We have somewhere in excess of 2 tB of image files stored on 2 main systems. In the UK they are stored on duplicated 1 tB NAS devices (later this year this will be changed to 2 tB) configured to RAID 5 and in Germany they are on duplicated 2 tB RAID 5 NAS. These hold the raw files and the final copies. Working copies are held on the machine (usually either a MacPro or an XP-based workstation) being used to edit them, on an internal RAID (1) and moved to the NAS system either when work is complete or last thing in the evening. We used to use tape as well but the HDD-based solution seems much more robust and reliable and certainly beats CD. The key to making this work, and any backup solution, is automation. Every night one RAID is copied to the other (using the protocols they come with) and the duplicate RAIDS are in different physical locations. We are lucky in that both in the UK and Germany we have 2 separate locations connected by gigabit network. Cloud storage would be nice (if I could be convinced it really was secure) but at the moment, at least for individuals and small businesses, it is just too slow. Every couple of years we change the HDD's in the RAID units.
The only problem that this approach causes is that it means I can't use LR as a master catalogue (and tend use it in sessions) as it is not really compatible with network attached drives (there are work-arounds but they are too slow). We use Portfolio to manage the images (across multiple drives and locations) but I'm not a great fan of it and am keen to see what PhaseOne will do with Expression Media now that they have bought it off of Microsoft.
Most of the technical shots are done on D3's, D700 and S5 Pro and so the files are not too big although the H20 and P20 backs are bigger. However, raw files from the P45 back are 28.5 mB and when processed are between 100 - 300 mB. So, 2 tB disappears pretty quickly. Add in a healthy number of scans (either LF film or prints, or even direct captures) and you soon start to run out of space. When shooting tethered in the lab or in the studio, the files can be dumped directly to the RAID's but when I 'm out and about I use a MacBook Pro. This I backup either during a session or at the end of the day onto a Sonnet Fusion F2. This is an eSATA-based portable RAID and when I set it up I didn't believe the figures they were quoting so I set it up as RAID 0. I didn't need to as it is blindingly fast and as least as fast as the internal HDD. When I get around to it I'll reformat it to RAID 1. I do have a Jobo Giga VU Pro that I used to use to backup cards to but the Fusion approach is better unless you don't want a laptop with you.
When shooting (if not tethered) I prefer to use cards no larger than 4 gB (most 2 gB) just in case although I have some 8 gB cards for the P45. I have pretty well always used SanDisk cards and have never had one fail.
And of course when I'm shooting on film I just need big pockets and a few box files! ;-)
Yes, I'd do it regularly if I was you. I nearly lost a whole load of photos when my old computer gave up the ghost a couple of years ago. Despite me getting the hard drive out, connecting it to my new machine, Windows Vista gave me immense problems actually accessing the photos - and in the end, Vista crashed while it was supposed to be rewriting the permissions to all my files, giving me no access to them at all. It was at that point I ended up having to rescue the files using a Live CD of Linux. But I was gutted when I thought of what I'd "lost" before the rescue. I know it's a pain, but I've got them all backed up on an external drive, and a lot on DVD as well!
A bit over 500GB, not counting redundant backups. All are backed up to a 1TB NAS with Level 5 RAID which is now just about full and will shortly be replaced. Backup is also to an external drive. I also have a set stored at the place of a friend, and now and then we swap drives so offsite storage is pretty much continuous.
Offloading from the card is followed by immediately backing up the images, prior to reformatting the card. Then I use drag-and-drop to sort them into logical categories using ACDSee Pro. It also allows me to set up hierarchal categories, with sub-categories for specific shoots or topics. If an image fits in multiple categories, there is no problem dropping it in all. The files are not physically moved or duplicated, it simply sets up pointers in its internal database which makes finding an image very quick. As well as visual searching via categories, one can search on date or any other criteria such as EXIF data. I could easily do a search of all images shot at ISO6400 or higher during August 2009, for example.
Film images have all been triaged, and the best are stored in archival sheets in 3-ring binders by topic. Other negatives and chromes are stored in the sleeves as they came from the lab, in boxes sorted by date. They probably will never be accessed, but are there if access for any reason became necessary. Favorite images have been scanned, and now images are only scanned as needed. Colour prints from my portfolio are stored flat and in the dark, but some of the earliest are showing considerable fading. They have been scanned and restored and in some cases, restored to a higher level than the original print on the day it was made.
All scans are backed up just as the original digital camera images. In the beginning, I used CDs moving to DVDs as soon as they became viable. I do have a BluRay burner, but at the moment hard-drives are the most economical means of making multiple backups efficiently. Now that the price of BluRay media has dropped, I may eventually use them for off-site storage.
back up as soon as you can, I lost about 1 years worth of photos earlier this year due to hard drive failure in my PC and failure of my backup drive a few days later before I had put a new drive in my PC and restored from the backup drive .....