Creating the Digital Archive
Part 2: Hardware
In this chapter, well look at how to configure a digital storage system to
host the information structure that we created in the last chapter.
Keep in mind that whatever configuration you are using at a particular time
is likely to be only a temporary host for the information. As I mentioned ear-
lier, your hardware configuration (how your computer system is set up) will
probably be the most often-changing part of your digital archive. Storage
solutions that work today will likely be too small in a year or two, and will
probably seem quaint in five years’ time.
In this chapter, we will investigate some storage solutions that are available
now, while at the same time presenting useful concepts for evaluating new
technologies as they arise. Ill start by briefly discussing the system I cur-
rently use. Then we’ll take a look at the considerations behind the choices I
made: what kind of storage to use, how to configure the hardware, and how
to create backups that provide adequate protection for your images.
The methodology that I outline in this chapter will provide for a scalable
system (one that can grow with you from a single hard drive of images, up to
terabytes stored on a client/server network) that protects your photographs
and provides you with quick and reliable access to your images.
My Rig
Figures 4-1 and 4-2 show the computer systems I currently use. These con-
figurations have evolved over the course of nearly 20 years, and they con-
tinue to change and be improved. Obviously, your systems will vary with
your needs, temperament, and budget, but looking at a functioning setup
can be a useful way to start to get your head around designing a hardware
configuration that will work for you.
We’ll go over the specifics of designing a successful hardware setup later in
this chapter, but to get you started let’s take a look at the configurations I
use both on location and in the studio.
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