How reliable are portable storage devices?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Jasen, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. Jasen

    Jasen Guest

    Been thinking about storage devices myself of late and noticed a related
    post or two about Vosonic and iPods for example. How reliable are they??
    What sort of life can you expect from these things. If things go wrong,
    what measures are there to recover information lost?
    What is the best way to archive your images at the end of the day? CD or
    DVD - single layer or dual DVD???
    We all want our work to last the distance, but what does everyone here do??
    Currently, I back up new images after I upload them onto my computer and
    then after manipulation once more (call me paranoid....I can take it!!),
    onto a DVD re-recordable. But when I go out into the field, it would be nice
    to have a device which I can back up to and then clear my cards for further
    use.....I take heaps of shots to fish out the best ones for use. Seeing as
    I've just got into digital I'm interested in what all you guys do.
    cheers
    Jasen
     
    Jasen, Oct 26, 2005
    #1
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  2. Jasen

    Al Dykes Guest


    Read about storage and lifetimes of CD and DVD media here;

    http://www.itl.nist.gov/div895/carefordisc/CDandDVDCareandHandlingGuide.pdf

    I'm in PC tech support and I've been watching reports of failures in
    external hard disk backpack devices.

    IMO the no-name stuff isn't ready for my data.

    NTFS file systems are still closed to Microsoft. The Linux folks have
    been trying to develip a full function NTFS driver and say they can't
    until MS documents some of it's internals. Until then, Read-write
    drivers for NTFS are not complete. Very large disks formatted with
    NTFS in backpackes are IMO unusually risky hased on the failure
    reports I see. Having a disk on a seperate power line also leaves you
    open for power glitches that corrupt data.

    If you have a name-brand backpack like Maxtor you're better off but I
    would never make a backpack device the sole repository of important
    files.

    Per the NIST document, CDRs *can* be very reliable. That document is
    2 years old and at the time there was still lots of change in the DVD
    catagory but the handling instructions are good.

    CD/DVD media has the advantage of being cheap and you can make several
    copies and keep them at multiple locations.

    I've been doing buisness continuity planning and data center
    operation management for 30 years. Maybe I'm just an old phart.

    My $0.02.
     
    Al Dykes, Oct 26, 2005
    #2
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  3. Jasen

    eawckyegcy Guest

    Jasen probably trolls:
    A few moments at google reveals vast tracts of commentary, review, etc
    on this subject. Try the query:

    "storage device" photos

    on google groups. Note that there is nothing special about photos --
    many other areas (audio, video, literature) are experiencing ballooning
    demands of storage (short and long term), and any solution for them is
    just as good as for images. Bits are bits.

    Basically, there isn't much more one can add to this well-trodden
    subject, beyond, say, new product announcements. But those usually
    appear, and are archived at, the Usual Websites.
     
    eawckyegcy, Oct 26, 2005
    #3
  4. Jasen

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Jasen writes ...
    Sooner or later they will fail ... I've seen up to 10 years MTBE data
    for Seagate external drives but they could fail in 6 months too,
    especially if you're traveling and they are subject to excess shock or
    moisture (or theft).
    For most of my trips I take a laptop computer and a 2nd portable disk
    with a card reader built in, like the Nixvue or Wolverine. I download
    images to the laptop, make a quick edit to cull out what I can safely
    cull, and write from the laptop to the 2nd disk. Then and only then
    will I clear my CF cards. I can do this with a 2 GB card (~250 images)
    in about 15-20 minutes, depending on how long I take editing.

    I try to keep the computer and the disk in separate places, for example
    the disk in the car or my photo jacket and the laptop in the hotel
    room, so if one is stolen I still have backup. Some guys I am friends
    with take a small 2nd disk without the card reader, which is lighter
    and cheaper, but then they are screwed if something goes wrong with the
    laptop (usually a busted screen when it's dropped, from what I've seen
    thus far) while I can at least download the cards to my disks.

    If I can't take a laptop (like on a recent camping trip to Alaska) I
    take two portable drives, right now a 60 GB Nixvue and a 100 GB
    Wolverine, and copy to both drives before clearing the card. I'm
    getting an Epson P-4000 soon (80 GB version of the P-2000), which will
    let me look at the images without a computer. I know all these devices
    will fail one day (especially with the rigors of travel) but the odds
    are very low that two of them will fail on the same trip.
    Neither ... I use external USB or 1394 hard drives (5 at the moment),
    you can get a 250 GB external for $125 on sale ... I keep one at home
    and one in storage and rotate them every time I do a big shoot,
    updating the RAW archives. Again, I know they will fail eventually but
    odds are astronomical they'll both fail at the same time. By the time
    one fails you'll find new ones with 4x the capacity at 1/4th the price
    :)

    Bill
     
    Bill Hilton, Oct 26, 2005
    #4
  5. Jasen

    Jasen Guest

    No, I am not trolling. I simply asked a question.

