Archiving Terabytes of Personal Data


Every photo I make with our new DSLR takes 22MB of space (I prefer RAW format). We've shot 800 photos during our recent holidays thus creating some 17GB of data. And our Nikon D3200 DSLR is really good at shooting video so we also create gigabytes of video whenever our children do something interesting. Even though hard disks become quite capacious and inexpensive, safely storing such large amount of data quickly becomes quite a cost. In the past I archived my personal data on CDs and DVDs. In the recent years using hard disks for archiving has become more cost effective, but creating several copies of data on multiple disks still doesn't come cheap and doesn't feel right (aren't hard disks supposed to be a primary storage?) Confronted with large amount of data created by our new camera, I've set to explore options for archiving terabytes of personal data that our family is creating and I've come with the following setup.

I've store recent data on our computers and periodically make backup copies using Apple's Time Machine. When we run out of space on our internal hard disks I've create archives (mostly consisting of photos and videos) and move one copy of archives on an external disk while I upload the second copy of the archives first to Amazon S3 and after a few days to Amazon Glacier. After that I delete original files thus making space available on internal disks for new data.

Glacier provides highly reliable storage for extremely low price of some 100 euro per terabyte per year. I have quite some trust in Amazon but I still wouldn't trust the only copy of memories of my children growing up exclusively to them (or any other cloud service for that matter) and that is the reason I keep the second copy of data on my personal external disk which comes dirt cheap these days at less than 100 euro per terabyte. The total costs of keeping a digital archive using such setup as explained above is some 200 euro per terabyte per year. This is not cheap but I think it's the price worth spending in order to provide future generations with memories of their youth.

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