Today’s Question: I have a question about how to set up my backup system. Currently my desktop has two internal drives: a 2 TB drive that is using only 225 GB and a 4 TB drive that is using 2.39 TB. I then have an external 4 TB drive that is configured to backup both of the internal drives, and it is almost full. In addition I alternate my external drive with another 4 TB drive and always keep one in a offsite.
What do you recommend I do so that I have access to all of my photos and yet still assure myself of a backup process?
Tim’s Quick Answer: There are two basic options I would suggest considering. My preference would be to add an additional set of drives to backup the 2TB internal drive, so the 4TB backup drives are used to backup the 4TB internal drive. The second option would be to “upgrade” to a 6TB drive to backup everything.
More Detail: The reason I would prefer to add a set of 2TB drives to the mix is that I prefer to have a backup that is an exact duplicate of the original. This involves the use of synchronization software (such as GoodSync, http://timgrey.me/greybackup) to backup the full contents of each drive to the applicable backup drive.
That said, in this case we’re talking about backing up internal drives to external drives. That means that in the event of a failure you can’t simply replace the failed drive with the backup drive (although in theory you could accomplish this, depending on the overall hardware configuration).
Therefore, it is also perfectly reasonable to purchase a 6TB drive for backup purposes. You could still use a synchronization approach, simply creating two “master” folders on the backup drive to represent the source drives you are backing up. So, for example, you could create a “2TB Backup” folder and a “4TB Backup” folder on the new 6TB drive, and then create synchronization jobs to synchronize from the internal drives to the applicable folders on the large external backup drive.