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Handling storage and backup as a photographer (petapixel.com)
8 points by herodotus 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments

This article is basically an advertorial for Drobo

True but they did at least disclose it, "Full disclosure: Although I have been using Drobo devices for a number of years, I recently became a Drobo ambassador"

My experience with Drobo is less stellar.

Mine too. I've owned, 3 of them... There's no finer way to lose data.

I'm not super well versed in storage stuff, but why is it when I read on building your own NAS with ZFS I have to use all the same capacity hard drive. If I have 5x 1tb drives and 1x 4tb I don't have 9tb of storage (minus replication costs) I have 6tb.

It seems with Drobo, I can throw any different size of drives in, and it just works. How can I build something like that on my own?

Drobo adds, effectively, a chunking layer. Suppose that all drives are integer multiples of 1 TB. Split each drive into 1TB volumes, and make mirrors such that no volume is mirrored to another volume on the same drive. You gain storage efficiency at the cost of performance and complexity.

In the scenario above you could get 8TB protected by mirroring, or use a Z1, Z2 or Z3 scheme.

Super important if you invest in a raid: get a battery backup for power. I had a drobo go down on my from a brownout and lost some photos. Now i have battery backup (and switched to synology) and haven't had any related issues.

I've been using Synology NAS devices for some time now and I'd definitely recommend them too. They have great support, even for their 'budget' systems, and provide many years of software updates and fixes. Their main web interface doesn't suck, and they also support SSH and command line management of the devices too.

I've not invested in backup power, but this is one area that I'm a little skeptical of... nowadays all filesystems are supposedly advanced (log-structured records, etc) so in the event of power loss, in 'theory' you should only be losing at most a few minutes of work, depending upon caching. i.e. stuff that hasn't yet been written to disk might be toast, but everything else should be safe. Or can worse corruption still happen?

(quick edit to add: I'm not saying that backups are a waste of time, not at all, just that I'm questioning having a short battery power-supply backup)

Corruption can always occur if the moons and sun don't align for you on the day of the power outage.

Battery backup is usually req'd if you want to use write-caching on your RAID. You can also use flash backed RAID controllers, it's prolly better than a battery backup today.

Ultimately, keep things in perspective. The battery backup option might be the same cost as a decent UPS. You can also always build your own or get a decent zfs appliance.

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