Many Photographers use RAID Storage to Increase the Speed of their Workflow
As a professional wildlife and nature photographer, I can quickly go through megabytes of photographs, even in just a single photo shoot!
That means it’s important for me to keep up to date with the best forms of my photograph storage. For that I have purchased a RAID storage (OWC ThunderBay 4 with 4 hard drives) in conjunction with other hard drives and online storage! Like me, many photographers use a RAID to help increase uptime and prevent data loss through drive failures. Realizing that you have “collected” enough external hard drives, which actually makes it difficult to access your photographs in a speedy way. What you want is a better faster solution for your photographs to access and save.
Waiting time for saving and accessing files in the office; I have enough waiting for animals or the best light in nature, in my office I want to have speed for photograph processing! There are many solutions out there, but for me the RAID solution was the best with speed so far.
Unfortunately, many people don’t know exactly what a RAID storage does and not does. That may lead to photograph and data loss! It’s not a backup for your photographs, this upfront! It speeds up your workflow immense while saving your files or accessing them.
This is my RAID on my desk in South Africa. I opened the RAID that you can see there are 4 hard drives inserted.
What is RAID Storage?
Before I get into explaining the advantages and uses of working with RAID, let me explain what exactly a RAID does for me.
- RAID is an acronym that stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. When you use a RAID storage with 2 or more hard drives installed, all your data from your photography will be copied exactly as it is onto a second drive. Huh, mine has 4 drives in the black box!
- That means that by using a RAID storage, you can save copies of your digital photos or documents. These files will have same high quality, full file size in high resolution. You also can access your files from multiple devices. Using a RAID can help prevent data loss. Its data redundancy creates copies of your photographs or any other files you may have. Copies of your photographs will be accessible on that second drive even if the first drive has a drive failure. Sounds a tad complicated, but it has its plusses.
My RAID Storage is not My Backup
I’ve used a RAID storage system for years, but I have never used my RAID as a backup for my nature photographs. For that I use external hard drives and online storage, like Google Drive, Amazon or Dropbox…etc.
Why Don’t I store My Photographs on My RAID?
Very simple; a RAID can protect your photographs and files from a mechanical drive failure, because every file in a RAID storage is mirrored, if one photograph or file becomes corrupted or deleted, all the other copies are immediately changed to reflect that. Yikes! Do you want that as a backup?
Why Do I use a RAID
I use a RAID because it is much more reliable than other forms of storage and because its data redundancy allows me to “store” my photographs safely. It lets me store and view my latest nature photos on all my connected devices and it can process my photographs so much faster than an external normal hard drive. My ThunderBay 4 delivers the speedy uptime processing I want while giving me the photograph protection I need!
RAIDs are offered by several brands, do your proper research when you decide to buy one.
What do I do to Backup all My Photographs
At the moment, my ThunderBay is almost completely full. Usually I do a backup in between more often, before it is full, that is in my opinion much better!
I like to back up all my files to other external hard drives and of course to my online storages. I don’t want to risk leaving my ready-to-go nature photographs on my RAID, since a RAID storage is not an photograph backup for me!
Also, I make sure to always save my RAW photograph files on separate backup drives as well, because I don’t want a preventable thing like corruption, human error, or malware to be the reason to lose all valuable RAW files or ready-to-go photos!
The Bottom Line of Using a Raid Storage for Me
Taking the advantage of their useful features, speed, mirroring…etc. is just right for me. Just be careful, don’t use a RAID for your full backup of your photographs or any other data you have. It is not a backup for all your files! Also, a 2nd and 3rd backup of all your great photographs will always pay off!
You might be interested in the Photoshelter BEAM review. Photoshelter does not give a photographer what they really need!