I’ve spent a substantial amount of time during the course of this year re-opening old projects dating back 12 years!
Historically I had backed up the entire projects folder to DVD (really old stuff I could actually save to CD!). The problems I faced when re-exploring these projects, an issue which I hadn’t considered at the time, was of course the vast majority of plugins and VSTi’s etc I’d used at the time were long-time obsolete and no longer on my system. In practice that wasn’t an issue as my intention was to do complete remixes/rebuilds using current technology anyway.
However, with view to long-term archiving I realise it may well be wise to do some prep-work first before backing up. Creating audio for all those MIDI/VSTi parts would be one thing to consider as someone has mentioned. And, actually freeze might be one easy way of doing this as an alternative to C8’s RIP function. I found in some really old projects I’d frozen a lot of parts and so while the VSTi itself was no longer available I still had the ‘frozen’ audio associated with its MIDI/Instrument track. (Of course the ‘frozen’ audio had to be manually imported from the freeze folder).
Backup and archiving are two different things. For routine daily backups I have an automated process run using ‘syncback free’ that executes every night - this simply does an incremental copy of my Cubase folders and copies to an external USB3 HDD. In the past if the work was REALLY important, perhaps work for a client etc, then I’d have another backup offsite - usually a DVD… though this was a real pain to manage and update daily! Now storage is cheap so I guess another external drive would be the way to go.
I archive projects that are complete and never likely to be revisited (except maybe in a decades time!) I now use Cubases’s project ‘backup up’ - that way you create a clean uncluttered projects folder and then I simply move the entire folder to yet another external HDD which I have labelled ‘archive’. The original working folder I delete. So, I end up with the backed-up copy, a new compact archive copy and space freed up my working drive. (And again, if this stuff is critical then you’d want offsite copies too!)
I’m rather glad storage is cheap, because with my audio, video and photographic work and the need to back it all up and archive it, the combined capacity of all that is constantly growing and I’m chewing through the terabytes! An extreme example was one recent time-lapse project I did which included a Cubase project and associated photography and video footage - it compressed down to 250Gb and now occupies half the total capacity of an older 500Gb drive I’d previously replaced with a newer 2Tb drive.
I dread the day when USB3 and SATA/eSATA becomes obsolete!