Backup Hardware Suggestions

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Pixelmage, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. Pixelmage macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    #1
    I have an 27 inch iMac (mid-2011), running Sierra. I want to backup the internal 2GB hard drive. Probably using Apple's Time Machine app.

    Which would make sense, a single external drive or RAID 1? I like the idea of a RAID 1 for it's redundancy and peace of mind.

    I was looking at getting the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual and stocking it with 2-WD Black 6TB or 2-Seagate BarraCuda Pro 6TB. Has anyone had any experience with these particular drives (or series)?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Trebuin macrumors 65816

    Trebuin

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    #2
    Depending on why you want to backup may drive some options. I have to back up off site due to flooding around here...assuming my house is going to float away, so I use an encrypted backup, currently idrive until I find better.

    For an onsite backup, a raid is a good idea to avoid corruption.
     
  3. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 65816

    nambuccaheadsau

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    #3
    Give the Barracudas a miss and go with an SSD if your internal 2TB drive is a SSD.

    Suggest using cloning software and do weekly backups iusing SuperDuper or CarbonCopyCloner.
     
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #4
    Don't use a RAID drive.
    Just use a single hard drive of sufficient capacity.

    How much capacity (of the internal drive) is currently being used?

    I'd suggest:
    - A 2tb external USB3 drive (a 2.5" form factor drive would be fine)
    - Either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper

    Then, use either of the above to create a bootable cloned backup of the internal drive.
    Then, maintain it regularly (even a couple of times a week will do).

    Nothing beats having a BOOTABLE cloned backup around in a "moment of extreme need" -- particularly an "I can't boot!" experience...
     
  5. rukind2 macrumors member

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    Jul 8, 2012
    #5
    I use a Glyph Atom, 525GB SSD, USB-C (3.1, Gen 2), USB 3.0, Compatible with Thunderbolt 3 and time machine for my back-ups. Sizes up to 1TB. Easy to use.
     
  6. nordicappeal, Jan 9, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018

    nordicappeal macrumors regular

    nordicappeal

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    #6
    I have a small portable WD on 4TB for TimeMachine - works pretty fine without clutter and extra charger.
     
  7. kingjames1970 macrumors regular

    kingjames1970

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    Hampshire, UK
    #7
    Don't forget you need at least two backups, just because you're looking at RAID doesn't mean that's all you need. You can buy two cheapish desktop external HDs and get Time Machine to alternate between them and also use something that can live away from where you like/work - Crashplan/Dropbox/OneDrive for online or another portable cheap HD. (SSD if the budget will allow.)
     
  8. MSastre macrumors regular

    MSastre

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    #8

    This strategy (cloned drive) has saved me on more than one drive failure
     
  9. Mikael H macrumors 6502

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #9
    Sounds needlessly expensive...
    --- Post Merged, Jan 9, 2018 ---
    Good points - having at least two backups really should be common sense by now. I would recommend real backup services over Dropbox or onedrive, though.
     
  10. danielwsmithee, Jan 9, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018

    danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

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    #10
    I’d actually agree with some of the other suggestions and go with two portable drives and keep one off site. Keep one at you office and one at your house attached then swap them once every week or so.

    SuperDuper and CarbonCopyCloner do offer some very nice features. I do prefer the simplicity of TimeMachine though. I’ve restored from TimeMachine backups many times without issue. Just buy two WD Passports.

    It really depends on if you would like to have a bootable clone.

    I personally don’t keep a clone around, when my drive has died in the past On my IMac Ijust hooked it up to my MBA in target disk mode @And booted from it until I got my reolacemnt drive. It really depends on your resources and how painful a drive failure would be if you had to wait for the drive to be replaced then restore to use your iMac at all.
     
  11. kingjames1970 macrumors regular

    kingjames1970

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    #11
    I tend to keep what I'm currently working on in Dropbox and OneDrive - the versioning has also come in handy on occasion. Funny how nobody ever mentions iCloud Drive.
     
  12. Mikael H macrumors 6502

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    Sep 3, 2014
    #12
    Dropbox and OneDrive do have versioning as you say, and that is a form of backup, at least on a per-document basis. However iCloud for all I can see doesn’t have even that, so while it is a nice complement to local storage, it doesn’t account for the kinds of mishaps that may happen even as a result of simple user errors.
    In other words I would trust none of the three to protect me from big mistakes or intentional sabotage; whereas a true backup routine is badly designed if it doesn’t.
     
  13. BasicGreatGuy Contributor

    BasicGreatGuy

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    #13
    Always make a backup of your backup. And if possible, have three backups of your iMac.

    At the moment, I use BackBlaze for offsite backup (currently 9TB worth) and CCC and TM of the main SSD, along with using a few external 4TB WD drives for extra backup of some media files etc.
     
  14. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040

    SaSaSushi

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    #14
    There is nothing wrong with using RAID for backup but RAID1 should not be considered as an alternative to a good clone. It is more reliable than a single drive, of course.

    I use a two HDD 6TB USB 3.1 Gen 2 enclosure (2x3TB) in RAID0 for Time Machine, photos, video, etc. It is a great combination of size and speed.

    Of course I also clone critical data from the RAID to another USB3 HDD with CCC for redundancy and use cloud backup as well.
     
  15. cynics macrumors G4

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #15
    A back up using hardware level RAID 1 is a good idea. However you should still have ANOTHER back up if you want redundancy. There is always a chance something will happen and you'll lose the array.

    I use a Synology NAS with RAID 1 (Time Machine) and I have an external HDD I keep in a safe that I manually back up important files (to remove the reliance on any backup software in case it causes a/the problem). Also some stuff on cloud servers incase my house burns down or something.

    Using a NAS is nice because they are generally equipped with tools to scan the HDD's for errors on a schedule and email you the results. On the first sign of a problem (assuming you heed its warning) you can replace the HDD and it will rebuild the array.
     
  16. Pixelmage thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 22, 2008
    #16
    Thank for the wide range of suggestions! I never consider the possibility that even a RAID 1 could encounter problems.

    I was told by an Apple Tech person to buy a decent enclosure and the drives separately. He implied that you don't know how good the drives are in the pre-loaded ones. I am not sure if there is any truth to this. Are G-Tech external drives any good?

    I am also wondering if I get a preloaded external drive and the hardware mechanism fails at some point, would I be able to transfer the drive to an enclosure?

    The other thought is to set the drives in OWC Mercury Elite unit to function independently instead of a RAID. One drive would be running Time Machine and the other drive would be Carbon Copy Cloner. Would that be a good strategy?

    Also, which would be a good hard drive investment...WD Black or Seagate Barracuda?

    Thanks!
     
  17. danielwsmithee, Jan 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018

    danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

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    #17
    As a former HD firmware engineer, I'll give you my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt, everyone and their dog has an opinion.
    In general I agree with this. Most external drives use the cheapest drives available. My understanding is G-Tech is a more premium product, and from what I've heard they use HGST He drives which are the best of the bunch. I haven't verified that myself though.
    Usually yes, they typically just include a standard SATA drive that can be removed from the enclosure. A few esoteric drive use USB direct to the drive, not sure how common that is though.
    I don't see anything wrong with that strategy. I have seen enclosure fail, but typically you can just move the drives to a new enclosure.
    My recommendation would be to go with an HGST drive. WD acquired them specifically because they manufacturer the highest quality drives and were hoping that could rub off on their own product line. As for the WD product line.
    WD Black - Quality drive, good performance. Use it for single drive application.
    WD Blue - Cheaper drive, that focuses on cost/capacity. I won't buy one of these.
    WB Green - Drive focused on energy efficiency and is what is used in most WD MyBook external drives. For a single drive backup drive this is a good choice.
    WD Red - Drive targeted for NAS and RAIDs. I'd get this drive if you want a RAID config from WD product line.

    Don't know as much about Seagate but I think the Barracuda is similar to the WD Black in their product portfolio.
     
