I recently had a non-photographer friend ask how I archive my photos. In short, I'm probably a little neurotic of how I keep my archive secure. This post isn't going to explain my whole strategy for Digital Asset Management, it's just an overview of how I safegaurd my archive. I keep every image that I shoot, and work hard to ensure that they won't be lost due to theft, fire, corruption, or act-of-god.
The heart of my archive resides on 4 hard drives on my desk. These drives contain all of my raw images for the past three years. All of the drives are configured in a RAID 1 setup, meaning that each unit is physically two hard drives but they're acting as one. When I copy an image to the RAID drive, an exact copy is written to both drives simultaneously.
Whenever I copy an image folder onto my desktop archive, I also copy it to a portable hard drive that I keep in my camera bag. The portable drive serves as a short term off site backup in case anything happens to my desktop archive. It also serves the added function of giving me easy acces to my recent images at any time.
Once a hard drive is full, I copy it to a seperate drive, and take that drive to Pennsylvania to sit in a box in my parents house. The drives in Pennsylvania serve as a perminent off-site backup in case my desktop drives fail, are stolen, or my apartment catches fire.
The image below is of my desktop hard drives.