It’s true. There was no fire. But it felt like it in many respects.
I know I’ve posted about this topic in the past and I really thought I had learned a HUGE lesson. Then I had a perfectly destructive storm in terms of low probability and significant consequence.
OK.. this is a geeky topic but here goes. Data backup. I’ve lost files in the past due to my lack of regular backup. Last time I lost some files that were pretty darn nice. That taught me new respect for backing things up. I’ve been operating with a set of external Western Digital drives for over a year. I have a master drive that keeps all our client files (most important) and a collection of business files and internet download stuff. I had another Western Digital drive that was used as a storage area for all our personal images… you know, like images of Kendyl at birth, Gina’s doll collection and the miscellaneous landscape, flower, bug images I collect. Then I had yet another WD drive that was used as a backup drive for all the above. Oh yeah, there is a another WD drive sitting beside me that has our entire collection of India images on it. In a box and stored away are other drives with personal images from previous years. All these drives have Lightroom catalogs built to store any edit instructions. Those catalogs are kept on the PC’s C drive and are backed up on the big, external WD backup drive.
And then it happened. I turned the PC off one night as I always do. The backup drive, the master client drive and the 2011 personal image drives were all hooked up… as they had been for months. The next morning I got up and turned the machine back on and found only the master client drive. I figured it must have been an anomaly during the boot up phase so I restarted the PC. Gulp. Same situation. I turned the PC off and disconnected the invisible drives and then turned the PC back on and plugged the drives in one at a time. Nothing. Not good. It felt like I’d had a fire and lost all the photos that are important to us. I walked away and thought it through. The good news is that the client files were safe (although they are on a WD drive like the ones that failed). The bad news is that these irreplaceable files were no longer backed up. The really bad news was that the original AND BACKUP copies of our personal images had disappeared. You can imagine my vocabulary as I Googled WD hard disk failure and learned that I am not alone by any means… lots of others with similar stories.
I headed to Best Buy and bought a new Seagate drive to use as a backup. I’ve had trouble with Seagate in the past as well so it was a bit hard to buy another one. It hooked up just fine and I spent the better part of a day building new backup files for these important files, the Lightroom catalogs and all our business files that I had access to. One wasted day when I should have been processing weddings and high school seniors.
I really thought I had it covered. What are the chances of having a drive of original files and their backups lost at the same time? So now I’m sitting here with a fully backed up set of client files that have been fully processed for two weddings and all our client files for several years past. I just took the WD drive with out personal images to a data recovery company which I hope will tell me that they can get to the files that are really important to me/us…. Kendyl and dolls. Yeah, I can shoot the dolls again if Gina lets me but I’ll never be in room with Kendyl again when she is just 1.5 hours old. I’m trying my best to reconcile that I do have a set of small JPG files on the iPads or website that I can use. Actually, these files are larger and better than you get from a variety of point-and-shoot cameras so all is not entirely lost. But I’m wondering what to do now. I’m looking at “the cloud” for storage of important files. That means more time and work to get them there. I’m looking at Drobo drives to set up a RAID system that automatically backs things up system wide. Frankly, I’m flustered and don’t have a clear plan of attack. Any thoughts from you about options to store 1000’s of images safely are welcomed.
I think I’ll go read a book. At least I didn’t lose those in “the fire”.