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Old Feb 22, 2013, 10:32 PM   #1
NutFlush920
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Off site backup 2 Macs

I have a Mac Mini which I use to host documents, pictures, and music to both my wife and I accessible via our MacBook Pro. Our MBP has separate accounts for each of us and the documents folder for each is linked to each of our Dropbox accounts. The MBP is backed up locally via Time Machine to an external HDD connected to my AirPort Extreme. The Mini however is not.

One night a week I bring home a 64gb USB thumb drive (which otherwise sits in my desk drawer at work for safe offsite backup) and copy the contents of the Mini's home folder and each our home folders on the MBP. This, so far has been working ok however, recently I've been looking into Carbonite on the Mini for several reasons...

1. Real time off site storage so I can easily get my most recent saved files and deleted files. No week old backups anymore.
2. Automated backups so I don't have to worry about forgetting to bring my USB drive home one week.
3. Unlimited space for backups so I don't have to buy another USB or external HDD.
4. Ability to access files like pictures and music from the Mini anywhere anytime on our iPads or iPhones.
5. Picture and video backups from our iPhones sand iPads since we both only have 5gb storage on Apples iCloud server.

My fears are that if I do Carbonite, it would only cover the Mini's HDD not my MBP. Yes we have DB but that's not a true backup solution. I have an idea but want some input on it. Can I set my MBP Time Machine to go to the Mini's HDD then have Carbonite back up that image file for me? Any other thoughts or input would also be welcomed. Thanks in advance.
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 03:14 AM   #2
flynz4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NutFlush920 View Post
I have a Mac Mini which I use to host documents, pictures, and music to both my wife and I accessible via our MacBook Pro. Our MBP has separate accounts for each of us and the documents folder for each is linked to each of our Dropbox accounts. The MBP is backed up locally via Time Machine to an external HDD connected to my AirPort Extreme. The Mini however is not.

One night a week I bring home a 64gb USB thumb drive (which otherwise sits in my desk drawer at work for safe offsite backup) and copy the contents of the Mini's home folder and each our home folders on the MBP. This, so far has been working ok however, recently I've been looking into Carbonite on the Mini for several reasons...

1. Real time off site storage so I can easily get my most recent saved files and deleted files. No week old backups anymore.
2. Automated backups so I don't have to worry about forgetting to bring my USB drive home one week.
3. Unlimited space for backups so I don't have to buy another USB or external HDD.
4. Ability to access files like pictures and music from the Mini anywhere anytime on our iPads or iPhones.
5. Picture and video backups from our iPhones sand iPads since we both only have 5gb storage on Apples iCloud server.

My fears are that if I do Carbonite, it would only cover the Mini's HDD not my MBP. Yes we have DB but that's not a true backup solution. I have an idea but want some input on it. Can I set my MBP Time Machine to go to the Mini's HDD then have Carbonite back up that image file for me? Any other thoughts or input would also be welcomed. Thanks in advance.
I would strongly discourage you from backing up a TM set to Carbonite... or any other backup service. Generally... backing up "backup sets" is a bad idea for a number of reasons. First... every little change can trigger a large backup to the cloud. Secondly, having dual backups is great... because any backup program can have errors. By backing up a backup set... any errors would propagate... so you do not have two independent backups.

I have been using Crashplan+ and I have the family plan. This lets me back up every computer I own... including those of my kids. We have a total of 3 iMacs (4 when my new one arrives next week), a PC, and 4 MBAs. They all get backed up for $6/month.

I previously used Mozy... but switched to Crashplan+ because Mozy did not have unlimited versioning. If you inadvertently delete something in Mozy... it is removed from your online backup after 30 days. By contrast, Crashplan+ can be set (and is by default), to keep versions for infinity.

I have never looked really closely at Carbonite.

/Jim
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 07:22 AM   #3
NutFlush920
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Thanks for the input Jim. I did look into Crashplan + for family too but was a little confused by them.

I only have 2 Macs to backup and the cheapest I could find is $4/mo per PC if I pay 4 years at once. Also wasn't able to find if it backs up photos and videos from our iPads and iPhones. I see they have a iOS app but the screen shots in the App Store don't really show a lot.

Can you elaborate on Crashplan a little bit?
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 12:02 PM   #4
Weaselboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NutFlush920 View Post
Thanks for the input Jim. I did look into Crashplan + for family too but was a little confused by them.

I only have 2 Macs to backup and the cheapest I could find is $4/mo per PC if I pay 4 years at once. Also wasn't able to find if it backs up photos and videos from our iPads and iPhones. I see they have a iOS app but the screen shots in the App Store don't really show a lot.

Can you elaborate on Crashplan a little bit?
I use Crashplan+ also. It looks like with their current pricing with a four year prepay it is $4 a month per PC, or $9 a month for the family plan. So I suppose if you are sure you will never add a third machine the two PC deal would save you a buck a month.

On the iOS photo/video issue. Here is what happens. If you are using iCloud to backup the iOS devices and the photos and videos exist only on the iOS device, then there is nothing on the Mac drive to get backed up to Crashplan. The way around that is to occasionally manually backup the iOS device to the Mac by clicking Back up Now in iTunes (see my screen cap). What that does is create a backup of the entire iOS device (including photos etc.) on the Mac in the folder I pasted below. That folder IS backed up to Crashplan. So if you lose your iOS device and house burns down you could restore that Folder to a Mac then use that to restore the iOS device and get back your photos/videos.

