Best redundant backup solution for home use?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by phositadc, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. phositadc macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    I'm looking to get a raid 1 solution for home use. Probably only planning for dual bay, and will populate with ssds for heat/noise purposes.

    Any suggestions? I'd prefer thunderbolt or usb3, and the CineRAID handheld appears to be the only option. I also see the drobo mini, but being 5 bay, it's a bit overkill for my needs. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
  2. ColdCase, Mar 18, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    So you are using this RAID to backup your system? You don't like the clutter of two separate enclosures? How much data are you backing up?
  3. phositadc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012

    Yep just backing up my personal computer. Less than 100gb so I was going to do 2x256gb ssds in raid 1, which gives me redundancy and plenty of room to spare.

    Hadn't even considered 2 separate enclosures to be honest. Is there a good raid 1 solution for separate enclosures? I don't use time machine so simply doing an automatic scheduled backup to 2 different drives isn't a great option for me. Hence the preference for raid 1.
  4. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    I like Time Machine, because it picks up where it left off. You just have to plug the drive in, and it will do its thing. With Mavericks, it will remind you via Notification Center after a certain numbers of days, if you forget.

    I also like how it does versioning. I've never had to recover data because of a drive failing, but I've frequently had to recover data because I can't find an old file that I'm looking for, which meant I deleted it sometime in the past. With most backup software, your last backup only contains the files that were on the computer when it ran. So if you find out today that you may have accidentally deleted a file a month ago, you're out of luck (unless you have backup software that does versioning like Time Machine).

    Time Machine will let you backup to different drives. I'm always backing up to a drive in a Time Capsule, and then I have a USB 3 portable that I keep at work. When my home computer reminds me that it'd been a month since it's backed up to that portable drive, I bring it home, plug it in, let Time Machine do its thing, and then take it back to work. That way if my house burns down, or someone steals everything inside, I've only lost a months worth of data (max). Time Machine lets you easily encrypt the backups, so if someone steals my backup drive from my desk at work, they won't be able read any of the data.
  5. phositadc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012

    That sounds like a potentially decent way to get some redundancy. Does time capsule allow you to select only certain folders on your computer to backup, or do you have to backup the entire computer?
  6. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Time Machine will let you exclude folders. I exclude ~/Downloads and ~/Documents/Virtual Machines, for example.

    It does backup enough of the system that you can restore to a previous version of OS X, like if you have an OS upgrade that goes wrong (or you don't like).

    Although Time Machine backups run frequently, after the initial backup, it only backs up new files, or old files that have changed. So backups taken after the initial big backup are usually pretty small for most people.
  7. mojolicious, Mar 18, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014

    mojolicious macrumors 68000


    Mar 18, 2014
    Sarf London
    A Time Capsule is simply a target disk for Time Machine (TM), it doesn't provide any further backup magic. Which means all you can do is exclude items from the backup. This is okay if say you want to omit Apps/Lib/Sys from the root of your HD, thereby backing up only the User folder (not sure how it handles the invisibles), but a pain if you'd like to back up five subfolders in a folder containing 50 items.

    I've got two 3GB Toshiba USB3 externals (cheaper to buy that the drives they contain) and alternate them, week on week off, with the unused drive taken offsite. TM handles swapping of these identically named externals without complaint. The lack of scheduling/configuration options is a little off-putting at first but after trial and error I've concluded that, for my needs, running TM manually (ie TM set to 'off' and select 'run backup now' from the menu bar item) is perfect.

    Additionally I also perform a SuperDuper clone to the active Toshiba each week. As aristobrat says, TM is great for retaining historical stuff (that folder you thought you no longer needed and deleted last month; the layered version of that Photoshop file you flattened this morning) but if your internal HD fails then you'll *really* wish you had a bootable clone.
  8. chrisn123 macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2011
    Instead of a two drive in a RAID1, I think it would be better/safer/faster/cheaper to buy two simple USB drives. Connect them to Airport or connect to a desktop computer and share them.

    Set Time Machine on each machine to backup to BOTH volumes. It will alternate hourly, so you general have one computer backup up to Volume A and one to Volume B, which can speed up the backup cycle.

    Also, if you buy sleds instead of enclosures, buy a third bare drive for offsite storage. Target all machines to all threes volumes. It will skip the missing one automatically. On a weekly basis, rotate the disks.
  9. phositadc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    Thanks for the info in this thread. I'll have to look more deeply into Time Capsule/Time Machine.

    But I would still be interested if anybody is aware of a raid 1 solution that meets my criteria. Based on the responses in the thread, I'm guessing the drobo mini and the CineRAID may be the only two options.
  10. thedeske, Mar 19, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014

    thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    Redundant is 1-2-3

    One clone/copy always in saving mode.
    2nd clone/copy disconnected and local.
    3rd clone/copy off site (this can be cloud if you trust it)

    How you choose to connect and with what brand is up to you.

    Raid 1 is two copies connected and both ready to make the same mistake in an instant. A single drive failure is not the only thing that can happen.

    That said, most people are just fine with a single clone attached. Nothing ever happens to their drives and the electricity is solid ;)
  11. Chancha macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2014
    For home use, I would say the advantage of RAID 1 only lies with the current online files that you are accessing all the time, i.e., your first copy of files, not the backup. Most people are fine with working on an internal drive for online data, and let OS X Time Machine backup hourly to an external, in which case the primary data have no redundancy but you are good as close as your latest hourly backup.

    The redundancy that RAID1 provides in your backup drive is nice, but not necessary, and certainly you don't gain much from using SSD. The speed and heat advantage of SSD is only significant for frequent read writes, which again for home users it is negligible. In fact it makes more sense to RAID0 2 SSDs in an array for great online performance, then use some lesser tech for redundancy and backups, like slow USB HDDs that you can cheaply unplug, and taken offline (off site).

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