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Storage or backup system for photos
Dave Rubel, Photographer
Colonia | NJ | USA | Posted: 11:13 PM on 04.20.06
->> Does anyone know of a web service to back up all the photos on my hard drives...
I have multiple hard drives that I keep all my photos.. When I have one crash last month I got lucky and recovered all the photos.. This was a wake up call.. If I lose photos I'm out of business for a while.. So I'm looking into a web service to back up.. I habe about 500 Gigs of photos...

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John Harrington, Photographer
Washington | DC | USA | Posted: 11:32 PM on 04.20.06
->> Dave --

Check out my post on Galbraith about archiving:

The problem with 500GB is it's going to cost you several hundred a month for the redundancy that a web service offers, plus accessing large files will be dependant upon your T3 line, otherwise it'll take forever.

I'd suggest mirroring every drive, and storing one set a distance from you (say, a parents' or sibling's home).

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Clark Brooks, Photo Editor, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 9:44 AM on 04.21.06
->> Yeah, it is called PhotoShelter ;-)
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Kevin M. Cox, Photographer, Assistant
Round Rock (Austin) | TX | US | Posted: 12:24 PM on 04.21.06
->> This is a topic I was thinking about recently also. I'm curious if anyone is using an online backup system as the "off-site" location for their photos. This could guard against house fire, server theft, natural disaster, etc.

My thinking is that photos are stored locally on hard drives, a RAID array, server, etc. Individual assignments can be "zipped" into compressed disk images with encryption using Apple's Disk Utility and the individual .dmg files can be uploaded to a service such as Streamload:

(Alternatively you don't have to "zip" the photos and could just upload them individually, but the creation of disk images will keep them more organized and the encryption should help keep anyone from getting your images if there is a glitch in the system.)

For $4.95 a month the service allows for unlimited storage but restricts the amount you can download (or retrieve). In this scenario that shouldn't be a problem as you'd only need to download from the service in the case of a local disk failure or image corruption/deletion.

Obviously this doesn't have the benefits of a service like PhotoShelter which provides an online store front and searching capabilities. This idea is purely online storage. Upload it and hope you don't ever need to download it, but if you do, it is there.

Any thoughts?
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Harrison Shull, Photographer
Asheville | NC | USA | Posted: 12:54 PM on 04.21.06
->> Kevin-

Nice find! I have been looking online for something just like this and have been coming up dry. I have looked into Photoshelter and it is not what I need now. I just emailed the folks at Streamload a series of questions about their service and I'll post the rsults here whenever they come in.

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Ian L. Sitren, Photographer
Palm Springs | CA | USA | Posted: 10:58 PM on 04.21.06
->> PhotoShelter is great and also proivdes a way to display, create galleries for clients and to do controlled delivery of images. I have a promo code for a 3 month trial but it is only good for 3 more days. So if anyone wants it send me an e-mail. It is only good for a limited number of signups. I might not be able to get back to you however until Sunday morning, will be busy all day Saturday.
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Robert G. Stevens, Photographer
Halifax | NS | Canada | Posted: 11:57 PM on 04.21.06
->> I use a program called mirrorfolder, which automatically mirrors my images folder to an external hard drive. For external hard drives, I have two, which I alternate between an off site storage. In my case the off site storage is the cottage. We are there at least once a month, even in the winter and I just take the current external hard drive and exchange it with the one at the cottage.

My workstation also has Raid 1, so in theory, I always have at least three copies of the image files (two on the Raid drives one on the external) and counting the off site storage at the cottage four copies.

I am on a Windows system and mirrorfolder is Windows specific, but there is probably a Mac equivalent.
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Jock Fistick, Photographer
Brussels | Belgium | | Posted: 8:10 PM on 04.24.06
->> When you calculate the investment in hardware - and especially maintenance - a photoshelter account is much more affordable in the long run. Obviously you are not going to upload every frame you ever shot - but you know what you best and most valuable and treasured images are - it makes sense to archive them on a service like photoshelter - you could never build anything as safe and robust yourself - and you get the added features of an online searchable archive - self-promotional tools and image delivery tools which I find indispensable.
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Landon Finch, Photographer
Colorado Springs | CO | USA | Posted: 7:08 PM on 07.14.06
->> Harrison (or others) have you been using Streamload? Any feedback on it?

Like you Harrison, I don't need something like Photoshelter. I only need an off site storage solution. $45/year for unlimited storage is a bargin!
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Max Simbron, Photographer, Assistant
Phoenix | AZ | USA | Posted: 10:01 PM on 07.14.06
->> I've been using streamload for 3 months. Here's what I've encountered.

