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Old Dec 3, 2012, 05:07 AM   #1
6ftunder
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HDD failure rates and backing up

Hello,

I will be purchasing the new 27" iMac (my first desktop) with 1TB Fusion drive and I have a few questions. I have read (in the past) that the hard drives in iMacs fail quite "often". Does anyone know how high that rate is? Since I do photography and plan on keeping my files on my iMac, how wise is it to back everything up on an external drive? I am also getting AppleCare which should protect me in case my Fusion drive fails, right? And, also, when a hard drive fails, in how many cases do you lose all your files and aren't able to retreive them?

Thanks guys.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 05:12 AM   #2
simsaladimbamba
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I cannot provide any statistical numbers about HDD failures, but if you find your photography worthy enough to be saved, back it up. HDDs fail eventually, it can be a month from now, it can be ten years from now (I still have some IDE HDDs lying around that can be read).

I have one 500 GB HDD for my photographs (digital and analog) libraries and editing documents, one 500 GB HDD with my personal video footage in an editing friendly format.
Both 500 GB HDDs get backed up to one 1 TB HDD via CarbonCopyCloner.
And that 1 TB HDD gets backed up to another 1 TB HDD via CarbonCopyCloner.
Therefore I have three copies of my important data.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 05:13 AM   #3
justperry
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Buy an external for backup, especially in your case(Photography).

Nowadays they are fairly cheap, you'll love it when you'll eventually need it, ALL HDD's fail at some point in their life.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 05:20 AM   #4
6ftunder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simsaladimbamba View Post
I cannot provide any statistical numbers about HDD failures, but if you find your photography worthy enough to be saved, back it up. HDDs fail eventually, it can be a month from now, it can be ten years from now (I still have some IDE HDDs lying around that can be read).

I have one 500 GB HDD for my photographs (digital and analog) libraries and editing documents, one 500 GB HDD with my personal video footage in an editing friendly format.
Both 500 GB HDDs get backed up to one 1 TB HDD via CarbonCopyCloner.
And that 1 TB HDD gets backed up to another 1 TB HDD via CarbonCopyCloner.
Therefore I have three copies of my important data.
wow that's crazy! so I guess there's more money for me to invest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justperry View Post
Buy an external for backup, especially in your case(Photography).

Nowadays they are fairly cheap, you'll love it when you'll eventually need it, ALL HDD's fail at some point in their life.
how sad, what about SSDs?
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 05:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6ftunder View Post
wow that's crazy! so I guess there's more money for me to invest.



how sad, what about SSDs?
They are less lot prone to mechanical failure due to not having moving parts in them, but they can also fail, all SSD's also have a maximum life, the amount of writes is the limiting factor here.

There are SLC, MLC and TLC SSD's now and believe it or not there are TLC drives which can fail within 3.5 years if you write a lot to them.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6337/s...250gb-review/3

Last edited by justperry; Dec 3, 2012 at 05:34 AM.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 05:23 AM   #6
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wow that's crazy! so I guess there's more money for me to invest.
It is cheaper than paying 1.000 USD for a "possible" data recovery.



Quote:
how sad, what about SSDs?
Do not exist that long, but in case of failure, data recovery is even harder with those.

If you value your photography, two additional HDDs do not cost more than 200 , a worthy investment.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 05:33 AM   #7
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 05:41 AM   #8
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I went down the Pegasus route a while back..Bought an R4 and have had no issues with it at all...Thunderbolt makes it useable in real time as well, but it's certainly not the cheapest solution out there.

I also have a 3TB Time Capsule which backs up all three Macs...Bullet proof? No such thing, but I feel that my data is pretty safe.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 06:18 AM   #9
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I have my iMac backup'ed with Time Machine to two external drives (this is possible since ML or even Lion?). So I have two backups. One of these drives I keep offsite to prevent risk of fire or theft.

