I wrote this post 3 years ago but now it’s again backup time for me so let’s see what changed.
Well, not much 🙂 I talked with a lot of colleagues, gathering experiences, trying to find better or more secure way for my backup but nothing changed. No one convinced me that their solution is better so I decided that I’ll just make some minor adjustments to my backup workflow.
Let’s take a look what was I thinking and writing 3 years ago.
Everyone of us has at least ones lost their more or less valuable data on their computer, mostly because we were lazy, stupid or just cheap.
It usually looks like this. You max up your hard disk with all the documents, stolen music from all around the web that you nurture for years, bunch of photos witnessing the crazy parties you want to forget and then suddenly that hard disk said that’s enough. And it just dies.
Well it doesn’t just die. Your disk is attention seeker so before its last breath it will make some weird noise, its last cough. But you know yourself, you are lazy, cheap and little dumb so you think it will pass. And it will, it will pass away and it won’t leave any testament behind. It’s just gonna be you and a piece of cold metal (or plastic). At that moment you’ll blame everyone and everything except you. You’re gonna hate Windows, Microsoft, Apple, you’ll curse all the gods; you’ll even hate the song playing on the radio.
After you got burned and if you still got some functional brain left, you will think about some kind of backup to avoid this tragedy in future.
For us photographers most precious are off course our photos that we secretly think of as little master pieces that humanity must have to keep the evolution process.
At a beginning of my “photo career” I was burning DVD’s as a backup method cause hard disks were not so cheap back then and I wasn’t shooting so much. And off course files were smaller.
I was taking care of that DVD’s, I was keeping them in special cases, I practically never used them but in time DVD’s and CD’s lifecycle ends. Suddenly DVD players can’t read them or it takes longer, sometimes they even peal of and become unusable.
Since I started shooting RAW and I didn’t trust DVD/CD backup I bought my first external 1 TB hard disk for backup, I’m copying all the DVD’s to hard disk and throwing them in garbage.
As time flies by 1 TB turns to 2 TB, and one more for a mirror copy that I keep in a drawer and never use it.
But that 2 TB was also getting a bit tight so I started thinking of some other solutions and ways to backup.
Some of my colleagues switched to some smarter solutions for handling their photos in form of NAS (Network-Attached storage). I always thought of NAS as some bigger network solution, fileserver or something like that and I never thought that it’s gonna be a home solution if you want it.
Market was spreading, prices were dropping so it was no problem to upgrade your one external disk on your desk to one of NAS solutions.
At that moment I started thinking about buying one for myself. I was asking questions, reading, sniffing all over internet, trying to figure out do I really need it, is it overkill and stuff like that.
Basically NAS is a case where you throw your hard disks. Sure it is also a computer connected to your network, it has hot swap option to replace your disks, you can configure RAID fields bla bla but it is a pretty expensive toy because beside NAS itself you still need to buy hard disks to fill it up. And then you got some sweet box with bunch of hard disks with all these featured, making noise on your desktop and spreading heat but you still don’t have backup. All your disks are in one box and no mirrors in it or redundancy is not gonna save your photos from lightning strike or some other shit like that.
So I decided I will skip this NAS thing and look further.
WD My Cloud
At that time I discovered Western Digital’s Cloud disks. Price was OK for 4 TB and this Cloud thing was interesting so I was curious about it.
It looks like a normal external Western Digital disk but it has Cloud in it’s name and a UTP port for your home network connectivity. Once the files are on disk they are available to all your devices connected to home network. It can also automatically backup that devices and you can approach it outside your home with smart device application or computer with network connection and enjoy your photos on the field.
If you buy another one you can mirror your photos to it so you have a solid and modern backup.
I was one step from buying it but then I slept over and off course next day found some bad things about it. A lot of people were complaining about bad smartphone application connectivity, server crashing down and some more minor things. Even WD sad these things are really the problem and they are working on it but I didn’t want to wait for their engineers to find a solution, especially after I found out that USB port on it is only for extra hard disk connection, not connection with your computer. That means all your files need to be transferred via Ethernet cable. No thank you.
WD My Book Studio
So, I’m back at the starting point. That means I’ll be using a bit primitive but effective option hard disk + hard disk. One on my table connected to computer and other as a mirror copy of the first one hidden somewhere in the drawer, used only when I’m mirroring my files to it.
I’ve chose WD My Book Studio 4 TB for couple of reasons. First it has metal case, not a plastic one which is better for heating and it also gives you extra year of warranty. It is also preformatted for Mac, compatible with Time Machine and it complements the look of my iMac 🙂
And now what?
3 years after this backup episode nothing changed. I still don’t see NAS as a smart solution for what I need, WD My Cloud now have only one port and it is UTP, I didn’t find new third option so I should start looking for two affordable 8 TB hard disks.
At this moment I think I’ll buy WD My Book (new) because in these three years I didn’t have any problems with My Book Studio so I’ll continue to use them.
If you have some better solutions please write a comment so I don’t waste my money.