As all of our creative work lives on a computer which can fail we need some peace of mind. One way to do that is to have multiple copies of everything. When a catalog of images and video grows that can be difficult to maintain though. Cloud storage is a very inexpensive solution now that it has been around for a while. I tend to keep my current year’s photography on two physical devices. My computer where I import all my photos and then I back that up to an external hard drive. This however means geographically this two pieces of hardware are always next to each other. So for added peace of mind and redundancy I decided to search for an off-site back-up solution. I tried out the popular cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox but those quite simple could not keep up. Here is why they failed in my opinion and why I ended up choosing Backblaze as my go to solution.
Google Drive offers a $10 month plan for 1 Terabyte of storage. The pitfall is no way to point to folders outside of the Google Drive folder. First I tried the arduous way, uploading through the browser to google drive. This was painful though and for any large amount of files I do not recommend at all. If any files failed it would just tell me the number of files that failed and the first time it might allow me to retry. In my experience this failed and left no way of knowing which files failed to upload.
So, what I did was disconnect my google drive account on the computer and then reconnected it and pointed my google drive folder to live on the external drive my photography library is backed up on. I then copied, not moved, my whole backup folder to the google drive folder to make sure if any problems happened with the sync I would still have my backup untouched. It was very good that I did this because I hadn’t removed the files from my first failed attempt. In hindsight I should have just deleted all the old files and started clean. I ended up removing the first files I uploaded through the browser after the fact and uploading everything via the Google Drive App. The sync time is brutally slow and setup is not worth the extra work.
I gave DropBox a try and I really wanted it to work but it failed. It is priced the same as Google Drive but for the big data it has the same drawbacks as well. I needed to find a third-party solution to handle adding external hard drives to my dropbox. The biggest issue I had with this service was that I needed to setup selective sync on all my devices as to not download my entire backup to any new device I add. That or set my backup drive as the place where my dropbox folder lives.
Flickr is definitely more of a social network than a storage solution for serious photographers. However with One Terabyte of storage and auto upload from cell phones this may prove to be a nice alternative which has a great social network behind it. The biggest drawback is that Flickr doesn’t support RAW files. So backing up working files is a no-go here. That immediately takes it off the table for me as a backup solution. I didn’t easily find any option to upgrade the amount of storage offered either. Flickr out.
Backblaze is the service I ended up choosing and using for the past year. This service is great and super easy to setup and use. For $50/year you get unlimited everything. Upload as much as you want up to any file size you want and from any external or internal drives you want. This is great because I can use it as a backup solution for all of my video editing and coding as well. It covers it everything! Restoration is free as well or for very large restorations, drives up to 4 TBs can be FedEx’ed to you. Other things worth noting is that you can selective choose what you want recovered down to a single file. I have not had to do any major restore yet but I may try to get a few files just to see how easy that is. Backing up run with an app for Mac or Windows and runs in the background.
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