Hard Drive Space - External HD the only option?

Based on the articles I read, still not clear what all the options are. I have been using google drive + evernote to archive documents going back a couple decades, from legal docs to photos and more.

At some point I’ll run out of space on my laptop, and also, I don’t need documents older than a year or two…

Dropbox takes up computer space, and it seems that iCloud and Google Drive aren’t recommended…

Is the only option then to either put the database on an external HD, or index an external hard drive, which would then get backed up separately to google drive?

what are my options?


Decades? I’d use an external drive. Maybe several redundant drives. Rotate to new media every five years or so, in part to make sure the physical interface to the drive(s) remains compatible with current hardware.

Depending on the data, it’s likely that available drive space (per $) will grow faster than your data does.

I wouldn’t use a cloud service for long term storage. That would put my data at the mercy of their business model.

I do have a 12TB external that everything goes on, but it’s not something I can take w/ me…i have a laptop and a desktop…what’s the strategy of having my database on my laptop when I start to run out of space?

Having had the same issue of limited space the system I now use involves an external OWC USB 3.2 caddy containing two 1Tb SSD drives.

  1. My active/daily DT databases are run from my laptop as per standard practice
  2. The first of my external SSDs is for my DT databases of lesser use but which contains important research material I might require in my work. I open these direct from DT and they run as if native to the laptop drive.
  3. The second of the two SSDs contains my archived/legacy DT databases - those which are no longer used on a regular or even long term basis but which are still easily accessible if needed.

I then back up everything up to a standard, external three-way partitioned 3TB USB drive every few weeks.

It would be possible to adapt this working scheme as per your requirements as the OWC offers RAID support.

I have also had great success just storing raw files on the external drive and indexing them via a DT database run on the laptop. The OWC is so fast they appear as if they are local!

Redundancy, like kewms said. Minimum two local drives if one fails.

When you want to be extra cautious you could rotated them and always keep one at a different place. At the home of someone you really trust or in a safe-deposit box for example.

And while I also agree with her that cloud services aren’t good for long term storage they might be the solution for your limited laptop space.

You could mirror your hard drive or some folders of it to a cloud service to have access to the data on your laptop when you are not at home. This could be automatized.

When it comes to DEVONthink you could split up your data into one or more databases with current content and one or more for archival purpose. Your desktop would hold all of them but your laptop only the database with the current content.

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I think the jury is still out on whether SSDs are stable enough for long term storage. At this point I’d stick with spinning platters for archives. (Cheaper, too!)