Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Principles of Data Backup

Data backup is the single most important (non-photographic) part of any creative business. If you lose the content you create to a hard drive failure you cannot sell that content.

While each data backup system is different and customized to the needs of the end user there are a few broad concepts that are consistent.

   Multiple copies of each file
   One copy kept off-site and updated regularly

Hard drive failure is not an IF, it is a WHEN. Over time every mechanical device will fail, whether it is the transmission in your car or the spinning platters of a hard drive. Because of this it is important to have multiple copies of your files spanning multiple drives.

Having your files backed up to three different storage devices protects against mechanical failure, but what about natural disasters? Hard drives (and other forms of data storage) are subject to external threats as well. Many photographers felt the effects of Superstorm Sandy when it hit NYC, some even lost their whole photographic archive. Power surges can fry a drive or the sprinkler system in your building could go off, flooding your storage. Having your data on separate drives that are stored apart will mitigate the chances of your archive being destroyed and lost forever. Having an off-site backup can prevent an expensive and sometimes impossible data recovery.

These should serve as basic considerations when you are designing your data backup workflow and excludes some of the more advanced concepts of data protection. Foto Care has worked with Wiebetech to design a simple, easy to understand workflow using a two-bay RAID 1 and a single bay enclosure. You can read more by downloading this PDF.