The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
I received a message from a newsletter reader, asking how to store a genealogy society’s huge collection of digital images on a safe and secure online service. The following is an excerpt from a longer message:
I noted your recent writing about cloud computing… Our genealogical society is struggling to determine the best back-up/storage solution for our growing files of electronic data. We are seriously into digitizing local county records. The archival images, as you know, are relatively large files. We already have close to 3 terabytes of data with a projected growth to circa 10 terabytes in the next 3 to 5 years if our digitizing and other electronic projects take off.
Having stable, secure storage is increasingly important to our society. We simply cannot leave this digital data at risk. And shipping 1 terabyte or 1.5 terabyte hard drives around among society digitizers and in-house e-publishers doesn’t seem like a very good solution. We are concerned about possible data loss from lost or damaged shipments and similar hazards. We also know that having a single copy is not sufficient; we need multiple copies for backup purposes. We have invested a lot of time and money in creating these images of records and cannot afford the risk of having single copies.
What is the best way to store such a significant and growing amount of data where we can add to it, have it securely backed-up, etc. Engage the services of a server farm? Do you have one to recommend? Use Mozy? Use Carbonite? Other?
Excellent questions! In fact, there are several possible answers. First, let me re-state the goals in my own words: