Better option than Time Machine for NAS backup?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by hayduke, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. hayduke macrumors 65816

    hayduke

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    #1
    I'm about to pull the trigger and buy one of these (or the soon to be released 8800) for remote back-up of a few computers:

    http://www.eaegis.com/items/data-storage/nas/sata/thecus-n7700-ultimate-7-bay-nas/thecusn77007baynas7x1tbas-copy-detail.htm

    I've heard of various hacks for getting TM to work with a NAS, but I'm wondering about other options. Anything tried and true? Is rsync the way to go? Can people suggest scripts/snippets for incremental back-ups? What is a good way to test your backup system for file attributes, metadata, cksums, etc.? I want something the "just works," but I'm willing to put in some effort. Thoughts?
     
  2. hayduke thread starter macrumors 65816

    hayduke

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    #2
  3. millerj123 macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Well, crap. I've already balked at the price of the Drobo, and went with two 500 Gig internal SATA drives to mirror in my wife's PC.

    I read your questions, but can't offer anything useful beyond the obvious. I periodically have to pull stuff off backup CD's, so if it won't work, I know the backup is bad.

    Is this work or personal, and how critical is the data?
     
  4. hayduke thread starter macrumors 65816

    hayduke

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    #4
    This is work and the data has real value, but the value has a half life too. That is to say it is most valuable for about 1-2 years, but after a point we have used the data to report most anything and everything we can and we've moved on to the next thing. So I don't need "permanent" storage, but I do need reliable storage for a few years. We burn DL-DVDs of the really valuable raw data, but not of everything we derive from the data.

    I got a quote for the Thecus 8800 and will probably order it next week.
     
  5. learthur macrumors newbie

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    Arkansas
    #5
    backup

    I use SoftRaid to mirror in real time my system for backup purposes. Periodically I swap out the mirror in order to have an additional copy off-site. SoftRaid has been a solid product for me so far.
     
  6. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

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    #6
    Looking at various discussions over the years on backup issues, you'll find as many solutions as there are users.
    I am paranoid as hell, and I don't trust RAID, never have never will. Spoke to an Apple guy on his recent efforts to rebuild one after a crap, and it was brutal.
    I always ask one question of myself: "What would I lose that will force me to blow my brains out if I lost it?" Then I build my strategy from there. I can describe briefly what I do, then you can ask that question to yourself maybe? :) This is primarily home use, but at work I have the same concept in place.
    I am responsible for some incredibly important stuff, and if lost, I'll soon be asking "Want fries with that?".
    At home my tower has dual 1TB drives. The second I use for Time machine. It's never failed me, but it's not enough. Also in the tower is another drive that I use CCC daily for critical data. That's still not enough as I always say one needs to alternate locations. So I also do a daily backup of critical data to a Time Capsule. Nope, not enough. For my home business data I backup to the business iDisk account. Still not enough. I also backup that same data to my personal iDisk account. Both methods use Apple's Backup utility. Works well. But that's not all. I have a MyBook World 1TB that ALL data goes to weekly, and also for file transfers to a partner in my home business, along with "working files" to the company iDisk. Think that's enough? Nope. I have two external Firewire drives. Every week I make a complete image of my main drive, then take that drive somewhere else. I alternate drives every other week. THEN I occasionally burn DVD's of my photo's and critical files and store them in another part of the house.
    Insane huh? Perhaps, but at least I can sleep at night.
    Been looking at the Drobo due to nice write-up's, but it's still a RAID, and it's in the same room. My house burns, I'm dead in the water.
    At work I look at the issue the same way, but use different tools, mostly the server version of Retrospect. I've been using that for 10 years and it's never failed me. I don't do catalogs, just file-level copies. I alternate backups to several locations daily, weekly and monthly of critical files. I don't care about the server itself, as they can be rebuilt in a half hour. Then of course once a week I take the SIS database (my main baby) offsite on DVD or FW drive.

    So I guess you have to choose a method that best suits your needs, and one that will let YOU get a good nights rest.
     
  7. mlts22 macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I wonder if a third party backup program like Retrospect might be a better choice. You can have a large RAID array where Retrospect stores its backup sets, then every so often, buy an external large disk or disks (Retrospect can split up into volumes), copy the backup set, and store the external large disk(s) offsite somewhere secure. This way, if your RAID array eats itself (and I have had hardware RAID cards decide your data is on the menu before), you still have current backups.

    Of course, Retrospect supports AES-256 encryption, so a loss of a backup drive wouldn't mean compromise of your data (assuming a good password.)
     
  8. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #8
    I'm a tech officer at a small company. I work off a macbook that travels with me. At home I have a 1TB TC, and another 1TB TC at work.

    My macbook backs up to both TCs - home AND work. I had hoped it would shift between the two automatically. No, it doesn't, much to my disappointment. I have to remember to change the storage disk in TM Preferences. A small thing but still..

    The work 1TB TC also backs up several other work macbooks belonging to other staff. It is duplicated twice a month to a 1TB firewire/USB external drive (I just drag and drop the TM files), which should be living offsite, but isn't at the moment.

    I have a slight concern over whether a TM database file will still function properly after being shifted over several different drives - must run a test one day.

    To the OP, have you considered just building a server tower PC? You can get a decent one and fill it full of HDDs for less than the cost of the Thecus, and it might well run faster and serve data files faster too. (especially with two or three network cards in it). NAS are famously slow to serve files. (but the Thecus seems decent)

    If it is specifically for TM backups, you could buy several 1TB TCs, each with 2 or 4 TB or more attached to it in USB externals. Might not look very professional though.

    Or for a more pro solution buy a second hand Mac Pro and fill it with drives. You don't need a new model - an old one will do - e.g. a dual core one from 2006 will last you a long time.

    Really, any intel Mac with firewire will do - you can attach a stack of drives to it, and it will work as a network TM server. For the cheapskates, an old early model Intel MacBook would also do the job.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #9
    You REALLY want an incremental backup system, one that does not write new files over old files. So Disk clonning, mirrors and the like are out. Time Machine could work but TM will over write data when the disk fills.

    I like EMC's "Retrospect". But for years I used just "dump" and a crontab entry. That has been the mainstay of backups for 20+ years. Read the dump man page if you have not already. Retrospect will do about the same thing

    Your hardware look good but you should buy either two or three of these boxes. If the data is important yo need three copies and two geographic locations. No way you should short-cut that. 3 copies, 2 locations
     
  10. hayduke thread starter macrumors 65816

    hayduke

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    #10
    I agree that incremental is the way to go. The capacity of the remote system exceeds the 3TB in my desktop. So overwriting shouldn't be a problem for a while.

    I'll have to look into this.

    I keep two copies locally (inside the current machine), burn to DL-DVD for on-sight and off-sight storage. This system will be another level of protection and will be sited in a different building, but the same zip code.
     
  11. DotComBoyUK macrumors newbie

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    Peterborough, England
    #11
    I'm currently building my own 4TB NAS solution and documenting it here http://blogs.sun.com/kjt It's being built for central storage to enable off site backup of criticial data whilst providing a central backup for all clients (Primarily Mac)

    I know its based on another operating system but thats because its for my job. What I found interesting for solving my Mac home backup problems was how to solve with ZFS, iSCSI and TimeMachine. I managed to create an environment that would enable me to TimeMachine to the storage my clients automatically when connected to my home network so I can easily restore specific files or complete a fully recovery after over writting a critical file last week you can never underestimate the power that TimeMachine brings as a provention to logical corruption. I need to document the howto hopefully by the end of this week.

    I then offsite this by sending the filesystem to a remote site (Family member) I do this via snapshot's and a filesystem send so I only send increments and I only send specific filesystems on the server where my important data is e.g. Photo's, video's etc... the rest of the data can be restored if criticial via CD/DVD's. My approach is to make data that needs to be restored quickly on media that I can ensure this occurs.

    The work with ZFS becomes interesting as OSx already has a read only ability integrated I'm now just waiting for snow leopard to see if its fully available in the next release (If anybody knows I would love to hear more)
     
  12. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

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    #12
    DotComBoyUK that's VERY interesting. As I mentioned above, while I love TM, only one backup in only one location is obviously not enough.

    I have a TC at home and work, and my laptop shuttles between home and work BUT

    1. it does not switch between the two TCs,
    2. this is not feasible for desktop users.

    I would love to be able to have my work TM automatically send updates to another TM stored somewhere else. Bandwidth shouldn't be a problem - once the first backup is done, even mid-range broadband should be able to transmit several gig a day.
     
  13. DotComBoyUK macrumors newbie

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    Peterborough, England
    #13

    I suppose that is the advantage of my bespoke design because the TimeMachine is on my server I can if I chose then offsite that to my other site via a ZFS send with a simple script I can then complete this on a daily basis purely on an incremental change.

    The other system I need to explore more is some of the cloud based services an interesting one is zumodrive http://www.zumodrive.com I now have an invite to that service so I will let you know how it goes. I personally would still want to keep local copies as well as the cloud service and a simple scheduled copy would enable this.

    Hope that helps
     

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