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Storage for tons of images

Enthusiast ,
Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021

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I have thousands of images and the number is growing daily.

What suggestions does anyone have for safe storage?

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correct answers 4 Correct answers

Adobe Community Professional , Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021
You have many choices, so some questions can help narrow this down before talking about specific brands and models. How often do you want to buy this storage? If you don’t want to do this again for five years, estimate how many TB of photos/videos you will have at that time. For example, maybe you think you won’t amass more than 4TB of media in 5 years, so you decide on 4TB of storage. Hard drive or solid state drive? A hard drive is fast enough for reading raw files for Lightroom Classic. B...

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Adobe Community Professional , Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021
Two WD internal drives, and a Seagate external. That was max capacity when I got them, and they were pretty expensive. I expect I need to replace them for bigger ones in the next year or so, if bigger exist now (haven't checked). IME drives will usually not fail until it's time to replace them for bigger ones anyway.

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Adobe Community Professional , Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021
I have two 5 TB Western Digital External Hard Drives, one for primary storage, and the second one as a backup. I also back up to Amazon Photo drive for cloud storage (though it's a slow and clumsy option, it's cheap). I've had a variety of external hard drives over the years, 500 MB, 1 TB, 2 TB and now 5 TB and have never had a drive failure. In fact, all of those outgrown drives are still hanging around here somewhere...

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Adobe Community Professional , Oct 24, 2021 Oct 24, 2021
@jay fresno wrote: Do you have a suggestion for which external hard drive -- I need one that stores many TB.
Just look at the capacity and choose enough. I have a 16 TB LaCie drive as my main photo drive, but even with 200,000 images and some videos on it, I still have about 60% free space. Do not waste your money on RAID. Many people think that RAID 1 is a kind of backup system, because the images are written to two disks. It is not. If you delete an image by mistake, it is deleted from both...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021

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External hard drive and at least one backup drive, preferably more than one.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Enthusiast ,
Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021

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Do you have a suggestion for which external hard drive -- I need one that stores many TB.

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LEGEND ,
Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021

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Virtually all hard drives these days (except from George's Dirt Cheap Hard Drives) provide years of service. As far as reliability goes, there's little reason to prefer one over the other. Please keep in mind that all hardware fails eventually, which is why the recommendation above of at least one backup, preferably more than one. In my opinion, this isn't a recommendation, it is mandatory because the other thing that is true is that you can't always tell beforehand when a drive will fail. So not only is a backup mandatory, it is really the best way to be safe.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021

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You have many choices, so some questions can help narrow this down before talking about specific brands and models.

 

How often do you want to buy this storage? If you don’t want to do this again for five years, estimate how many TB of photos/videos you will have at that time. For example, maybe you think you won’t amass more than 4TB of media in 5 years, so you decide on 4TB of storage.

 

Hard drive or solid state drive? A hard drive is fast enough for reading raw files for Lightroom Classic. But large hard drives transfer data relatively slowly when you add or change a lot of files, so I’ve been switching to faster solid state drives even though they are more expensive. Also, solid state drives can be physically much smaller and lighter than hard drives, and they do not require an AC adapter, so they take up a lot less space and weight when traveling.

 

And then, did you budget for backups? For example, if you decided on a 4TB external hard drive, next you ask yourself: Do I already have an available hard drive big enough to back up that much data? If not, and the 4TB hard drive you picked costs $90, then your budget should be $270. Because it’s good to have at least two backup drives for every drive that contains data that is too valuable to lose. You can also say you’ll buy one 4TB backup drive (instead of two) but also subscribe to a 4TB cloud backup plan; that is probably even better in terms of redundancy. Either way…backups are not optional. If you don’t already have good backup software that makes it easy to automate updating your backups frequently, add that to your budget too.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 24, 2021 Oct 24, 2021

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@jay fresno wrote:

Do you have a suggestion for which external hard drive -- I need one that stores many TB.



