Best back-up solution

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Cinab1mt, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. Cinab1mt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    #1
    Ok, so this is my first post, but I have followed the site religiously for quite some time. Anyway, I figured I would let the experts on the forum help me out.

    So I just bought a new MBP 15'' i5. Im still waiting for it to arrive, however with the new investment, I want to know the best way to back up all my data. I hear the "Time Capsules" have gotten some bad reviews (short life) but wanted to see what you guys think. I currently use an Airport Extreme for my wireless router and was wondering if I could just plug a USB external HD in the back of that to run with the time machine back up software? If so, what is the best brand of HD to buy, and how much space is feasible? Money is not necessarily an issue at this point considering how much I paid for my MBP :D. Any advice would be great! Thanks in advance!

    -Mike
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #2

    Brand of HD does not matter very much. It's a small detail. Theu ALL will fail so just expect it to and plan for it.

    Space? Figure on double the size of all the data that needs to be backed up. More is better and 1.5 is a practical minimum. But today 1TB drives are good deals at about $100 or less. do NOT use the TM drive for any other purpose then TM. Buy another external drive if you need the space.

    Next.. Buy two or three of these and rotate them to a safe place, not in the same building. If you rotate the time machine drives every week of so then if one fails, no big deal as you have two other backups. and the TM drive WILL fail, you just don't know when. In a week or five years

    Theft of equipment is the #1 cause of data loss, so don't have the TM drive and the computer in the same room. Well really you can leave one in there because you wil have three all in different locations

    Buy Firewire 800 if you can. If is much faster than USB. and worth the extra $25
     
  3. Cinab1mt thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    #3
    Thanks for the insight. Will this need to be formated a certain way? FAT32? What works best for Macs, and what Im trying to get accomplished?
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    Why? There is nothing wrong to use them for other than TM too :confused: It's waste of money to buy 1TB for TM then use 50GB of it and buy another one for storage

    Again, WHY? That okay if you need space or have seriously VERY important files. If the HD fails, all files are in MBP anyway, then just grab a new one and make a new backup. Average user don't need more than one

    FW800 don't work with AirPort Extreme.... For most users, USB is fine. FW800 is hard to find and costs a premium

    Your points are good but only for pro users. There is simply no need for more than one ext HD for TM usage.

    @OP: I personally recommend LaCie but any HD is fine, Western Digital has some very decent ones for fair prices. I would get 1TB
     
  5. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #5
    HFS+ (the default when you use Disk Utility)

    ChrisA is absolutely right about rotating backups and keeping them offsite, but I'd like to add that TimeMachine isn't the best backup. It's really a simple, easy to use versioning system that allows you to go back to a file as it was earlier in time. In order to be effective you need a single TimeMachine drive with TimeMachine running frequent backups. Then make off-site full backups using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! You can boot off of these drives directly if your internal drive fails, which you can't do with TimeMachine.
     
  6. slpdLoad macrumors 6502a

    slpdLoad

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    #6
    Ditto on all of this. Good advice.

    Three back solutions may be expensive,but it's the only way to do it completely and correctly. You need an incremental backup (TimeMachine), a bootable clone that gets updated periodically (using CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper), and a third offsite backup of your most imprortant data. This can be on a drive that is not connected to your machine or any power in any way, or using some type of online backup service.

    Disk Utility's default settings will be fine, and will format your drives as "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)".
     
  7. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #7
    You need multiple drives for at least two reasons. If you are using TimeMachine the drive needs to be present basically all of the time and is worthless offsite. However if there is a theft and the computer and drive are stolen, or there is a fire destroying all the equipment, you've just lost everything. Having at least one backup offsite saves the day.

    Second reason is the computer hard drive could develop a problem which isn't uncovered until the backup is being made, and the backup gets corrupted as well. This probably isn't a problem with TimeMachine but it is with full image backups. You need another backup drive made before the corruption is noticed. This happened to me a couple of times albeit in the early 1990's.

    As far as only pro's being concerned, if one uses the computer for personal finances or has the only copies of one's children's baby pictures on the computer, well you don't have to be a pro to feel that loss. The OP asked for the "best way to back up all my data" and we are telling him!
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #8
    Sure it's good advice but IMO useless for average user. Why not to get 8-bay RAID 1 solution, if one HD fails, you still have everything on 7 other HDs :D

    If OP is ready to spend some extra, then it's okay, but still, pretty useless for normal user. You shouldn't count on fire or theft unless you live in area where you should be. He should already have an ext HD if he has so important files!

    I would get one ext HD for TM, and then use online backup. That way you can't lose your data and they are accessible from multiple computers.
     
