Archiving: feeding the beast / lightening the load

As I mentioned in the prior post about how our storage tech has gotten
smaller/faster I realized that I had to do something that I've been dreading
for the last two years: putting all my image DVD's into my mirrored hard drive
archive system. Not that long ago large hard drives, i.e. bigger than 100gig
were seriously expensive. When we first started seriously shooting digital
around year 2000/1 drives were in the order of a $5 per gig and a 40 gig drive
was considered to be pretty big at the time. To run a mirrored backup/archive
you need two of the buggers. So that got rather expensive rather quick thus a
lot of us were burning our files to CD and then to DVD because it was just a
lot cheaper. Well time and technology marches on at a blistering pace and now
I'm buying 500gig drives for about $70 a pop but I've been eyeballing this
shelf full of DVD's knowing that one day I'm going to have to put them onto

Well that day happened and I've been feeding the machine disc after disc
after disc and have noticed a few things in the process.

1) I'm really glad that I was smart and burned things to mirrored discs. The
writable CD's and DVD's have a limited shelf life. I found that some files on 3
discs were somehow unreadable but since I had the smarts to put them on two
discs I could read the other one.

2) Good doG but reading files off of DVD's is so slow. They used to be
wicked fast but in comparison to our current hard drives and flash cards the
transfer has taken a painfully long time.

3) I'm going to have to go through essentially this process again in a few
years but with everything in my archive. The simple fact is that I've already
done this before when I went from CD's to DVD's to archive. About every 5 years
the storage technology changes so much that things start to become
non-backwards compatible. CD to DVD wasn't that big a deal as the interface was
the same: IDE. Hard drives were initially IDE then EIDE which was the same
cable but different guts luckily they talked to each other. Now we have been
using SATA drives which are going to be replaced soon by solid state drives.
When that happens I'll have to move all my SATA drives that that format. Gad!

4) In the early days I was really worried about how much storage I was
using. I made brutal edits for archiving. It's funny but as I was scanning
through some of my old shoots I could remember lots of vivid details about the
shoot and I could remember some shots that I didn't save. Ugh!

5) My old "system" of archiving was horrible. I didn't even give
folders good and easy to understand names. Never mind that I wasn't key wording
my images or even the shoots. What a maroon!

6) In the early days I shot stuff JPEG! Wow was I ignorant. Granted we
didn't have the ability to shoot RAW+jpg like we do these days and a 256mb card
cost about $500 so that made RAW tough but still it gives me the shudders.

So now all those shiny discs in their little plastic cases are gone.
Replaced by a single, well dual actually, hard drive. It was an exercise that I
will go through again in a few years and for all that rot it was an interesting
stroll down memory lane for my early digital years.


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