Backup Software & Advice (for external drives)

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by LERsince1991, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. LERsince1991, Jun 27, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013

    LERsince1991 macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008

    Following on from the news about the new Mac Pro being designed for external devices, I'm expanding my external storage system (adding 2x4tb external rather than internal drives) and going to have the following:

    Storage Drives:
    4tb Media (Videos, Music, Aperture Photo Libraries)
    (4tb copy of Media)
    2tb Documents (work)
    (2tb copy of Documents)

    500gb Time Machine (Version'ed Backup of MacBook)
    500gb MacBook Pro (Internal HDD)

    Continuing on in future years I can simply buy another couple of drives and either migrate some old data or create a new drive such as "Documents 2" and "Documents 2 Copy"

    Is the 500gb drive enough to backup my 500gb MacBook's drive? I have 3 spare drives, 1tb WD Desktop drive, 500gb Lacie Porsche design portable and 250gb Lacie Porsche design portable. I will be using one for a new Samsung TV which will record to the HDD via USB. The other for a TM backup of my main macbook as shown above. Would it be best to use the 500gb for my TM and 1tb for my TV+ or the other way around?

    Is the best way of backing up the external drives to use software to copy them to another duplicate drive as shown?

    What is the best backup software to create a straight duplicate of the external drives assuming thats the best method?
    Carbon Copy Cloner - Costs but seems ok
    SuperDuper - Costs but seems ok
    Chronosync - Unnecessary versioning of files
    OS X Automator - I could simply create an automator which sync the drives on a schedule? e.g. every 3 hours
    Lacie SilverKeeper - Free and seems ok
    Other manufacturers software such as WD or Seagate?

    It seems to me that I simply need some way of synchronising both the storage drive and its copy on a schedule and that backup software is unnecessary as I will be using Time Machine for the internal drive? Wouldn't it just be the most reliable and easiest thing to create an OS X Automator Sync or use Lacie's SilverKeeper?

    Since my MacBook only has 2 USB slots and I will need to attach 4 USB sockets (5 drives as the 2x 2tb drives are a single enclosure). Would a couple of USB hubs be ok for this or are they a potential problem for connection reliability of the drives? Does it matter which USB hub to get? I was thinking of using 2 usb hubs on my mac to improve speed when accessing multiple drives. Would it be best to connect my 2 copy drives and the tm drive to one hub and then the storage drives to the other. Or would it be best to keep each storage and copy together? I'm thinking of speeds whilst accessing/backing up a drive, i.e. would it be faster for the data to go from one hub to the other, or through the same hub? or does it not make a difference?

    On a side note, I would like to easily switch the 4tb media drive between my TV (to watch/listen easily) and my Mac (to add content). Are USB Switch Boxes ok to use or are they a potential reliability problem? I dont see any other way to allowing both access of the drive as using a NAS does not allow the TV to play the content properly (much better direct playback via usb)

  2. kumquat macrumors regular


    Sep 4, 2011
    1. I would use the 1TB. You need your backup drive to be larger than what it is backing up.

    2. Yes. What other way of doing it were you thinking of? Cloud?

    3. I'm happy using CCC to backup a Mini, a MacBook and a G5 and I keep all my documents/media/art etc on externals which are being backed up to other externals.

    4. There sometimes are problems with hubs. There are also sometimes just problems with drives disconnecting themselves. I would attach the storage drives directly to the computer and the backups to the hub. Yes, research well rated hubs. I don't like mine so will not recommend it.

    5. I'm not clear on where you have the tv and mac located in relation to each other. If they are nearby, you can just hook the tv up to the mac. My LG tv has a built in Plex front end so can just read everything over wifi. Can't advise on switchers as I've never used one. But it sounds to me like you want a mini computer attached to the tv - ?
  3. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    When you Direct Attached Storage (DAS)... you can back up exactly the same as you do with internal drives. That is one advantage of DAS.

    You seem to have an aversion against versioning. Personally, I think that is a flaw in your thinking. Inadvertent deletion (either programmatic or more likely, via human) is one of the largest methods of data loss. Ignoring that puts a huge hole in your backup strategy. At a minimum... I would get a drive large enough for your system (2X ideally) and back everything up that is important to you. If you have data that is not important (for me... that includes commercial video)... then it is OK to not back that up since it is easily replaceable. However, irreplaceable data (photos, documents, personal home videos, etc) should be backed up (at least twice) and versioned.

    That is not to say cloning is not valuable. For direct attached storage, I have been moving away from USB and to Thunderbolt. It is really fast, especially if you get an array. My internal storage on my new iMac is small (768GB SSD) because that was all that is currently available. I augment that with an 8TB Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt array. I have that configured as a 4TB RAID10. The only reason that I use RAID 10 is because I really do not need 8TB... so I take the resiliency. RAID of any flavor is NOT backup. Currently, I only keep streaming media (videos and iTune media) on the Pegasus, because streaming media does not need an SSD. Over time I will move to 100% SSD, but for right now, it is too expensive, and the R4 array is plenty fast.

