Which backup flow would you suggest in a laptop?

Started Nov 29, 2012 | Questions thread
rgolub Senior Member • Posts: 2,061
Re: Which backup flow would you suggest in a laptop?

Yes, RAID is NOT a backup strategy. You want to think about just how you can lose your data and how much time and energy you want to expend on safety.

Let's look at what you have: A D800 with two card slots. You can mirror the cards or shoot one in RAW and one in JPEG although I believe you will lose a bit of shooting speed if you do that and fps isn't one of the D800's strong points.

You then ingest the cards to your laptop. You could save the card, not overwrite it or save, say the SD card (they're cheap) until you have multiple copies somewhere. That way, you are protected from having your laptop stolen / destroyed on the road.

You can ingest to separate hard drives - laptop and external. Photo Mechanic will support that as will Lightroom (I think).

You can have multiple external drives. Those are cheap as well.

You can upload to Dropbox or another 'cloud' provider. That's pretty slow with D800 files unless you've got a great Internet connection.

You can burn DVDs of your pics - that's kinda slow and old but it's cheap and effective at least for short term storage.

At home you can have a NAS box (Network attached storage) - basically a dedicated computer stuffed with hard drives that attaches to your home network. I have a nice Synology unit that also backs up to USB drives for off site backup.

Which brings me to my last point. Even if you have stuff stored at home, you should have a copy stored off site - work, bank box, friend's house or whatever - in the event that you have a catastrophe at your house.

My work flow is camera -> laptop. In the field I don't overwrite the cards unless I really have to and never before I copy at least the raw files to an external drive. I always make sure I have at least two copies of the RAW file. I tag the files, dump them out to at least one external drive. If I'm going out of country, I take two external drives and put one in the luggage of a companion. That way, if customs gets really weird, or if my luggage gets stolen, I still hopefully have a copy.

Then laptop -> desktop and then desktop -> NAS

At home, I transfer the files to my desktop and the NAS, work on them, recopy the completed and tagged files to the NAS.

And finally NAS -> External hard drive stored off site.

Then have the NAS make an external drive that I take to work weekly.

Since I use OS X, I also have a Time Machine drive that copies everything for about 30 days. That way, when I accidentally erase 4 GB of carefully tagged files and realize the next day, I'm not too depressed (I've done that a couple of times,,,,).

Sounds complicated but pretty much everything is scripted and mostly automatic. While there are scenarios that can cause me to lose data, unless something really, really bad happens I shouldn't be down more than a week.

And one more thing. Test your backups. Just because you made the backup, doesn't mean that you can read it. I tend to avoid any backup program that compresses or optimizes the files since you are beholden to that manufacturer to read the files at some point in the future. Trust no software! (or hardware).

Sorry, a bit long and rambling, but you do need to think out what you want to do and how much effort you're willing to expend.

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RG www.lostrange.com

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