided to get Flickr Pro for $7 a month and store all my high res stuff for use on my websites there. It's not quite a backup, but the price of Pro comes with unlimited storage. Or so they say...

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If you are an amazon prime member (free shipping, streaming video, photo backup, $Can150/year) you have a solution there.

 

Another one is BackBlaze.  This is a professional backup company.  Rates are reasonable.  Big win:  One of your options if you need to restore is that you can have all your files transfered to a new hard drive and shipped to you.  This is MUCH faster htan downloading a terabyte.  And whatever did you in, probably needs a new drive anyway.  Pricing is $60/computer/year.  30 day trial.  Note that it isn't instant.  It will take substantial amounts of time to get your first backup done.  Details here:  https://www.backblaze.com/backup-pricing.html

 

Ideally you have 3 copies of your data:

 

1 to use.

1 as your backup.  This is a drive that is NOT kept under the same roof.  Otherwise 1  fire takes out both.

1 in the cloud.

 

If you know yourself, you want 2 backups of your own.  One offsite.  The other being backed up.  Now and then these two swap roles.  This was standard before cloud.

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Coming back to this discussion after a while to update you all on my current setup and how I need to find something else for backups. 

 

So I ditched Flickr Pro some time ago as it wasn't really a feasible file delivery mechanism for my work. What I did instead was purchase a Google Workspace account for one of my domain names (dallasdahms.net), primarily for email. I was surprised to discover that the account also comes with a (now) 2TB cloud storage allocation for each user. This integrates very nicely with MacOS' Finder. It creates a mountable drive that seems to be some sort of virtual drive that must be using a background FTP app to sync files between your local machine and your cloud storage. 

 

So when I am delivering files to a client now I export them directly from Lightroom to this virtual drive and the app does its thing in the background. Once they are uploaded I create a sharing link to the folder and send that to the client. They can then go ahead and download their files. 

 

I have discovered that it is actually possible to store your Lightroom catalog on this virtual drive too, but I haven't implemented this because I am very distrustful of big tech (especially Google), so I am keeping my catalogs on my local machine. Which brings me now to my current dilemma. Backups.

 

Last year I bought a Seagate 10TB external drive to use with Time Machine. Unfortunately this drive lasted all of a week before something went wrong with it and it wouldn't mount on MacOS at all after the first backup had been created (which took about 5 days!). I think it was the file format. So I then found a Western Digital 6TB external drive and I have been using that to backup some of the external drives I use to store my local stuff on. The problem now is that Time Machine has stopped making backups because there is not enough space on the drive. It won't delete its oldest backup because that is around 5.5TB, so every day I get a message telling me that there is not enough space on the disk to perform then backup. It's quite a persistent error message too! 

 

From here I am unsure of what to do to keep local backups. It seems obvious that the single external drive option is not a good solution and to be honest I am also a bit wary of these super capacity drives like the 10TB I had briefly. What are the common approaches to keeping backups? As mentioned I am currently storing about 5.5TB on external drives, so ideally if I can find a solution for that, plus a backup I'd be all ears. 

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I use Crashplan (aka Code42) for cloud offsite storage. Too dangerous to just use an external drive, as fire or theft could destroy all the years worth of work.  Another option is to do a periodic backup to disk or ext drive and place in a safe deposit box.

I'm happy with Crashplan for several reasons. 1) it only backs up the drives and directories you specify, instead of everything. That's the way I like it 2) they don't charge extra for extra/external drives 3) there's no space limit though I'm sure if you get too crazy they'd complain (I actually have 4.5 TB of data up there now!) 4) their software is smart. If I rename a directory or file, it generates a hash value of each file and compares to ones already up on the cloud. if they match it knows it doesn't have to reupload it, only change the name etc. That saves you a ton of bandwidth and time 5) the price for what I described is $9.99/month; not cheap per se, but acceptable considering there's no storage limit.

Have I used it? Yeah, but just a few times. It also does versions but don't believe it goes too far back.

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Thanks Greg. 

 

I am considering the cloud options too. But it does pain me when I look at all the technology costs I am absorbing for things I can't really see. Google Workspace, Adobe Creative Cloud, Invision (this forum software), my WHMCS billing software, OpenXchange (alternative email storage) etc, etc. 

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16 hours ago, Dallas said:

Thanks Greg. 

 

I am considering the cloud options too. But it does pain me when I look at all the technology costs I am absorbing for things I can't really see. Google Workspace, Adobe Creative Cloud, Invision (this forum software), my WHMCS billing software, OpenXchange (alternative email storage) etc, etc. 

 

Yeah, I know what you mean Dallas, many people are turned off by the subscription model. Companies prefer it however, as it guarantees them steady income even if small. It probably reduces their advertisement costs and reduces risk of people not buying their new versions.

 

The only photo costs I have right now are the $9.99 / month for CrashPlan and $9.99 / month for Adobe photo plan (I'm paying a lot more for other stuff like music services). Bottom line is I find the risk of me losing all my work unacceptable, so ..

 

gb

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More changes coming to Flickr.  They are trying to spin them one way and a few news articles are jumping to conclusions but probably getting it wrong.

 

Anyway, if the free limit of 1000 photos hadn't stopped you thinking of it as a backup location, the new restriction of 50 private photos might.  

 

The other change is that you need a pro (paid) account to post nudity.  I think what has happened is that they have been caught hosting illegal pornography and not been able to properly supply the authorities with user data.  A free account with the ability to keep content private but visible to friends would probably have been tempting for such uses.  The 50 photo limit or else needing to provide credit card details will go some way to restrict such a use.

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The issue I have with Flickr is that having been part of Yahoo! in the past, I became a victim of their hacks and I still get the idiotic hacker emails threatening to expose all my "sordid" online activities if I don't give them some ludicrous amount of money in bitcoin, all because they know my password (which I change regularly). If only they knew my actual online activities consist of reading about 4 news sites, Facebook and Fotozones. And of course my YouTube addiction. :) 

 

One thing I have learned in my 25 years online is that the word "unlimited" is heavily abused by server space sellers. 

 

I will be taking a good look at Backblaze this coming week as my workload is easing up some and I definitely need to do something as my local storage situation is getting a tad out of hand. 

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