As photographs accumulate in our collections, and as new cameras grow in resolution and file size, so does the pain of management grow for us anxious photographers. What are you using to protect your emotional/financial assets? This is a real question, as I haven’t been able to come up with a definitive answer by myself.
Sure, the Cloud is beautiful, but the use case of most online storage solutions is not one most of us togs will find appealing.
So here’s a description of my situation and need. I’d love to hear about yours and the solution you have implemented.
Over the years, my collection has grown to over 40 000 photographs. Far more than that, in fact, but a good half of it has been lost on CD. Nothing that matters, just all the photographs of my kids growing and the first travels we did as a family. Nothing that matters. Hence my eagerness to protect what is left.
I use LightRoom to process my photographs (and am currently testing Capture 1 as an alternate solution). My RAW files are therefore visible in LR, organized in yearly folders (and daily subfolders).
My computer’s internal hard drives are no longer large enough to hold this and I have reverted to external hard drives for the older photographs, to supplement the internal drive. This works, but external drives can break / be lost (don’t ask) / be stolen (welcome to Marseilles) / … So both the internal and external drives have to be backed up on … more external drives.
Many photographers, including our own Paul P and many pros use Dobro raid systems for great security. Perfectly good solution except for 3 details :
Imagine a cloud-based external hard drive that shows up on your file system like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Amazon Cloud Drive. 2015 photographs are on your internal SSD (as well as on the cloud drive, for backup) all others (which you don’t edit as frequently) are only on the cloud drive. You just delete years from your internal drive as you go and redirect your editing software to the online folder. Wonderfully simple, right ?
The slower access speed isn’t much of a problem since you’re not using the older RAW photographs anywhere near as much and the 1-10% of print-ready / sales-ready TIFFs are stored locally (and backed up). Perfect! Deal!
Not gonna happen, though. Cloud-based storage seems to come in one of two flavours:
So far, I haven’t been able to implement my dream backup solution and WD Passport drives are still accumulating, gathering dust and attracting entropy like mature cheese does flies.
I’m currently investigating Amazon S3. This is the actual storage system used by the big boys (Netflix and others) as well as my company’s SaaS software and many of the cheap 1rst-category cloud-based backup apps mentioned previously. It comes as a set of web services and pricing seems mostly driven by transfer volume (30$ per TB, roughly). Seems powerful, secure and affordable. But can it be accessed by a file management system? I’ve asked, await the answer and am keeping my hopes really low.
So there you have it.
On the one side physical storage with all the right features but pesky management. On the other dozens of online services that all force an unwanted feature set down your throat but don’t let you use files as a more basic drive would.
But maybe I haven’t looked hard enough. Maybe, some of you have come up with an elegant solution than can change the life of others in a very positive way. If so, please let us know 😉 Please, pretty please!
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