External Storage & Backup...All my eggs in one basket?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by harveyd, Jul 20, 2007.

  1. harveyd macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2007
    I currently have 2 external hard drives, an 120GB and 250GB. The 120GB is used as a full system backup using SuperDuper and the 250GB is for file storage and movies, it is now getting full.

    I was thinking of buying a mybook pro 500GB as a replacement for both the drives and partition it e.g. 80gb/420gb etc. Is this a good idea as I am worried of putting all my eggs in one basket in case of a device failure.

    Is this a good idea or shall I keep them separate?

    Cheers, Harvey
  2. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    the concept of a "back-up" of course means making a second copy of your files.....so if you have another copy somewhere else, then you should be ok......but if these are the only copies of your files, then you would indeed be screwed if this one drive went down
  3. harveyd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2007
    sorry if I did not make it clear. To clarify.... I have a Powerbook. The 80gb External Drive is used for a full SuperDuper Clone of the powerbooks internal hard drive. The 250gb Hard drive has files...more music, photos, movies etc.

    The new 500gb drive I want to get would be partitioned 80/420gb. The 80gb would be used for the clone backup like before and then the 420gb would replace the 250gb. There would be no backup of the contents of the 420gb but there has never been before.

    Is there anybody out there doing the same thing. I just want one drive that does it all to save space etc I'm just worried that using one drive for both applications could bring a greater chance of things going wrong. I'n mu current setup if one goes wrong the other would be fine. Am I being too worried about it
  4. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    your files, movies, etc are not backed up either way so what's the difference really. either way you could be screwed in the case of a failure.

    theoretically 2 externals have double the chance of failure as 1 external, but either way you are not backed up.
  5. ab2650 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    I agree with the fact a "back-up" means that the data is on two volumes; when one dies (expect it to happen sometime) the only loss is a little time and money... not data.

    It sounds like your current 250GB drive is not "back-up," but rather simply external storage. This may be acceptable to you as the media on it may be retrievable (i.e., you can re-rip your CDs, you have DVD-Rs of your photos, etc.)

    I was in a position similar to yours a while back; about 100GB of ripped music, and about 150GB of photos collected over 6 years of owning a digital camera. Since it was a lot to keep local, I opted to buy a NAS enclosure with RAID - an Infrant ReadyNAS NV+, except I bought it bare and added four 400GB drives that were $90 on special at Frys.

    Sure, you don't get the speed of firewire or USB, but having my data available to all 4 computers in my household, plus RAID peace-of-mind, but I've very happy with my purchase. Recently Infrant was purchased by NetGear so I'm not sure what will happen to the product line or support for that matter... But if you're serious about backup, these are pretty cool little machines.

    HTH, ab2650
  6. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    my NAS is a decent bit faster than FW400 and USB using a gigabit network, not quite as fast as FW800.
  7. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    can't wait for BluRay to be release standard w/ Apple computers.

    archiving with BR...
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Here is the rule of thumb for data that you care about:

    1) Data should exist on at least three different physical media
    2) Data should exist in at least two different geographical locations

    You must do both of the above if you want your data to last for years
    and decades. Media can be hard drives, CDROM some Internet backup service, or whatever and the two locations can be home and office.

    You have to ask yourself "What can go wrong" and then if that does happen do you still have redundant backup. What if to things go wrong like lightening strikes the power pole outside while a backup is in progress or the system crashes during a backup an corrupts both primary and backup drives. Or there is a house fire. Or a theft of the equipment.

    One more point: Full back ups the duplicate an entire drive are a BAD idea. Why. Lets say you deleted a file and didn't know it. Or you deleted just a page from the middel of a Word documant. Now when you do your "backup" you have over-written your only good copy of the file. MUCH better to do incremental backup that save only the changes made since the last backup. Then you will have all the old stuff that would otherwise be lost forever. Note the Time Machine in Leopard in an incremental backup system.

    On any one day there is a small chance of loosing anything. But over a 20 year period "stuff happens" and there is a near certainty that your system would not keep data that long
  9. ab2650 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    Yes, you do introduce a "single point of failure" to your drive, but you do NOT increase the chances of your backup being lost. Actually, by using a newer drive you're only extending the probable time until a failure will occur. Only now a failure would wipe both of your partitions rather than just one drive.

    There's a definite struggle between having tons of space and having an *adequate* backup strategy. If your data means anything to you, then you should be looking at a backup plan: Get data on multiple units of media, get it to seperate locations (as ChrisA says).

    For me, my data is what matters: I can always reinstall OS X and all my apps, but I can NEVER get back a lost photo. So I put it on a RAIDed fileserver, but that's not foolproof; I could delete it by accident, there could be a fire or flood, etc... So I back up to DVD-Rs and store them at my work (40+ miles away). Music is a totally different matter as I can always re-rip my CDs.

    Full system backup is only going to help you that 1% of the time that you were working on something irreplaceable, just ran a backup, then your hard drive crapped out; Incremental backups (tar, FTW!) is the way to go - and store off site - or reinstall your system when you have a failure and your data is safe.

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