Initially I was going to simply ask you “How do you archive your pictures” on facebook and google+ then I thought that maybe it would be better to give some insight on the workflow I follow myself since it might help the discussion.
As of today, I am sitting on a little bit more than 100k pictures and a bit more less than 1 terabytes of data, 85%+ out of which are photography related: Original pictures, Retouched Versions, layered edits etc… and there have very high value to me. I could easily imagine myself loosing, stolen/corruption/failure, the hardware but not any of my data.
I am not covering in this post how I organize my pictures nor which DAM, Digital Asset Management, software I use but rather how many copies of this info I have and where do I store them.
How many copies and their locations
I keep 3 exact copies on 3 different external disks
Copy 2 is on a Western Digital My Book Essential and is at office connected to a file server and is synchronized pretty much every other day.
Copy 3 is on a Western Digital WD Elements and is offline. I keep it at home in a fire and water proof safe, and is synchronized every other week or so.
If my data is important to me, I surely don’t want anyone else to have access to it without my consent. For that reason copies 1 and 2 are encrypted using Microsoft Bitlocker technology.
Yes I am a Microsoft person, however for people intrested in drive encryption and that would prefer a more open platform you can take a look at TrueCrypt.
Copy 3, the one kept in a safe, is not encrypted and is kept as a fail-safe option.
To keep these 3 copies in sync I use AllWaySync: A great piece of software that has true 3 way synchronization. I have paid for the pro version 5 years ago and been using it ever since.
Maybe you think all this is overkill for just a “bunch of pictures” but the whole investment cost me less than $400. A price anyone would pay in a heartbeat to try to recover data from a failing disk.
Well all this sounds like a well thought off strategy however I am not sure that disks are good for long term storage…
10 years ago my archiving strategy relied on CDs and DVDs and theses are not age proof either.
So what do you think? Am I too paranoid? Would external disks still be readable 10 years from now? and how do you do it with your pictures?