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External Storage

Protect your photo and video library from the unexpected

Labels: Storage


We frequently emphasize the importance of backing up your photo library on a routine basis. Longtime readers may recall a very sad story many years ago wherein I lost over a gigabyte of photos when the hard drive of a brand-new computer crashed. (Yes, it's still haunting me to this day.) I definitely learned my lesson, and I hope you'll avoid such an easily preventable loss.

A good backup strategy involves multiple copies of your photos, videos and any other important files in more than one physical location. Local backups are the first step. For a few hundred dollars, you can back up all of your data to an external drive like those we highlight here. If you do nothing else, please do this.

Add cloud-based services to the plan, and your files are practically guaranteed to survive just about any disaster, whether natural or technological. If you're reluctant to add yet another subscription expense to your budget, I completely understand, but it's hard to put a price on the value of your photo library.

In addition to the drives we feature here, several of those included in last year's guide are still current and available: dpmag.com/storage-2014.


BUFFALO DRIVESTATION AXIS VELOCITY
Capacities Available: 1 TB, 2 TB, 3 TB
Interface: USB 3.0
Dimensions (HxWxD): 4.8x1.5x7.5 inches
List Price: From $109 (1 TB) to $179 (3 TB)
The DriveStation Axis Velocity is all about speed, with its fast USB 3.0 interface and 7200 rpm drive, advantageous for both photo and especially video work. It can stand vertically or lay horizontally to best fit your workspace. Windows users can schedule regular backups with the Buffalo Backup Utility; for Mac users, the drive is compatible with OS X Time Machine.


DROBO
Capacities Available: 4 TB, 8 TB, 16 TB
Interface: USB 3.0
Dimensions (HxWxD): 6.3x5.0x10.7 inches
List Price: $349 (enclosure only); From $599 (4 TB) to $1,449 (16 TB)
Install up to four drives in the Drobo smart enclosure for one of the easiest redundant storage arrays to use and maintain. Drobo Dashboard software lets you configure your drives and even specify the amount of storage space that's available to back up apps like Time Machine, reserving space for other uses. Battery backup power ensures that data in the process of being transferred isn't lost in the event of a power outage.

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