Friday, October 7, 2016

Data Loss and Backups (Part 2) - Operational Test

Having evacuated from the South Carolina coast earlier in the week for Hurricane Matthew, I thought it would be appropriate to share some more about my data loss and backup strategies!

Image Courtesy of National Hurricane Center

  If you read my earlier post about this subject, you know that I have most of my data residing on an ioSafe Network Attached Storage (NAS) that is fire and water resistant.  This NAS is still sitting in Beaufort, SC - which as you can see from the image above is squarely in the path of Hurricane Matthew.  I figure this is a perfect opportunity to test how survivable this piece of kit really is!

   Have I lost my mind?  Is the only thing between me and 100% data loss the fire and water rating of the NAS?

   Not at all.

   So there is a second tier of defense to my plan.  That server backs itself up nightly to Amazon's Glacier long-term storage solution.  For about $16 a month, my 4TB of data are mirrored over to Amazon's US servers.  Now this backup isn't like Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive.  I can't go out there and pull down just one or even a handful of files.  This storage is for when I have to rebuild the ENTIRE datastore on the NAS, as I would probably have to do after long-term salt-water immersion should the storm surge reach my NAS.

   But what if a customer calls TOMORROW and needs an image IMMEDIATELY while my house (and NAS) are in shambles?  That is the third tier my defense plan.  I rarely throw any working digital storage devices away.  So once I've moved a SSD/HDD full of images over to the server, I put that drive aside in a stack that is another hedge against the hedge I've already put against my bet.  So on Wednesday, as I was packing for an evacuation, all I had to do was grab my stack of two drives that were already bound together, and throw them in with the rest of the important files and items that were going to be evacuated.  IF need be, I can point my Lightroom catalog at one of these drives to pull the RAW file in for a quick edit and export to satisfy the customer's requirements.

  Hopefully that explains a bit of my rationale for how I ensure continued access to my most important RAW files regardless of what the weather may bring!  Feel free to ask any questions or throw spears at my plans in the comment section below. (And I may even answer some of them!)