Saturday, April 12, 2008

This is how we store all those photos

Minna received a question on how we store all her photos. Every awesome photographer needs a sidekick right. Well as her official photo sidekick I take care of all the technical details of storing the photos. She uses Lightroom and she has about 34,000 photos and this is how we store them all. We do this all on a Mac.

Right now we keep everything on an external drive. This image represents all the data on our external drive. Although you probably can't see them, every little square left of the yellow line is a photo. Everything to the right is something else, mostly video. (I used Disk Inventory to create these images.)
Here is a closer look so you can see all the different squares.

The photos require about 140 of the 150 gigs of space. We have been keeping them on a RAID 1 external drive from CalDigit.

RAID 1 just means there are two disks inside the external drive that mirror each other so if one disk goes bad the other one serves as a backup.

If I were completely paranoid, I would get a third disk and store one at work switching them out every other day or so. That way if our apartment building burned to the ground we'd still have the photos, but probably nothing else.

The problem is that we're about to run out of space on this external drive. So I'm going to change how it works.

First, I've purchased a D-Link DNS-323. It's a storage device that connects to our computer via our wireless router. I like this because this little device hides on the shelf with the router and doesn't take up more space on the desk.

Soon, I'm going to change the RAID 1 external drive to be a RAID 0, which means the two disks inside the CalDigit device will work together to store and retrieve photos, but not mirror each other. This will improve performance and because the disks won't be mirrored it will double storage capacity, but if one of the disks inside fails, all photos on both disks will be lost. But that is why we bought the DNS-323. As soon as I get all the bugs worked out of backing up the external RAID drive to the network drive, and everything is backed up flawlessly for a couple nights in a row I'll make the RAID switch.

There aren't really any bugs in my backup system. I'm using and highly recommend backuplist+. It's free and works fantastic. The main problem is my wireless connection isn't stable enough to backup 150 gigs without a hitch.

The downside to this photo storage system is that we can't take it on the road, because the external drive is not mobile.

So there you have it. We have a ton of photos that are completely backed up, and that's how we do it.


Christy Dyer said...

Dan, you are too smart! Will you come and set my photos up in a great storage facility!

Ben and Shara said...

very high tech and complicated. Why can't you just store them on a disk and put the disks in a fire safe box?

Wyatt said...

Do you know of a good program for mac that will find duplicate files? My itunes has several artists in duplicate and I want to find a way to delete all the extras... I want to set something like this up at home, I'll have to talk to you about it.

Dan said...

Wyatt, You can kind of create a program that does this using "Automator". It comes with your OS 10.4. It should be in your Applications folder. It does all sorts of stuff automatically and is designed to work with all sorts of Mac apps. you could search out what options it has for itunes or for the finder.