Head in the Cloud

plate cameraI’ve just counted, and I have 43,478 digital photos. That’s 112Gb of storage, which isn’t actually a lot these days. Buy a new PC today and it will probably have 500Gb or 1000Gb.

Of course, you’d be crazy to keep your irreplaceable photograps only on your PC, especially if it’s a laptop that can be lost or stolen. And hard drives break. (Sometimes software — even system software — goes beserk and renders the data inacessible but at least you can usually recover it.)

So, like a good nerd, I back up my photos. The master copy is on a home server, but there is a duplicate on an external drive, and another copy on a swappable caddy that slots into my laptop. I also make a DVD copy of the new photos every so often, even though I know that writeable DVDs have a lifetime of only around 10 years.

But I can’t help feeling a bit like the old yokel who keeps cash under the mattress “because he doesn’t trust the banks”. I should be backing up my photos to the “cloud”, or as I prefer to think of it, to someone else’s hard drive.

There are many services available, but the free ones don’t remotely meet my needs for storage space: I’d need to use a paid service. I took a look at CloudMe as an example, and 200Gb (barely enough) costs €14 a month, €168 a year. (I picked CloudMe because their servers are in civilized Sweden and they have good encryption and Linux software.)

Right now, that would buy me a 5Tb drive with USB3, and I imagine that it will be cheaper next year, or I’ll be getting more storage for the same price. Drives don’t last forever, but all I need to do is buy a new one every year, and I’d still be saving money.

There is a risk though. All my data would be in the same physical location; in one house anyway. If my house burned down, or an airliner fell on it, or — I don’t know — one of my neighbours was playing with EMP devices, I’d lose all my photos. I might need to think about this a bit more.

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