  9. marcb81304 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    #9
    Just a bit of info and my two cents:

    1. Backing up via time machine and an airport extreme is not a supported configuration by apple. Backups tend to get real messy when you go this route. It might not catch up to you in a week, a month, or a year but it will get you at some point and say "time machine failed( insert message about not being able to get to the backup volume here)" if you want stable backups and something apple supports, do either the time capsule or an external hdd directly connected to your Mbp
    p.s I know someone is going to post and say they have been doing this for months/years with no problems but I'm not one to roll the dice with my backups

    2. IMHO time machine is the best utility to use for backing up. Being able to boot from an install DVD and choose when you want to restore from, the ability to use migration assistant from a time nachine backup and the ability to restore individual files from any given day makes it a winner in my book. The thing it doesn't do is make a bootable copy of the OS, which is a bit over rated. If you want to be as secure as possible I'd suggest buying an external hdd do a monthly backup to that and keep that off site. For the incremental backups, use a second hdd or time capsule and back up to that

    sorry for the long note
     
  10. slpdLoad macrumors 6502a

    slpdLoad

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    #10
    OP already stated he was not worried about the cost, and asked for the best backup solution. Buying two drives (one with 2 partitions and a third for offsite) is not prohibitively expensive, and well worth it for all users. Just because one is an average user, does not mean their data is worth cutting corners with. Nobody is recommending outlandish solutions that require throwing money away for no reason.
     
  11. elfxmilhouse macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Northeast USA
    #11
    my current backup solution for my 15" MBP:

    1. Time machine back up to my Netgear NAS running RAID 1 (2x1TB)
    2. External portable usb hard drive. I clone my hard drive using carbon copy cloner as often a possible, at least once a week though. I also leave this hard drive at work.

    I also place most of my documents in my dropbox folder so it's back up on my computers and online.
     
  12. Macula macrumors 6502

    Macula

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2006
    Location:
    All over the place
    #12
    My solution:

    1. Time machine on external hard disk permanently located in my den.
    2. Online backup solution (at an annual subscription). I use Dropbox, which doubles as a syncing solution, but if you only need backup there are many (cheaper and perhaps more specialized) alternatives.

    Advantages:
    — Simple
    — Anti-theft protection
    — Protection against hardware failure (time machine)

    Dropbox, as a syncing solution, has the added advantage of turning every machine in the household into potential backup space via the cloud.
     
  13. craig1410 macrumors 65816

    craig1410

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Scotland
    #13
    What poor advice... It's like saying that you only need one airbag in your car - in most cases you won't even need one but some cases even 6 won't save your life.

    Then you go on to say why not use an 8-bay RAID 1 solution. Let me answer - because once again, all the drives are in the same place as the computer and you will lose everything in the event of fire, flood or theft.

    Why does he need an external drive if he has important files and how exactly do you define "important"? My most important files of pics of my kids growing up would just be "some kids" to you or most people outside my family. Does that mean they aren't important? Why is an external drive more secure? The key thing is not to trust a single hard drive or a single location.

    Fire or theft (or flood or accident) can strike any of us at any time. If this was not the case then home insurance would be free which it certainly isn't! These disasters are bad enough in themselves without losing all your personal data as well!

    Online backups are well worth doing but it will take a long time to backup and then restore your files if you have no other means of recovery. It will also require access to a broadband connection which might not be possible if your house has burned down or flooded or your equipment has been stolen. I would always recommend that you buy external drives in identical pairs and rotate the most recent backup to an offsite location. Adding a third drive to contain a bootable CCC or SD clone is extremely useful in the event of internal hard drive failure and can get you up and running again in minutes. You can leave this clone in your car (suitably protected) or with a neighbour or even just hidden in your house for easy access. By all means use online backup for documents and perhaps some photographs but music and video aren't so practical and are better suited to external drive backup.

    Oh and finally, FW800 drives are well worth the small additional cost and are easy to find despite suggestions above that they are not. I like the WD My Book Studio drives as they are very quiet and I like the fact they are used in an upright orientation which encourages convective cooling and takes up less desk space. I got a 1TB drive of this type recently for about £80 and it is highly recommended.

    I hope this helps the OP,
    Craig.
     
  14. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #14
    A balance approach is best.

    A Time Machine backup via USB/Extreme Air Disk will suffice for your day to day redundancy. The convenience outweighs potential probs.

    But, it is important to also make periodic (weekly/monthly whatever) bootable copies to a separate drive via Carbon Copy Cloner or Superduper.

    Any extra valuable photos, eg baby, can easily be uploaded to a myriad of offsite, online options, some free, others not.

    So I would recommend one (Seagate) 1TB USB to Extreme for TimeMachine + 1 (Western Digital) 750GB Firewire 800 for CCC backup + Apple's Mobile Me for special photos upload off site, (I know other options are free, but I enjoy all the other benefits of MM, esp having an iPhone!).
     
  15. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #15
    I take it nothing burns and there are no thieves in Finland?
     
  16. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    I really think it does!

