Every photographer wants photos to not suddenly disappear. In the old days, a dry cabinet with boxes provided (well, up to a fire-flood-robbery) almost infinite shelf life for negatives.
Advantage: they are inserted directly into the camera
Cons: everything else
The cards are dead. Moreover, depending on the design and luck, they can die in the middle of shooting, and it is absolutely irreversible — not a single laboratory will be able to return the freshly shot for any money. Therefore, by the way, for responsible filming, you need cameras with two slots and recording in parallel on both.
The cards are small. They are too small and easily lost.
Road maps. Today, cards of decent quality cost from 5–6 thousand per terabyte, while cards of decent quality and a decent amount of HDD are 2–3 times cheaper.
Hard drives, external or internal
Advantages: inexpensive, do not depend on the Internet
An external hard drive is simple, compact, connected-recorded-disconnected-removed.
But hard drives, like cards, are mortal, and also suddenly mortal. SMART monitoring is a good thing, but I have ever evacuated data from a collapsing disk with completely “green” monitoring.
External hard drives are easily stolen. The thing is compact, valuable, what is there.
Well, any single storage is unstable to force majeure. Fire, flood, search, theft can irrevocably destroy the photo archive.
DVD and more
Disadvantages: expensive, take up a lot of space, small amount of memory
Optical writable or rewritable media, or any other removable media today, are either insanely expensive or obscenely small. 4 gigabytes — the standard size of a recordable DVD — is simply ridiculous today. If they were 4 terabytes, there would be some kind of conversation. In fact, if the laser disc is not scratched, it will last indefinitely. There is nothing to break-demagnetize-discolor there. But size, size… Although some masterpieces of masterpieces or compromising evidence of compromising evidence can be stored on them.
Advantages: inexpensive, accessible from anywhere, allow you to exchange data
Disadvantages: difficult to calculate risks
Looks simple. I bought (or received for free) a place on the dropbox-googledisk-yandexdisk-anywhere else, and reign, lying on your side! Free bonus — convenient to give away large files.
But there are nuances. As a sysadmin, I know them very well.
- Security issues. Everything with a processor is subject to them, but large services are especially affected. Passwords are stolen, data is encrypted or published with depressing regularity.
- The problems are political. A cloud provider may have a situation when it cannot or does not want to support the service in your region. At best, you will have a week to evacuate data, at worst — “Sorry, goodbye.”
- A very unpleasant kind of political problem is the invasion of effective managers. Saved on backup, saved on admin — oh, your data is gone, sorry, please! It is clear that this is unlikely for especially large providers, but anything happens. The author has seen a not very small service that was in the state “The site is not responding, services are not working, technical support is not picking up the phone” for three days.
- The problem is paranoid, but nonetheless. Some third parties may technically have access to your files.
Well, forget about the payment is very undesirable.
Network-attached storage. Storage attached to the network. Your own provider.
Advantages: moderately reliable, it is known who serves
Disadvantages: expensive, instability to force majeure
As a rule, NAS does not use single disks for storage, but disk arrays. If everything is done as it should, then the failure of one disk will only lead to a notification to the admin — “Change!”. For the extra money, you can keep disks on hot standby, and in general, for the cost of less than a professional camera, you can get a device with almost absolute reliability.
However, NAS is a computer, albeit a specialized one (but it can also be done on the basis of a regular one). And it requires certain knowledge to maintain, and in the absence of a good admin, it can suddenly become very vulnerable to attacks (although, say, in the area of responsibility of the author of these lines, the last recorded security incident happened a little over 20 years ago).
And, of course, fires and floods. Again, from the author’s personal experience: there is a main server, there is a backup server, both have disk arrays, but … there is a toilet on the floor above. On New Year’s Eve, the counter is filled with water. All servers and, most importantly, all disks instantly went into an unrecoverable state…
But what does the ideal look like?
The ideal does not exist. But, if you really want to do everything like adults …
Make two NAS. On your own computers, not on rented ones (this is a fundamental point. Even if you cannot pay, you at least guarantee that your computer will not be given to someone by cleaning the disks or forgetting to do it). In good data centers. On different continents (in the most extreme case — in different parts of a large city, everything that is not an atomic war is not terrible for such a location).
With a good and reliable system administrator. As a result — with adequate monitoring, timely elimination of security problems and preventive replacement of carriers. With all the trappings of a good modern system such as data encryption and tools to recover data after accidental or malicious deletion of files.
Expensive? Well, yes. However, it all depends on how much you value your archive. And, I think, many have seen photographers who carry equipment worth the cost of an apartment in a provincial town in their backpacks.