[mou] Digiscoping discussion

Fagyal, Chris E (US SSA) christopher.e.fagyal at baesystems.com
Wed Feb 20 12:10:18 CST 2008

Gail and all,


You will get a wide variety of responses on this but I'll try to sum up
some of the main ones with pro's/con's, in order of what I feel is the
most desirable and stable to the least desirable


1)       The most desirable, and the most expensive short term, but most
stable long term would be a Raid solution.  The simplest of these would
be a Raid 1 solution (Raid 5 would even be more desirable, but again
more expensive as you need a 3rd drive), preferably in an external
enclosure with supporting hardware.  I purchased a raid enclosure that
supports 2 drives and has extensive hardware and software on the
back-end including such things as firewalls etc.  My system is a NAS
(Network attached storage) Raid 1 system with 2 500G Seagate Barracuda
7200.10 drives in it set up in a Raid 1 configuration.  What this means
is simply this:  The two drives are mirrored such that if one fails or
has issues, it can easily be swapped out and replaced with another
drive, and the raid system will re-mirror that drive to be identical to
the drive which did not fail.  In this case you would have to have 2
drives fail at exactly the same time to end up potentially losing data,
which is a very rare thing to have happen.  NAS, for those who don't
know, is one way to have storage in a system that is totally
disconnected (i.e. no USB/Firewire/etc) from your main PC but still
allows transport of files between PC and the NAS through giga-bit
ethernet.  The system I have comes with a hardware firewall and user
accounts etc, providing security and blocking unintended access.  The
cost to get something such as this, if you want a NAS solution is
probably 150-200$ for 2 500G drives and then 300-500$ for the NAS Raid
enclosure.  If you just want to put two USB drives in a raid
configuration, you can probably get an enclosure that would support this
without all of the bells and whistles for much cheaper.  The nice aspect
of the NAS that I have is that I can plug it directly into my router
(which also has a hardware firewall in it), and be able to access my NAS
from any PC in my house, wirelessly.  All I need to do is mount the NAS
and log into the drive with my user account and password.

2)       Second most desirable would be USB/Firewire external hard
drives.  You could have 1 to many of these and either just have 1 drive
with all of your images, or possibly 2 drives that both contain all of
the same images (so that you have a backup of your backup) if such is
desired.  This is a less "complicated" (though the first solution,
though it sounds complex, is really quite easy to work with), and less
expensive, but also less resistant to failure, as if the drive fails,
you may lose images, as happened to me when I had an external drive
fail.  I would recommend, if you go this route, to stick with Western
Digital or Seagate external drives.  I would recommend against Maxtor,
Lacie, and most other external drives.

3)       Probably relatively least desirable, though not horrible, would
be DVD or CD backups.  The issue here is DVD's and CD's have a
half-life, and eventually, over an unknown period of time, the media
will degrade and eventually become unreadable.  There are
"archival-quality" DVD's that advertise being able to archive data for
"100 years" or some such.  The issue, from a peace of mind standpoint,
is that we don't really know if that is an "advertisement" or if it is
in fact true, as we don't have enough real data yet to back that up,
with DVD writable media only having been readily available for 3-5


My current strategy encompasses two of the 3 options listed above.  I
have everything archived on DVD archival media, and I have a Raid 1 NAS
solution as well.   Many professional photographers also have copies
stored offsite as well (at a place of work, in a safety deposit box in a
bank, or what not).  I have not done that as of yet.


Chris Fagyal

   Senior Software Engineer

   BAE Systems - Armament Systems

   Fridley, MN




From: mou-net-bounces at moumn.org [mailto:mou-net-bounces at moumn.org] On
Behalf Of Gail Wieberdink
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 11:43 AM
Subject: Re: [mou] Digiscoping discussion


I really want to thank everyone for all the really good information that
has been shared on this topic!  I spent a lot of time thinking about
going to a digital SLR camera but in the end decided against it.  The
posts here have made me feel even more strongly that for myself, that
was the right decision.  I have a 5.1 megapixel point and shoot camera
with a 12X zoom.  I have an additional 1.7 telephoto lens attachment and
a close-up lens.  For the most part, I've been pretty satisfied with
what I have.  I have a few framed 8 x 10's hanging on the walls, but
generally, I print very few photos but instead enjoy looking at them on
the computer.   My camera equipment is pretty light so it is not a
burden to take along on bird hikes.


With so many photographers going digital these days, what do you find is
the best way/place to store the images?  I've  used both CDs and DVDs
and have thought about getting a portable hard drive.  But all these
things seem to have a life span and perhaps soon CDs and DVDs will be
obsolete.  So, what do all you photographers do with your digital images
to preserve/protect them?




Gail Wieberdink

wieber64 at comcast.net



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