The Best Cloud Storage Solution from Jason the Wedding Photographer
So I’ve got a lot of pictures. A couple hundred gigabytes of storage presumable. I’d been meaning to figure out some kind of best cloud storage for photographers for a while, but I never quite found that time.
I back everything up to an external hard drive, but those things eventually die. Plus, I archive some things to the external drive and wipe them off my main hard drive. So I definitely needed another, preferably off-site, location to store my data.
After some searching, I opted for Backblaze.
This is a sharing from Jason, a wedding photographer from Malaysia. You can check out his work at mjkphotography here.
What I Really Wanted from the Best Cloud Backup
First, let’s get a few things clear: what I wanted from best cloud storage for photographers.
- I need a cheap cloud backup solution.
I don’t want to spend big especially for my secondary storage. So I don’t want to pay per the gigabyte. I’m sure those large, scalable solutions are awesomely secure… but they’re prohibitively expensive for me.
- I need big cloud backup storage.
There are some free options that let you back up a small amount of data – a couple to tenth of gigabytes. That would be fine if I wanted to back up my office documents and college papers. But, I’ve got hi-resolution, RAW images (~20mb a piece) that need to be backed up. 2GB of storage wouldn’t even hold one days worth of shooting, so that’s useless to me. I wanted something ranging from a couple hundred gigabytes to a terabyte.
- I need something that is automated.
I’m forgetful and, at times, lazy.
If I have to manually initiate a backup, chances are I won’t do it as often as I should. That could be disastrous… so I want something that’s effortless and runs, automatically, in the background.
What I Got from Backblaze
I researched some alternatives, did an online backup comparison, and I eventually decided on Backblaze Personal Backup Plan.
It fit my needs perfectly.
It’s certainly cheap. For a no-strings attached monthly package, I pay $5 a month. If I change my mind, I can cancel and not be locked into a contract, and $5/month is well within my budget.
It’s big. The service is advertised as “unlimited.” I’m sure you could hit a limit eventually where they would quietly suggest that you upgrade to a (much more expensive) pro account, but I haven’t reached that point yet.
Some research showed that many users stored upwards of a terabyte on Backblaze’s servers with no issues. I initially had about 250gb to store, and I don’t see that ballooning to more than 1 to 2 TB in the near future, so that’s fine by me.
It’s automatic. I already automatically back everything up to an external hard drive (more about my backup routine), so I set Backblaze up to just watch and backup my external hard drive. The program runs quietly in the background, and twice daily it scans the drive for new information and sends it to the server.
No effort required on my part.
Even though there are some cloud storage that are specifically for Malaysia, it still did not catch my attention as I was actually looking for something that is cheap and unlimited.
Any Concerns or Problems yet?
After about a month, I’m generally happy with the service. I backed up my files completely, and they continue to back up daily. I’ve tested out the restoration procedure, and it’s up to snuff. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, though, so here are two concerns…
Initial uploads suck.
I didn’t decide to do this until I already had ~250 GB of data to upload. That takes a long time. The upload ran almost constantly, and the initial upload finished after about two weeks. If I already had a terabyte of info to store, I don’t know if this would be feasible.
– Start small and early.
Restoring 300 GB?
I don’t want to think about restoring all that data. It’s easy enough to go in and pick out one or two files to restore. But, if I had to download 300 GB of information (my amount of stored data), that could take a week or two.
I shudder to think about downloading a whole terabyte from the server. So… let’s hope I don’t have a catastrophic failure of my external hard drive.
This is, of course, my initial impression of Backblaze. I’m a real, paid user; I’m not just writing this up based on stuff I read on the internet.
That also means that my opinion might change, since this article will remain for months to come (and, unfortunately, there’s no way to edit it).
So, if you want to know if I’m still happy with Backblaze after a few months usage. Yes for now.
Knowing it offer unlimited best cloud storage for photographers is really a relieve.
How to Get the Most from Your Backblaze Online Backups
The beauty of the Backblaze backup system is that you can just set it and forget it, and the initial defaults will work fine.
However, to get the most from your Backblaze backup system, you should delve into some of the configuration options.Automatic or schedule backup.
The first choice, located on the Schedule tab, is whether to use Automatic or Scheduled backups. I prefer the Scheduled backups, which run at a specific time, because I am routine like that.
Automatic backups will run when your computer is not busy, and may be useful for people who don’t work on a schedule. I have tested both and determined that if your settings are correct, you won’t notice one way or the other.
If you choose the Automatic option, you will not know exactly when Backblaze runs, so there is at least one notification option you should select on the options tab. There is an option to “Alert me if a backup hasn’t happened in this many days”.
Set this to 1 or 2. You may also wish initially to have the option ticked for “Show status when a backup successfully completes” so that you know the system is working.
If you are not already on the “Options” tab, click on it now.
In order to keep the rest of your family happy and not interfere with other applications, you need to be careful not to clog up your home network during the day as you do a large initial backup. It may take days or weeks, even with a high-speed connection.
If you have a VOIP phone, it will become unusable if your backup uses the entire network bandwidth. To solve this, you need to enable bandwidth throttle during your typical waking hours. I have found that 1/3 of my available bandwidth during the day works well.Backup speed.
This is not nearly as critical for three reasons.
One, it affects only your computer, so you don’t risk annoying others on your network.
Two, you can change it on the fly during any backup and the changes take place immediately.
And thirdly, if any Backblaze backup is disruptive to you when it runs, you can click cancel to stop it completely, and it will automatically pick up where it left off the next time it runs.
The series of check boxes on this tab are a matter of personal preference, and will not affect your backup performance. For most people, the defaults are what they will like. For a family member who doesn’t want Backblaze to bother him at all, I unchecked the notification and warning options.
The most important option for my home was the bandwidth throttle during the day.
Now that I’ve find that Backblaze is ideal for my cloud backup solution.
I paid $5/month for unlimited backups. What else can I ask for?