Backup Your Digital Photography

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Today I would like to talk to you about a subject that is often uncomfortable, and even a little confusing at times.  Using protection.  Now I know what you are probably thinking.  “Why should I worry about protection? I’m smart about it, and I try to use safe practices.  Besides, that could never happen to me.”  I used to think that too, but yesterday I had quite a scare.  I realized hard drive failure and data loss can happen to anyone, at anytime.  Even if you have a RAID server and a backup system.  

It’s embarrassing to think about how I used to store my pictures.  External hard drives all over the office. Random pictures here and there.  Finally I realized that I needed to get serious and invest in a RAID Server. This thing has 8 hard drives in it, and it is possible to lose one drive without losing any data.  It’s happened three times now in the last year, which I am told is not uncommon for running that many drives.  I heard that Google has a hard drive go bad every three minutes.  Crazy! After the second drive went bad a few months ago, I decided to add an additional backup system to the server.  So now every few days, a copy of the data on the server is captured onto two external hard drives. 

Now for one of the scariest moments of my career.  Tuesday I heard a noise coming from the server.  My network admin said that it was a drive, but I should be fine to keep working until he could swap it out the next day.  Not long after, several hard drive lights started flashing red.  I tried to access the server, and in the root directory, I was greeted with, “0 bytes.  No files available.”  What!?  

It turns out that I didn’t lose anything.  One drive went bad, and after putting a new one in, everything went back to normal.  But this has me thinking I may need to add another RAID server to backup the one I already have.  I am also going to be keeping backup drives at off site locations.  No more taking chances.  I do not want to go through this again.

Even if you aren’t a professional photographer, it can be devastating to lose all of your personal pictures.   So many people have pictures on one drive, or on a disc.  Discs and drives go bad!  Always keep multiple copies of your data.  External hard drives are very affordable these days, so there are no excuses.  I seriously recommend taking the following steps to everyone.

1: Keep your pictures organized by creating a filing system that makes sense.
2: Never store data on the C: drive.  If you need to reformat, or reinstall your OS, this can be a problem.  Have a separate drive for your data.
3: Backup your data!  Make sure that everything you save is on at least two different drives.  I do not recommend CD’s or DVD’s.  They go bad!
4: Keep a backup of your data at a second location.  This might be extreme for some people.  But if it’s your career, like it is mine, do it.

There you have it.  Please talk to your loved ones about the importance of using data protection.