Monday, April 09, 2007

Offers Me Protection

In a storage sales environments, often the leading question is what are the two most important elements in your company?

Typically the top two answers are 1. Our People 2. Our Data - not always in that order though. For me if I look at the data stored on my PC the single most important collection of files for I own is my photo library. Shortly behind that are my email archives, my personal documents and even my collection of bookmarks (while not critical it is always a pain if you lose them)

For relatively small amounts of data (less than 650mb) - then a combination of burning CDs and using an online storage services such xdrive or idrive will suffice.

However the challenge I was facing with 18.5GB of photos and 9500 files is that on a 512kb upload speed it will take days to upload that much data and equally as long to retrieve it. In fact Jonathan Schwartz illustrates this point very well in a recent blog posting.

I have tried to do this online backup in any event by opening up a pro account with flickr.com. This promises unlimited online photo storage but in reality limits you by allowing you to upload only 2gb a month. Sadly the other problem with flickr.com is that currently Etisalat has this excellent photo sharing site blocked in the UAE. So not the best solution at the moment.

With my move to Dubai I have seen my photo folder nearly doubled in size in the last ten months caused by
1. lots of things to photo
2. images at either seven or ten megapixels

The use of a single 4.5GB DVD is simply not enough and copying to multiple DVDs is a tedious process with fresh photos being added regularly. The other option is to copy them to an external hard drive however hard drives sadly fail on occasion and I have had suffered this a couple of times. Also I have yet to find an easy to use backup program to replicate folders without in depth knowledge of the ILM (Information Lifecycle Management) process.

That was until I recently read about Foldershare.com. This essentially allows you to replicate folders between PCs. It relies on a small application download and a little configuration on a website which is nicely described on lifehacker.com here.

The underlying technology is encrypted P2P which gives me the added benefit of being able to access my files anywhere via this site. I applaud Microsoft for making this application free to use following their acquisition of ByteTaxi a few years ago.

Now with the use of this I am replicating both my photo and document directories between my two home PCs, my work laptop and even my iPod. A little extreme but it is nice to have local access to my photos on all my devices. Sure I should make regular DVD copies, but with such a high level of replication and zero manual intervention I am much happier than just a few weeks ago. Like most people, I imagine, previously I had no cohesive backup strategy for my most precious digital memories.

To quote David Pogue from the New York Times - "There are only two kind of people - those who back up their computers and those who will"

5 comments:

Gomez said...

Will have to look into that, have been having the same thoughts recently.

Was thinking about getting an external drive as a pure backup for a while, but haven't got around to it (not like me)

Photo's and music for me, I really don't want to have to upload all my CDs again.

Aaron said...

Hi Gomez,

You should. The best thing about it is the auto syncing of the folders. No more having to manually drag across new photos or mp3s.

Actually - the thought of ripping all 300 of my CDs again is not that appealing. Perhaps I should get (another) external hard drive and have my mp3 folder syncing.

Cheers

Aaron

Gomez said...

Liked the foxmarks plugin off that link as well

Grumpy Goat said...

I continue to persist with a Psion 3a PDA. (How quaint!) Paraphrasing the manual:-

Make backups. People who work with computers make backups. If you do not make backups, one day you will discover why people who work with computers make backups.

I keep my photos on a 300GB external hard drive.

Aaron said...

Hi Mr Goat!

I am amazed your Psion 3a continues to work. The clamshell design and keyboard has yet to be bettered imho.