Backup . . . or else.

I use several layers of redundancy. Basically, I capture tethred to the local SSD drive (via CaptureOne) which is mirrored up via Carbon Copy Cloner to a second internal SSD drive. When I'm in the studio, those drives are backed up via Time Machine (along with all my system files). Once I’m done shooting a job, I copy the entire CaptureOne session folder to an external drive called “STUDIO1”. This “STUDIO1” drive is now the master drive for all my images, so naturally I want to back it up.

I have another external drive called “STUDIO 2” which is the exact make, model, and size of “STUDIO1”. This does a mirror back up of “STUDIO1” every evening at midnight.

Each week I bring in a third external hard drive called “STUDIO 3” and swap it for “STUDIO 2” and take it home. This way if the studio is firebombed I only lose 7 days worth of work [at most]. At midnight the system will mirror copy STUDIO 1 to STUDIO 3 just like it had been doing all week for STUDIO 2.

Why not use RAID systems you ask? Well, they’re expensive first of all. Second, they only give protection against a drive failure, which I already have with my mirrored backups. What happens if you accidentally delete or corrupt a file on the RAID system? There’s no way to get it back! With my setup, I can just pull a file from STUDIO 2 and restore the file to STUDIO 1, never missing a beat. And since the automatic mirror backup doesn’t happen until midnight, I have all day to do it! (Even RAID 1 system won’t prevent this problem since drive 1 is mirrored to drive 2 instantly. If you screw something up on drive 1, you’ve just screwed it up on drive 2 as well.) Even if my main drive were to fail completely, all I have to do is start using the secondary drive like nothing happened. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for RAID systems, I have a Synology RAID server, but only it for archiving.

When I’m working on location, I carry a portable LaCie Rugged hard drive with me that we backup the laptop to whenever there’s downtime. We also make sure to backup the entire job on the ride home, just in case.

Not a Drobo fan. They write their drives with a proprietary file system. When/if the unit dies, you can’t just pull the drives and pop them in something else. You actually have to use a Drobo to access the data! Ouch!

Time Machine has saved my butt more than once. Last year we came back from a shoot and I connected to the network and “moved” files from the laptop to the server. Big mistake, I usually “copy” files and never move them, but I was tired and stupid. They got corrupted while moving across the network and ended up unreadable! Fortunately, Time Machine had done it’s thing as soon as I connected to the network and we were able to pull the original files back to the laptop and “copy” them to the server the right way.

I use Carbon Copy Cloner for my nightly backups.

I like G-Technology drives. I use both the G-Drive and G-Drive Mini units and I’ve never had one fail. Synology makes an outstanding RAID system.