What Do You Think of the Seagate Personal Cloud?

January 2nd, 2018

Dave in California says:

Every year I buy an external hard drive. This year I saw that Seagate has one that you can use as a cloud storage system by using an App. Do you know if this works and if other real estate photographers are using it? Looks like you can access your images anywhere from your files on your own Seagate Cloud at home. It also looks like you can backup the files elsewhere.

I’m sure that it works and undoubtedly some real estate photographers are using it. The questions are: is it secure, easy to use, and will Seagate be supporting it in a few years.

My problem with a product like this is that Seagate is a hardware company. A cloud storage system is network software that they’ve never done before. I already use many of the popular cloud storage systems. Google, Amazon, DropBox, and others which are all built by top of the line network software companies that have been in this business for many years. I have no interest in using yet another cloud storage system designed and built by a hardware company with no background in network software. I’ll pass on this one.

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13 Responses to “What Do You Think of the Seagate Personal Cloud?”

  • Ditto with Larry… although I think a cloud storage system for RE photogs is a waste (since your products life span is typically 6 months or less), if you are going to use a “Cloud system”, use one from those that are invested in maintaining it. Cloud storage offers come and go as fast as toilet paper in your john…..

  • Looks like the Seagate system is a hard drive that syncs with a cloud service, like Amazon. Still have to pay for cloud service somewhere.

    Personally, I use Arq backup software backing up to Amazon Drive. Works great.

    I would not worry about Seagate. They have $10 billion in annual revenue, so they can buy any expertise where they need it. It’s not like they’re in the pesticide business and decided to try backup services.

  • I actually own two of these and they are synced so that I can send files to one over my internal network and every evening it syncs and backs up to the other 5tb storage drive. Having an internal network storage that I can use on my MacBook Pro or any device including my iPhone, Surface Pro and other devices makes it great for me. The cloud feature simply lets me access my local 5tb seagate drives from anywhere in the world. I typically only store my RE images for 5-6 months, but I do have some 6 and 1 year projects that are important to me and my income. Having two 5TB network storage drives is just another way to secure my data. I personally love them. My wife helps me edit photos in the evening. She dumps TIFF’s and RAW files all night long to these drives and I can easily grab them off the storage devices on any of my computers, be it Windows, Mac or even my iPhone or Android devices. Really nice in my opinion.

  • Larry’s best point is “will they be around in a few years”. That goes for every “cloud storage” provider. The other question is will the cost jump suddenly one month or at your next renewal?

    You are always better off maintaining your own data on your own drives and implementing a back up plan that prevents one incident from destroying all of your files. Chances are that you will never be a very substantial customer with any online company and they aren’t going to go out of their way to help you in an emergency or resolve any issue on their side with your account in any sort of hurry.

    There are ways to set up your own private server if you need access to files while on the road but most RE photographers aren’t on the road for days at a time. If you are, a laptop an external drive with the files you may need is a better approach than hoping that you will have enough bandwidth or even a connection where you need it. I can’t remember how many times I’ve had to hold my laptop up with one hand near a motel room window to get enough signal to check my email.

  • I have had 1 for about 3 years and the second for 2 years. Best NAS (network area storage) drives I have used. Tried Buffalo but the interface cards crapped out. Now the buffaloes are internal storage for movies and tv shows. Seagate’s app is a bit confusing to set up. I just use them as NAS drives and am very happy with them.

    The original question is confused. They have no connection with cloud services. They are the cloud service. You connect from elsewhere via their ip address. Security is not that great but who cares. Not storing state secrets or Clinton’s email.

    I recommend them as NAS drives and don’t think any of us need to store our pictures on the cloud. Too expensive for what we are storing out there. If your old pictures are that important, fill a NAS drive and store it at your Mom’s. NAS vs usb3 is speed and connectivity to multiple computers on your network. USB requires the host computer be booted, NAS doesn’t care

  • I actually do not use Seagate drives as I’ve had some past issues with them.

    But, I back everything up, one copy to a separate hard-drive (WD), and one copy to an optical disk. Nightly everything thing is also automatically backed up to the cloud (via Backblaze) as well.

    Having your files backed up to the cloud is not only cheap these days, but a fail-safe in case of a disaster (natural, or self-made)

  • Timely discussion at the first of the year. I have looked at NAS systems (WD, Seagate, QNAP, Synology, etc) in the past to supplement current backup and provide ease of remote access. Not for RE which I see it’s remote access as non-essential, but for other photo and data. The biggest thing that has held me off is more a question on how it works with deleted files. If you delete the files from one of the source computers, do you also have to go in an delete them from the NAS. For example, this week will be deleting the entire 2016 RE folder to my “archive” hard drive where I can access them if I need them from the usb external HD but probably won’t. That, of course is a one time event performed annually and not a problem the ‘dual delete’. More problematic, particularly with nightly syncing, are the periodic mass deletion of Lightroom 1 Star “junk” files that I keep short term rather than immediately delete when processing.

