For the last several years I have been able to keep up with my photos and video shoots by buying two disks every other year, and just making sure I keep them on separate floors but synced over the network. Idea is that I then have decent backup, and the cost has been reasonable.
However, at the rate my work has grown over the last year I'm thinking that replacing my two 4TB externals with two 8TB externals might not even get me through a full year. So I'm thinking it may be worth jumping to something in the 12-15TB range.
If I look at that, one option is some eSata/USB 3 RAID 0 enclosure such as a Sans Digital 5 Disk tower. It runs about $310 for the enclosure, and comes with an eSata board. My concern with something like that is that I tried using the eSata on my current drives, and if I rebooted rather than perform a complete shutdown Windows would only see the drive as a Read Only device.
So then I took a look at the consumer NAS devices from Synology, QNAP, and Buffalo. However I would then have to setup a bridge downstairs to allow all my computers to access both subsystems, or keep both of them upstairs which is slightly more risky. I'm also worried that the one on the bridge downstairs would be rather slow to use.
Again, part of the complication is that I would ideally like to get two systems with the same size to minimize backup concerns. Perhaps a NAS upstairs where it could plug into the home router, and the RAID 0 downstairs? Thoughts?
Raid 0 is a horrible idea for storing data of any concern. I would suggest having one storage system/device whatever you end up going with and paying for an online backup solution. Home backup services are usually unlimited and pretty reasonable in cost ~$50 a year or so. You could most likely seed the data with the backup service for a fee if you already have 8TB or so of data that you don't want to try an upload.
CrashPlan is a popular one with pretty good reviews overall, but i'm sure there are tons of other options out there.
I'm not sure if I didn't make myself clear, or if you were just trying to make a point about online storage. However, as I mentioned, I buy TWO of these, and then sync them up over a home network so that they are essentially backing each other up. So it's not a backup issue.
My questions is whether folks have a preference between the options that are out there, and if so why? I am leaning toward a Sans Digital 4 bay model as the ones with more bays worry me in terms of more disks = higher likelihood of something going boom. I have had some Buffalo models before (NAS) and has decent experience, but even counting the costs of the drives their equivalent model is a bit more expensive.
As for online backup, I have yet to find one where after a year of service you haven't essentially bought a drive anyway. Which makes sense since for them to make a profit they need to be able to afford hardware and network costs.
I don't have exp with either of those devices perhaps someone else will be able to help further.
Online unlimited backup is $36 a year at crashplan, which is well below the cost of a drive and certainly worth it if the data matters to you. Not worth arguing about, but anything you can come up with is going to be no where near the level of data loss prevention using an online service could provide.
I use the Sans Digital 5 bay case with 5X 2TB in raid5 so I get 8TB useful out of the 10TB raw data. The enclosure seems high quality. I have never lost data. I like the solution, but would probably take the money back if someone offered to buy the solution for its deployment cost.
That said, your current approach of 2 copies on two totally separate USB drives is a much safer (albeit harder to manage) approach. Eventually I will trigger a firmware problem with the raid5 array and lose all my data. (I do have dvds in a fire safe for the things I care about like kids photos).
Note a friend who is a photographer and his business associate provide off site backup for each other using free WINDOWS MESH to sync up folders on their systems. That covers a house fire that would otherwise toast all the disk drives.