Beyond Compare…

This might sound like a romantic or philosophical post, but actually it’s highly practical. I rely on two essential software utilities for protecting and managing all the data on the machines I use for Outside In.

One of the things I’ve done to maximize the speed of the production hard drives I use, it something called RAID 0 (zero). RAID 0 allows you to link multiple drives together as one big drive to boost speed but you take a big risk – lose one of the drives and all the data is gone an all drives (as opposed to something called RAID 5 that you can lose one drive and keep going, but it’s much slower).

So, to protect against loss, I mirror my RAID 0 (and other important drives) to cheap drives in a big RAID 5 volume on another computer (in the laundry room) 🙂 So, by using cheap drives without any high-end, expensive hardware, I have both speed and protection. It’s way too much data to back up on tape drives, CDs or DVDs (literally would cost tens of thousands to do so, more than the cost of the film to date), so this is the only practical, cheap solution.

However, with the hundreds of thousand of files in several terabytes, insuring all the files are in the right place could be the job of several full time employees. But that’s where software comes in.

I use two great utilities to manage. First, Second Copy is a program to manage a second copy of data in another location. It’s easy to use but you can run in expert mode and do all sort of fancy stuff (which I do) to have automatically make copies on a schedule that does not interfere with my work.

Then for tricky stuff that can be automated, I use another great program, Beyond Compare, which has more detailed rules and abilities, but it can’t be easily automated (and shouldn’t be the way I use it).

Both programs have free 30-day trials, so if you do any kind of file management beyond a few files, I highly recommend both. I get no kickbacks or benefit from these, just a happy customer.

More soon on two more great file management utilities and a great online backup service…

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