Backup Strategy Advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by LastLine, Jul 10, 2014.

  1. LastLine macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2005
    #1
    Hey guys,

    Coming here for a second (third, fourth?) opinion.

    My Mac now stores some very valuable files (baby photos) in iPhoto.

    This is backed up by Time Machine to a current Gen Airport Time Capsule.

    I feel I need more redundancy. I'm debating my options and would like some more views. Here's what I'm considering - in no particular option.


    1) An external RAID system, mirrored, so i can (weekly?) clone the iPhoto library onto the external drive, thus giving me copies on my Mac, the external drive, and then backed up to time Capsule.

    2) Something like a LACIE rugged drive, no redundancy, but a more solid drive perhaps than a RAID system which tends to be big and clunky - this can in a disaster scenario (house fire etc) be grabbed and run off with.

    3) Paid cloud storage - offsite, but I'm not a fan of a) subscription, or b) someone else being the person I rely on for backups.



    So - any thoughts, or other opinions are gratefully received?
     
  2. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    #2
    I have a rMBP (256Gb SSD) and travel regularly between two locations.
    In one location internet service can be a bit “iffy” and not very fast so I’m not comfortable with cloud storage.

    Here’s what I do:
    I have three small USB3 bus driven external drives. 1Tb in capacity. About $80 each.
    One is used with Time Machine. I carry that back and forth with me.
    I have one at each location and do a bootable clone using CCC.
    If you have a desktop you could do something similar and rotate one the clones off site.
    Some of these small USB drives have hardware encryption.
     
  3. firedept macrumors 603

    firedept

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere!
    #3
    This is my set up:

    1. 2TB External drive with Time Machine and iScheduleTimeMachine.app doing backups once a week of my files.

    2. 2TB External drive with Carbon Copy Cloner doing monthly clones of my system.

    3. 3TB External drive with Carbon Copy Cloner that is a clone of my system that is stored in a fire proof safe. Which I back up whenever I feel is appropriate.

    4. Google Drive for the cloud storage of my files just in case of natural disaster.

    I feel confident that I have all my bases covered with this set up. This may be a little over the top for you or may even not be enough.
     
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #4
    For my 512gb MBA I have a current generation Time Capsule, a cheap bus-powered 1TB time machine drive that I update regularly and keep offsite, and a faster bus-powered 512gb CCC bootable clone that I keep in another part of the house.

    I would like to do cloud backup, but live in a remote place where my only internet option is slow Verizon DSL. But I may look into backing up my most critical data on iCloud Drive after Apple rolls it out.
     
  5. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #5
    I think that if you have the bandwidth, that cloud storage is by far the safest bet. Keep in mind that there is no reason you have to make that your only backup - in fact it shouldn't be, but I think if you try it, you'll soon find it to be the one you trust most. I don't like backup schemes that require user intervention in any way after the initial setup because eventually, whether a month, a year or 3 years from now, you're going to start to forget to do it. Cloud backups make your backups completely automatic to the point that you'll rarely think about it. It's also quite handy to be able to access your data from any computer at any location - even for reasons you wouldn't normally think of needing backup.

    My personal favorite service is Crashplan because it's priced fairly, the software is extremely powerful and smartly written, rarely has any issues, and they provide good service should you ever need it. (I switched our company to their service after a couple of years of using it at home, so I've had more than the usual interaction with them). They are one of the few companies that still offer real unlimited backup for an affordable price, so you can use it for everything, not just your pictures.

    I also happen to automatically upload all of our pictures to Flickr as they give you 1TB for free. Everything we take with our iPhones and dslr gets automatically uploaded into my photostream at full resolution.
     
  6. Backegg macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2014
    Location:
    Wirral, UK
    #6
    I agree with the Crashplan recommendation. After the initial backup "it just works". i also use Time Machine with a 2TB Lacie external drive.
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #7
    I go with Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner.

    With CCC I back up to external drives, one of which goes off site.

    The thing with CCC is I get off site security, and quick restore ability. Plus the cost is only one time, I don't have to keep paying for it, unlike those internet backup solutions.
     
  8. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #8
    I posted the following elsewhere, but it's apropos to the question:

    So considering the above, I recommend you retain your current setup and then add an offsite / cloud storage method such as Crashplan. Subscribe or set up storage at a friend or relative's house.

    Speaking for myself, I tried the "keep an external drive offsite" plan and never did it on a regular basis. I often remembered (when I wasn't home) and made a note to remember to do it... and seemingly more important things always came up. :p The solution that works for me is to have a system that doesn't require direct action on my part.

    The "grab the drive as you run out of the house" is a nice idea but doesn't help if something happens when you're not home. Plus I doubt a hard drive will be the first thing to come to mind in an emergency.
     
  9. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #9
    Bus powered drives are small and easily stashed. I keep an encrypted time machine backup in my car that is rarely more than a week old. Time Machine does a good job of nagging if you don't keep a drive up to date, and it only takes a few seconds to go out to the car and get the drive.
     
  10. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #10
    Triplicate backups here (I'm extra paranoid):

    1. TimeMachine (which in turn is not backed up)
    2. Alternating cloned drives (I use SuperDuper!), one always off-site
    3. Crashplan for cloud backup.

