External back-up question

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by sigmadog, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #1
    I've been neglecting my back-up situation for too long, and now that I've upgraded to Leopard with Time Machine, I figure it's time to start backing up my stuff.

    I hear a lot of talk about RAID, and the impression I get is that it is most useful for video editing setups where massive storage and quick retrieval is key. Is this a correct assumption on my part?

    As a print designer, my files can be large, but not nearly as large as video, and my need for ultra fast storage and retrieval is negligible. So would I be better off simply getting a single large capacity external (say 2 or 3TB) with Firewire?
     
  2. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #2
    OK in order to give valid advice I have to ask one question- are you asking about an external for backup as the title would make me believe or as an extra data drive as the body of your post would lead me to believe? I'm confused (but I'm also old too).;)

    A general note though at this point- you cannot currently find a 2 or 3Tb single large capacity external- any external that has that capacity currently will be two drives in one case joined by concatenation (a relative of a RAID set- see this page) so that the sytem "sees" both as a single large drive. There is an impending release of single hard drives with capacity of 2Tb, but the largest single drive on the market is currently 1.5Tb.

    As far as RAID arrays go, yes the most commonly cited reason for one is increased transfer speed, but along with that come risks to the data (again see the previous link as it explains the different RAID types and risks pretty clearly). I personally would never consider using a true RAID array as a destination for system backups.
     
  3. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    dolphin842

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    #3
    Unless you're using a Mac Pro with multiple hard drive bays, RAID isn't a viable option.

    If you want to have a more comprehensive backup system, I would get 2 smaller drives instead of 1 big drive. The first drive should be at least the size of your internal, the other drive should be larger than your internal. Make the big drive your Time Machine backup and keep it hooked up all the time. Make the other drive a bootable backup (use an app like SuperDuper) and back it up however often you feel comfortable.

    If you use the above setup, you can have Time Machine for convenient recovery of single files, and in the event your internal drive fails, you can boot up from your SuperDuper backup and immediately get back to work (it takes a while to restore a Time Machine backup).

    Hope this helps!
     
  4. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #4
    I totally agree with that strategy but wanted to add one other benefit in addition to the time it takes to restore a TM backup too. Using SuperDuper (or my personal favorite the free Carbon Copy Cloner) to make a clone not only allows to recover more quickly but also allows for the fact that a replacement for a failed hard drive will probably not be sitting on the desk beside you when it fails.;) Hard drives never seem to fail when the stores are open to purchase a replacement drive and better deals on replacement drives would require shipping time, so having a bootable clone to me is essential to have for immediate use since it is impossible to use TM backups that way.
     
  5. sigmadog thread starter macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #5
    sicmacdoc;
    Sorry for the confusion. I intend to use it solely as a back-up device. I've got plenty of data capacity built-in to my system already.

    A 1.5TB drive sounds just fine to me for back-ups, as I've had 600GB total on two internal hard drives for at least three years and they're only about 35% full.

    dolphin842;
    Thanks for the info. I already have a LaCie 200 GB external, but it's USB and I'm not sure I can boot-up from a USB drive on my PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0. I haven't tried that before. Although with my current configuration, I suppose I could use Super-Duper (or Carbon Copy Cloner as the Doc suggests) to store a back-up system on my secondary internal drive on the theory that if one internal drive fails, chances are the other one will still function.

    Thanks to both of you for the tips.
     

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