Advice needed on back-up solution.

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by cdinca, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. cdinca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    #1
    I've come to the realization that I won't be able to upgrade to 10.5 anytime real soon, so I need an alternative to TM. I have several questions and would appreciate some advice.

    my situation:
    • small home office (3 work computers).
    • My current back-up routine primarily consists of faith and prayer.
    • I purchased 2 buffalo 500GB network drives ($209 per at frys)


    Questions:
    1. I have decided to buy SuperDuper - is there a better program I should consider?
    2. Is there a problem with backing up every night?
    3. If I plug an additional usb drive (call it "photo drive") into the network drive, can I get superDuper to back up "photo drive" to the network drive?
     
  2. Maui macrumors 6502a

    Maui

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #2
    1. There are a lot of good programs out there, but I use SuperDuper and am satisfied with it. I have 4 internal drives in my Mac Pro and SD clones then nightly to external drives.

    2. Nope, other than if your primary drive fails before a backup is completed. For more critical work, you might want to back up in near real time. In addition to SuperDuper & my external drives, I use an online backup service called Mozy. You also can just use a thumb drive and easily set up a SuperDuper shortcut to copy your Documents folder (for example) to the thumb drive. I do this when I am working on a particularly important project, and when I take a break the project folder is copied to the thumb drive, just in case.

    3. So long as the drives are mounted, this should work.
     
  3. Mr.Noisy macrumors 65816

    Mr.Noisy

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Location:
    UK™
    #3
    I'll 2nd that, superduper is pretty good, simple to use, or other important stuff i just want to store i use DVD's or DL DVD's depending on file size or amount of files :)
     
  4. cdinca thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    #4
    Thank you, first of all.

    But this brings up 2 follow-up questions:

    1. what happens in my primary drive fails during the back-up? Do I lose everything, or just the most recent changes?
    2. you said "when I take a break the project folder is copied..." does the superduper shortcut know when you are taking a break, or do you do this manually?
     
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #5
    SuperDuper doesn't have any kind of monitoring or sentry function that I know of, no. You can schedule it on clock time or start it manually. It can also do smart backups (if you pay for the full version), which means that only changed files are updated.

    If you do that, your chances of being able to scavenge the backup in the unlikely event that your main drive goes down during the backup are higher. If you do full backups and you only keep one instance of them, then if your main drive goes down during backup, you lose everything you have not yet copied (SuperDuper starts by erasing the destination partition -- I guess you could try to data recover it, though).

    What I do (home, not office) is I have a 500GB drive that backs up my 160GB internal drive, and I keep two instances. For my use, 1x/week backup is probably fine, and so I do complete backups, alternating between two 160GB partitions, so I should never really do worse than losing the past week's data. (That is, if my main drive dies, I have the last full backup I did, which is in a different partition on the backup drive than the backup being made currently).
     
  6. cdinca thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    #6
    I do plan on buying the full version.

    So, when you say my chances are higher, do you mean that if my main drive goes down during an incremental back-up, there is a chance that I will lose all of my past data as well as the new data? So, a drive failure like this would cause some kind of corruption in the total back-up file that would require some advanced recovery method?
     
  7. Maui macrumors 6502a

    Maui

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #7
    When you start talking drive failure, almost anything can happen. If your primary drive fails in a way that corrupts the original file, SuperDuper would probably not copy the corrupted file to the backup drive.

    But, honestly, I think that's worrying a bit too much. Let's take it in steps. I'm paranoid about backups. My goal is to reduce the amount of time that an important document or piece of data exists in only one place. To do that, I:

    1) have SuperDuper clone my internal drives to my external drives, every night, at midnight. Just doing this will save me 99% of the time, and (sadly) is more backing up than most people do (maybe TM will change that).

    2) I also use the online service described above. It is near real-time, but is slow on big files.

    3) My point about the flash drive is this: let's say I write a really important document at 2:00 pm. It won't be cloned by SuperDuper until midnight that night, so for ~10 hours, it exists in only one place. There are lots of ways to address this, including just ignoring it and accepting the (very slight) risk that the drive will fail during those 10 hours. If you really want to be paranoid, like I am, you have lots of options, though. You could launch SuperDuper and run a regular backup. You could e-mail the document to yourself at gmail or something, so a 2nd copy exists in your inbox. Or, what I have found is very simple, mentioned above, is I have a shortcut on my desktop to a SuperDuper backup that simply does an incremental backup of the Documents folder to the flash drive, excluding big files, video, etc. Whenever I want to run the super-paranoid-backup-now-to-flash backup, I just double click on that shortcut (oops, I mean alias). It takes 5 seconds to run, and it is done. You need the full version of SuperDuper to do this.

    I don't know of any way to trigger SuperDuper automatically, which is why I just use the alias on my desktop.

    If you are really into backups, check out Mozy. It is slow, but it maintains a backup offsite, so if my house burns down I still have all of my pictures and stuff. I don't recall how much it costs, but it has a price for unlimited amounts of data which isn't too bad -- I think I have over 500 GB backup up with them at this point. The OS X version is still in beta, but has worked for me so far.

    Oh, and once a month I also burn a DVD backup set of the stuff I care about (mainly pictures and video of my 2 year old son) and I just throw that in a drawer at work.
     
  8. cdinca thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    #8
    I'm not trying to be paranoid...as my total lack of current back-up routine should indicate...I just want to set up something correctly, and the best way I can.

    Thanks all for your help.

    I will do nightly incremental back-ups of everything, and use some type of automator/actionscript/folder action to automatically duplicate all files in my clients folder. (if anyone has a good lead on this script, that would be great).
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #9
    Again, just to keep things simple about the unlikely chance that your boot drive goes down during the backup, then you really have limited options...

    - Keep two backup drives or partitions, as we talked about, so that you can rotate them

    - Investigate a fully redundant RAID configuration.

    With regard to Maui's excellent, if understandably paranoid advice, it's my impression that the way SuperDuper wants to be run is from an Admin account with nothing else running at the same time. It's not really a background backup type of app, as its purpose is to be able to create and maintain fully bootable clones. You don't want to be editing files while its doing a backup. At least, this is my impression of how it works.
     
  10. Maui macrumors 6502a

    Maui

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    #10
    I'm sure someone (or you) can do this with a script. Never tried that, but there is a really simple little program called Synchronize Plus (IIRC) that I used to use to sync folders across drives & computers. It is very quick, runs without any BS, and just gets the job done. Great conflict resolution too. You might check it out for your client backups. SuperDuper is still the way to go for the big drive cloning, though.

    Yes, exactly. SuperDuper is my "run at 2 am when nothing else is going on" solution.
     

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