This solution costed me only $200 for two external drives. I consider this cheap compared to loosing valuable photo's or paying $$$ for a uncertain recovery of a crashed HDD.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 06:31 AM   #10
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dont forget to always keep a copy off site, be it physically or something online in a cloud.
Its not just HDD failure that you should be worried about but theft/fire etc
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 06:35 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by kaelell View Post
dont forget to always keep a copy off site, be it physically or something online in a cloud.
Its not just HDD failure that you should be worried about but theft/fire etc
Not a bad idea but most of the people won't just because of cost, inconvenience, too difficult and the like.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 06:40 AM   #12
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I tend to keep active projects on USB drives in a safe location...So I wind up with 4 backups in total....Touch wood, I haven't had a catastrophic data loss yet....(crosses fingers toes etc.)
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 06:53 AM   #13
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Not a bad idea but most of the people won't just because of cost, inconvenience, too difficult and the like.
yea cost is unfortunate, but there are certainly cheaper ways to go about it, you dont have to have multiple thunderbolt drives for everything.

for example:

Virgin broadband, the upper tarrif at least, I know includes unlimited online storage. I used it for a while to back up a portion of my drive (about 50GB)
it works fine just the software is a little annoying because it would hang alot at start up and I couldnt disable it from auto starting on boot. Someone more wise then I , could probably find a way that the standard program didnt allow.


Dropbox is free storage, you only get 2GB free but thrugh various promotions and recommend a friend thing, i've got it up to 5GB, techinically you can get up to 16GB free if you reccomend enough friends to fake the the accounts on multiple different pcs. Not enough for photos in my case but I moved all my documents here.


DVD's. for photos you could just simple burn some old fashioned DVD's every so often and keep them off site.


Music - I went the route of itunes Match, still backup to a hard drive but the offsite solution is covered with Match.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 06:56 AM   #14
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If it's really important (like family photos, work projects) do all of the above AND keep one more hard drive off site that you back up to every other week or once per month. I keep a fire/waterproof at home that I back up to regularly with time machine and another that I keep off site that I back up to every couple weeks. Heaven forbid my house burned down and my fireproof still didn't make it, or if someone robbed me and took my external as well, I'd at least have my system ready to restore even if it was 2 weeks behind
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 07:03 AM   #15
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The drives in iMacs are pretty much commodity items with very low, but not non-existent failure rates. And, as others in the thread have pointed out, there are ways that you can lose data that have nothing to do with drive failure (fire, flood, theft, and so on). So backup is essential, whether to an external drive (preferably in a safe location) or to a cloud service.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 07:07 AM   #16
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Cloud storage on Amazon amounts to pennies each month. I use backup software called Arq. I also just purchased a 2TB external drive for using Time Capsule when my new iMac comes in.
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Old Dec 3, 2012, 07:21 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6ftunder View Post
wow that's crazy! so I guess there's more money for me to invest.
If you're seriously into photography, the expense of having a good data backup system isn't that horrific...a single 1TB drive is cheaper today than a high quality polarizer filter for a 77mm lens, for example.


The basics are to always have multiple backup copies. Once you achieve that, have some of these copies not physically attached to your machine at all times. Once you've achieved that, you should develop a rotation (typically with three sets of media) and arrange to have at least one of those copies physically removed to another location .. FYI, the office desk drawer at work is free & convenient; a safety deposit box is also an option.


Going to a 'cloud' solution can be a good idea, but requires some research: don't neglect checking into what your ISP's upload speeds are before deciding because if you're on a not-particularly-speedy type of service such as DSL and you have lots of data, the time required for you to upload data can easily be measured in days ... or weeks.


Quote:
...what about SSDs?
Theoretically better because of no moving parts. However, they're just as susceptible to being corrupted by events such as a bad power spike when they're left attached to a machine. And since their cost per GB is still much higher than a simple spinning disk, I think that most people probably conclude that it is better to have more copies than a solid state copy.


The main thing to keep in mind is that all storage media will fail, eventually, regardless of brand. And 'fail' can be as trivial as a simple file corruption from a bad shutdown from a power outage, etc, so those MTBF numbers for the hardware's durability don't necessarily tell the whole story.

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