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I've got a lot of photos that are taking up a lot of room on my laptop. I got an external HD for the new photos and for the Lightroom database, but alas the scratch disk is full. I'd like to set up a good strategy for backing up files that are likely to be of little use and a bunch of photos reliably.

I'm looking to pick up a new external HD to format for Time Machine, and setting up a network enclosure with data mirroring.

Any other ideas? would like to hear what others are doing, especially photographers.

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Seems like a shopping recommendation to me, so am voting to close. – Wuffers Jul 3 '11 at 2:27
@Mark, the OP is looking for a strategy, not necessarily products. – mkoistinen Jul 3 '11 at 8:26
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Firstly, Time Machine isn't your best option here, since it will happily nuke older items when it runs out of space without any warning or dialog. And, since you're talking about photos here, I think what you're really looking for is an archival solution (not a backup solution).

I use a Drobo for local archives and I use JungleDisk for offsite archives.

The Drobo would already deal with all the mirroring for you and what I love about it is that when you get low on space, you simply add a new drive from virtually any manufacturer in an empty bay, or replace an older disk with a larger replacement. LOTs of headaches erased here.

I do use my Drobo for a TimeMachine backup too, so it will serve your backup needs too.

JungleDisk is an nifty offsite mirroring tool that uses Amazon S3 for the storage layer (it can also use RackSpace, since they purchased JungleDisk awhile back). This is a "set-it and forget it" thing that backups up the changes off my local archive at regular intervals.

So my strategy is that I keep my photos nicely organised on my Drobo, and that is silently backed up offsite by JungleDisk. I can easily access all my photos locally as required. I use Aperture and I configure it to use unmanaged masters so that they aren't stored inside of an Aperture Vault–only the meta data is. This allows atomic file changes to be efficiently managed by JungleDisk.

I don't think Lightroom does photo management, so you shouldn't need to bother with that.

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Ok, well not using Time Machine works for me. If the files are organized and backed up regularly/properly then using a network drive to backup stuff should be enough. Doing this organization was the most important part. Drobo looks like a very sleek solution, but it is rather pricey. I find the Dlink 323 and 343 a cheaper alternative, especially because you can use any Hard Drive. – Daniel Jul 4 '11 at 4:50
I use dropBox, but for documents, not so much for media. Comparing prices, dropbox seems to be cheaper at $10/50GB but looks like jungle drive is a better solution overall. In either case, I don't see a 3rd party cloud hosted media as a practical solution for data what can easily grow to hundreds of gigabytes. – Daniel Jul 4 '11 at 5:00
One setup I've used to backup files which worked like magic was to set up on a separate machine, as an old unused computer is cheaper than a new network drive. I've set up a network job to do an incremantal mirror every day overnight, with some folders having 4 weekly archives. It's not exactly Time Machine, but I know what it does, so it's easier for me to set it and forget it when I trust it. That was on a PC though. – Daniel Jul 4 '11 at 5:05

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