Just look at the capacity and choose enough. I have a 16 TB LaCie drive as my main photo drive, but even with 200,000 images and some videos on it, I still have about 60% free space. Do not waste your money on RAID. Many people think that RAID 1 is a kind of backup system, because the images are written to two disks. It is not. If you delete an image by mistake, it is deleted from both drives immediately, so the second drive does not function as a backup. RAID 1 is mainly an enterprise solution, where time is money so the double drive system of RAID 1 protects against time loss. You can restore a failed drive and still continue to work. As an end user you normally do not need that, so a normal backup drive is a better (and cheaper) solution.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 24, 2021 Oct 24, 2021

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RAID (when setup correctly) protects against drive failure and keeps you running if one of the drives fails with a simple drive swap and some drive rattling. You still need to backup a RAID array. Exactly like @JohanElzenga writes here most people do not need RAID and multiple large drives (so you can have one back up the other) works just fine and gives adequate protection, especially if you then also have a second backup to a cloud backup location. I use a synology NAS as my main image store with drives in a RAID configuration but I still have this automatically backup to a big external drive and to cloud storage. This works fantastically but is a bit overkill for most.  Even over ethernet (I use dual gigabit ethernet connections) this is much faster than typical big 8 to 16 TB USB3/usb-c drives but also a far more expensive solution.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021

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Just a word of caution regarding external drives. If you're not careful, externals can be more prone to corruption because of loose cables and connectors, and accidental bumps. It only takes a microsecond broken connection. A hard-wired internal drive is generally more secure than an external, if you have that option (desktop). 

 

In any case, backup is crucial. I don't sleep at night unless I have three copies of every file, one always off-site.

 

Drives will fail sooner or later, it's only a question of time. As long as you're prepared for it, you'll be right back in business without missing a beat. That said, I have three 10 TB drives (with identical content) that still operate flawlessly after 4 years.

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Enthusiast ,
Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021

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I appreciate all of the great advice!

 

D Fosse: I've not seen any 10 TB drives advertised. Which brand are you using?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021

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Two WD internal drives, and a Seagate external. That was max capacity when I got them, and they were pretty expensive. I expect I need to replace them for bigger ones in the next year or so, if bigger exist now (haven't checked).

 

IME drives will usually not fail until it's time to replace them for bigger ones anyway.

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New Here ,
Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021

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Google Drive is the best,safest and smartest WAY/APP ..!
You get 15GB of storage space for free .. .

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021

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15 GB might last me for three days 😉 ...and in any case I don't have time to wait for cloud upload/download. I know "cloud" is the current buzzword, but I have another: bandwidth.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 23, 2021 Oct 23, 2021

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I have two 5 TB Western Digital External Hard Drives, one for primary storage, and the second one as a backup. I also back up to Amazon Photo drive for cloud storage (though it's a slow and clumsy option, it's cheap). I've had a variety of external hard drives over the years, 500 MB, 1 TB, 2 TB and now 5 TB and have never had a drive failure. In fact, all of those outgrown drives are still hanging around here somewhere...

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LEGEND ,
Oct 24, 2021 Oct 24, 2021

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I'd like to emphasise a key word, because when many people hear it they quickly decide to ignore it. BACKUP.

You must expect and plan for a disk to fail. The difference between a catastrophe and a nuisance is proper planning and having two copies.

Popular myths, which are dangerous:

- anything kept on an external drive is a backup. NO. A backup means there are TWO OR MORE COPIES.

- you don't have to backup if you use the cloud. NO. You are even more likely to lose cloud files.

- plug-in a second drive and leave it there and you are all set for backups. NO. An electrical fault can blow the computer and the attached disks. A burglar, cat, visiting infant, fire or spilled drink can destroy them all. So can a virus, system fault, or your own mistake. The backup copy needs to be somewhere else. This is why the smart money has 3 copies, not just 2.

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Enthusiast ,
Oct 24, 2021 Oct 24, 2021

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Those are all important points and warnings. Thank you!

 

I have so many images that I will need a minimum of 7 TB to back them up. I'm trying to make a decision about exactly which storage to purchase for peace of mind.

(Possibly the 10TB drive that D Fosse mentioned?)

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