    100% of my data (except commercial movies) is backed up via Time Machine to a 3TB Time Capsule. This gives me fast local recovery, and it gives me versioning. I also back up the exact same data to Crashplan+ over the cloud. This gives me off-site disaster recovery in the event of theft, fire, or other natural disaster. Crashplan also provides versioning... giving me two independent systems providing deep versioning of my data. By removing commercial movies from my backup set... it easily fits on a TC and is feasible for cloud backup. I used crashplan's seeding service to get it all backed up immediately.

    In addition to dual versioned backup (as mentioned above)... I also use CCC to clone my media. I do NOT do full system clones... because I do not need immediate system recovery of booting from a cloned drive. I have multiple computers (we have 8 Macs total in my household... 4 iMacs and 4 MBAs... one of each for all 4 of us). Hence I always have an alternate Mac to use if any computer is down for repair. I do make clones of my data. Every night, I use CCC to make a clone of 100% of my personal media (including everything on the Pegasus R4... as well as my Aperture library on my SSD. Even though this is a single spindle device... it is always up to date (with 24 hours)... and I can easily move it to any computer that we own to continue my work. For this clone... I use a Seagate desk model 3TB drive in a powered TB enclosure. I like this because the drive can be attached to any computer I own using a set of TB, FW800, USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 interfaces. Over time... every computer will have TB... so that is the most important.

    Speaking of TB... it is fantastic. Don't get confused with the misleading bus bandwidth numbers being thrown around. TB is a much more efficient interface... and data flies. This is especially noticeable when moving data from one TB device to another... or when you have your data in an Array. I personally think that professional users are going to be delighted with TB storage on new Mac Pro machines. They will be getting essentially the performance of the older XSAN storage systems (at 10's of thousands of dollars) at the much cheaper TB pricing (closer to consumer price points). Hence... I would recommend that you just make the plunge and go straight to TB. In the long run, you wont't be sorry.

  4. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    Thanks for the replies, I wrote a long reply yesterday on my iPhone throughout the day then lost it and couldn't undo -_-

    Anyway... briefly...

    1 - Since the portable drives wouldn't be able to boot from the TVs USB slots (also powering LED lights). I have used 2 lacie porsche design portable drives (500gb and 250gb), combined these into one disk via disk utility raid to make 750gb drive for Time Machine to backup versioned macbook drive data.

    I can then use the powered 1tb drive for my TV+

    2 - Not iCloud for the amount of data I wil be backing up, just took a while for me to figure it out and break away from TM software for external hdd backups. I thought about creating a large RAID drive via disk utility of some of my externals for TM to use etc... obviously this is bad...

    3 - I'm now using CCC :) went to the Lacie software called silverkeeper but its outdated and also just wanted it to be reliable and easy.

    4 - Since my macbook only has 2 usb slots I can only connect one drive directly and the others via my existing belkin hub which i have had problems with unmounting drives before (force eject). However it could be the enclosure instead, seems ok now anyway.

    So my only option really is to use a good USB hub (continuing testing my belkin with the new drives) and plug them all into that. Not much point in connecting one directly to the other usb so just going to use all drives via the hub and see. I cant see any other options anyway! bar a new mac (depends on mac pro price!)

    5 - TV is Samsung UE32F5500 and I am picking it up from John Lewis store tomorrow. This will be used a monitor on the same desk and hence the need to switch between them for ease of use.

    I have decided it would be a good idea to use the "Media copy" drive so I can still use the media drive on my mac anyway if required, then sync with the mac when both are connected (using CCC software)

    I think I have a few options:
    5.1 - manually unplug the drive and plug into the other device (tv/mac). Dont like this as it means reaching around annoying places and not very elegant.

    5.2 - use usb extensions to still switch manually, but makes it a lot more convenient to move the "junction" to a more convenient place.

    5.3 - Use a switch like this:

    but then thats another plug socket gone and relying on another piece of kit. I much prefer the 5.2 (passive/manual) approach.

    I have decided on Q1 and am currently backing up my mac to the 750gb raid using 2 lacie portables. At the same time I have wiped my old TM backup and renamed the 2 existing 2tb drives "Document 1" and "D1CC" (hidden from sidebar) and currently "syncing" these two drives using CCC and set it to schedule daily at 7pm to sync silently from now on.

    Think its just about sorted!

    I think I am going to try and find a new enclosure though as I don't like having both my 2tb document drives in one enclosure.

    Thunderbolt is an absolute no go, way out of my price range at more than twice the price per drive. Speed on even usb 2.0 is fine as I keep the data I use regularly on my macbook.

    And I am keeping versioned backups with TM of my macbook which is a must. But then I am not too bothered about versioned for the externals and the time between syncs will be a big enough buffer to recover a file is required. CCC also has an option to archive old versions and then delete when there isn't enough room, I have enabled this anyway as I might as well have versions if there is free space.

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