I recently had a bit of fun on Facebook to make a point to my students and former students.
Of course, anyone who has worked with me knows that I would never lose data. I literally have a backup, a backup of the backup, and an offsite backup in case my studio burns down. Once, long ago, I lost a bunch of composition work when a drive crashed. I learned my lesson.
I thought it might be valuable to those still struggling to get a good system to know how I handle all of this.
My work computers are all Macs. They are all one the same network with ethernet for better sustained data throughput. This isn’t the cheapest option, but it is far from the most expensive. It doesn’t use the absolute newest technology, but it works. Most importantly, for me it balances the perfect level of involvement vs. data security.
On my main Pro Tools computer, I have a LaCie Thunderbolt-to-eSATA hub. That gives me two eSATA ports for fast external storage. That connects to Thermaltake BlacX Duet with two Seagate Barracuda 3TB drives (7200rpm). One is my work drive, and the other is a mirror.
I use Chronosync on a timer to synchronize the two drives at the end of every work day, and I also run the sync manually whenever I take a break. This might seem weird to some, but I need to have some active level of involvement in my backups. It keeps me on my toes. It is too easy to assume that backups are scheduled in the background and forget about it. A restart that doesn’t relaunch the scheduled backups could result in days or weeks of lost data.
I have a second semi-work computer in my composition studio. It is my main computer for syncing my iOS devices, but I sometimes use it as part of a multi-computer setup with Vienna Ensemble Pro. I have another 3TB drive on that machine that mirrors from my work drive over the network overnight.
Finally, I have a fourth copy that I take with me to my office at the University. That drive is no more than a few days out of date. I bring it home, sync it with my work drive, then take it back to the office. It is really a last ditch effort to cover myself in the event of a catastrophe to takes out my entire house and all computers.
I’ve started to look at server storage options, but I have I have a system that works. I use Dropbox and Google drive for shared projects, but I haven’t gone that way for data archiving yet. I’m also slowly approaching the limits of a 3TB drive. I tend to keep old client work archived on my main work drive, but I will likely have to move that to another set of drives. Since that is older non-active projects, it won’t require to constant upkeep.
In any case, that is how I lost my main 3TB drive without losing any data. I bought a replacement 3TB to take its place in the mix, and never lost a beat.