Offline Archiving System

The two most on-going concerns for a photographer today are organization and storage. Thanks to digital photography we often shoot thousands of photos of anything just because we can.  After all, we’re not paying for film, much less developing, so who cares!  Give it a few months and you will likely notice that it’s not any easier to find a particular photo on your computer than it is to sort through photos in a shoebox.  To make matters worse, your hard drive may be running low on free space, and that might explain why it has gotten so slow all the sudden.

Been there.

Organizing and storing your digital files simply doesn’t happen by itself.  It requires persistence and a few hundred bucks to do it well.  There’s just no way around it.

Yesterday I installed my new archiving system, and I’m quite excited about it.  In a nutshell, it’s an eSATA hard drive enclosure with hot-swappable drives.  Admittedly I got the idea from the guys at Image Mechanics.  They wrote an excellent post about it here.  These guys are doing huge commercial gigs, so if the system can meet their needs, I’m certain it can meet mine with plenty of room to grow.

For my part I got the two-bay enclosure bundled with the eSATA card adapter.  I was a bit apprehensive because I’ve never heard of SeriTek, and their website gave me the impression that they might not be legit.  I decided to give it a whirl hoping that a nod from Image Mechanics was enough.  Fortunately the ordering process was painless, and everything seems good to go.

For now I’m sticking with the 500 GB hard drives from Western Digital.  I now have seven of those drives, and they’ve been good to me so far.  I think next time I will try a pair of terabyte drives; since I’m using them for archiving I’m not so concerned about seek times.  Other than that, my setup is identical to the one described in the link above.  Check it out if you’re looking for a long-term storage solution.

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