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Old February 21st, 2013, 09:17 AM   #1
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Archiving Solution Advice - Drobo?

Hello,

I'm hoping some of you peeps can advise about best practice for archiving.

Since my workflow went entirely tapeless I have been stupidly ignoring the fact that I badly need to invest in some form of digital repository.

I work as a video producer and the repository will be used to store rushes, production files and master videos from completed projects.

While I do not intend to edit from such a repository it will need to be accessed on a semi regular basis when clients come back to ask for updates to existing materials.

I currently have around 4TB of data stored on external WD drives - OF WHICH THERE IS NO BACKUP - and frankly it terrifies me.

I have a small home studio which has an old HPXW8200 Avid suite, a MacBook Pro and an iMac. The iMac networks everything together and the external drives containing my archive connect to it, and through which all the data is accessible to any machine.

Over the last few weeks I have been considering a Drobo storage solution. Although I here they are slow, this should not be an issue because, as previously stated, I will only be using the system for storage, not for editing of streaming.

I'm attracted to the Drobo because of the positive reviews I have read about the continues backup and drive repair feature.

However, what puts me off is, as I understand it, any drive which has been in a Drobo, can only be read by a Drobo. In other words, I could not take a drive out of the Drobo and have another machine access the data.

This leaves me wondering what would happen if the Drobo itself failed? What if Drobo go bankrupt and I am unable to purchase another device in the future?

In summary, what is the best (if any) way to future proof my archive and all the rushes and productions contained therein?

Should I just stick to using external drives and spend the time manually backing up each one as data is added?

Should I just buy a cheap USB internal hard drive reader, copy each drive when full and put them in a box until needed in the future?

I would be really interested to hear what suggestions of experiences people may have.

Thanks.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 11:55 AM   #2
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Re: Archiving Solution Advice - Drobo?

Chris, I don't want to say too much yet, but I'll let the cat out of the bag just a little...I'm working on an article about the new Drobo devices: Mini, 5D, and 5N. I have one of each and had hoped to publish weeks ago, but due to circumstances beyond my control it probably won't be ready for at least couple weeks, maybe more.

The most important thing, to which you alluded in your comments, is that RAID is redundancy, not back up...NO single device can be its own backup. A device like Drobo is fault tolerant storage and is an excellent PART of a backup plan. However, any device can fail, and I've had that happen. It was an old Maxtor NAS in RAID-1 and it was still a pain to recover my data from the drives without having another Maxtor.

The right solution regardless of hardware is to have at least one (preferably more) separate backup, ideally not stored onsite with your primary archive. If you want backup, you need at least two mass storage destinations for your data.

Anyway, the new Drobos really are a fairly pain-free way to get mass storage, although like most any device there are a few limitations and gotchas that are well described in their Knowledge Base. And although I'm not finding them as speedy as the company claims (no surprise, don't all manufacturers put their best foot forward?), their sustained data rates are pretty decent. If your Mac is new enough to have Thunderbolt and you want plenty of throughput, I would imagine a 5D would be a good choice for you.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 12:16 PM   #3
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Re: Archiving Solution Advice - Drobo?

Chris,

Perhaps this is what you are referring to:

http://photobusinessforum.blogspot.com/search?q=drobo

I've been thinking about buy some small internal HD's ~500-1000mb to back up and keep off site. They make adapters that can hook up to USB for this purpose. I think they are pretty cheap around $40.00US.

But I hear that the hard drives should be plugged in once in a while.

tape back up would be great (LTO) but just to expensive right now.

Somethings gotta give.

JL
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Old February 21st, 2013, 12:17 PM   #4
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Re: Archiving Solution Advice - Drobo?

Your most cost effective solution is believe it or not - tape.

LTO-4 or LTO-5 to be exact.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 12:21 PM   #5
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Re: Archiving Solution Advice - Drobo?

Hi Pete,

Thanks for your response. I will be very interested to see the results of your tests!

I had been looking at the 5D review in Larry Jordan's page Larry Jordan - Product Review: Drobo 5D | Final Cut Pro Training | The Best Training in Final Cut Pro

You do right to point out the difference between redundancy and backup.

Most of the projects I have to archive are relatively small (between 100-200GB) but over the last year the average amount has been steadily increasing.

The only thing i don't like about the Drobo idea is that I won't be able to read the drives in anything other than a Drobo.

At my level of need, I have to say, I am swaying to toward sticking with external drives at the moment (or buying a USB Sata Doc) backing up each drive as I go and then storing the duplicate drive off site.

Drobo-wise I don't see speed being an issue. I do have Thunderbolt, and ultimately if I need to access and work from any of the backup data I will be transferring it back on to one of my work drives.

I guess like many people having to address this seriously for the first time, I'm a little nervous about how safe any of my data will be in the future.

I'm one of those folks who used to be entirely tape based, with any other production files being backed up on to DVD - not that DVD is particularly future proof but there is a placebo effect in that it is a physical thing I can see on my shelf :)
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Old February 21st, 2013, 12:24 PM   #6
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Re: Archiving Solution Advice - Drobo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Levin View Post
Chris,

I've been thinking about buy some small internal HD's ~500-1000mb to back up and keep off site. They make adapters that can hook up to USB for this purpose. I think they are pretty cheap around $40.00US.

But I hear that the hard drives should be plugged in once in a while.

tape back up would be great (LTO) but just to expensive right now.

Somethings gotta give.

JL
This is what I have been thinking, only I'll need several drives of 2TB +.

Is it the case that they need to be plugged in once in awhile? I guess that would make sense....

As for tape - that's way out of my budget.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 12:24 PM   #7
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Re: Archiving Solution Advice - Drobo?

A LTO-4 drive divided over 5 years is $280/year. 800gig tape costs $25.

With the higher reliability of LTO over rotating storage it looks to be much safer and affordable than many other backup options.

What will it cost you to loose a project?
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Old February 21st, 2013, 12:28 PM   #8
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Re: Archiving Solution Advice - Drobo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Medico View Post
Your most cost effective solution is believe it or not - tape.

LTO-4 or LTO-5 to be exact.
I hear you. Unfortunately at 1.5k a deck is out of my reach and my requirements more immediate.

And from what I understand there's nothing to say LTO tape will be any more future proof than hard drives.

Maybe I should just accept that there is no ideal single future proof solution and just get over it...
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Old February 21st, 2013, 12:39 PM   #9
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Re: Archiving Solution Advice - Drobo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Medico View Post
A LTO-4 drive divided over 5 years is $280/year. 800gig tape costs $25.

With the higher reliability of LTO over rotating storage it looks to be much safer and affordable than many other backup options.

What will it cost you to loose a project?
I hear you again. However, I think I should have been more clear about defining what I mean by storage and backup.

A backup on an LTO tape is just that - a backup. It's not a way to store data in a way which is immediately accessible.

There are many reasons why I often need to tap in to my archive at a moments notice. It may be because a client needs an update to a video (e.g. a new logo), a complete re-edit of existing material, or maybe I want to dig out an old after effects composition which I think will be of use in a current project. Therefore whatever, storage solution I choose needs to let me quickly access individual files.

However, Chris you are right. Maybe what I should be looking at is having my archive on HDD, and a taped backup of those (kept off site) rather than a simple HDD copy of the original.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 12:42 PM   #10
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Re: Archiving Solution Advice - Drobo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Levin View Post
Chris,

Perhaps this is what you are referring to:

Photo Business News & Forum: Search results for drobo

JL
Yep, that is exactly what worries me!
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