The Crashplan iOS app is not used to backup the iOS device. It is just so you can see documents etc you have backed up to Crashplan's servers.

Code:
~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/
Thumb resize.
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 12:10 PM   #5
flynz4
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You can also enable PhotoStream... which will automatically place photos taken from your iPhone/iPad onto your Mac. Personally, I've turned it off since I like to import all photos from my cameras and devices into Aperture manually.

/Jim
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 03:29 PM   #6
NutFlush920
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Thanks for all the great info. It looks like Crashplan and Carbonite are pretty much the same. I do like the iOS GUI for Carbonite a little better though from the images I've seen. Specifically how it breaks the backed up files into music, photos, and documents for easy access. I also like how Carbonite also will back up all the video and photos from all our mobile devices automatically with the basic home plan.

As for backing up my MBP, I'll just manually copy (or find a automation process) the contents of our home folders over to the Mini's HDD for backup to Carbonite or Crashplan to avoid extra expenses. Not much is stored on the MBP anyways since I keep most everything on the Mini's HDD. The stuff in our Home folders easily fits on our free Dropbox accounts.

Nobody really commented on my current off site backup method though. Does anyone think the way I'm doing things now is just fine for being free or should I ditch this method ASAP? Maybe look into buying CCC and cloning once a week to an external HDD?
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 04:41 PM   #7
flynz4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NutFlush920 View Post
Thanks for all the great info. It looks like Crashplan and Carbonite are pretty much the same. I do like the iOS GUI for Carbonite a little better though from the images I've seen. Specifically how it breaks the backed up files into music, photos, and documents for easy access. I also like how Carbonite also will back up all the video and photos from all our mobile devices automatically with the basic home plan.

As for backing up my MBP, I'll just manually copy (or find a automation process) the contents of our home folders over to the Mini's HDD for backup to Carbonite or Crashplan to avoid extra expenses. Not much is stored on the MBP anyways since I keep most everything on the Mini's HDD. The stuff in our Home folders easily fits on our free Dropbox accounts.

Nobody really commented on my current off site backup method though. Does anyone think the way I'm doing things now is just fine for being free or should I ditch this method ASAP? Maybe look into buying CCC and cloning once a week to an external HDD?
I just spent some time going through the Carbonite web site so I can better answer your questions. Right off the bat, I found two red flags (for me).

1) Restoring Previous File Versions
Currently Carbonite does not support versioning on a Mac.

2) When your computer enters hibernation/sleep mode, your Internet connection is interrupted, effectively stopping the progress of your backup or restore.

Carbinite's lack of versioning is a huge red flag for me. To put it into perspective, I stopped using Mozy about 4 years ago because it only had 30 days of versioning for any files that were deleted. It is extremely easy to delete a file by mistake... only to realize it months (or years) later. Without unlimited versioning... that was enough reason for me to stop using Mozy... and was the prime reason that I switched to Crashplan+. The fact that Carbonite does not do versioning at all would completely disqualify it for me.

I am perplexed about Carbonite stopping to back-up when the Mac goes to sleep. We keep our iMac on 24/7 even when we are gone for extended vacations. That allows us to use Dropbox and other cloud services on our laptops, and to have them update our iMac immediately. From there, it is double backed up to Time Machine and Crashplan+. If the backup stopped every time the iMac went to sleep... it would defeat our usage model.

You seem to be wanting to use Carbonite for a dual purpose... a) backup and b) remote access. My recommendation is to use products that do each function well... rather than multiple compromised. It is like a swiss army knife... the worlds worse screwdriver, worse bottle opener, worse saw, etc. I'd prefer to have the best individual tools.

/Jim
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 05:42 PM   #8
NutFlush920
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Thanks Jim for the feed back. I see Crashplan gives a free year of service to anyone switching from Carbonite. I wonder how that works if someone is on a free trial of Carbonite and decides to go to Crashplan. Do they get any type of discount at all for switching?
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 08:46 AM   #9
Fishrrman
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"Maybe look into buying CCC and cloning once a week to an external HDD?"

This is what I would recommend.

Instead of a "standalone/enclosed" hard drive, you might consider a USB3/SATA docking station, such as this:
http://www.amazon.com/Plugable-Docki...SIN=B003UI62AG

Then get one or more "bare" drives, insert/backup/remove as necessary, and store one (or more) of the backup drives offsite.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 02:48 PM   #10
flynz4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishrrman View Post
"Maybe look into buying CCC and cloning once a week to an external HDD?"

This is what I would recommend.

Instead of a "standalone/enclosed" hard drive, you might consider a USB3/SATA docking station, such as this:
http://www.amazon.com/Plugable-Docki...SIN=B003UI62AG

Then get one or more "bare" drives, insert/backup/remove as necessary, and store one (or more) of the backup drives offsite.
The problem with this approach is that it requires human interaction... and historically... humans are the weakest link. YMMV

For me... I insist on having at least dual (local and offsite) automatic backup as the first two steps to a robust backup strategy. After that... I do use (and like) CCC to make a set of rotating backups for just my irreplaceable personal media (photos and camcorder videos). I keep them in a locked cabinet at work. Since that is *BY FAR* the least secure of any backup location... I only keep media... no documents or anything that could be used for identity theft.

/Jim
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 04:23 PM   #11
NutFlush920
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My backup to Crashplan+ is near complete. It's at 99%. Thanks again for the help.
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