Storage, Part I of Many

While on a break from blogging, I’ve been churning about all things In Perpetuum. By churning, I mean creating lots of digital audio and video files, making a short movie, and sipping a campari and worrying about formats and storage. In these dog days, then, when it doesn’t hurt to prop the laptop on icepacks, I am taking steps to Do Something.

Lo these many months ago when I conducted an inventory of my materials, I found that I had different priorities and strategies for preserving music, video, captured sound, and text files. After exploring how best to optimize my devices to capture the best quality audio and video (the better to preserve), I floundered on how to store and manage the files. None of the options seemed like The One Solution.

Since I’m somewhat recently come from an academic institution, I assumed that having The One Solution (supported by central IT, of course) was the only solution. Silly me, forgetting the purpose of this exercise: Save my stuff sans the infrastructure and resources that public and private institutions afford. I’m taking one for the team. In which case, there isn’t The One Solution maintained by central IT. There are many solutions, and it’s complicated enough that I’ll have to write a plan just to remember what to do. The basic parts involve:

  • two 1-terabyte drives that rotate between my domicile and a safe deposit box at my bank
  • 1 terabyte of space in the ether (see comments below)
  • a new laptop to handle video and data processing
  • two old laptops that manage music (the oldest one) and travel (the second oldest one) – of course, backed up to the drives and the ether.

What – you don’t save your old computers?

I’m almost ready to blow my tax return on digital and analog storage, and I’ll provide the numbers in a subsequent post. But I’ve been reading and thinking, especially about online storage, and here’s what I’ve learned:

There’s a language problem: Web hosting. Cloud storage. Network storage. Everybody says they has it cheap, though their grammars aren’t always rights, and theys seem to have many company for one services. (note to self: look at DNS Registration). Everybody says they gives you tools to manages your stuffs. And it encrypted. And it unlimited. Caveat emptor. The web hosting peeps don’t do data storage, but they’re keen on SSL and will let you FTP an unlimited amount of stuff to their site. They do want to throttle traffic and maintain service for everyone who’s hosting a site on their servers, and they do promise much uptime. The cloud/network storage peeps don’t trust you with FTP and want you to use/download their synching tool. They have good thoughts about security mostly, but storage space is at a premium, and they don’t cop to how long it actually takes to send 1 terabyte of information into the cloud for storage. (Note to self: check bandwidth of ISP.) Several sites review web hosting and cloud/network storage options, though it seems that there is a “reward” for reviewers. Mad props to the peeps on the MacRumors forum (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1127908) who suss out language and storage options.

There are choices to be made: Just because you’ve created an array of online and offline storage options doesn’t mean you can FTP and overwrite willy nilly. Should there be an Ur machine that contains everything? What if you have a video file from, say, a Cannon FS200 that saves a .MOD and a .MOI for each video clip. These files are virtually unplayable (thank goodness for VLC) and un-editable unless converted to another format. What do you save in your 3 1-terabyte locations: the .MOD/.MOI files; the converted .DV files; the edited and marked .DV clip that you plan to use for a movie? What about the original file on the SD chip? Safe deposit box?

There are other lessons, but this post is long enough, and the WordPress servers are limitless(!), so I can post more thoughts on storage. The lessons learned, for the moment: I have further confirmation that it’s best to make a storage and preservation plan for each type of item that’s dependent on its whole life cycle. Somehow, finding a way to print my high school thesis in Word Perfect 3.x seems like a piece of cake.