A program or a piece of hardware

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by tonysyl, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. tonysyl macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2010
    Im a commercial photographer. Ive got about 18 external hard drives all 1TB or better. Thats all fine and dandy I guess, BUT, here is the question. Does anyone have any advice on cloning my computer so that if I loose the drive in the computer I wont have to go thru the problem of reinstalling every program
    I have. Ive got tons of stuff that I have made actions for and presets that I dont want to chance loosing either. Apple said that time machine will do it, but, a guy at the apple store said it will only do the data, not the programs.
    Any help here?
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    Time Machine will save everything on your HDD, including applications. But the backup is not bootable, therefore you might want to look into CarbonCopyCloner and SuperDuper.

    MRoogle will give you more detailed answers though.
  3. flosseR macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2009
    the cold dark north
    I second the Time machine option. I had to recover my Wifes machine once... was a piece of cake with TM. We have now a dedicated TM drive for her not one shared as earlier
  4. jaseone macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2004
    Houston, USA
    Time Machine backups may not be bootable but it is straight forward to do a clean install and use the Time Machine backup to restore all your apps & data, using other drive cloning solutions are once offs so you would need to regularly clone your entire drive to keep up to date bootable solutions.
  5. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Super Duper! is the best Mac cloning program I've come across. It's donation-ware, but it doesn't require a donation for anything other than the advanced features, which aren't necessary for a clone.


  6. funkboy macrumors regular

    Apr 25, 2008
    First, let's clarify something. I'll be talking about two things:

    - data redundancy
    - high availability

    These two subjects are completely independent and should be dealt with completely separately.

    "Data redundancy" means having multiple copies of your data on physically diverse filesystems. If you've got a bunch of external drives & you back up your stuff to a given pair of them, then you should be fine here (though if you really want to be covered one of them should live offsite or at least in a fire safe so that if your house burns down or you get broken into you're still covered).

    Time Machine should have you pretty much covered for your system backups. Just get an external drive and designate the whole thing as a time machine volume & you should be fine.

    Now, the trickier question is "high availability", which is the ability of your system to keep working without affecting you if a drive fails (or any other component for that matter, but we're talking about drives here). The usual solution for this is RAID. Most of the time, RAID is a complicated PitA and should only be messed with if you really need it (the mantra is "if you don't know you need it, you don't need it" :).

    But there are a few devices that make it very, very easy. If you've got a machine with drive bays like a Mac Pro then you should be able to use most of them, but there are also firewire based devices. Let me also say here that if Apple had not ignored eSATA this would be really easy.

    Here are some companies that make this stuff:

    Arco IDE

    Basically, you plug the controller board into the sata port on your machine, and the controller has two sata connectors to which you connect your drives. There is no software to install. The controller transparently writes data to both drives. If one fails, it makes noise or has blinky lights that tell you, you change the drive, & it copies the data from the remaining drive over to the fresh one.

    The big difference between these controllers & software RAID is that they don't use a proprietary format on the disk so that you can get to your data if you put the disk into another system or the controller dies or whatever. It's just a normally formatted disk.

    Now, all that said, I don't have any experience with OS X's software RAID mirroring; you might be able to get close-to-similar functionality out of it without buying anything other than a second drive. Note that I said mirroring here, not the other RAID options that OS X offers you.

    Come to think of it, if you had a laptop you might be able to get an identical drive to your internal drive, stick it in an external firewire box, and mirror your internal drive onto it. this link describes how to activate mirroring on a volume without reformatting. The drawback would be that you'd need to fiddle with the raid utility every time you disconnect or reconnect the drive, but if your internal drive ever croaked you could just swap it out & you'd be back in business. I've never tried this, so YMMV.

    Anyway, there are a few ideas for you. Good luck.
  7. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    I'll put in a pitch for Carbon Copy Cloner, which works very similarly to SuperDuper. I can't say which one is really better, but both will create bootable incremental backup clones, as well as other nifty tasks.

    I don't use as many drives as you as I only have a MBP with a 500g internal drive. But, I cloned (bootable) my main drive with Carbon Copy Cloner onto an identical drive in an external enclosure. I tested it, and it boots from the external just fine. I simply set up an automatic task that incrementally backs up my internal drive each time I plug in the external drive. It's always swappable right into my MBP if the internal drive fails. The photo, video and music files which take up most of my data are on separate 1 T drives. Each one is also matched with a 'task' in CCC so they automatically backup predetermined folders whenever they are connected. I can dump stuff from my internal drive afterward if necessary, but the software won't dump it off the external drives, it'll only add 'new' files to the backups when it compares drives during it's backup tasks. Obviously I need to duplicate the data storage drives for redundancy, so I set up tasks for that, too. It's a bit of a pain to set up, but once you start doing it it's fairly easy.

    I know there are off the shelf RAID arrays you can buy, but I'm not quite there yet.
  8. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Super Duper! has traditionally had much better file system support than CCC, and generally wins out in head-to-head stuff.


    Super Duper! is also scriptable and has very good support. I've paid for both, but just use SD! these days.


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