2 Replies Latest reply on Jul 4, 2015 2:07 PM by MVBenz

    Archiving vs. Backup and Lightroom


      I have been researching a lot on archiving to DVD and there are may 'opinions' on the topic. A lot of people recommend against using DVDs for archival purposes and instead use flash drives and external hard drives. Working in the IT industry I would tend to disagree (my opinion) on the use of a hard drive over DVD because hard drives and flash media fail just like a DVD does. I am in the process of archiving over 2T of images to DVD now and find it to be a more cost effective solution than buying a hard drive and storing that. I found a good article on using DVDs for storage here:


      4. How Long Can You Store CDs and DVDs and Use Them Again? — Council on Library and Information Resources


      This lists out the 'expected' life of a DVD. If store properly they will last a long time (probably out last me). You do need to make sure you get a reputable name brand DVD and not a cut rate provider so you know the material the DVD is made out of is of good quality.


      Remember there is a difference between Archiving and Backing Up. Backing up means you have 2 or more copies of the data in different locations. Archiving is putting stuff in long term storage. For immediate work for clients always have a backup of your data that is off site. I use BackBlaze as they are unlimited on their storage. I backup 2 laptops for $100 a year ($50 per laptop) and currently have 1.5T of data protected with them. They are not an archive though as if I delete a file form my system I have 30days to restore it before they purge it from their system. I do have file versioning with them too so I can go back in time and get a previous copy of a file if needed. Think of it is a mirror copy of your live data with an option to get it back in 30 days. They do not support backing up a NAS as of the time I wrote this. It is for live data only.


      I have used Mozy and Carbonite and many other cut rate providers but they do not meet my data needs. The cut rate providers that state they are unlimited are really not and others like Carbonite limit the amount of data you can backup per-day. You have to read the terms and conditions carefully. Backblaze does not limit you at all in my experience with them. I used one that was 'unlimited' until they saw how much I was backing up and capped me. Needless to say I had to threaten legal action for false advertising and they refunded me in full.


      Burning to DVD is a pain but for long term archival storage I am willing to endure. We shoot weddings and events and for the older weddings they are nice to have but not necessary so they get archived. For stuff I would like to keep but not going to cry if it is lost I will archive only. For stuff I want to make sure I keep I will make 2 copies of the archive and it is now a backup. I then use LightRoom to catalog the disks so I know what is where and use key words to help fine what is there as there is a lot of data.

      What I can tell you is do your research and look for reputable sources for information. Don't rely solely on other peoples opinions (like mine). Choose the method that you are comfortable with and fits your budget.



        • 1. Re: Archiving vs. Backup and Lightroom
          THG_BO Level 3



          archiving 1.5TB on DVD mean more than 333 DVDs! The low-level format written to the DVD is not very reliable. You should use Blu-Ray instead. The low-level format was improved for higher reliability than DVD. And of course you "only" need about 60 disks. You should avoid double-layer DVDs or BDs. And finally I would use "dvdiaster" to make more reliable media.

          • 2. Re: Archiving vs. Backup and Lightroom
            MVBenz Level 1

            you are correct that I would need a lot of DVDs but the cost at <$0.50 per disk if you can find it on sale is something I would deal with. I got a 100 Pack of Verbatim DVD-R writables (can print on the label side with a printer) for $30 at OfficeMax on sale so you can cut down on the costs but have to deal with swapping a LOT of disks.


            I don't have a Blue Ray burner (yet) and the cost of the media is still a bit high compared to DVDs even though they have a higher density as I would prefer (my preference only) to go with name brand media instead of generic. I had a 100 disk spindle of generic CDs long ago that every one I burned, the foil flaked off after burning. Was not happy about that. If stored properly a DVD will last many years. I plan to put the DVDs back into the DVD spindle cases with the top and bottom protector disks in place just as they were when I bought them and close the case and put it into a box somewhere safe so they are not exposed to light or air (other than what air is in the DVD spindle case and box)


            dvdisaster looks like a great product. I will check it out. It does use 15% more space for the error correction code but would be worth it if it is something you really don't want to lose. I like to hang onto old wedding shoots just because, but I am not going to cry if I lose a few older ones as nobody has ever come back to me asking for another copy of the pictures nor am I expected to keep them forever. The only time we have gone back to them is if a bride is on the fence between us and someone else and we have shot at that location before. We then pull them out and let them see the results of us shooting there.


            Thank you for the input and adding to this thread as it helps to have other perspectives on the subject.