Backup Hardware Advice?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by New Guy, Apr 3, 2010.

  1. New Guy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2002
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #1
    I'm looking for a more robust backup solution and would like some advice. The more I read about backups the harder it is to decide which option would suit my situation and budget the best.

    I'm trying to keep the initial hardware cost to a wife-friendly maximum of $250 but could budget future upgrades as space was needed. My current setup is an iMac (750GB) and an Airport Extreme with a 500GB miniStack attached via USB serving as a TM backup drive. The AEBS in my basement is connected via ethernet to the iMac in my bedroom. As my imac is in the bedroom I'd like to keep all the noisy drives in the basement. I have an old G4 laptop that is only used for surfing and checking email so the only machine I currently need to backup is the iMac.

    My initial thoughts were to connect an additional USB drive (1 or 2TB) to the AEBS as backup but I read that a lot of people felt this was too slow. Maybe a NAS drive, like the WD My Book World Edition, connected to the AEBS via ethernet would be better? A larger USB drive would allow me to have a larger TM backup and free up the miniStack (still attached to the AEBS) to periodically clone the drive in the iMac with SuperDuper (as long as I didn't let the iMac go over 500GB).

    While looking at hard drives I started reading about external drive docks like the Voyager Q. A dock and a couple HDs would allow me to A) keep a TM backup; B) make a once-per-week/month clone of the iMac; and C) store copies of critical files off-site. External hard drive docks are cheap enough, but I'm just not convinced about the reliability of an exposed drive in an external HDD dock. Anyone have experience with these docks?

    Finally, after doing some research, I found the Wiebetech RTX100-FS Hard Drive Enclosure and the NETGEAR ReadyNAS Duo RND2000. I thought one of these (or something like them) might be a sturdier solution than the Voyager Q and still allow the flexibility of swapping drives for TM backups and weekly and/or monthly clones.

    While the NETGEAR ReadyNAS Duo RND2000 ($250) fits within my initial budget, I would need to save a bit to get the drives. In the long run though it might be the better option. Is there a better option I'm missing? Let me know what you think. Thanks for you help!

    Craig
     
  2. Hmac macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    #2
    IMHO, simpler is better. Toward that end, my solution was to get a nice external backup enclosure with a 1TB drive and leave it connected by firewire, and use Super Duper to make a scheduled backup clone of my Macintosh HD three days a week.

    Haven't had to use it as a backup, but when I switched from my old Mac Pro to a new one, all I did was boot from the clone and then clone the clone back to the main drive of the new computer.

    Drive cloning is the way to go. I've never used Carbon Copy Cloner, but Super Duper really works great.

    For hardware, I bought an OWC Mercury Elite enclosure (firewire 400/800 and USB 2.0) and a nice OEM Western Digital drive from NewEgg.
     
  3. New Guy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2002
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #3
    Thanks for the reply Hmac. I agree, keep it simple stupid!

    I found the RTX100-FS (FW400/eSATA/USB2) for about $100 and a Seagate Barracuda 750GB for roughly $70. This would allow me to keep the drive connected to the AEBS in the basement for backups but attach it to the iMac in the bedroom if I need to boot from it. I figure I can get a 750GB drive now and add another in a couple of months. This would let me alternate drives weekly or monthly (depending on how ambitious I am). I will continue to use the 500GB miniStack for TM backups but plan on placing a larger drive inside as funds allow. What do you think?
     
  4. Hmac macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    #4
    There have been some reported problems with external drives connected to an AEBS when using Time Machine. I don't know if those problems would exist with CCC or Super Duper. You could always try it and see if you computer sees that attached drive and your program can write to it.

    I just plug the hard drive for back up directly into the computer via Firewire.
     
  5. New Guy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2002
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #5
    That's what I was doing originally. But the wife objected to the noise of the drive and the light it gave off. That's why I moved the miniStack to the basement and attached it to the AEBS. Wife was happy but I was getting frustrated with the small size of the drive (no other problems so far). I had to remove so many things from the TM backup that in the end it was just my photos, music and documents folder.

    I'm trying to anticipate a drive failure and create a backup strategy that can get me back up and running quickly and grow with my needs. If this doesn't work on the network attached to the AEBS via USB then I will have to try the NAS route or find something quiet enough to keep in the bedroom attached to the iMac.

    So it looks like I'm going to try:

    iMac <----ethernet----> AEBS <----USB----> RTX100-FS (with alternating 750GB HDD clones via SuperDuper)
     
  6. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #6
    You can boot from USB 2.

    With a decent USB 2 enclosure only around $25, not sure why you would need to spend $110 on a RTX100-FS. You dont need FW for backup or booting.

    I can find a 1TB USB 2 drive with case for $80, not sure why you are finding a bare 750 gig drive for $70.

    Heck, a bare 2TB drive is only $120AR:
    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=10011997&prodlist=cj

    If you dont mind rebates: 1TB for $70 AR
    http://www.buy.com/prod/fantom-driv...-32mb-cache-external/q/loc/101/215093154.html

    $90 for one without rebates, just look around.

    heres a really nice FW400/USB 2 case for $50: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/MEFW934FWU2K/

    That case + 2TB drive above = $170 = same price you just specd for a 750 gig drive (ok, with a removable sled)

    with a 2TB drive you wont have to replace the drive when "funds will allow"

    NAS drives are slower than USB 2.
     
  7. New Guy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2002
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #7
    Thanks for your help Badger^2. The prices you found were pretty good. The last bare HD I bought was an 80GB laptop drive about 6 years ago ($$$) so I guess I thought $70 sounded cheap for 750GB. I should probably do a little more comparison shopping.

    What I liked about the swapable enclosure was that I could take one of the backups with me to work and won't have to lug around a big hard drive case. If that is something I'm going to do on a weekly basis for a few years then that is a convenience I'm willing to pay a little bit extra for. Maybe I could try and find a smaller enclosure that would work as well. The miniStack isn't a bad size although it is a little heavy to carry around.

    Like I said in my original post, with so many options it's hard to decide which is best.
     
  8. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #8
    great prices here: http://dealmac.com/

    and here: http://www.macresource.com/category/mr/memory_storage/

    they change everyday, so check when you are ready and dont forget their archived deals.

    If portability is a big factor, how about a 2.5" portable drive? Cost a bit more, but even smaller and easier than a 3.5" with tray.

    costco has some 750 gig Seagate ones for $99, 1TB is probably another $50, still kinda pricey.

    if you could get away with smaller, 320 gig sizes are even cheaper, $50 on sale.
     
  9. UsedMacGuy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    #9
    What about NAS solutions? For example Thecus?

    You can do a Time Machine backup over AFP, right? I'm thinking that might be a better solution rather than carry a drive to each individual machine.
     

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