Most photographers would rather invest in new camera gear instead of investing in a backup solution for their images. I get it — new camera gear is a lot more exciting than hard drives. Nonetheless, you need a solid backup solution. Here’s how you can stretch your budget and save money by buying cheaper hard drives so you can still get that new lens you’ve been dreaming of.
Follow the 3-2-1 Backup concept
Whether you have just 1 TB of data or 16 TB, you need to follow the 3-2-1 Backup plan. Three copies of your data: Two stored locally and one stored off-site, preferably in the cloud. Creating a backup solution for just 1-3 TB of data is easy and very affordable. Just buy two 4 TB external drives. Having 4 TB or more is a little trickier. You’re at the point where you need to invest in a RAID — Check out “Photographers will eventually NEED a RAID System.” This can get a little costly but I’ll show you how to work it into your budget.
Full disclosure, I started as a Drobo consumer and now I’m a Drobo ambassador. I use Drobo as an example. There are other Direct Attached Storage (DAS) devices — Western Digital, Synology and Netgear. The advice I’m giving will also work with these devices.
Buy a faster or better hard drive for your main storage
When buying a hard drive for your main storage, spend a little extra on a 7200 RPM drive. According to Backblaze — an online backup service that uses LOTS of hard drives — HGST has the lowest failure rate. If you have more than 4 TB of data the 4TB 7200 RPM HGST Ultrastar is on sale and is a good choice, plus it comes with a 5-year warranty. Using the Drobo Capacity Calculator, adding four 4 TB drives to a Drobo 5C will give you 10.89 TB of storage.
If you have less than 3 TB, a LaCie 4TB Rugged Mini Portable Hard Drive is a good choice, especially if you plan on traveling with it. If you are attaching the drive to a desktop, the G-Technology 4TB G-DRIVE USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive is a good choice.
Before you mention SSD drives, keep in mind, they are much faster but they are also limited in size and they are expensive for a storage solution. A Samsung 860 QVO 4TB is almost $500 bucks. It’s best to have a smaller, less expensive SSD drive as your main drive for your operating system and programs.
Buy a cheaper hard drive for your backup
Yes, you read that correctly: Buy a cheaper hard drive for your backup if you want to save money. Since you are only using the drive as a backup, you aren’t directly accessing it so who cares if it’s a little slower. I set my system to backup at 2 a.m. when I’m not using my computer, so the speed isn’t an issue. This drive is insurance. If your main drive fails — correction, when your main drive fails — you can use this drive until you rebuild a new one. Currently, the 4TB 7200 RPM HGST Ultrastar is on sale and is a better choice. Once it’s off sale, the 4TB 5400 RPM Seagate Barracuda would be my next choice. If you have less than 4TB, the Western Digital 4TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive is a good choice. Since this is a backup drive, it will stay safe at home so you don’t need to spend extra on a shockproof drive. If you are attaching the drive to a desktop, the Seagate Backup Plus Hub 4TB External Hard Drive offers good performance with a 2-year warranty, two integrated high-speed USB 3.0 ports, and Seagate’s Dashboard backup software.
You need to Invest in a backup solution, so save money and buy less expensive hard drives for your backup solution. Use 7200 RPM for your main storage and 5400 RPM for your backup storage. Wise shopping so you can still get that new lens you’ve been dreaming of.
Interested in learning more about Drobo? Check out our free webinar this Wednesday, June 27, 2019 at 3 p.m. ET. You can also save 10% at drobostore.com with the coupon code PHOTOFOCUS.