[nSLUG] Backups: dealing with large, growing photo collections (was: Selling Used Computers)

Pat Gagnon patgagnon at gmail.com
Tue Mar 30 10:05:52 ADT 2010

I have been thinking about the same issue, especially with the kids getting
older and having digital cameras now. Our needs are around 500 Gigs at the
moment for pics, personal and business files and mail archives.

I am contemplating a RAID 6 array for both daily storage and short term
backup.  Then using 2 sets of external drives for long term backups with a
weekly schedule.  These would only be powered when doing the backup or
restore and be turned off otherwise as to minimize wear and tear. I'm
thinking of 2 such sets of drives which means I would have 3 copies of all
the essentials with the potential of only one week's worth of data losses.

I'm still trying to figure out which distro I should use to setup the RAID


-----Original Message-----
From: nslug-bounces at nslug.ns.ca [mailto:nslug-bounces at nslug.ns.ca] On Behalf
Of Ben Armstrong
Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 8:39 AM
To: Nova Scotia Linux User Group
Subject: [nSLUG] Backups: dealing with large, growing photo collections
(was: Selling Used Computers)

On 03/30/2010 09:20 AM, Richard Bonner wrote:
> ***   I can't believe that so many don't seem to bother with backups.
> With the low cost of floppies and flashdrives - even used zip drives, 
> there is no excuse except for laziness, as I see it.

You've got to be kidding.  OK, I won't disagree that backups are a good
thing, but as my 1 terabyte drive fills up, you would counsel me to use such
small media?  Even the largest of these, flash drives, would be
prohibitively expensive at that size.

My backups have been broken for some weeks, so I'm crossing my fingers that
my relatively new drive will not kick it before I get it resolved.  
I have healthy supply of DVDs and have trimmed my backups down to just
essentials: people's home dirs minus the easily identifiable large/transient
stuff that could be re-downloaded should it ever be lost.  The problem is, I
still haven't dealt with the issue of regularly archiving off the large
photo collections each user has from their digital cameras, while still
making it possible for them to make edits as they see fit.

I'm pondering whether a unionfs would help here.  I could build a unionfs on
top of already-archived material (as the read-only layer) with a read-write
layer on top.  In my regular system-wide backups, I need only backup the
read-write layer.  At some point, I would want to re-archive, with the new
archived disks containing any updated files, and then re-build the union
with the newly archived material forming the new read-only layer.  The trick
would be to identify and throw out any disks in the archive that have
directories that have changed ...

Hmm. Sounds like too much complexity to me.  Would probably be easier just
to tell users "I'm sorry, once your material is archived, you can no longer
edit it. You can make copies of files and edit them, but you just can't edit
the originals."  That is a bit of a sacrifice in the users' freedom, though,
for the sake of easing administration.  I would like to avoid this if I can.

Does anyone here successfully use a backup strategy that fits these needs?


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