    But thankyou for answering nonetheless.
     
    Jasen, Oct 26, 2005
    #5
  6. Jasen

    Jasen Guest

    Thanks guys, I appreciate your answers. I like your thinking Bill about
    using two drives.
    I think I'll stick to backup using CD/DVD also, just in case!
     
    Jasen, Oct 26, 2005
    #6
  7. Jasen

    Jasen Guest

    Thanks Al

     
    Jasen, Oct 26, 2005
    #7
  8. Jasen

    Jasen Guest

    Good ideas, thanks Peter.
    Jasen
     
    Jasen, Oct 27, 2005
    #8
  9. Jasen

    rb Guest

    Al Dykes wrote:
    [snip]
    Thanks for the link.
    Out of interest, what brand and type of CD and DVD blank do you prefer
    for archival purposes of five or more years?

    cheers
    rb
     
    rb, Oct 27, 2005
    #9
  10. Per Jasen:
    So far, I've toasted two iPods - so I wouldn't consider iPod a reliable medium
    for storage.

    I back up onto four USB-2 hard drives: one permanently attached to the sys, one
    that I occasionally do a full backup to and keep in a closet, and two that are
    designed tb portable that I alternate - shuttling them between home and work.

    Now that I've broken down and bought a DVD drive, I'll probably do annual or
    semiannual full backups to DVD and store those at a neighbor or relative's
    house.
     
    (PeteCresswell), Oct 27, 2005
    #10
  11. Per Jasen:
    Good plan, but don't count on either being permanent. I've had CDs go south
    after a year or two. There are differences in quality, based on the dye used
    in the recording medium - but the ones that went on me were supposedly the "good
    stuff".
     
    (PeteCresswell), Oct 27, 2005
    #11
  12. Jasen:

    I will agree with Bill about the Epson device. I have used one that belongs
    to a friend and was amazed. The current P-2000 model has connectors for both
    CF/CF II and SD cards, an internal 40 GB hard disk and a gorgeous 4" VGA
    (640x480) screen. It is a great device for backing up your photos on the
    site until you get home and transfer them to your computer. Epson Japan has
    announced the newer P-2000 that will come with a 80 GB internal hard disk
    instead and some improvements in performance, markedly the speed for playing
    movies (yes, it also plays movies and music files).

    For back-ups I have set up my system with two identical internal hard disks
    and a RAID set up as a mirror in a way that the second disk is a perfect,
    identical copy of the first. Should one crash I can simply boot up from the
    other and continue working. Since I've heard the mantra "back-up, back-up,
    back-up" I decided to have an external drive that I also do a back-up to.
    This drive can be carried with me so that if something is to happen to my
    system (flood, fire, ...) the external drive is at a different physical
    location. On this external drive I do a simple or classic back-up instead of
    a mirror image. This way I can restore my system to its original state, but
    since the back-up can be done to a folder without having to duplicate the
    directory structure of the internal drive (as the mirror image drive does) I
    still have room left on this external drive to use for whatever it is I want
    to.

    Once one of the drive fails another is purchased to replace it so that you
    always have three copies of all your files.

    For archival purposes I've been told that some companies are currently
    offering DVDs that are more reliable and offer more scratch resistance for
    archival purposes. Since I haven't used them I can't comment. But it may be
    worthwhile for you to look at this option.

    Best regards,

    Joseph

    ---

    Dr. Joseph Chamberlain
    Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
    Joseph Chamberlain, DDS, Oct 27, 2005
    #12
  13. Jasen

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Well, you could just buy lots of cards. At current prices, storing the
    data on cards is cheaper than buying 35mm film....
     
    Ron Hunter, Oct 27, 2005
    #13
  14. I just now realized you are the idiot who gave me a real rude and insulting
    response to a question I posted on another newsgroup. I didn't realize it
    was you the one posting the question.

