Dealing with the three big cloud storage companies is a nightmare. Why would I give them access to my bank account when I can't even call them on the phone, and when no one answers an email question directly? And some of the sites are in the dreaded light gray type - who wants to struggle with that - only people who are sheep.
don't trust them at all, and I am going optical. I would rather spend time,
money, and energy to burn DVDs and avoid frustration and even worse problems
down the road. I would use solid state storage, but it's prohibitively
expensive for a lot of large Photoshop files.
We'd appreciate any comments you have - thank you.
Cloud storage companies are an option for some people, but personally, I do not use it. I do not want my information in the hands of another party. There are a lot of uncertainties such as what happens to your files if the company goes out of business. Security issues can be a factor as well. There are costs, often ongoing costs with using the service and uploading and downloading large files may take a while. Finally, if using Cloud Storage, ensure that it is only used for backup. Your only copy of files should not reside in the cloud.
The alternatives for high quality digital images are DVD-Rs (CD-Rs likely do not have the capacity for feasible storage), hard drives, and flash media. DVD-Rs and hard drives are very economical. Flash media such as USB flash drives or sticks are convenient, fast, but as you have mentioned expensive. Maybe in time this would be an option once prices come down, but not now for everyday storage.
The general rule for storage of files to be preserved is the 3-2-1 rule which means you need 3 copies, stored on at least 2 different types of carriers and 1 of the copies should be stored off-site. I would use a combination of DVD-Rs and hard drives (internal or external) to do this. DVD-Rs can also be purchased that have a gold metal layer. These DVD-Rs provide better stability than standard DVD-Rs but are much more expensive.
So to summarize, you could pursue the following three options:
External hard drives should be checked every four months to ensure they are still functioning. Regular DVD-Rs should last at least 10 to 20 years if stored well, gold DVD-Rs over 50 years.