Uploading using their software is bad. I'll set, say.. 1200 files to upload, and I'll find out later that only about 1100 went up. The log file tells you which didn't go, but its a pain to read through. I talked to streamload about this. They said why not FTP upload. It goes to a mirror, then gets transferred to your account.

Well, that DOES work, and well, because when a file doesn't go up, usually it stays in the FTP as a bad file or something, so I can see exactly which files need to be resent. BUT:

Files do not maintain folders in FTP (they do in the uploader), so I can't upload more than 1 folder at a time, otherwise it all gets jumbled. I then have to go to my storage area, create a folder, and move files from my "inbox" to that folder. Good luck doing more than 1,000 files at a time.

Speeds are insane. Very fast. Previewing an image is great, because it doesnt go against your download quota.

The fact that you can only use their web interface for viewing what you stored is weird (they have a 3rd party who made a streamexplorer app, but I didnt like it).

I honestly find it a bit tedious to upload files. For whatever reason, some files hang and don't get uploaded, so at the end of the day, I'll have a few files that need to go back up.

All in all though, for 44.95 for the year, I have to say it's worth the effort. Right now I'm at about 100 gigs stored, with 300 or so more to go.

Not having a limit on files or filesizes is freeing. I use ICE ECC to make a 10% redundancy error correction set, which means if I happened to have missed uploading a file or two, I can recreate it from ECC files. And because there's no upload limit, who cares about the extra overhead the ECC files create. In fact, if I ever fudged a file locally, I could download the ECC file instead of the jpeg, and fix up more than one file, pretty easily.

Ok, I wrote a lot, but if anyone has any specific questions, please email me and I'll be glad to answer as best I can.

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Landon Finch, Photographer
Colorado Springs | CO | USA | Posted: 12:45 AM on 07.15.06
->> Thanks for all the great info Max.

Anyone else have feedback on Streamload?
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John Lee, Photographer
San Francisco | CA | USA | Posted: 2:05 AM on 07.15.06
->> never used streamload. i use photoshelter for the better edits, then use two lacie 500gb firewire drives and mirror them for the entire takes. pretty rudimentary, but will do for the time being until i decide on some crazy raid system.

not sure what streamload is, but i imagine whatever you use web-wise would suffice. digital railroad seems okay, if not more expensive. i use photoshelter because grover is a good dude. but some others use digital railroad. i'm happy with photoshelter.

fyi, i think google is going to beta a massive web-based storage system soon. not sure about the details, but they're supposedly building a massive facility in oregon the size of four football fields that will store all the hardware for the storage service.
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Andrew Wilz, Photographer
Aspen | CO | usa | Posted: 3:39 AM on 07.15.06
->> what's wrong with DVDs?.. use Lightscribe to label...
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Jon L Hendricks, Photographer
Merrillville | IN | USA | Posted: 10:18 AM on 07.15.06
->> I just started using Streamload. Pretty good deal to me at $44.95 a year for 24 GB downloaded a year with UNLIMITED UPLOAD. I use it as a fifth backup to my two mirrored hard drives and two sets of DVD's for archiving weddings. My weddings are all shot in RAW then I convert them to JPEG to send to Streamload as a "just in case" archive. I have only sent over four folders of jpegs since starting but haven't noticed any files dropping or not uploading to the server yet. I think their web software is actually nice so far. But, time will tell. They just emailed me about their security for their servers. They said your uploaded files are mirrored on five servers in San Diego and require id's with handprints to access. Pretty secure!
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William Jurasz, Photographer, Assistant
Cedar Park | TX | USA | Posted: 11:07 AM on 07.15.06
->> Anyone using Streamload on a Mac? Their support seems spotty as most stuff is geared towards Windows. Wondering how well the XML interface works with Safari, or how stable and easy to use the Perl program is. I know all the plusses of Photo Shelter but its too pricey for my needs.
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Landon Finch, Photographer
Colorado Springs | CO | USA | Posted: 11:52 AM on 07.15.06
->> Andrew, there are several problems with DVDs, they can...

1) get lost
2) get stolen
3) burn
4) fail
5) damaged by the environment
6) get thrown around by my kids

Using both external HDs and CDs/DVDs, I feel fairly comfortable. My only concern is if my house burns down or those things get stolen. Unlikely, but the possibility is there.

Just ask some photographers from the New Orleans area if they would have liked to have had their files backed up off site somewhere.
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Landon Finch, Photographer
Colorado Springs | CO | USA | Posted: 11:56 AM on 07.15.06
->> John,

Photoshelter has its place, but it is clearly not a solution for mass storage. (Grover, I would like to see a storage-only offering.)

