Today’s Question: Do you use a RAID system and keep copies of discs in various locations?
Tim’s Quick Answer: I don’t personally use RAID as part of my overall backup workflow, in large part because I prioritize having my backup copies of photos and data stored on separate physical devices from my primary storage.
More Detail: There are a wide variety of implementations for RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks), but most of them focus on creating a backup copy of all of your data in real time. In general, you can think of these types of RAID implementations as causing your computer to write data to two (or more) drives at once whenever you make any updates to your data.
An automated backup that works in real time can obviously be beneficial. However, because RAID involves multiple storage devices within a single container (such as a drive housing) with all of those drives connected at the same time, I prefer to focus on other backup solutions.
My personal approach involves maintaining multiple exact copies of all of my photos and data. I happen to use a software product called GoodSync (http://timgrey.me/greybackup) to synchronize my primary drives to backup drives. I also maintain more than one backup drive for each source drive, and keep those drives in separate locations.
To be sure, RAID provides a variety of potential advantages, and those advantages go beyond simply creating a real-time backup of your data. I would certainly be in favor of using RAID in general, as long as you also create additional backup copies of your data on separate drives that get stored in separate locations. After all, when it comes to your photos and other important data, I don’t think there is really such a thing as being too careful.