    As already mentioned, keep a bootable backup, too! Although TimeMachine is nice for retrieving older versions of files, it is a pain to restore the OS if you lost your hard drive.
    A bootable clone (I run my CCC backups every day) restores your system in a few minutes (FW800 or eSATA provided, USB takes longer of course) and you are back in business.

    Online backups for extremely important data are highly recommended. I use the 50GB offer from DropBox which is more than enough for the "no way I could live on without this" data, but there are a lot other services that don't cost much either.
    Almost all online backup services encrypt the data on their drive, which makes storing personal information pretty secure. I encrypt the data I put on this drives again though. You never know. ;)

    The statement that a single backup device is sufficient for the home user is a little shallow. If the backup drive fails, then the data is still on the computer, that is right. But let's assume that while your waiting for a new backup drive to arrive (certainly takes a while) your computer fails.
    Congratulations, you've lost all your data only because you were too cheap to invest another hundred bucks for another backup drive. :rolleyes:
     
  17. Cinab1mt thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    #17
    I really appreciate all the positive feedback and advice, it truly helps, and certainly means a lot. I will definitely keep everything in mind.

    Any online backup sources better than others? Thanks again in advance!
     
  18. OnAirNow macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2010
    Location:
    Scotland
    #18
    Hopefully this additional question doesnt muddy the waters too much...

    As a newbie, Time Machine seems like a superb idea and when I eventually get my hands on my new MBP I think its something I will definately use.

    I had assumed that Time Machine would only really be suitable for a desktop machine that was permanently connected to the ext HD used as the backup. Is it okay (and common even?) to use it with a laptop? Would it just be a case of, for example, connecting the MBP to the HD after being out at work all day, and then letting it do its backup? Is this daily connection to the Time Machine HD typical for any of you more experienced users? Once the MBP connects to the Time Machine HD does it automatically know what its to do, or is it user initiated?

    Thanks for your time and cant wait to make the full switch to :apple: !
     
  19. Cinab1mt thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    #19
    Could someone also elaborate on CCC backups? Im still new to backing up files in general which is why I started the thread to begin with.
     
  20. kmaute macrumors 6502

    kmaute

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #20
    I recently went through this and found, by virtue of restore options and upload speed that Backblaze is by far the best off site backup - particularly as it allows for the use of your own private encryption key.
     
  21. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #21
    5 bucks for unlimited storage? Looks extremely tempting! Time to test their trial. :)

    Thanks for sharing this information!
     
  22. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #22
    Heres what it does: http://www.bombich.com/

    Transporteur's advice is the best so far, IMHO. Some of the other options sound overly complicated for your use.

    Two drives as backup, USB 2 is fine, but if you have the extra $$, go ahead with firewire (400 or 800) -- since your USB ports are already in short supply.

    As for online storage, is a numbers game. Lets say you have 100 gigs to backup. Thats actually not a lot these days -- lots of music, photos, videos, etc.

    If you have a good DSL connection, figure about uploading 8 megabytes of data per minute.

    100 gigs = 102,400 megabytes / 8 megs per minute = 12,800 minutes = 213 hours = about 9 days of 24/7 uploading. yeowch.

    Provided your ISP will *even* let you upload that much data...
     
  23. Cinab1mt thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    #23
    Thanks again guys for all the advice! I really appreciate the well thought and sincere responses for someone who legitimately wants good advice! Thanks again!
     
  24. PaperQueen macrumors 6502

    PaperQueen

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Just this side of insanity (Minneapolis)
    #24
    Sorry, but yes, this is a problem with TimeMachine. My MBP hard drive did a meltdown while I was half way across the country for business. The Apple store replaced the drive, with me feeling confident all I’d lost was the three days since leaving home.

    Imagine my shock when I got home, did a full restore to the new hard drive...and learned that TM and Time Capsule had stopped retaining information eight weeks earlier due to the lurking but yet-to-be-discovered hitch on my laptop’s hard drive. The TM icon spun hourly, no error messages, so I had no clue it wasn’t backing up.

    I’m a huge believer in overkill now, having lost two months’ worth of business and personal data. My current set up:

    1. For local backup: TimeMachine and TimeCapsule (thankfully works now that the laptop has a healthy hard drive)

    2. For multi-site syncing: Dropbox for the files that need to sync across my laptop and office computers

    3. Offsite backup: CrashPlan for everything on the laptop, since that’s my primary computer

    When I compare the monetary value of what I lost in those eight weeks versus what I’m paying for local and offsite backups, well....the latter is a heck of a lot cheaper than even one lost customer due to their files going up in smoke.
     
  25. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #25
    I stand corrected but not surprised. As I said, this happened to me (unrecoverable backups) more than once. Bottom line, as you have found, is to have multiple backups (and test them regularly to see that they are working!).
     

Share This Page