  • I just finished setting up a DROBO system to start the new year, and I absolutely love it! It provides a worry-free, expandable hard drive system as well as a hands-free remote backup system that’s given me great peace of mind. For the volume of digital images I have from the early days to now with my mostly RE work, (as well as anticipated volume), I chose the DROBO 5N2. The 5N2 system sells for $499 without the hard drives, and it allows you to purchase (or use any SATA drives you already have) to plug into the case regardless of the drive’s capacity, manufacturer or speed. You can mix or match as long as you start with a minimum of 2 and a max of 5. If you’re only worried about drive failure(s), you can get by with 1 system, but I opted for a second 5N2 that I have on the network in a separate building on my property that’s hard-wired into my modem with a Cat6 Gigabit cable. The base unit is also hard-wired with the cable, so I can plug in any of my computers to the system (laptops or my desktop system) and work on the same Lightroom files. I have the back-up system set to mirror my main DROBO, and it’s absolutely seamless! Depending on how paranoid you are, you can have the system backup as often as every 2 hrs or, like I do, just every 24 hrs. You don’t even have to have your computer on for the backup to happen. The drives work separately with each other on the network. Right now I have both drives setup with 7 Terabytes of storage using five 2-Terabyte drives and by swapping out one or more of the drives with bigger ones, I can expand that more than double as the need arises. You can opt for setting the system to handle two simultaneous drive failures or just a single drive failure, but the 2-drive failure option will take up more overhead and reduce your total storage capacity. Anyway, not being a tech guy, this system is just heaven for my situation, and I can’t recommend it enough! The DROBO website is very helpful too.

  • I just went on the DROBO website, and saw on their “Capacity Calculator” that allows you to load up the DROBO virtually with various size drives, that the system can potentially have up to 40 TB of storage using five 12 TB drives!

  • @ Ronald Castle, if you are using five 12 TB drives but only have 40 TB of storage available where did the other 20 TB go?

  • Kerry, The way the system works is similar to a RAID setup where you have to cover the failure of one drive in the system with the rest of the remaining drives. You’ll have Minimum of the size of the largest drive as “overhead” taken out of that 60 TB’s as well as whatever else is needed to provide the possibility of a drive failure. You have an option (which you can change at any time) of even providing for the very unlikely occurrence of two drives failing simultaneously, but the “overhead” with that is even higher. They have a very handy “calculator” on the DROBO website that allows you to plug in whatever combination of drives you choose, and it gives you the approximate total usable storage with that setup. Like I mentioned before, I’m not a big in-the-weeds tech guy, and this system is about as user-friendly as any I’ve ever encountered since I started using computers! I spent approximately $2,000 for this system (with the extra back-up DROBO) and I think it’s the best spent IT dollars I’ve ever spent. Another great thing about the DROBO is that you can easily put it in a bag and take it on location with you if that need arises. Each DROBO unit also has a built-in back-up battery that will get you through a power interruption. Nobody from DROBO even knows my name, so I’m not being compensated for this post in any way. I just love it and think a lot of my fellow photographers, when they understand how simple and easy it is to work with, could really put a huge problem in the rear view mirror!

  • I invested in a few different drives and I’ve got everything backed up redundantly, and every once in a while I make a Master and save it someplace else. My experience in online backups wasn’t all that great, I never really got ALL my files backed up, I went a long time not ever having any problem – then, when I did, it would take forever to restore, I gave up, got over it and moved on. I think the services are overrated, this was a few years ago, might be better services now.

  • On Using Seagate: As a long-time user of ‘cost-effective’ electronic companies (Former USAF Photog), I steer clear of new products from fail-prone companies. Seagate’s five-year product-wide fail-rate has been close to 30%, so I’d sit on it until it’s been long enough to evaluate any new product. Seagate’s out-of-the-box security for similar products was good enough for USAF ‘sensitive’ (unreleased) photos, for whatever that’s worth.

    On Backups and Workflow: It may sound dumb, but I end my workflow with a script that burns 2 discs. I’m in Podunk Missouri, everyone out here still wants discs, and it provides one more layer of protection to my backup drive. (granted, it’s only the released photos)

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