Online Data Storage

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by alex_gregory|1, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. Hi there,
    I’m looking to store approximately 4TB of data online, in an archive which would be added to now and again. The difficulty/time required to upload this data in the first place is not a concern.
    I have a very good on-site backup system in place, but would like to use an online service such as Crashplan to store everything as an off-site backup. This wouldn’t be relied on as a main backup option, more as a ‘if all else fails’ archive of data which I can call upon if multiple hard drives crash and my office explodes…
    I’m not interested in regularly backing up from my computer, I’d simply like the option to maintain an online store of all my previous work which I can add to and recover from if necessary. Essentially, I suppose I’d like to create an online archive of all of my data. Data which is not actually stored on my computer’s hard drives anymore, but on various external hard drives and servers that aren’t always connected to my main machine.
    My problem is that it appears most services such as Crashplan or Opendrive aren’t really intended to be used in this way. Although they offer ‘unlimited storage’, they are designed to constantly backup the data on your computer as you’re using it. I’d like to be able to turn off the option to sync the service to my computer, and essentially just use it as an online archive which I maintain manually as and when I feel like it. Is this possible with Crashplan or any of the consumer-level online backup services?
    Any information, or advice from anyone that uses this or any other service in a similar way would be extremely useful. Also - and I appreciate this may be an unrealistic requirement - I’d like to keep the cost down as much as possible. Services like Crashplan and Opendrive also appeal as they come in around £10 - £15 per month…
    I know there are posts such as this one:
    So I apologise in advance if people feel that this is repeated topic, but I didn’t feel that I got any real answers from the other threads, so I thought it may be worth raising this subject again.
    I very much look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts and opinions.
    Thanks in advance,
    Alex Gregory
  2. Backblaze.........
    Files change and Backblaze backs them up. By default, Backblaze simply backs up all the time so you don't have to remember. But if you wish, you can schedule Backblaze to backup at a convenient time or only when you click "Backup Now".
    Or just buy a hard drive, archive to it and leave it at a friends house or something.
  3. Hi Howard,
    Thanks for the response. I was under the impression that if you delete your data from your computer, it's deleted from Backblaze after 30 days? It's just that if that's the case, then that doesn't work for me as my data will be stored on drives that aren't connected to my computer.

  4. I dont use BB so your impression may be correct. Like I said, if your goal is to have an 'emergency' archive, just get a disk (or 2) and keep it off-site
  5. Yeah, thank you, that's certainly a way to go, but at this point for various reasons, I'm just looking for help with online archiving.
  6. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    Been using CrashPlan for over a year, no issues. It is NOT my primarily back up.
  7. Andrew - is it possible to turn off the constant syncing to your computer and just use it as a way of archiving files that aren't stored in a place that the program can see?
  8. There is an Achilles heel to the cloud based backups that I've looked at.
    If you delete a file on your home computer, the clock starts ticking. If you don't recover it from the cloud within XX days (usually 30) then it's gets deleted in cloud. They don't tell you that up front, you have to dig deep to get that tidbit. I'm not saying that all of the services are like that, the every one that I looked at behaved that way. When I emailed them, the response was - we are a backup service, you might want to look for an archive service.
    I have well over 100K photos, the chances of me recognizing that I deleted one, or a folder by mistake are slim. It's a total of over 8TB. If I lose all the files (worst case scenario), the recovery time coming back from the cloud would stretch on for ever.
    My method - I back up to an external USB drive, send it home with one of my kids who lives about 5 miles away
  9. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    is it possible to turn off the constant syncing to your computer and just use it as a way of archiving files that aren't stored in a place that the program can see?​
    Yes (in a way). At least here's one way. Go into the app, Backup. You can set the backup to run every 365 days or whatever. But keep in mind, only new data that you specify (by folder, etc) will backup. There's only 'constant syncing' of new or changed data. But I can see how this would be useful to turn off.
    Here's another way. I also use a process to backup when I desire by keeping that data on a separate drive. For example, I have a Lightroom backup drive that has all my images and LR data. A main LR drive is always hooked up. So when I want to backup the LR data, I first clone the always attached drive to the backup drive. CrashPlan is supposed to back up that 'backup drive' and only will if I attached it to the Mac. CrashPlan detects the drive is now mounted and then backs it up. So there are various strategies to control this process.
  10. For your needs (4TB of "just storage"), you don't want one of the backup products, but rather a simple on-line storage system.
    For example:
    • Amazon S3 (industrial strength):
    • Amazon Cloud Drive (personal):
    • Google Drive:
    I'm sure there are others. I think Barracuda Networks has something like that, too.
  11. First, what type of data are you considering storing online? I would recommend not storing online any financial data, e.g. tax returns, bank or brokerage statements, Quicken files, etc. or anything with name, address or social security number.
    If you are storing images, store online only those images that you would not mind being made public, that would include making public the EXIF data, especially the GPS data if any, associated with the images.
    If there is nothing confidential, then Geoff Sobering's suggestion is a very good one. Use the free storage provided by Amazon Cloud Drive, Google Drive, and Microsoft Sky Drive (or whatever they call it these days) in combination to make up your 4TB.
  12. I've been using Amazon S3 + JungleDisk for years. After the initial upload, you can certainly turn off syncing.
  13. I've been using Crashplan for over 4 years now. It works well for me. I leave it running permanently, but presume one could terminate the application when one doesn't want it running. Alternatively, one can put Crashplan into sleep mode for up to 2 days.

    With respect to Tudor ApMadoc's comment that "If you delete a file on your home computer, the clock starts ticking. If you don't recover it from the cloud within XX days (usually 30) then it's gets deleted in cloud" that is NOT the case with Crashplan. The default for "remove deleted files" is never. By way of example, I recently discovered that I had accidentally deleted a RAW file from my 2011 catalog. No idea when I deleted it, but I restored it without any problems from Crashplan.

    I also backup to external hard drives. The file that I'd accidentally deleted wasn't on those hard drives as they typically only have backups from the last year or so.
  14. If Tudor ApMadoc's suggestion isn't enough for you(Its somewhat what I do), I would also look at Geoff Sobering's suggestion. I would also follow Brook Gelfand's suggestion, I simply don't trust clouds run by others. If top companies can simply lose your data, or make it public, why would you go through the hassle?
    And if that IS something to consider and still what a cloud-like storage sollution, then what I recommend doing is creating your own "private cloud".
    Setup a NAS or drive system at a different location(family, friend, other home, or office), with a port/network connection to it, and use a backup application like Acronis or something to connect and backup to the remote drive. Done!
    With the price of a 4TB drives, its my preferred method...MUCH faster to recover anything, specially large sections of info.

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