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 Friday, May 5, 2017
RAID is the acronym for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. A RAID 1, RAID 5 or RAID 6 disk array, using two or more disk drives storing enough redundant information to permit continued operation through at least a single drive failure and subsequent rebuilding of a replacement drive, is a great image file and video storage option and I highly recommend implementing it. But, a RAID array featuring mirrored drives (RAID 1) or a parity drive (RAID 5) is not, alone, enough protection. Here are some reasons why:
 
  1. RAID does not protect from inadvertent file deletion or other issues including undetected/accidental drag and drop. In a RAID system, all copies of data are immediately treated the same, with the redundant file and/or parity information being updated at the same time as the primary drive information. You will likely find yourself needing to retrieve a copy of a file from a backup more frequently than you will have the drive failures that RAID strategies protect against.
  2. RAID does not protect from malicious viruses.
  3. RAID does not protect from fire or other disasters.
  4. RAID does not protect from theft or other intentional destruction.
  5. RAID does not protect from data corruption. I have a long IT background and have multiple times lost servers due to RAID array corruption. While this should not happen, one of Bryan's Laws of Photography comes into play here: "If it can, it will."
  6. RAID does not always protect from a second drive failure prior to recovery from an initial drive failure. While the odds of two drives failing within a short period of time may be low, drives in a RAID array are often aging at the same rate and influenced by the same factors including power and heat issues. A friend just lost 3 of 5 drives in a name brand RAID array due to a firmware/software issue.
Your RAID array must be backed up frequently and at least one current backup must be stored securely off-site. Look at what you have at stake (your entire image collection?) and implement a backup strategy that adequately protects those assets.
 
What are the backup options for a RAID array?
 
RAID array backup options include:
 
  1. External hard drives including external RAID arrays
  2. Network attached storage including network attached storage drives
  3. LTO tape drives
There are online/internet backup options available for those fortunate enough to have adequate internet connection bandwidth, but if relying solely on an online service for your backup needs, you must have a great deal of trust in the company you are purchasing this service from. These companies can vanish at the throw of a switch. Also, make sure that some form of file archive access is provided to protect against inadvertent file deletions, etc. from being replicated to the service.
Posted to: Canon News, Nikon News, Sony News   Category: Image Backup
Post Date: 5/5/2017 6:45:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
 Friday, April 28, 2017
I know, you thought that you could avoid math if you pursued photography. But, there is one math test that all photographers must pass.
 
For this test, you need to answer two questions:
 
1. When was the last date you captured an image that you care about? In the equation above, that's value "A".
 
2. When was the last date you backed up all of your images with a copy stored at a trusted off-site location? That's value "B".
 
Subtract your second answer from your first to get "C", a duration in days (or go to hours for a higher precision). I know, date subtraction is not so easy, but ... hopefully the answer involves a small enough number for you to do the math in your head.
 
If the result is a near-zero value, I congratulate you heartily (0 is the perfect score). You are among a minority. If you needed to resort to a date calculator app to solve this math problem, you are in imminent danger of losing something important to you, perhaps an image collection that has taken a decade or longer to create. If your duration-since-last-backup calculation is multiple days, right now is when you need to do something about this problem. It is only a matter of time until you lose the images captured since your last backup – you can be assured that failure will happen.
 
If you don't know where to start, buy a few WD My Passport external hard drives at B&H, Adorama or Amazon. I have dozens of these drives, have used them for roughly a decade and have had no failures ever (I know, I'm due). These drives are very small (great for portability to the referenced off-site location), reasonably-priced and, with the latest models arriving in 4TB capacities, they hold a LOT of high resolution photos. Simply copy all of your images (and any other important files) to two or more drives and move at least one to a safe off-site location. Best is to use a rotation of multiple drives that insures all copies are never in the same location. Being a bit paranoid (AKA experienced in these matters), I use a double redundancy approach.
 
Hopefully you sleep better knowing that your images are safely backed up. If something terrible happens, such as a house fire, you can focus on getting you and your loved ones out of the house instead of making a desperate rescue attempt of a prized image collection.
 
Timely is that after I initially created this post but before I shared it, the SSD (Solid State Drive) in one of our laptops became corrupt.
 
Again, right now is the time to shore up your image preservation strategy.
Posted to: Canon News, Nikon News, Sony News   Category: Image Backup
Post Date: 4/28/2017 7:30:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
   
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