Storage, Storage, Storage!

Another photographer’s harddrive bites the big one, as documented on Flying with Fish today. Documented are the trials, horror, tribulation and eventual cost of recovering a drive with important, unarchived data. For folks like me, the numbers are staggering, at well over $2K per drive. Incredible backup strategies could be had for the cost of one of these failures… and this guy has gone through two within a year of each other. Blecch.

With some first-hand experience twice in hand, the author points to a couple of nifty sites, as well as having a glowing recommendation for a harddrive recovery. One article he points to is something called “Hard Drives Die!” … to which I’m sure he’d give a resounding “Amen!” This piece lists five rules for data storage and preservation: store your data in two places, changes out drives periodically, use an automated backup procedure, rebuild your system when you replace your drives periodically, and if a drive is making noise, start figuring out what you’re gonna do about the data on the spindle. The article goes into much more detail about each of these, and is well worth the read.

His other link is to some specific information concerning the harddrives in some Macs. Specifically, this info speaks about the problem some MacBooks have had with a certain revision of Seagate drive. The good news is that my MacBook doesn’t include that drive in its configuration. The bad news is that my MacMini server does. Not the best news in the world. Now, the scary point here is that when the drive crashes, it crashes bad, scratching the platters, essentially thumbing its little electronic nose at any recovery attempts. So, if you back up a lot, you’re in good shape. If you can replace the drive before it fails, even better.

So… OWC has 320GB harddrives (and at the same 5400 RPM as the current 120GB that the Little MacBook That Could sports) for just under $148. You replace the MacBook drive, take the evicted 120GB and put it in the MacMini. And the potentially disaster-waiting-to-happen 60GB Seagate? Put a case around it, and turn it into an external drive for storing the backups of the shoots the MacBook carries around when traveling. It’s not too likely that both drives would fail…. is it? 🙂

The key point here kiddies is that storage is cheap, relatively speaking. For the price of recovering one drive, you could put a Drobo on your desk, and still have enough coin left over to fill it up with 1TB drives, and still have enough left over to put an external drive outside the laptop for Time Machine backups. The alternative universes of data loss just ain’t pretty…..