The real purpose of the post yesterday was for me to think about my storage plan. The numbers I generated yesterday, aside from curiosity, can help me figure out a plan... or at least make me panic about it.
Real quick disclaimer: everyone has different methods and practices when it comes to storage of their files. My way is just that. My way. It isn't wrong or right.
My goal for storage and archiving of my files is to have four independent copies. I.e. four independent devices that contain the files, with the devices being in physically different places (in my case - split between two locations: home and work).
I'm currently not there yet. I have three independent copies. Two at home and one at work. And that's okay. It's better than two (total) and certainly better than one.
So, in deciding how much more storage (hard drives) to buy, I can put some thought into the size of the drives and timing, i.e. how much longer until they fill up, and then compare that to whether or not I want to start buying larger hard drives.
Right now I'm on a 2 TB system. My trio of independent storage devices is three 2 TB drives.
From the post yesterday, my current collection of photos sits right at 1 TB. note that I'm leaving out all the OTHER files (edited images, music, personal stuff, etc); all of that sits on yet another set of hard drives
How long until it's full? ESTIMATE 1
Based on generating an average of 154 GB worth of images over each of the last 5 years, I have until about 2020 until the drive fills up.
YEAR Total Size
2015 1.00 TB
2016 1.15 TB
2017 1.31 TB
2018 1.46 TB
2019 1.61 TB
2020 1.77 TB
(note that a 2TB drive has about 1.81 TB actual capacity)
How long until it's full? ESTIMATE 2
Let's guess that I upgrade my camera to a higher MP model. I'm probably NOT going to do this, but let's just say I got the new 50 MP Canon 5Ds.
My raw files would go from an average of 30 MB (5D mark 3) each to 68 MB (5Ds). Based on shooting an average of 3500 raw files per year, I can estimate that my yearly photo yield will increase to about 287 GB.
Keep in mind this is just a rough estimate, and there are too many variables to make an accurate prediction.
The result is that I won't make it through 2018.
YEAR Total Size
2015 1.00 TB
2016 1.29 TB
2017 1.57 TB
2018 1.86 TB
(note that a 2 TB drive has about 1.8 TB actual capacity)
I think the easiest thing right now would be to get another 2 TB drive. That would fulfill my goal of having 4 independent copies of my photo collection, and it will serve me for another 2 - 5 years depending on the camera bodies that I use.
Once I reach capacity on that system, then I could double-up drives and add new ones with 2x capacity. I.e. existing 2 TB drives combine to form one independent 4 TB unit of storage, and then I'd have to buy four 4 TB (or higher) drives at once.
Ouch. Hopefully by then memory will be much cheaper.
Looking back a few years, my upgrade path was from 250 GB drives to mostly 2 TB drives. I suppose in 2 - 3 years we'll have 4 TB drives that are well under $100, and I'll be going from 2 TB up to 4, 5, or 6's.
Nope to optical storage as one form of backup. Been there, done that. Hate it. Pain in the ass.
Nope to the cloud. Too much trouble and expense at this point plus security issues.
Buy an enterprise-grade drive and put it in a Faraday cage? I like the idea, but it's beyond my budget.
Not a big fan of RAID. I've used drive arrays controlled by some level of RAID, and I'd much rather keep my system as simple as possible.