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CrashPlan: Calling All Outdoor Photographers, Backup Those Files!

We're off the trail and on back on the interwebs, it's time to talk about photography and backup. For all the photographers and even non-photographers, backup can be easy-ish, and perhaps you're already backing up your PC. If not, there are some great options - and two that offer an affordable way to back up your files online.


One of my favorite podcasters, Jeff Harmon talks about Hard Drive Space and file backup and the 3-2-1 Rule, it's worth a listen to get some additional details (Help With Drive Space and Backups For Photographers - Photo Taco Podcast). Should be backed up on 3 mediums, 2 different places, and 1 should be offsite (cloud backup).


Jeff happens to be a big fan of BackBlaze. I lean towards CrashPlan. They are virtually the same service offering and there are many reviews about other offerings that users prefer. Let’s be honest, any backup is better than none. Let's start there.


Hard Drive Lifespan and Monitoring


If you're taking photographs on a regular basis and not backing up your photos, you're at risk of losing the data. But let’s step back and talk about why. Hard drives are mechanical and electrical and regardless of quality or warranty, will eventually fail.


The Guardian had a great article recently on hard drive failures and lifespan, quoting academic Mohiuddin Ahmed, a lecture in computer and security at Edith Cowan University: Most hard drives have a lifespan of three to five years. Have you checked yours lately? | Shelley Hepworth | The Guardian.

“I know this is going to be tedious,” Ahmed says. “But if you really care about your data you should always have at least two backups – at least two.”

What's important to realize is that most of us have standard HDD (hard disk drives), and the information stored on them is magnetic, which will eventually fail.

  • Magnets don't last forever

  • Things with moving parts break

  • And usage causes wear and tear

To start, I would suggest that you research hard drive monitoring software to keep tabs on the S.M.A.R.T. data from your hard drives. Programs like Hard Disk Sentinel (standard): HDD health and temperature monitoring (hdsentinel.com) offer monitoring of your hard drives in addition to having your backup setup.

  • Lifespan: Provides health of the drive and # of days online plus suggested days remaining

  • Performance: If the drive has experienced any issues and overall operation including the temperature of the drive

  • Storage: Remaining space and storage size

As you can see, basic hard drive monitoring software can provide a wealth of information and there are dozen of programs that provide this. For Apple, I believe programs like DriveDX provide similar functionality.


Which Backup Service Should I Choose?


That's a subjective question. You can read all the reviews of BackBlaze, CrashPlan, iDrive, Carbonite, and many others that exist and see that it's really the preference of what you need. Is storage an issue and you need unlimited. Do you need to share files? Do you need ease of use? And so on.

The list of reviews is endless. I suggest that you take a peek at a few of these to get an idea of what's best for you. As I shared, my go-to is CrashPlan. They had an unlimited plan when I started looking 5-years ago and I've stuck with them since then. And despite reviews out there about customer service for ALL the offerings, CrashPlan has had exceptional customer service when I've needed them (via email).


CRASHPLAN


  • Pricing: $10 per month

  • Space: Unlimited - external drives included, NOT NAS (network-attached storage)

  • Recovery: Online (this is where Backblaze is better)

The alternative that you’ll hear frequently is Backblaze. This is very similar in software and frankly, you would be slicing hairs if you were to compare the two providers.


BACKBLAZE


  • Pricing: $7 per month, sometimes they have sales where it’s $6 per month

  • Space: Unlimited - external drives included, NOT NAS (network-attached storage)

  • Recovery: Online plus ‘Rapid Recovery via Hard Drive’ … max of 8TB


For now, consider backing up your photos in the cloud, get outside, take more photos of your hiking adventures and have fun. Happy hiking and shooting!


Resources

Backblaze Hard Drive Failure Rates: Backblaze Hard Drive Stats

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