  18. Pixelmage thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 22, 2008
    #18
    --- Post Merged, Jan 12, 2018 ---
    Are HGST drives still being made by the original manufacturers or are they being produced at the same place as WD drives after they (HGST) have been acquired?

    I searched for HGST drives on Amazon. I notice they are less expensive than WD and Seagate. Why is that since they are suppose to be just as good or better than the competition? Should that be a cause for concern?

    Some of the drives I was reviewed are NAS capable. I understand what they are. Does it matter if I happened to purchase such a drive. I am assuming for backup purposes, they will function the same way as non-NAS drives, correct? Are they any better in terms of performance and reliability?
     
  19. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 65816

    nambuccaheadsau

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    #19
    Your problem Pixelimage is this a 2011 model and hence does not have US B3, only USB2 so I would not recommend an external drive as it will be no better than what you have. That is why the suggestion was for a Thunderbolt drive.
     
  20. danielwsmithee macrumors 65816

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    Mar 12, 2005
    #20
    Almost every drive from every vendor uses the the same manufacturing techniques mechanisms and materials. The difference in drives comes down to firmware, testing, and how much they want to spend on the electronics and controller. I believe HGST still does all their drives the way they always have.

    Not sure what is driving the costs these days. I know the high end HGST Hellium filled drives are pricey.

    For NAS and Raid drives. They do more testing and validation in that environment. My guess is they also bin the drives so that the NAS drives all perform similarly.
     
  21. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    Apr 27, 2011
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    Virginia
    #21
    Raid is for fault tolerance, not backup. If the backup on one drive of the raid 1 gets corrupted both drives will be corrupted. Better to have two separate backups. I use three different methods for backups, Time Machine, Carbon Copy Cloner, and CrashPlan. If one backup technique runs into problems, the others provide an out.
     
  22. Pixelmage thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 22, 2008
    #22
    --- Post Merged, Jan 16, 2018 ---
    --- Post Merged, Jan 16, 2018 ---
    So if I understand this correctly, a RAID is really meant to keep you up and running and minimize down time correct?

    Also, I’m thinking that if I there was ever a fire in my house, I want to be able to grab and go! Grabbing a portable drive is a lot easier than lugging a RAID.

    I have a small USB drive to clone my boot SSD which is only about 256 GB. But want I really need is to be able to backup my work, photos and music files. That drive is 2TB but its 3/4 full.

    So would having two separate external 6TB drives for backup be an over kill or just one? (Essential two duplicate copies of the data from the source drive in case one backup drive fails.)

    I’m looking at GTech’s G-Drive that has both USB and Thunderbolt. I understand it has a Hitachi HGST drive in them. I’m not sure which model it is.

    But I also like the Seagate Baracuda drives. Are there any decent USB and Thunderbolt enclosures out there that someone can recommend?
     
  23. QuietGamer macrumors member

    QuietGamer

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    #23
  24. wardie macrumors member

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    Aug 18, 2008
    #24
    Yes RAID can give you redundancy for fault tolerance of the hard drives, but it can also be used to improve performance, or combinations of both. There are different RAID configurations - check out Wikipedia. But it’s not about backup to mitigate data corruption or catastrophic physical loss.

    If there was ever a fire in your house I’d grab your family and get out of there not worry about your IT kit. Hence cloud based backup solutions are a good answer for this (as advised above) as alternative to your own private physical offside backup.
     
  25. cynics macrumors G4

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #25
    I actually recommend a mirrored RAID for a backup but only with a NAS. The array can be rebuilt automatically and initiated with anything (smartphone for example). Plus a NAS from Qnap or Synology will fault check the HDD's on a schedule and a lot of times give you advanced warning to failure.

    Personally I recommend one of your back ups being bare bones in a native file format (not cloned, not database). This way if everything goes terribly wrong you still have access to your important files ands its easy to move them around with other computers.

    EDIT: I repeated myself I didn't realize I responded to this thread already.
     

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