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#3202752 - 12/01/13 10:30 AM Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 33595
Loc: New Jersey
I want to archive all my photos to a HDD and keep it in the safe deposit box. This way if I was ever to lose/encounter an HDD failure of the main HDD that I use for transferring photos off my camera/computer, Id still have a good backup of my stuff.

So the question is, what should I buy?

They have nice 1+TB drives that are USB 3.0 and in the 2.5" form factor, fully enclosed. That would be sensible to minimize volume and be a convenient size. But is that the best bet? Would I be better off buying a bare full size 3.5" drive? I have a hard plastic case that I could store it in to keep it clean. I have a SATA-USB device in my home that I can use to make it a USB 3.0HDD when Im actually updating the files on it.

What would you recommend? Our box isn't very big, so I don't want something too bulky. Quality and ability to archive data for the long run is important.

Thanks!

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#3202768 - 12/01/13 10:46 AM Re: Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure [Re: JHZR2]
barlowc Offline


Registered: 03/16/09
Posts: 2033
Loc: Southeast Michigan
What about burning to archival-quality DVD? Or do you have enough photos that you need the size of a hard drive?
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#3202769 - 12/01/13 10:47 AM Re: Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure [Re: JHZR2]
dparm Offline


Registered: 04/19/10
Posts: 12499
Loc: Chicago, IL
Ever considered an online backup service? Obviously Flickr provides a massive amount of storage, but there are automated services like CrashPlan, Carbonite, Mozy, Amazon, etc.

As for platter-based drives, there are enterprise-grade models available that should be more reliable. You should consider using a resilient file system like ZFS.

There are also archival-grade Blu-ray discs and DVDs.
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#3202775 - 12/01/13 10:53 AM Re: Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 33595
Loc: New Jersey
Especially since Ive started shooting with a 36MP camera, the files are large and take a lot of space. I have a lot of photos, and want to have enough space for the long run. It would take 6+ 25GB Blu Ray discs, and I don't have a blu ray burner... Seems that the cost for the archival quality discs plus the burner is more than Id pay for an enterprise HDD like the Seagate 1-2TB.

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#3202788 - 12/01/13 11:06 AM Re: Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure [Re: JHZR2]
uc50ic4more Offline


Registered: 05/31/06
Posts: 2435
Loc: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Since the HDD will not be spinning, and will be in a reasonably climate-controlled environment I would not fret much over the brand or even size. My instinct would be to find out what brands and models are being used for enterprise-quality servers and/ or corporate workstation systems and get me one o' those; but given that this prospective HDD is going to live the laziest and most sedentary life a HDD would ever expect to live, you can set the bar pretty low on this one.

For mission-critical stuff like photos of my kids that I'd like to still view 20+ years from now I think we have to accept two conditions:

1) We will have this data on a different format storage than we do now. Even archive-quality DVD's have a finite and unpredictable shelf life, and could storage is in it's infancy and may be unstable in terms of which providers and which technologies sustain.

2) We will need some sort of vigilance on keeping up with continuing to migrate our data every several years or so to new storage. For example, let's say you buy yourself a brand spankin' new SATA 1TB HDD. In X number of years from now (5? 10? more?) when you need to restore this stuff, it may well be the case that only old timers have ever even heard of "SATA" and no one can find a system that you can plug this ancient relic into. I still have a 7.5"/s 1/4" audio tape given to me by a neighbour to transfer to a CD. She gave this to me 8 years ago, knowing I am a recording engineer. I told her that no one uses analog tape anymore but I know some folks who still have the 2-track machines. I searched and searched and even found some folks who still have 1/4" machines; but no one has one that plays at that slow a speed (they're all 15"/s or 30). The archival strategy backfired.

