Best Backup Solution, practices and advice please?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sickaz, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. sickaz macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2016
    Hi All

    I'm finally updating my old mac pro and have decided to go with a fully loaded iMac instead of a low range pro. I'm going for the 500GB SSD option which I'll use solely as a system drive, so I'm looking for the best option for external drives for my work and a backup solution for the work drive and system.

    My first option was to go for a 4TB (2x2) thunderbolt raid 1 setup for my work and then buy a cheaper 500GB drive to run time machine on and possibly another 500GB to run CCC on once a month. Having read up a little I see going for a raided copy of my work drive is possibly not the best option due to not having older backups of files.

    I've got a budget of around £500 for the drives, so just want the fastest solution for my work drive and the most seamless way of backing and restoring that drive and also my system drive.

    Would possibly a 4 bay NAS drive be a better option running incremental backups?

    Any advice or pointers on the best way to go about this would be greatly appreciated.

  2. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Why would you have a 4TB external drive for data, but only a 500GB drive for backup? RAID is not a backup solution.

    You may want to have two Time Machine backup drives - one configured to backup the iMac's internal drive, the other to backup the external drive. Both drives need to be backed up, but they probably don't need to both be restored at the same time. For extra safety for your business data, use two backup drives for your external data, so that one can be stored off-premises.

    You could certainly add additional drives for periodic CCC backups.

    I don't recommend an NAS running over wifi as a backup solution - it can be pretty slow- use ethernet.
  3. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA

    Is there a way to have TimeMachine perform 2 different backup options ... i.e. the internal drive to one backup drive and the external drive to another external drive?

    I realize that TimeMachine can perform backups rotating sequentially to several target drives ... but the source content is the same on all target drives ... or so I thought.
  4. sickaz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2016
    Hi ApfelKuchen, sorry I don't think I made myself very clear. The 4GB external drive would be 2 x 2GB, Something like a G-Technology G-Dock. So my work would be on one and the other as a backup for work only, it would just save having two external drives. The other 500GB drive was to run time machine on which would only backup the 500GB system drive in the iMac.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 18, 2016 ---
    I could up that to 2 x 3TB drives in the G-dock and just have time machine backup the work drive and system drive to the other 3TB and then I'd only need 1 separate 500GB to run CCC off, does that sound better?
  5. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Oh, ok. The only issue with using a single enclosure for both storage and backup is that a failure of the G-Dock enclosure takes down your backup as well as the main. That's one of the reasons RAID is not considered a backup solution, either.

    In simpler terms, it's the classic case of putting all the eggs in a single basket.
  6. sickaz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2016
    yes you have a very good point there! My WD my book recently went down but luckily it was just the enclosure and I could pop the drive straight into my old mac pro.

    Won't have that luxury with an iMac so two separate enclosures it is then, that solves that.

    Would you use time machine to back everything up or just time machine for the system drive and an alternative solution for the work drive?
  7. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    Definitely have a local Time Machine backup running, but also be sure to set up a remote backup as well. I use Backblaze (which costs £4 per month for unlimited backup and restore), but there are others as well.
  8. orph, Apr 19, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016

    orph macrumors 65816

    Dec 12, 2005
    a simple back up is having 2 copes of the same data and a good backup will be 3 copes of the same data in 2 locations (maybe on mixed media)

    a raid is not a backup, its a way to keep data live 24/7 ie servers etc.. (raid is also for speed)
    so if a drive dies you can replace it and still have the data live..
    (edit raid is live redundancy)
    so say if your video editing you may want a raid both for data speed and if a failure happens you can keep editing your job with no interruptions (ideally)

    a backup is having 2 copes of the data in say 2 drives that are not both live at the same time

    so if you have your external storage A always plugged in and storage B (the backup of A) offline (not plugged in all the time) if say you have a massive power serge that takes out storage A storage B which was not plugged in will still be ok
    (but if the house burns down then external storage comes in to play.)

    also storage A being used all the time will give it more ware so if storage B is only used say once a week to backup storage A then hopefully it will have less ware and last longer. (but random HD failure is a thing so storage B may die first)

    the idea is just to reduce the chance of data loss and downtime.

    so what you want
    imac + external backup that is not live 24/7 which you can do daily/weekly backups on to.

    and if you want the raid then you also want a second drive that you can backup the raid on to once a day/week a single 4TB external drive is ok.

    do remember with bigger drives also come's the chance of larger data loss, i use 2TB drives in set's of 2 for data storage

    external BlueRay drives are a cheep way to get a 3 way backup with mixed media for important projects

    online backups are relay good but can be slow dependent on your internet and the kind of work you do.
  9. cruisin macrumors 6502a


    Apr 1, 2014
    The enclosures that will also do raid will (usually) use their own raid format, so if the enclosure dies you will need to buy the same enclosure before you see the data. Also, RAID is not backup, because it doesn't protect against accidental deletions or cryptoware. See the Toy Story 2 RAID issue:

    A proper backup is one where you hide your backup (to simulate theft or damage) and can still use everything with minimal effort. So the G-dock will guard against file and drive corruption but it really doesn't serve as a proper backup. The main question you need to answer is how much money will it cost to restore/recreate your files if you lose everything, and compare it with your current solution. If your files are really important, you should have a backup made that you store in a separate location (like at work if you want to protect the stuff at home) or online, and you update it regularly. Basically the 3 copies in 2 locations idea for anything expensive or impossible to replace.