    I can't imagine losing anything, and indeed I haven't yet, even though I've had drive failures.
     
  11. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #11
    Crashplan costs $5/month or less. For that price I don't have to own drives or dedicated backup software, (for the price of two large drives and software you can buy several years of Crashplan) I don't have to manage anything, I don't have to manually move drives around, I never have to think about my backups at all. It's got to be just about the best value in computing.

    For the ultra-cheap, you could piece together a free system that would back up the majority of your essential data - say by using Flickr for your photos and Dropbox or Skydrive for other essential data.
     
  12. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #12
    This is great if you have just one Mac. It gets a bit more complex if you're dealing with multiple computers and family members.

    BTW, careful if you're leaving that drive inside the car all the time. Especially if you live somewhere that gets pretty hot in summer. Many (most?) consumer grade drives have a maximum non-operating environmental spec of as little as 60-70C, which the interior of a car can easily exceed in summertime. Example: http://www.wdc.com/global/products/specs/?driveID=1310&language=1

    (Wow, just checked and even the LaCie "ruggedized" drive says not to expose it to temperatures above 30C/86F! :eek:
    http://manuals.lacie.com/en/manuals/rugged-usb3-thunderbolt/precautions )
     
  13. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #13
    I thought the OP only wanted to back up one computer? Otherwise, yeah, my method wouldn't be great for a bunch of machines, although you could make multiple partitions or stash more than one drive I suppose.

    I have been doing this for the past year, including a very cold winter and hot summer, and no problems. Maybe not a good option for everyone, but it works for me. That spec of 86 degrees seems crazy. I'd be surprised if a drive wasn't subjected to that kind of temperatures while shipping!
     
  14. jljue macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    Brandon, MS
    #14
    Here's what I do:

    Mac Mini Server:
    1. Local and external FW800 RAID1 drive backed up via TimeMachine to an iSCSI volume on Synology DS1512+
    2. Select Files and external FW800 drive backed up via CrashPlan to another iSCSI volume on Synology DS1512+
    3. Select Files and external FW800 drive backed up via CrashPlan to CrashPlan Central
    4. CCC main drive to a 3.5" HDD with a FW800 dock once per month, which is stored in a big, heavy fire-proof safe

    Wife's MBP:
    1. Backed up via TimeMachine to Mac Mini Server (separate iSCSI volume on Synology DS1512+)
    2. Select Files backed up via CrashPlan to Mac Mini Server
    3. Select Files backed up via CrashPlan to CrashPlan Central
    4. CCC main drive to a 3.5" HDD with a FW800 dock once per month, which is stored in a big, heavy fire-proof safe

    My MBP:
    1. Local and external eSATA drive backed up via TimeMachine to Mac Mini Server (separate iSCSI volume on Synology DS1512+)
    2. Local and external eSATA drive backed up via TimeMachine to external eSATA drive, which is rotated with safe deposit box at bank every other month
    3. Select Files backed up via CrashPlan to Mac Mini Server
    4. Select Files backed up via CrashPlan to CrashPlan Central
    5. CCC main drive to a 3.5" HDD with eSATA dock once per month, which is stored in a big, heavy fire-proof safe

    This might be overkill to some people, but I do live in the digital age and don't have physical backup copies of certain documents, video and audio projects, media, etc. due to lack of space since getting married, having a baby, and in-laws moving in. When C-Spire Fiber comes into my area and my parents area across town, I plan to buy more Synology NASes and setup redundancy between both houses.
     
  15. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2010
    Location:
    US
    #15
    No worries; I wrote my post considering a general case for other readers as well. Even though my computers all backup to a NAS and I was doing backups from the NAS to a portable drive that I took to work, I just didn't regularly keep up with it. With the crashplan scenario I don't have to think about it other than to verify backups are occurring and test a restore (random sample) every so often.

    Again I was writing for the general case. I was surprised at the LaCie spec; other drives I looked at tended towards a 70C (~155F) spec which was more reasonable, yet still easily achieved in Georgia in a sunny parking lot in July.
     
  16. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    #16
    I can't stress how important an offsite backup is. A friend of mine just had his house robbed while they were in the process of moving. The thieves got a bunch of items he didn't trust the movers to move, including two computers and his backup hard drives.

    As others have mentioned, unlimited cloud backup is so inexpensive, there's no reason to manage your offsite backup yourself.

    I use Backblaze. It is absolutely secure (even they can't decrypt your backup files without your master password), fast, and totally unlimited. There are tons of options to decide what parts of your drive Backblaze will back up, so you can limit it to just your iPhoto library if you want (though I don't know why you would...)

    Set it up now. Don't wait.
     
  17. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #17
    Regardless of anything you do to protect the entire contents of the computer... The childhood photos may be worth one more layer of "backup." If you have a burner, burn a few CDs/DVDs of that collection, and give one to each of your kids, siblings, favorite cousins... whatever works. Get 'em up onto one or more photo sharing sites, and share them! Who knows whether a CD will last longer than a particular photo-hosting service, but one of the best methods of preservation is broad circulation.
     

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