Here's what I do with photos and documents, for what it's worth: I keep a working copy on my machine. I keep a copy physically decoupled from my machine (and any power sources) in a separate room to mitigate against hackers and electrical spikes and children who like to stick peanut butter sandwiches into things. I keep a third copy off-site (in the cloud for smaller files like photos and documents; or on a HDD in a separate premises for full-res videos and other really large stuff) to mitigate against floods, fire and theft. Now, my only day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year burden is making sure that those three copies are on something that is viably usable currently. My off-site HDD, for example, is a USB HDD. When USB 2.0 is no longer viably usable I will copy the whole shootin' match to whatever supplants USB as the preferred transfer protocol. It's not unreasonable to think that this would have to be done only every decade or so?

EDIT: One more thing: When it comes to photos we also have to be careful about our file formats. Sooner or later these compressed formats will not longer be necessary and will become obsolete. I shoot RAW but keep .jpeg's, too. that RAW data will be parsable years from now. jpeg's? Who knows.

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#3202877 - 12/01/13 12:46 PM Re: Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure [Re: JHZR2]
berniedd Offline


Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 352
Loc: A Warm place to live in
Make at least 3 copies of really important files and store them in different locations. (If they are all in the same house and the house burned down...) Uc50's recommendations are very sound. And don't be too sure about a hard drive's reliability, even if it's not used. I bought a new Seagate drive a few years ago, used it only once, and stored it in a cool dry place. After a year, I tried using it again but it was dead. Nothing lasts forever.

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#3203342 - 12/01/13 08:52 PM Re: Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 33595
Loc: New Jersey
Yes uc50 had lots of great advice, and that's essentially how I desire to work - a working copy, an archive at home, and then an archive offsite that I update maybe every six months or something. If/when an interface becomes near obsolete, I can change and do a transfer. For now, Id buy a USB 3.0 HDD and leave it at that.

so the big question is if Im really buying and really need the reliability, by going with an enterprise 3.5" HDD that I connect via a USB-SATA converter, or if Im better off just getting a 2.5" HDD that comes as a USB 3.0 unit and calling it a day... Something like the WB My Passport.

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#3203777 - 12/02/13 10:23 AM Re: Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure [Re: JHZR2]
uc50ic4more Offline


Registered: 05/31/06
Posts: 2435
Loc: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
so the big question is if Im really buying and really need the reliability, by going with an enterprise 3.5" HDD that I connect via a USB-SATA converter, or if Im better off just getting a 2.5" HDD that comes as a USB 3.0 unit and calling it a day... Something like the WB My Passport.


I'd like to get an intelligent opinion about the value of redundant commodity hardware versus enterprise-quality hardware.

Example, is there sense in using multiple (redundant) cheap HDD's or one reputable enterprise HDD for any given dollar? I'd kinda feel comfortable with my data mirrored on 3 $100 HDD's in separate locations than on a $300 HDD of the same capacity. Even for consumer-grade hardware the odds of 3 HDD's failing after only a few hours of use is astronomical. I have always used the consumer-grade approach both for RAID setups in my recording studio and for backup/ archival drives. If (sorry, *when*) the cheap drives fail I just order a new one and restore the data from it's redundant partner HDD and carry on with my life.

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#3203782 - 12/02/13 10:29 AM Re: Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure [Re: JHZR2]
uc50ic4more Offline


Registered: 05/31/06
Posts: 2435
Loc: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
A devious thought just occurred to me, as well: Bundle up all of your data in one encrypted archive file, title it "OMG LOL Britney Spears Lady Gaga Kardashian" and post it to The Pirate Bay. You'll have several thousand copies floating around in various countries for years that you'll have immediate access to if you ever lose the data! You could also put the words "Marx anarchist" into the meta data of every photo and the NSA would be happy to keep a copy for you at no charge. :^)

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#3203819 - 12/02/13 11:06 AM Re: Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure [Re: JHZR2]
Hokiefyd Offline


Registered: 06/24/04
Posts: 11091
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
so the big question is if Im really buying and really need the reliability, by going with an enterprise 3.5" HDD that I connect via a USB-SATA converter, or if Im better off just getting a 2.5" HDD that comes as a USB 3.0 unit and calling it a day... Something like the WB My Passport.


