Archiving Via Lucis Photos (Dennis Aubrey)


We continue to expand the Via Lucis collection, and with another trip coming in Fall, we needed to start planning on the next phase of our archiving. After a great deal of searching, we have selected a new NAS storage server for our internal network, the Thecus N7700.

Thecus N7700 Pro NAS storage server

We decided to go with this 7-drive, 14TB system because we can run a raid 10 array. If one drive fails in the array, our files are still protected. If a second drive fails while the first is still down, we are vulnerable to lose all data. Having the seven drives allows us to use six of the drives for the array with one hot-spare drive. The amount of storage we can use is represented by the equation (N/2)xS, where N is the total number of drives in the array and S is the capacity of the smallest drive in the array. N/2 is 3, multiplied by S (2TB) equals 6. We will be able to archive six terabytes worth of images. Our raw files are about 25MB each, which means that this array can store about 280,000 images safely. After this trip we’ll have about 75,000, so I think we’ll be safe for awhile.

Because of the new storage device, we have had to completely reorganize our file structure, which grew up a bit helter-skelter over the last couple of years, so this upgrade in storage was the perfect excuse to rebuild the file system from scratch. Boring, but so much easier to manage the thousands of image files.

PJ and I now have a working environment that includes two Mac workstations (one has three-TB internal disk storage and the other a two-TB external hard drive in addition to the boot drives) and large Mac LED cinema displays. These are amazing monitors, as I am sure that you have heard and seen. The backup for the computers and the other hard drives is a 5TB Western Digital ShareSpace RAID array. Until recently this was our image storage platform but we will migrate it to system backup now that we have the new Thecus gear. The computers and NAS servers are connected by gigabit ethernet. Also on the network is an Epson Stylus Pro 4800 printer (thanks to Vincent Versace for this recommendation). We travel with an older Macbook 17″ and a collection of 1TB LaCie portable hard drives to store and backup images while on the road. We use the same file protocol so that we can simply import the entire collection when we return to the US.

Would love to hear from readers about their storage solutions for photographs. We had to learn a great deal from scratch just to understand the options, although our colleague and friend Darren Mansfield at Woods Hole Group was a big help, as always.

✿ Update: As of May 2013, we have backed our entire library up on JustCloud. ✿

2 thoughts on “Archiving Via Lucis Photos (Dennis Aubrey)

  1. Well I would say you have a well organized archive/hw equipment. The only thing I would suggest – as I have the same paranoia about loosing data as it happened to “loose” entire HDs of work – it is to have a further storage in another building… you know… just in case of remote fire… flood.. but I am sure you have already thought about that…

    1. Enrico, you commented on our workflow!! Not too many people are interested in that particular subject. We do back up offsite, but not as often as we should. Thanks for exploring our site so deeply as to find this arcane post 🙂

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