Back up solutions?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Riverside, May 24, 2010.

  1. Riverside macrumors member

    Riverside

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    #1
    It's time for me to look into serious back up solutions for a Mac Pro dual boot. I had good backup solutions in the past, but this set up is different.

    I now have two Mac drives (system and storage), the Windows partition on Mac system drive, and one Windows storage drive (total 3 physical, 4 virtual). Physical system drive is 240GB split down the middle. Mac storage drive is 1TB, and XP storage drive is 500MB.

    I keep reading about robotic backup systems like Drobo, but I'm wondering what the advantages are over simply getting matched drives and mirroring them. (Other than the fact that I don't have to worry about drive sizes I mean).

    It seems to me the big selling point on these gadgets is the "set it and forget it" aspect. Am I missing something?

    I've used mirrored drives in the past, and don't recall ever having to pay any attention to them, no extra software settings. Share them, don't share them, whatever. That, and they update on the fly. Every time I write to the primary drive, the redundant drive is instantly updated to match it.

    What am I not getting? These "robotic" backups just seem to me to be nothing more than SATA drive racks with a lot of blinking lights I don't really need (I pay attention to my storage capacity. I know when it's getting full long before the lights come on), and software that does stuff the system can already do.

    If I am missing something here, could someone please enlighten me?
     
  2. steveza macrumors 68000

    steveza

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    UK
    #2
    Drive mirroring (RAID 1 or 1+0) would be the preferred option here if you have the capacity and budget. Unless you need to keep historical copies or have really critical data that must be stored separately from your machine (i.e. off site) then backup systems are an unnecessary overhead.
     
  3. millerj123 macrumors 65816

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    Mar 6, 2008
    #3
    Yes, mirroring is not about backup. Backup is about having a second copy of anything you deem critical in a separate location.

    The mirror doesn't protect you from accidental deletion, or from fire or theft. It does protect you if one drive fails.
     
  4. Riverside thread starter macrumors member

    Riverside

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    #4
    Yeah, I've spent the last day or so looking [again, for the "who knows how many times], into this. Off site simply is not in the cards. I'm not paying for any kind of monthly or annual fee. I've already got enough bills, and it isn't worth it anyway. If we had a fire here, all the equipment would be gone, and the files offline would be worthless anyway. Yeah, I don't have insurance. Remember what I said about the bills?

    "Accidental" deletions are the least of my worries. Franky, I almost never delete anything, and on the rare occasion I do, it's done with great care. Even if it did happen, all the most critical files are in multiple locations due to my work flow. My stuff moves from folder to folder as it progresses. An very old habit, I know, but a habit that has saved my ass countless times.

    Drobo actually looks like it will do the job, but there are some mitigating factors.

    It's an XP bootcamp set up with both OS's on the main drive and two more drives, one NTFS, and the other Mac, which means only the Mac OS can maintain a full back up of all drives. Then the question is, how will it behave when booted in Windows. I'm waiting for an answer from the company on that one.

    Raid is definitely not the answer in this case. The drives I have are all different sizes. Drobo doesn't care what size discs you use. It's expandable, and much much more affordable than raid would be if you add everything up I would need.


    Just need to find out how it behaves with a dual-boot is all.

    Thanks guys.
     
  5. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    #5
    Is the Mac Pro your only machine? If not, I would suggest a NAS system like the MediaSmart EX490/495. Since it's network abstracted it handles both OSes with the same level of care.

    B
     
  6. millerj123 macrumors 65816

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    #6
    I hear you about the fees. For backup, I got a harddrive dock, so an internal removable drive can go with me to work to sit in a drawer until it's time to swap it out with the one next to the computer. If the disaster is big enough to take out home and work, I can't imagine that I'd care about the backups.
     
  7. joaoferro37 macrumors 6502

    joaoferro37

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    #7
    If you have a time capsule or airport extreme, I would suggest using a stardom safe capsule. Simply hook up to your router and use AirPort Utility to manage it. Compares to other solutions, the safe capsule has built-in USB hub for expansion, printer or any USB device to be able share thru the network.

    You can also use FireWire RAID 5 enclosure but you will have to put the drive with same capacity.
    Drobo is a good solution if you don't mind getting very slow speed.
     
  8. Riverside thread starter macrumors member

    Riverside

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    #8
    No. Mac Pro is not the only machine. I have two XP machines too, but there are two very good reasons I don't plan to use them.

    1) The XP machines are both Home version XP, so the network sucks. The Mac is the main machine I do most of my work on now, to that's where the bulk of the discs are. Mac is the ONLY machine that can see all of those drives at once, and access them at all times.

    2) I'm in the midst of a long drawn out process of minimizing any and all use of Windows, slowly switching everything to Mac OS, and get rid of Windows once and for all. (Eventually)

    So setting anything up on Windows is counterproductive to that end. ;)
     
  9. Riverside thread starter macrumors member

    Riverside

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    #9
    Considered RAID, but drives are all different sizes. Wasn't planned that way. It all came about through a series of unfortunate events (damned that Lemony Snickett!). Too long a story for here. Suffice to say, **** happened, and now I'm stuck with three different sized drives in the Mac. :rolleyes:

    I have to admit that I'm just barely beginning to look into Drobo. A quick search indicates the speed issues are USB related. They come Firewire 8 ready. I have FW 8, and I'm not using it for anything yet.

    I wouldn't think with FW8 there should be speed issues, but I'll have to look into that further. I may run into RAM issues because I run some pretty memory intensive programs. I've got 4GB now, but could bump that up to 8 or 16 (if I remember correctly) if I have to.

    Don't have any wireless on this Mac. Again, that would add more expense and complications I'm just not in the mood for right now. Too many system issues are getting in the way of actually working right now. Need to get productivity up and PRONTO! ;)
     
  10. Riverside thread starter macrumors member

    Riverside

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    #10
    Yeah, that's pretty much my situation as well. if this place blows up, all my equipment is gone anyway, so there I'll be with a nifty backup, and nowhere to put it! Yeah, I should have insurance, and will be looking into that too ASAP.

    I actually have looked into decent backup services, and it's amazing how fast the expenses add up when you account for everything you actually need to make it work. They aren't one time expenses, and some are very easy to overlook if you don't give it careful thought.

    For example, I recently upgraded from DSL to cable. Great speeds now, but what happens to my bandwidth when the regular backups start going up? Add that to the fact that I work with uncompressed audio, and a few web sites. I'm already transferring a lot of pretty big files, and those files are all living on these drives. Start backing those all up every twenty four hours, and I'll have Comcast calling me up forcing me to upgrade to business class. Suddenly whatever the backup monthly fee is multiplies to way beyond what I can currently afford. ;)

    What I can do though, is slowly get enough drives to stash one copy somewhere else. Come to think of it, that seems to me like a good reason to use a system like Drobo, simply for the easily swapped drives. I could set up one set, then once I have enough for a second set, back them up daily, and swap them out once a week. At most, I'd lose a week's work, and that only if the place burns down. What's a week compared to all the other crap I'll have to go through if that happens?


    Once I've got the insurance on this equipment it'll be worth it. Sucks having to run on a shoe string!:eek:
     

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