Backup is a big topic. Here are some of my notes on the subject:
Richard Chapman 14/1/2021

NAS – Network Attached Storage

Backing up your disk drive to protect your images

What are you protecting against?

  • Hardware failure
    Not if, but when…
  • Fire/Theft/Loss
    Which may also wipe out your backups if you are not careful
  • Accident
    Deleted the wrong file? If your backup is instant and automatic you may find it has deleted the backup copy too!

What is important in a backup system?

  • Reliable
    You don’t want to wait until you need it to discover your backups are unusable
  • Automatic
    If you have to remember to do it, it probably won’t happen as often as it should
  • Equipment Costs
    Versus the actual and invisible costs of losing your data/files/images (probably mostly emotional for us amateur photographers)
  • Recovery speed
    Not so significant for a typical amateur photographer – more significant for commercial data

Backup Options:

  • Copying to another directory on the same disk
    Useful against accidents but useless against hardware failure (motherboard, disk drive or mains power spike) or Fire/Theft
  • Copying to an external drive
    Useful against all hardware threats, so long as you keep it separate from the machine you are backing up
    Alternative, have more than one external drive and rotate them. Can be automated (but then you have to leave both plugged in, see above)
  • Copying to a NAS
    Backups can be automated
    Can be kept connected while separate from the machine being backed up so a “bit” more resilient against theft but not fire if kept in the same building
    Has some built-in protection against its own hardware failure

Synology and QNas are the leading brands for “premium home” NAS solutions, I think – but I’m sure there are others. I use Synology.

Copying to Cloud based servers

  • Very easy to automate
  • May include some protection against accidents (if it keeps old versions)
  • Very good against Fire/Theft/Loss
  • Has other potential benefits, like remote access, sharing etc
  • Expensive? Subscription based.
  • Needs decent internet connection
  • Can be time consuming if you ever decide to change your Cloud provider. You would need to download all your images to a disk drive and re-save them to your new Cloud provider. Your existing provider can limit the speed of download. 

What I do

  • I have an external drive left plugged in that I automatically back up to every night
  • I swap the external drive periodically and keep the spare in a separate building
  • I synchronise all files automatically to a NAS, and between my desktop/laptop
  • I keep many files automatically backed up to cloud services (though NOT my photographs as they are too big!)


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