Backing-Up 2 Macs on 1 HDD?

~Shard~

macrumors P6
Original poster
Jun 4, 2003
18,388
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1123.6536.5321
I am looking at buying an external HDD to back my Mac up to. (Until Time Machine comes out, I'll probably just use CC or SuperDuper.)

At any rate, my wife will be buying a new C2D MacBook whenever they are released and will probably want to back up her data as well.

So my question is, could I simply buy one external HDD with enough capacity to handle both machines' HDDs (let's say 250 GB), partition the external drive accordingly, and back-up both machines to the same drive? Will it keep things separate, and would be be able to fully restore either machine if need be? Or, does this actually depend on the solution I'm using, e.g. SuperDuper or CCC?

Thanks in advance.... :cool:
 

valor

macrumors newbie
Sep 15, 2006
8
0
Seattle, WA
It depends on the solution you use, but I'd highly recommend getting a drive with NAS features, so you can just plug it into your network, and backup automatically without the "where is my drive?" issues. I have a Buffalo NAS drive at work, and it works just fantastically well. With my particular model, if you need extra storage, you can plug in a regular USB HD, and it will be network accessible as well. This feature is also nice if you realize that you left a file at home, and your computer isn't on--your NAS drive is always available!

BUT, definitely get more storage than you think you need. It's nice for when you decide to share your music an movies on your home network!

Link to the HD I have at work:
http://www.buffalotech.com/products/product-detail.php?productid=106&categoryid=22
 

~Shard~

macrumors P6
Original poster
Jun 4, 2003
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1123.6536.5321
Cool, thanks for the recommendations, I never thought of NAS as an option. I'll keep it on my list as an alternative.
 

elbirth

macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2006
1,159
0
North Carolina, US
I'll share my solution to this and you can take from it what you wish:

I have a file server running Linux (SuSE 10.0) with a RAID 5 array (1.2TB of usable space) that sits on my home network. I have the array shared out over the network via Samba that any computer on the network can read from/write to (this is just a public area for everyone to contribute files). Additionally, I have subfolders on the array, one for each user. A user is created on the server so that each person has a password-protected folder to use for whatever they want to store/backup. About 3-4 computers access it (1 Mac and several PCs).

For backing up, I downloaded PsyncX, which is a free app that's a GUI front-end to Rsync, which is built into OS X. With it, I have it scheduled to do an incremental backup of certain folders to my password-protected folder on a nightly basis (at 2AM). So every night my computer looks in the folders I want to back up, finds any new or altered files, and tosses them over onto the server. When I get on my computer in the morning, it's all backed up and at most I'd lose a day's worth of any changes, which is acceptable for me.
Hopefully my chances of actually losing data is very slim, though. I have my Mac that has its data on it, and the RAID array can lose 1 drive to a failure without data loss.
 

~Shard~

macrumors P6
Original poster
Jun 4, 2003
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Wow, that's quite the solution you have! I never would have thought of something like that. ;) Mind you, my back-up strategy currently consists of me burning my important docs/photos/etc. to a DVD-RW every month. :eek:
 

elbirth

macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2006
1,159
0
North Carolina, US
hehe, my backup solution (what little there was) used to be very similar. I had a hard drive in an external USB enclosure and would periodically copy files to it when I thought about it (which was very, very rarely). The hard drive in my main Windows desktop computer died not too long ago and has made me really paranoid about my data now. Luckily it was just the boot drive which only had the OS and installed programs rather than actual data, but it's still a pain to have to reinstall everything.


BTW, for actual hard drives, I recommend Seagate... not necessarily for their reliability (which is very good), but mainly because they offer a 5-year warranty on their drives. Most others are 1-3 years. I had a 160GB Maxtor drive go bad a few years ago only like a month out of warranty and I was extremely mad. With 5 years of warranty, if a drive in my array does go bad, hopefully it'll be in that time frame where I can RMA it and get it replaced for free.
 

~Shard~

macrumors P6
Original poster
Jun 4, 2003
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1123.6536.5321
elbirth said:
BTW, for actual hard drives, I recommend Seagate... not necessarily for their reliability (which is very good), but mainly because they offer a 5-year warranty on their drives. Most others are 1-3 years. I had a 160GB Maxtor drive go bad a few years ago only like a month out of warranty and I was extremely mad. With 5 years of warranty, if a drive in my array does go bad, hopefully it'll be in that time frame where I can RMA it and get it replaced for free.
You're preaching to the choir man - I always speak highly of Seagate myself on these Forums. Wouldn't think about buying anything but. :cool:

So I guess if I do want to proceed with my initial thought, I'll simply have to see if CCC or SuperDuper would allow me to do what I want, or if it would get confused having 2 separate machine images on it. ;) Regardless, I'll definitely be giving these other options some thought too.

Thanks again, you learn something new every day. :)
 

elbirth

macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2006
1,159
0
North Carolina, US
Eidorian said:
http://www.grapefruit.ch/iBackup/

Point the backup to a different directory for each computer.

I've been just backing up my Preferences folders to get all of the .plist files for all of my apps, but this looks like it could be a nicer, more streamlined way of backing these up and being able to restore them later. I'm not seeing a way off-hand to automate the backup with iBackup though, do you know if this is possible?
 

Eidorian

macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
29,081
287
Indianapolis
elbirth said:
I've been just backing up my Preferences folders to get all of the .plist files for all of my apps, but this looks like it could be a nicer, more streamlined way of backing these up and being able to restore them later. I'm not seeing a way off-hand to automate the backup with iBackup though, do you know if this is possible?
You can make your own plug-ins for the programs you use. (You can submit them to iBackup too.) Otherwise backing up your entire Library folder in your user folder should maintain all of your preferences. (Just check box Library when you back up.)
 

elbirth

macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2006
1,159
0
North Carolina, US
Eidorian said:
You can make your own plug-ins for the programs you use. (You can submit them to iBackup too.) Otherwise backing up your entire Library folder in your user folder should maintain all of your preferences. (Just check box Library when you back up.)
yeah, I backup my Library folder via my automated Rsync method now... meh.. guess trying to using this in addition would be a bit redundant anyway. nice looking app though
 

CyberB0b

macrumors regular
Apr 19, 2004
101
0
I use rsync here too. Just on my home directory. When I got a new computer I just rsync'd from the backup to the new computer and had everything I needed.