Should I be concerned as my database grows?

I’m using DTPO to scan and file all of my household documents, and so far it’s been working very well.

I now have close to 6K documents in the database - should I think about splitting the database (i.e. 1990-2012 separate from current 2013 documents)? My only concern is with the database potentially becoming corrupt as it gets larger and larger.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Depending on the amount of free RAM available on your computer, you probably won’t experience performance problems on your Mac for a long time to come, as your database grows.

But there can be other reasons for splitting databases, especially if you are working most of the time doing searches of recent documents and don’t want to also pick up those from the past. Or you may be doing research on topics that benefit from separation, to improve the efficiency of artificial intelligence assistants such as Classify and See Also.

It’s wise to think about database corruption and other possibilities that might result in loss of your valuable data.

DEVONthink provides ‘housekeeping’ tools to check for errors in a database and to repair them if possible. Every few weeks I run Tools > Verify & Repair to check for errors. I don’t find them, but it’s still a good idea to check, as small errors could accumulate to cause problems over time. If errors are found that can’t be corrected by that routine, one could revert to an earlier state of the database using Tools > Restore Backup, or use Tools > Rebuild Database, or revert from a backup, e.g., in Time Machine.

Apple provides a housekeeping utility that should also be used periodically, Disk Utility. I bought my current MacBook Pro Retina about 7 months ago. Three times, when I ran the Disk Utility routine to check the disk (an SSD disk), errors were found that needed to be repaired. Disk errors may not immediately begin to cause data loss, but they are cumulative and could start causing problems. Check once in a while.

Every few weeks I run an OS X maintenance utility (C0cktail) to do routine housekeeping more easily than through the Terminal commands built into OS X (the free utility OnyX does similar tasks). That keeps the operating system clean and efficient—good preventive maintenance to avoid problems.

BACKUP! Your computer’s drive could fail, or other Bad Things might happen. Consider them, and implement a backup strategy that can protect you from data loss.

There are a number of good backup applications. I use Apple’s Time Machine, included in the operating system. Remember, though, that Time Machine doesn’t check your database for errors. It will happily back up a damaged database, so you should run Verify & Repair occasionally to make sure the database is error free.

But those Time Machine backups are stored on a hard drive in my log cabin. What if there were a fire or a burglary resulting in loss of all my computer equipment? (Those in various parts of the world can fill in possible catastrophes, such as earthquakes, wildfires, tornados, hurricanes, etc.) Offsite storage of backups can guard against some of those Bad Things. I periodically update database archives of my most important databases to a portable drive stored in my bank’s safety deposit box. I prefer that to cloud backups, as I could recover my files more quickly than by download from the cloud—and I’ve got more control that way.