Listed below are a collection of RAID programs, community drives and a Drobo. Onerous drive arrays are a necessary software for a lot of photographers, as they provide additional storage capability and safety.

Permit me to briefly recap the primary article on this collection on preserving your photographs secure: Your arduous drives can crash at any time!

We talked in regards to the distinction between SSDs (strong state drives) and HDDs (arduous disk drives). We talked about knowledge decay, or bit rot, and a few slew of different what-could-go-wrongs. The purpose to all of it is to not depend on {hardware}, as no {hardware} is fail-proof. As a substitute, now we have to start out wrapping our heads round storage redundancy and being strategic in our backup practices. So as to try this, we first have to know what instruments can be found for our toolbox. And so, welcome to half 2 of this collection.

Past the variations between SSDs and HDDs, we do have a couple of issues to cowl. Onerous drives are available all types of various sizes and packages. There are inside and exterior drives, hybrid drives, drive arrays and remotely accessed and operated arrays. As we lead as much as the follow of how to make sure our knowledge is secure on this article collection, enable me to start chipping away at what instruments can be found to us.

Hybrid Drives

Along with SSDs and HDDs, hybrid drives emerged in the marketplace a couple of years again. Hybrid drives comprise small SSDs which are coupled with the usual spinning HDD, and so they work by pushing your most incessantly used knowledge to the SSD a part of the drive, whereas the majority of your knowledge is definitely saved on the spinning a part of the drive. This makes your total expertise sooner as your drive behaves very similar to an SSD, whereas preserving the associated fee down and nearer to that of an HDD. I’ve personally by no means used hybrid drives however have heard good issues, and hybrids look like a viable possibility.

Onerous Drive Arrays

There are many choices for arduous drive arrays, and it might get technical and complicated in a short time. There are boundless selections in the marketplace concerning value, dimension, velocity and high quality, and there are a lot of choices for a way we are able to configure our arrays.

What’s an array? Briefly, it’s a field that holds multiple drive. Clearly, bins that may maintain additional drives present added storage capability. Not so apparent is {that a} “field” holding additional drives also can present added safety. Like I stated, there are other ways a “field” might be configured, however the normal concept is to have our knowledge both mirrored, or buffered, or striped throughout a number of drives to protect towards knowledge loss within the occasion of a drive failure. Some drive arrays can shield towards single drive failures, whereas others stop towards a number of and simultaneous drive failure. And, after all, there are networked and non-networked drive arrays. Let’s survey the choices.


RAID stands for Redundant Array of Impartial Disks. There are RAIDs that home as little as two drives and RAIDs that home 4, 5, 10, 20 or extra impartial arduous disks. Briefly, a RAID system teams a number of drives into one tremendous arduous drive. Whatever the variety of drives current, you’ll be able to configure a RAID to distribute knowledge throughout completely different drives in configurations known as RAID Ranges. I can simply write a complete article collection on RAID configurations, so I gained’t get too technical right here. I’ve additionally discovered that individuals have robust opinions on which configuration is the proper one. With that stated, let me profile a couple of choices.

  • RAID 0 “stripes” your knowledge over a number of drives. This configuration, though some photographers use it, is often reserved for players or those that want to maximise the velocity of their storage system. The draw back of RAID Zero is that it affords no safety towards drive failure.
  • RAID 1 is a straightforward and generally used path for photographers because it’s straightforward to wrap our heads round the way it works. It’s usually run with two drives, however you should utilize extra so long as you employ a good variety of drives. A RAID 1 merely mirrors a drive A (or a set of bundled drives) to a drive B. It’s a precise copy. Thus, if Drive A fails, then Drive B is out there for restoration.
  • RAID 5 is one other generally used configuration that stripes knowledge with parity (parity is further knowledge used for defense) throughout three or extra disks. As a result of the information is striped over a number of drives, efficiency is best than RAID 1, and if a number of disks are used, fault tolerance might be improved as nicely.
  • RAID 6 is mainly the identical as RAID 5 besides it affords an extra parity block than RAID 5. This a elaborate manner of claiming it affords extra safety. The draw back to RAID 6 consequently is that you’re left with a bit much less total storage capability than RAID 5.

