I'm trying to clean up my photography backup/storage system and have a few questions perhaps someone can help me with.
Here's my current setup: I store my master images on a 3TB external drive named Photography Main and as of now I also keep my master catalog on the same external drive (I plan to move the catalog to another drive but want to have a plan in place before I do). I have a second external drive called Photography Backup where I send a second copy of my photographs on import to Lightroom as well as backups to my catalog which I back up every time when I close Lightroom. So my questions are:
Is it advisable to keep my backup catalogs and backup photographs on the same drive?
Do I need to keep all those old saved backup catalogs or can I delete all but the most recent one?
Should I be using Carbon Copy Cloner or Timemachine or some other app to save a second copy of my master photographs instead of using the Save Backup option on import in Lightroom?
Finally, is there any sense in using a NAS like Synology to store my master photographs using RAID1 or 5 for added security? I understand RAIDs are not the same as backups.
Sorry, that's a lot. I'm a little gunshy about messing with anything since I feel like my system is currently precarious and obviously I want to protect my images. I have a new camera and the files are huge so I'm seeing that my 3TB drives will run out soon.
2. I back up weekly, I keep about 2 months of backup catalogs. It all depends on how much risk you want to take
3. I can't remember for sure but I think the backups made at import don't reflect the proper folder structure of the originals. And if you rename photos in your workflow, the backups made at import are not easily used. I use 3rd party software to make backups of the exact files in their exact folder structure that Lightroom needs
4. Some people put master photos on a NAS, as long as the NAS isn't malfunctioning it should be fine.
"Should I be using Carbon Copy Cloner or Timemachine or some other app to save a second copy of my master photographs instead of using the Save Backup option on import in Lightroom?"
If you're referring to the 'Make a Second Copy To' option in the Import module 'File Handling panel' that is not what you should be using. That uses an arbitray folder you select, which will most likely be different than the 'Destination' folder. In additon you need to use a file synchronization app (such as you've suggested), which will keep track of files and folders that have been, moved, renamed, deleted, or added (new files).
I use Chronosync to do my weekly backups to an external drive (after a big shoot I will aldo do an backup at that time as well). For added security I also use a Cloud service because two backups sitting next to each other will not help you if your house burns down.
FWIW, I also keep my catalog and catalog backups all in the same folder in the external drive so that everything is self-contained. That part is 100 percent for convenience, I know where to look for any aspect of my LR system.