Archive for the ‘Storage’ Category

OneDrive Cloud Storage goes unlimited

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

Microsoft this week upgraded their OneDrive cloud storage solution to unlimited storage for Office365 users.

It seems to be a multi-stage process, 10TB now and Unlimited later, but that means for £80 per annum you get Microsoft Office and unlimited OneDrive storage.

As someone who uses Amazon Web Services, GDrive and OneDrive, along with local disk drive backups and Backblaze, this is a) very welcome, and b) allows me to streamline my cloud storage needs.

On my current tiers:

AWS costs me $7 per month (averaged)
Drive costs me $9.99 per month (A 10TB tier would cost $99.99 per month)
Backblaze which is a complete computer backup is $47.50 per annum.

I have a feeling that I will drop GDrive when my renewal occurs later this month, and I will review AWS. It is highly useful and has saved my bacon on a couple of occasions, but the disadvantage is that it is that bit harder to access (and costs money to restore). I use Arq from Haystack Software, which I highly recommend, to manage the process.


One thing to be clear on as pointed out by Peter Deegan @dhcphotouk is that OneDrive as only allows a string of 256 ch including file paths.

Backups, for those awkward moments when…

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

As I have been busier in my work life, I have also had less time for photography and photographic management, which meant that my generally doctrinal adherence to organisation and naming got a bit lax over the last year or so. And this nearly came to bite me last week.

I’ve don’t name my imported files only the ones that are ‘keepers’. Keepers being defined as having 1* and above. The next level is Portfolio which would be 4* and 5* images.

Once Keepers have been defined, I rename them in the catalog, convert to DNG, and copy them to a different drive (in Lightroom). The naming structure of these is:


The Keepers folder is normally synched overnight to another drive using Chronosync (with file verification). Somehow this must have stopped happening without me realising, and last week the Keepers drive went kaput.

The cold sweat of worry slowly enveloped me as I realised what had happened. And then it dawned on me that I had one extra trick up my sleeve and that is that my Keepers folder had been backed up to the cloud since April.

I have been using Amazon Web Services with some software on the Mac called Arc $39.99, which manages the process of backing up and restoring. (There is a PC equivalent of Arc called, Zoolz.)

Sure enough there was a full backup of my Keepers folder on the cloud. All I needed to do was find what I needed to restore, click a restore button and wait overnight (in this case) until everything appeared.


The Economics

Using Amazon Glacier is cheaper to store than the full S3 service, the downside is that there is a 3-5 hour delay to restore, but that should be fine for most cases. If you need faster restores then Arc can also handle using S3. Here is the basic difference between Glacier and S3:

Glacier S3
Price $0.01/GB per month $.095/GB per month
Retrieval Delay 3-5hrs 0hrs
Restore Fees $.05/GB per request insignificant

My storage fees have so far averaged at $7 per month, but that has included some other data that I stored on the cloud for a time as well. More recently it has been about $5 per month. All of which means I am storing 400GB for $60-90 a year.

The equivalent Dropbox fees would be a fixed 500GB for $460 per year! I’d have instant access wherever you are, but that isn’t something I need for that price! The next tier up is the business tier which is $760 per year for 1TB.

The Remedy

So with the rather drastic warning from the loss of a drive, I have amended my backup system. Not only have I restored the nightly sync of the Keepers folder using Chronosync, but I have also selected its option to email me when it has performed the scheduled sync. So every morning I get an email with a nice coloured background to tell me details about the backup.

I will add more sychs over the next couple of days, to ensure that other drives have copies of the data too. I’m guessing that verified copies on 3 separate drives, and a cloud backup is a good starting point!

The Moral(s)

  • Always check your backups
  • Have multiple backup strategies
  • Think about Cloud Storage
  • It is not a question of if a drive will fail, but when

James Duncan Davidson on Big Catalogs

Monday, October 31st, 2011

James Duncan Davidson, perhaps best known in the photography world as a conference photographer, has written an article on ways of managing large Libraries (which is equally appropriate for Aperture as it is for Lightroom users).

I imagine that when these, or indeed any photo management applications, were created the developers hadn’t quite considered the management possibilities and pitfalls of truly huge Catalogs.

Huge Catalogs are perfectly manageable, and very useful for searching through all your images, but do you need to keep all of your images? Some will say “Yes, because you never know…” and others are perfectionists who keep only the best. As other strategies have shown, there can be a use for a holding Catalog to hone what you import. This can mitigate against bloat, but it will only hold off for a while

One way to tackle questionable images is to put them into a Collection, and revisit them after a period of time. That will give you a fresh perspective and may avoid hasty judgements which lead you to delete an image which later down the line has some potential. You could take that further and put them in a separate To Be Revisited Catalog, so you still use Lightroom rather than another piece of software, as described in James’ article.

Why do we back up so much?

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

Scott Kelby’s latest post, As Photographers, Are We Backing Up Too Much? touches on a crucial aspect of workflow and storage. In essence, what are you going to do with all those photos that are not Picks or Keepers?

I, like Scott and Terry White, mentioned in the blog post, keep everything, but am forever fighting with diminishing disk space – and this is with 4.5 TB of storage!

My workflow is that anything rated with a star or more in Lightroom is a “Keeper”; so what am I doing with all the zeros? Well at the moment keeping them, but recently my thinking has been aligning with Scott’s, is it worth keeping them?

Every so often I will traverse the zeros and see if there is something I have missed, but perhaps 10% of them might be upgraded so that leaves a big fat 90% clogging up the Catalog.

Perhaps the solution is to Export them all to another catalog, and store that on DVD or Blu-Ray, and delete them from the main Catalog, so keeping the storage requirements at a more manageable level and making your Catalog leaner.

Interesting to hear everyone’s thoughts, both here and on Scott’s blog.

Drobo 2.0 released

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Data Robotics Inc has announced the Drobo 2.0. It includes Firewire 400/800 support which will please the many fans of this data storage robot.

Some comments by Thomas Hawk