    Made a mistake by trying to help someone who doesn't understand courtesy and
    net etiquette.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Jasen:

    I will agree with Bill about the Epson device. I have used one that belongs
    to a friend and was amazed. The current P-2000 model has connectors for both
    CF/CF II and SD cards, an internal 40 GB hard disk and a gorgeous 4" VGA
    (640x480) screen. It is a great device for backing up your photos on the
    site until you get home and transfer them to your computer. Epson Japan has
    announced the newer P-2000 that will come with a 80 GB internal hard disk
    instead and some improvements in performance, markedly the speed for playing
    movies (yes, it also plays movies and music files).

    For back-ups I have set up my system with two identical internal hard disks
    and a RAID set up as a mirror in a way that the second disk is a perfect,
    identical copy of the first. Should one crash I can simply boot up from the
    other and continue working. Since I've heard the mantra "back-up, back-up,
    back-up" I decided to have an external drive that I also do a back-up to.
    This drive can be carried with me so that if something is to happen to my
    system (flood, fire, ...) the external drive is at a different physical
    location. On this external drive I do a simple or classic back-up instead of
    a mirror image. This way I can restore my system to its original state, but
    since the back-up can be done to a folder without having to duplicate the
    directory structure of the internal drive (as the mirror image drive does) I
    still have room left on this external drive to use for whatever it is I want
    to.

    Once one of the drive fails another is purchased to replace it so that you
    always have three copies of all your files.

    For archival purposes I've been told that some companies are currently
    offering DVDs that are more reliable and offer more scratch resistance for
    archival purposes. Since I haven't used them I can't comment. But it may be
    worthwhile for you to look at this option.

    Best regards,

    Joseph

    ---

    Dr. Joseph Chamberlain
    Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
    Joseph Chamberlain, DDS, Oct 27, 2005
    #14
  15. Jasen

    Eugene Guest

    I use an X'S Drive II with a 20GB drive and I haven't had any problems
    with it, except that it takes ages (around 15 minutes) to copy the
    images off my 1GB card when it's full, but I think that's mostly because
    the card itself is fairly slow.

    There are situations where it would be really handy to be able to review
    the images on the drive, but I've learned to work around that
    limitation. I've started clearing the cards now as soon as I've backed
    them up, because it's very easy to lose track of which cards have been
    backed up and which haven't.
     
    Eugene, Oct 27, 2005
    #15
  16. Jasen

    Eugene Guest

    Probably a good idea to use two different types. There'd be not much
    benefit doing doubles if they're both the same type because more than
    likely they'll both suffer the same fate.
     
    Eugene, Oct 27, 2005
    #16
  17. Jasen

    Brian Guest

    It's best to write your camera photos to two disks as one disk could
    get damaged. Use a good brand of disk. You might want to use a
    different brand of disk for the second disk.
    If you take a lot of photos and the file size of each photo is large
    then writing to DVD is best else write to CD.
    Every year you could create a DVD with a years worth of your best
    photos.

    Regards Brian
     
    Brian, Oct 27, 2005
    #17
  18. Jasen

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Dr. Joseph Chamberlain wrote ...
    I think this is what Epson is calling the P-4000 ... I've got one on
    order for a trip to Africa where I couldn't easily take my laptop due
    to space and weight limitations ... the only thing I didn't like about
    the P-2000 was the disk size, I'm storing images for two people (wife
    and I) who shoot 8 Mpix RAW files at up to 8 fps so 40 GB wasn't
    enough.
     
    Bill Hilton, Oct 27, 2005
    #18
  19. Jasen

    Jasen Guest

    Phew! It sounds like everyone has a slightly different way of doing things
    but there is an underlying theme here. I think I'll do a mix of everthing
    and hopefully I'll have the backup I need. Thanks for your input.
    Cheers
    Jasen
     
    Jasen, Oct 27, 2005
    #19
  20. Per Brian:
    Also, if it's hard disks, you have to exercise some discipline.

    If one disc fails, you have to resist the temptation to just hook up the other
    one.

    What you need to do is buy yet another drive, copy the contents of the remaining
    drive to it using another computer, and then hook up the new drive.

    Reason for this is that the cause of a drive's failure can be a rogue USB or
    FireWire card and you don't want to fry the remaining drive.

    That's one reason why three drives is the absolute minimum for me. Then, if
    the worst happens and I manage to damage a second drive in the recovery process
    I still have one more left. Needless-to-say, I'd also have DVD's, but they
    would be somewhat out of date. Belt-And-Suspenders all the way....
     
    (PeteCresswell), Oct 27, 2005
    #20
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