Today’s question comes from Dave, who was curious about how to store his digital archive of photographs. I talk about my storage workflow in my Lightroom Workflow Course, but I thought it would be valuable for my blog readers also to hear about my recommendations on this subject.
So with that said, here was Dave’s question.
“…Do you have any suggestions on External Storage for my LR photos? 8-12TB storage would fit my needs. I’ve been using a portable external drive for working in LR and
…I’ve been using a portable external drive for working in LR and I then routinely copy (backup) to another portable drive just for safety (not very efficient. Not sure if I’m ready for a RAID system or if I should consider another option. I have too many portable drives (and DVDs of photos) that should be consolidated to a centralized storage system.
In this digital age, backups are more important than ever. In fact, I have become so paranoid about backups that I have backups of my backups.
First, I understand your concern about the price of a RAID. However, they reliability and peace of mind of a RAID trumps the price, in my opinion. So I strongly suggest going in that direction.
If you visit my gear page you will see what I use for my RAID backups. I prefer the G-RAID Studio line of RAID systems. They’re made extremely well, and are easy to swap drives out when you need. G-Technology is known for their speed and quality of their drives. If you have a Thunderbolt drive, then definitely pick up a Thunderbolt version of their drives. That way the speed of the external is nearly as fast as an internal drive. Here is one of the drives I use where the actual disks are swappable. Here is a drive that is not swappable (easily).
If you need larger drives, then the price will be higher, of course. To keep costs lower, you could pick up multiple smaller drives and separate your library into multiple. For example, 2000-2005 on one. 2006-2010 on another, 2010-2015 on a third, and so on.
If your internet bandwidth can handle cloud backup I’d also recommend considering Backblaze or another safe online backup for all of your photos.