Past these fundamental configurations, there are different RAID configurations. RAID 2 requires lots of disks to run and supply safety on the bit-level as a substitute of utilizing parity. RAID Three can also be just like RAID 5 however requires an additional disk that’s dedicated to parity, and the checklist goes on. And as I stated, issues can get technical very quick—to not point out the entire dialogue on how RAID might be pushed by both {hardware} or software program.

Regardless, work together with your neighborhood pc or picture retailer to know extra about what RAID choices they promote and which is finest to your finances and that can fulfill your storage capability wants. The excellent news is that utilizing RAIDs right now is way simpler than it was once, so don’t let this checklist of complicated configurations sluggish you down. A little bit steerage from an area professional can go a great distance.

Tip: G-Tech makes an attention-grabbing transportable mini-RAID drive. It homes two small 2.5-inch drives and provides additional safety for if you’re on the street and taking pictures open air.


Drobo is an organization that makes redundant storage bins which are just like RAID however are very straightforward to make use of and require no information or understanding of RAID configurations or knowledge restoration protocols. Like a RAID, Drobos are bins that may maintain a number of arduous drives, however they aren’t configured like a RAID. As a substitute, they use their very own proprietary know-how to generate storage redundancy that they name Past RAID. Primarily, it’s a storage technique additionally known as Abstracted RAID that creates volumes which are buffered over the drive array, however Drobo controls all of it. Drobo’s quite simple person expertise can come at a value. Despite the fact that Drobos are straightforward to make use of and shield fairly nicely towards single and even a number of arduous drive failures, Drobo’s field also can fail. If that occurs, your knowledge can’t be accessed till you may have bought or changed your authentic field, and Drobo bins aren’t low cost. However should you go into Drobo with that in thoughts, you’ll know what you’re in for and the right way to shield your self. The 2 huge methods I recommend doing this are to get Drobo’s prolonged guarantee that it affords (known as Drobo Care), and, most significantly, don’t have your recordsdata saved solely on the one Drobo.


NAS stands for Networked Hooked up Storage and are essentially storage drives connected to a community as a substitute of on to your pc. NAS programs might be easy single-drive items or multi-drive RAID arrays. Drobo affords NAS options, and nearly each firm that makes RAID programs additionally has NAS choices.

There are many advantages to NAS programs. You possibly can have distant entry to your knowledge; they’re straightforward to function with out the necessity for an IT skilled; they’re scalable; and they’re pleasant to multi-user environments. Consider a NAS as your private cloud service to your picture archive. Which NAS is the most effective positively is dependent upon what your wants are as NAS choices can get fairly technical. What I can safely say is that Drobo’s networked bins are useless easy to make use of, and there are apps accessible that permits for sharing knowledge, folders and the power to entry your knowledge from distant places by means of an I.P. tackle. Nevertheless, corporations like Synology and QNAP have been producing NAS programs and innovating NAS know-how for a lot longer, and I imagine their storage units are extra dynamic and customizable. If you would like easy, go Drobo. In the event you like and wish to tinker, go Synology, QNAP or different NAS answer.


A JBOD is a not-so-popular configuration of drives that fairly actually means “Simply A Bunch Of Drives.” There are “bins” we are able to purchase to accommodate an array of arduous drives the place the drives present up on our computer systems all as particular person drives. I name this array “not-so-popular” as a result of it fails to supply any additional safety towards drive failures. The advantage of a JBOD is you maximize using your drives’ storage capacities, however the price of storage has come down a lot, there’s little to no level in making such a sacrifice.

