Advice on backup solution including backing up your backup

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mikejtl, May 15, 2009.

  1. mikejtl macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2009
    I swear I mroogled this, but everything I found was pre time machine/time capsule.

    I'm looking for a back up solution for the home office. Currently my wife and I each have a Macbook and back up to external drives with Retrospect Express. I want to switch us to Time Machine and plan to buy two 1TB drives (one for her, one for me) and an Airpoort extreme so we can back up wirelessly.

    My question is, is this the best solution? And should I be creating backups of those Time Machines?

    1. I was thinking maybe I should buy a RAID drive to hook up to the Airport (I'll be honest I don't totally understand how RAIDS work.)

    2. Or I could just periodically burn dvds of the important things as a secondary back up.

    3. Or I could clone the time machines periodically.

    4. Or I could put my fate in the hands of the Hard Drive Gods.

    Thoughts? I'd love to hear them.
  2. Dunmail macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2009
    Skipton, UK
    Not really necessary.

    RAID = Redundant Array of Independent Disks - that is redundant in the engineering sense of something being backed up not the day to day sense of something not being needed, i.e. if one disk fails then the data can be backed up from the others in the array.

    Yes, a good idea.

    Again, I would say that this isn't necessary.


    Figure out what data is important - applications and the OS can always be reinstalled from disks or downloaded - and back that up to a separate disk to the one used by Time Machine.

    Most of my data is photographs. I use Lightroom which allows me to back up the photos on import. So I have a 1Tb drive used for Time Machine and another external drive used for backing up the photos. At any one time I have three copies of my data, it is unlikely (though still possible) that all three disk drives could fail at the same time. I could mitigate this by burning photos to DVD when I do the import but this may not be so easy to integrate into my workflow, will have to check. I'd keep these DVDs offsite in case of theft, fire or other major household damage.

    Backup strategies are neither simple nor cheap but Time Machine is a good start so use that and add things as you go along.
  3. natebookpro macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2008
    What's your budget look like and how important is your data?

    If I had a large budget I would probably buy an airport extreme and hook up a drobo too it. With drives though this is probably going to run you about 1k. With this setup your data is redundant and getting backed up hourly.

    The setup I'm using now for the two MacBooks in my house is a 500gb Time Capsule that I just archive to a 500gb external drive once a month which is kept in a fire safe. Most likely this is all that I need seeing as it would be pretty crazy for one of the laptop hard drives and the Time Capsule hard drive and the external USB drive to all go at once. This setup should cost you about half of what the original one I mentioned would.
  4. oculus42 macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2002
    My Soon-To-Be Solution

    I've just set up an older PC at home with 1TB of redundant storage. This will serve as my Time Machine location for my MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac (old G4, if I ever plug it back in). I also intend to use to back up this one central machine. Mozy is $5/month, so it's hard to beat that.

    This way I have the active computers, a local redundant array of their backups, and an online copy of the backups.
  5. Donar macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2008
    1. You do not have to fully understand raids to use them. The only thing you have to understand is that having "things" on a Raid is no backup. You need to have it elsewhere too (Deletion protection).

    2. Good idea as long as it's not too much Data and you use good DVD-R's and burn at "slow" speeds. Problems could arise because it is not automated.
    4. Hard Drive Gods can be very cruel...

    Maybe have a look at how people store their media. Here
  6. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Sep 15, 2004
    i(am in the)cloud
    That's it.

    I use a number of systems on the basis of what I need.

    1. TC for my incremental backups for all my computers- iMac/ laptop and mini. I exclude system files/ programmes and iTunes.
    2. I clone all drives with superduper.
    3. I use iDisk for all my documents etc that is synced between all computers automatically.
    4. A drobo for iTunes and my superduper clone for the iMac.
  7. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2004
    Huntsville, AL
    This is the solution I've implemented a few times:

    What you need:
    1. 1TB Time Capsule.
    2. 1TB USB hard drives.

    What you do:
    1. Setup each machine to use Time Capsule for Time Machine.
    2. Each night, clone the Time Capsule onto a 1TB HDD.
    3. Store the other 1TB HDD off-site (at work, a friend's house, etc.)
    4. Each week, rotate the 1TB HDD with the off-site drive.

    This gives you redundancy (Time Machine) and backup (nightly Time Capsule clones and off-site storage).
  8. durvivor macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Someone very recently told me :

    There are two kinds of backup plans:
    1) 100% automated
    2) Prayer

    That said, I started using which has a bunch of ex-apple people in their organization.

    It would be $5 a month or $50 a year for each of your computers.

    They backup your entire Hard Drive, unlimited storage. In the background. No configuration (they just backup everything except some key OS X system files and applications)
  9. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Sep 15, 2004
    i(am in the)cloud
    Not for anyone with files they don't want others to read.
  10. CoffeeMonkey macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2003
    Don't forget the off-site backup. I know someone who just lost their home office to a fire, so even if you have an off-site backup, you might also consider putting an offline backup in your basement.

    I just ordered:

    One of these external hard drive enclosures, and one of these 1TB hard drives.

    Total damage under $150.

    I know this will sound totally paranoid but in addition to continuing to use Time Machine AND a 1TB external drive for weekly cloning, I plan to use the Vantec to make a full clone of my HDD, and store that offsite. I also try to burn my Photo library and my most important documents to DVD every few months.

    I want three (and in some cases four) copies of my most important stuff.
  11. Dunmail macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2009
    Skipton, UK
    Not completely on topic but ...

    A work colleague told me about the backup strategy at one of his previous employers - nightly backups onto a set of rotated drives. Then they were having some building work done, replacing the roof, over the weekend while the roof was off there was a big rain storm and on the Monday morning everything in the office was soaked. No problem regarding the data, just restore it from the most recent back-up. Except it didn't work.

    Neither did the previous back-up nor the one before that. So they checked the back-up disks. Empty! At this point they rang up the company that supplied them with the office network and back-up facility.: "Oh, we never implemented the back-up program! Did no-one tell you?"

    Moral of the story: Always validate your back-ups.
  12. mikejtl thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2009

    Thanks to everyone for their input. Definitely helpful as I figure out the best thing to do.

    Step 1. I'll go with the Airport Extreme/Ext. HD/Time Machine combo.

    Step 2. I'll assess how best to back those up and where to store them. I've been meaning to get a fireproof safe anyway.

    Say, I think I read something about a fireproof safe that has a hard drive built in. Anybody know anything about this?

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