I don't need (at this point) all that Photoshelter offers. They are great features and is a great solution for many photogs, but it doesn't work for me.
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John Blankfort, Photographer
Monterey | CA | USA | Posted: 12:10 PM on 07.15.06
->> A lot of good ideas on this thread.

I use a program called Second Copy that will automatically copy changed files to another directory, another drive or even FTP. You can schedule it or have it run in the background and just copy all changed files. This might work well with Stereamload.

I’m in the external hard drive camp with storage at less than 50 cents a GB it’s cheap and easy to have multiple external drives. One off site.
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Chuck Steenburgh, Photographer
Lexington | VA | USA | Posted: 8:09 PM on 09.03.06
->> Any of you Streamload users ticked about their recent "downgrade" to MediaMax? Not only did all my previously uploaded files disappear (contrary to their assurances), all plans have lost their unlimited upload feature. I was all set to buy an annual subscription...yes, I've let them know how I feel but they have ignored my comments. I imagine they are inundated with complaints.
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Ian L. Sitren, Photographer
Palm Springs | CA | USA | Posted: 9:20 PM on 09.03.06
->> Google, Streamload, this load, that load, this max, that max, whatever....

You know when it comes right down to it, I know PhotoShelter does care. So this is my take on the whole thing. You develop a mass storage redundant system for yourself. Then you go with uploading your better edits on PhotoShelter. I am going back now and implementing this myself. And then I have my better images on PhotoShelter for additional sales which is intergrated with my website.

None of this is my idea, it came from Grover. Read through the PhotoShelter Blog, good stuff.

Just my suggestion.
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William Cannon, Photo Editor, Photographer
Utica | NY | USA | Posted: 10:05 PM on 09.03.06
->> My only serious concern is what happens if an online service goes out of business? It's like a term life insurance policy. You pay and they insure but if they go out of business you are out of luck.

Granted, most here are talking of it as a mirror but it still concerns me.

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Ian L. Sitren, Photographer
Palm Springs | CA | USA | Posted: 1:01 AM on 09.04.06
->> I have the same considerations. But so far the developers of PhotoShelter have both AltPick and SportsShooter as a track record. Pretty good so far.
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Jon L Hendricks, Photographer
Merrillville | IN | USA | Posted: 7:21 PM on 09.04.06
->> Streamload did just download their new storage plans. Now they call it MediaMax and you don't get a whole heck of a lot of GB's for your money. However, the greatest part about it for me is that they told the old users they are grandfathered in and still get UNLIMITED UPLOAD. Let's hope this rings true as time goes on. I'm glad I caught the plan before they realized what they were giving away. Sorry that it didn't last for any of you new users. They are just getting around to stabalizing their new MediaMax interface too. It was really shaky for a while.
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Alan Look, Photographer
Bloomington | IL | United States | Posted: 7:51 PM on 09.04.06
->> I'm not too worried about PhotoShelter going out of business anytime soon. When I signed up in June of 2005, there were less than 75 users. There's about 11 or 12 times that many now. They are growing by leaps and bounds.

The service has added lots of functionality. You can use as much or as little as you want. Landon mentioned a storage only service. It can be that if that's what your interested in. If you don't want people to see your work, just don't mark them as searchable, don't set up any sales profiles and you'll have storage only. I'm pretty sure you don't even have to be listed in the directory.

Redundancy? By all means, their system is redundant in itself, which is a priority for any storage system. I go a step farther by keeping discs of everything as well. The good part of Photoshelter is that I don't have to touch those discs often. That means I can store them appropriately and they will last a long time. You just can't have too much redundancy until it becomes a cost justification. That's where everyone has to decide on a balance.

I've even thought of taking it a step further and creating a working disc and my usual archive discs. Then I would have at least one that would probably never get spun unless the working one died - an in 6 years, I haven't had one die yet.

By the way, if you haven't been to lately, you should look at the latest upgrades. The public side was redesigned a couple of weeks ago. Those guys really out did themselves. It looks terrific.
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Bruce Twitchell, Photographer
Coeur d'Alene | ID | USA | Posted: 12:52 AM on 09.05.06
->> Jut found this:

AT&T online vault. Costs $6 for first 2 GB then $2 more each additional Gb with max charge of $17.95

Haven't looked at it too close and all that I can find is info regarding backing up PC, nothing about Mac.
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Thread Title: Storage or backup system for photos
Thread Started By: Dave Rubel
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