That's what we have, except that it's a Seagate GoFlex I think. And this is actually our ONLY backup copy. I was temped to buy a 1 TB USB drive this weekend but never got around to it. Because I would like to have an additional drive in a second location, as you plan to do and as uc50 already does.

But all of our data files are backed up incrementally to the GoFlex using Windows 8's File History backup program (which seems to work a lot like Mac OS X's Time Machine). So our working backup copy is up to date to the hour. The additional layer of protection I'd like to have is a second hard drive onto which I can image our working backup once every six months or something. We have a fire/flood safe box in our closet that I feel is reasonably secure where I'd probably keep it. The biggest threat would be if someone walked off with it or if a tornado picked it up and dropped it in Maryland.
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#3203888 - 12/02/13 12:16 PM Re: Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 33595
Loc: New Jersey
Yes I have time machine, but any of my computers would have been long overfilled if I left all my photos on them. I keep an archive of all my shots. Thousands. Hi-res too. 6-20 MB per, typically, and with the new camera, theyre all 14-20 MB.

But I just picked up the red WD my passport 1TB at Amazon for $69.99. The black and other colors are priced differently, red was cheapest when I was on there. Not opposed to buying something else, or using another approach, but this takes care of it for now.

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#3203961 - 12/02/13 01:39 PM Re: Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure [Re: JHZR2]
uc50ic4more Offline


Registered: 05/31/06
Posts: 2435
Loc: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
But I just picked up the red WD my passport 1TB at Amazon for $69.99. ........ but this takes care of it for now.


Just before this thread gets put out to pasture I'd like to play devil's advocate and say that if this collection of data is worth more than $70 to you, buying another identical drive and mirroring them will cut your odds of catastrophic failure (ie. both drives failing simultaneously) to darn near nuthin'. Don't plug them in at the same time (in case of power spikes) and back them up independently (to mitigate against strange transfer and/ or data corruption glitches) THEN sit back and relax.

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#3204341 - 12/02/13 08:25 PM Re: Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure [Re: JHZR2]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 33595
Loc: New Jersey
Oh I already have one. I keep my stuff on multiple drives at home, and not on my computer.

The question was really regarding archiving stuff at an offsite location and what would be the best drive to do that with, given that it will see next to no use and notionally the best possible climate for long-term storage.

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#3204401 - 12/02/13 09:17 PM Re: Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure [Re: JHZR2]
Virtuoso Offline


Registered: 02/25/03
Posts: 2622
Loc: Cow town, NE
I do the same thing, basically. One copy at the bank in a safe deposit box, and another at work in a drawer. I use WD drives but anything works when you're using more than one.

I'm old school though and use batch files to back up active directories (desktop/documents/pictures/etc) to Live (current) and archive (nothing deleted) folders. Works well.

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#3204921 - 12/03/13 12:18 PM Re: Archive HDD in a Safe Deposit Box - size/enclosure [Re: JHZR2]
javacontour Offline


Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 7537
Loc: Illinois
I tend towards the idea that enterprise drives are overkill for this venture and may not give you the best bang for the buck.

I would go with multiple consumer based devices and a rotation schedule.

Have a drive at home, connected for daily/weekly syncing of your critical data.

Have a second drive offsite in a safe deposit box, etc.

Monthly, swap the drives.

This way, you periodically refresh your data stored off site, as well as have a second copy local.

If your needs or technology changes, you can upgrade the drives in the rotation.

I have gotten away from the SDB storage and just back up computers to one another. One computer has an iDrive account and it backs up irreplaceable files on-line.

The cloud based backup is nice because if I need a file, I can get it from the web via my browser.

Can't do that with a drive in the SDB.

It just depends on what your needs are and what risks you are trying to mitigate.
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