    For Time Machine/backups with file versions, you need a drive at least 1.5x the size of the source drive. Otherwise you will not be able to fit many file versions and less as your source drive fills up. So the 2TB work drive needs at least 3TB but ideally 4TB. You can consolidate the whole 2TB source and the 3 or 4TB backup onto one G-dock type device, but you are at the mercy of the durability of the G-dock. Maybe read up on the recovery procedure of the G-dock, because I doubt it is as simple as sliding the drive into a computer like the My Book.
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    a 500GB disk is not large enough for Time Machine. Ideally you want the TM disk to be 2X or even 3X larger then the sum total of all your data. I'd use a larger 6TB hard drive for TM.

    You will also need some kind of off site backup. Crash plan or back blaze can work or you just buy a couple more 6TB disks and rotate then to a fire safe in some other building (like the office at work)

    I would NOT use CCC for backup. Here is why. You are writing a novel or that breakthrough movie script and by accident you delete 5 pages and don't notice. But it is OK because you have a backup made by CCC. Now you run the CCC backup and over write your only good copy of the novel with the corrupted version. Better of you simply use three TM disks and rotate them though a safe in some other building. With a large enough TM disk you old data will not be over written. It is not expensive or complex.

    BTW, don't just use the SSD for system files. But as much of your data as you can on the SSD. The advice to not put data on a system drive applies only to hard drives. With SSD it is best to keep all the data there unless it just will not fit.

    Why RAID? There are only a few valid reasons to have it (1) You need more storage then will fit on the largest hard drive you can buy or (2) you need a fast storage system, faster than a single disk can provide..
    --- Post Merged, Apr 19, 2016 ---
    You are right. If you have more than one TM drive the system will rotate between them using a different one each hour. What you need is that each TM drive is at least 2X the size of all your data. Having one drive go to different TM drives is not going to solve any problem. Just buy a few BIG disks.

    Also don't forget the on-lin backup services. They make a nearly fool proof last ditch backup.
  11. orph macrumors 65816

    Dec 12, 2005
    relay kind of depends on what the op dose and what he wants.
    the text example is also solved by versioning your work so each alteration is saved as a new file which is good practice for some work, ie saving a new copy with the date you changed it and a version number '001filename12/01/16.text' (well i just do '001filename.prproj') kind of thing. i always do it when video editing with the project thanks to a few projects corrupting on me :confused: .

    TM can be used as an easy way to version past docks, it dose not always need to be massive because a lot of the time the only thing that changes (depending on usage scenario) are small files like text files etc..

    if your video editing raid can be good for speed & live redundancy, but for most normal user use raid tends to be overkill.

    im gessing as the op mentioned a 4TB raid it's not going to fit on the internal SSD of his imac
  12. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    After looking through your posts. Their is no reason to use a Thunderbolt enclosure. Even if you were doing two hard drives in RAID 0 you wouldn't saturate USB 3.0. Thunderbolt is only really an advantage with SSD and large RAID arrays.

    As you say you want your data drive to be as fast as possible. I'd do a 2x1TB or 2x2TB using WD Red Pro drives and set it in RAID 0 installed in an empty RAID capable USB 3.0 enclosure. I know there is an increased risk of failure but you will have a good backup. I say the Red Pro Drives as desktop drives can cause issues in RAID due to the way they deal with errors. The Red Pro are faster than standard Red drives.

    For backups I would use two 4TB or 6TB drives depending on the RAID size you choose. Then rotate them out daily or weekly. Keeping one in a fire resistant and water resistant safe if taking it off site is impractical. If you have a fast internet connection you can use a online backup service (Backblaze preferred). In which case keep one backup locally using Time Machine. Then your secondary backup will be offsite via Backblaze. In case something happens to your local backup before you can restore it.

    Do not get Seagate. They have an absurdly high failure rate. HGST is the most reliable. If you want to use HGST instead of WD Red Pro due to reliability. Get the HGST Ultrastar. The Ultrastar is the Enterprise grade line. I mentioned WD Red Pro due to the larger cache in the 1TB model.

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