Cloud Backups: The Fourth Backup

I name the cloud possibility the Fourth Backup, merely due to how I occur to make use of it. My workflow consists of backing as much as two arduous drive arrays, and I’ve a set of spinoff recordsdata that I’ve deemed my most precious and marketable which are saved within the cloud. I selected this workflow a number of years in the past as a result of I’ve lots of knowledge—an excessive amount of knowledge to sync over the slender bandwidth of an web connection. However, cloud choices have drastically improved over the past couple of years, and I like to recommend an increasing number of that photographers with small archives use the cloud as their main backup.

What’s the cloud? It does appear that the time period has grow to be a bit controversial due to Adobe’s push towards shifting to a cloud-centric mannequin. However the cloud is simply on-line storage. Consider the cloud as arduous drives that exists someplace apart from in your desk—with plenty of added bonuses we’ll get to later. For a lot of photographers who don’t want to take care of massive picture archives of inventory photos, the cloud generally is a full plug-and-play backup system that may be scheduled to backup all of your work robotically, whereas providing you distant entry to your work.

Cloud storage must also be regarded as a really secure various. Whether or not you’re utilizing Adobe, Apple, Amazon, Backblaze or Google, a cloud service merely permits you to sync your knowledge to a financial institution of arduous drives over the web. The excellent news is that corporations like these get the ideas of storage redundancy and preserving knowledge secure. Your stuff isn’t simply saved in a RAID on somebody’s desk at Adobe headquarters. It’s saved on very massive, well-maintained drive servers which are backed up on different very massive servers a number of instances and around the globe. So, knowledge loss attributable to drive failure or knowledge decay by no means occurs. I’ll speak extra about the right way to incorporate cloud backups into your workflow later on this article collection. Simply know for now that the cloud, along with aforementioned {hardware}, is a viable software when making a workflow to maintain your recordsdata secure.

What’s The Proper Selection For You?

On the finish of the day, which drive you employ, which field you employ, or lack thereof, isn’t what issues. Solitary drives are simply positive for photographers with smaller archives that don’t require massive drive arrays with additional capability. Hybrids can present higher velocity at an inexpensive price. Drobos and RAIDs present additional storage capacities for photographers with lots of knowledge, whereas offering additional layers of safety, and NAS programs ship distant entry for people or ease of use for multi-user environments. So, which one is the proper one for you completely is dependent upon your workflow wants, life-style, finances or all of those. However when it comes to preserving your recordsdata secure, please think about that drive alternative is secondary.

I stated it within the final article, I began this text with it, and I’m going to say it right here once more as a result of it’s all about redundancy. No {hardware} (or software program) is fail-proof. No cloud possibility alone can prevent from making errors or be helpful you probably have massive knowledge storage wants. Drobos fail, RAIDs fail and issues occur. Drobos, RAIDs and NAS programs are storage redundant bins to easily add layers of safety to your {hardware} and to hopefully present a seamless restoration expertise within the occasion of a drive failure. However the one factor that can actually hold your knowledge secure is making a backup after which creating one other backup. And should you’re actually paranoid, like me, creating the fourth backup.

Begin to consider which instruments will work finest as you start to create and design your backup workflow. How a lot knowledge do you presently have, and the way a lot do you anticipate that can develop over the subsequent a number of years? Do you want distant entry to your work, and do you wish to put the time into studying about RAID configurations, or do you favor one thing that’s extra plug-and-play? Bearing this in thoughts, within the remaining two articles of this collection, we’ll look at the right way to weave these instruments and fundamental concepts all collectively into our day by day practices for preserving our knowledge secure.

• • •

Learn All Articles In This Sequence

Conserving Your Pictures Protected, Half 1: Don’t Contact Something!

Conserving Your Pictures Protected, Half 2: Instruments Of The Commerce

Conserving Your Pictures Protected, Half 3: Defending The Massive Little Issues

Conserving Your Pictures Protected, Half 4: Backup Workflow
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