Just lost 4 months worth of data... Best way to avoid in the future?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by HighlandSpring, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. HighlandSpring macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2012
    Too bad, I know, and it could have been a lot worse losing two years worth had I not backed some up a few months prior.

    This is entirely my fault and I take full responsibility for it. Which is why I’m taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Thankfully I’m a photography student and there was no paid work in those four months.

    I currently have a 128SSD in a MBP, a portable 1TB and an old not-so-trustworthy desktop 1.5 TB. After doing some research into RAID, my thought is that the best way to move forward would be to RAID1 two 2TB drives in a dual bay docking station for all files, partition the 1TB to clone my SSD to the smaller partition, and keep main files (select RAW’s, PSD’s, TIFF’s & JPEG’s) on the other side. Then for some extra protection back up those main critical files to another small external in case anything happens to the 2 RAID’s and first portable.

    I’d rather avoid this again so I really appreciate your views and opinions on what you would do in my position. Budget is around £300-£400 as this is more for my career rather than just university.

    Thank you
  2. stuaz macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2012
    Just get an external drive for $100 or something and put Time Machine backups on it? Simples! :)
  3. peeaanuut macrumors 65816

    Sep 10, 2007
    Southern California
    thats pretty much it. After the initial back-up, subsequent back-ups will be quite quick unless you dont do it often.
  4. Ledgem, Oct 3, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012

    Ledgem macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    Backup purists would jump on your bringing up RAID as a backup solution. The purist advocates many stages for backup: RAID can be one, but a completely separate drive (and partition) should be another, followed by off-site backups.

    All right, let's be realistic: RAID 1 is a good option. As your needs grow, RAID 5 (or a solution like a Drobo) might be even better.

    RAID 1 will come with a bit of a performance hit, so you may not want to do your primary photo-editing on those drives. (I ran my Aperture library off of a RAID 1 pair for two years, and can't say that the speed hit really bothered me...)

    My bigger concern for you is how you plan to implement the RAID. Were you planning on doing it software-based, through Disk Utility? I've had bad experiences with that. No data loss, but a lot of time loss. My RAID slices were getting out of sync seemingly every third or fourth time that I would power them up, forcing me to rebuild (a process that would take close to a day). Someone on here suggested redoing the RAID with a larger block size, given that I was using it for media. As of OS X 10.7, there seemed to be a glitch with Disk Utility, and I couldn't create the RAID with a block size of 256 k. The program would crash mid-way through. I had to settle for a block size of 128 k. That seemed to work well for a while... but eventually the slices went out of sync again. By now my library had grown a bit larger and I had video files on the drives. Rebuilding about 650 GB worth of data took multiple days. Finally, I had it: I stopped using the RAID, and use one drive as a "vault" for Aperture to back my library up.

    My situation may be different from yours. I disconnect my laptop from my drives daily or every other day (so those day-long RAID rebuilds really kill me), and of course, I don't always have my drives up and running. I disabled "automatic mirror rebuild," but if your computer is always connected to your drives and/or your drives are always on, the RAID sync issues may not really affect you.

    On the other hand, a hardware-based RAID offers more stability (from what I hear) and better performance. The problem is that those are proprietary: if your RAID controller card fails for what ever reason, you'll need another one, identical (or in some cases, from the same company), in order to access the data on your drives. This point doesn't come up because RAID controllers have a tendency to fail, but because if you're going for a RAID, uptime and reliability are probably on your mind. The solution is to buy two of what ever RAID controller you go with, test them both, and then store one as a spare just in case.

    Personally, I really like the idea of a Drobo. It's both nice and a bit frightening that it automates everything, and I've heard an occasional story of a problem with it, but on the whole it seems to be rather well-regarded. The benefit is that it's quite versatile and gives you a lot of room for easy expansion. It'll be more expensive than doing it yourself, even with a hardware RAID controller, but if the advantages appeal to you then it's worthwhile.

    Good luck with what ever you choose!

    Edit: I forgot to address your mention of those dual-drive, auto-RAID enclosures. In theory they're similar to a Drobo, since the enclosure manages the drives and your computer doesn't see either drive individually. However, they suffer from the same issue as a hardware RAID controller: if the enclosure fails, you'll need to replace it with the same model (or possibly a model from the same manufacturer) to access your data. As far as I know you can't pull a drive from those enclosures and access it directly, it would have to go through the enclosure's RAID controller. It's not a show-stopper and it may be your only option (Drobo aside), since I'm not sure that there's any hardware RAID controller you could use with the Macbook Air... but consider a similar recommendation as with the hardware RAID controllers: consider buying two of the same model, test both, and then keep one on hand just in case the first fails at an inopportune time (or in case the model is discontinued).
  5. Tombs macrumors regular


    Feb 28, 2010
    Sutton, Surrey England
    Is this a real post?? Get a USB/external drive (maplin are good for this) and back up.
  6. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    If you have the bandwidth, I've been using CrashPlan for about a month now and enjoy it. It backs up things similarly to Time Machine. However you can also set the destination to be a friends computer (of course they have to let you!) for free or you can pay the company to backup to their site.


    I paid $139 for 4 years of unlimited backup space. I have 126 GB backed up to them at the moment. My brother is backing up his own data to my hard drive (I have a fair amount of free space) for free. The data is encrypted before sending it out so I have no clue what he has on my hard drive (he says it's family photos).
  7. tcphoto macrumors 6502a


    Feb 23, 2005
    Madison, GA
    Two external drives will go a long way with one devoted to Time Machine and the other for RAW files, edited images, documents and iTunes library. I add another external to duplicate the files, edited images and documents.
  8. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    I don't think RAID is necessary for backups. For archives maybe but not backups.

    If you just don't want to loose any of the current data on the notebook a simply one drive backup is enough. It is highly unlikely that your backup drive and the notebook drives fail at the same time. Unless both are in your room and there is a flood or something but RAID wouldn't help.

    If need an archive I wouldn't buy a docking station but would go straight for NAS drive. They are convenient and support RAID modes too.

    A small SSD clone is neat to get the machine up and running quickly in case the SSD fails but for pure Backup a simply backup is good enough.
    The SSD clone is great if the HDD is internal because that means you can always just boot up the hdd.

    I also use the a few layers of backup. Really important current working data I just use Coud drives like Skydrive or Dropbox. They automatically backup. You can never loose the backup like flash sticks and from wherever you access it, it is on its newest state.
    Not so great for big files obviously but for small stuff like most documents it is great.
    Also easy to share just a link rather than send big emails.
  9. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Do what Jesus does, save and save often.

    No really, have a redundant backup solution.
  10. Mr MM macrumors 65816

    Mr MM

    Jun 29, 2011
    Since you are thinking to use this for your professional carrer the most wise choice would be to get a nas, get a simple one from synology and you should be good to go

    For good measure I use a NAS with 8tb of space, RAID 5, and I have some sensitive things with me in 2 portable disks, one stays at home and one stays with me. That sensitive info is also usually on my SSD in my mbp as well.

    but the most important part is save, and do it often.
  11. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    Simply use a backup drive backed up via CCC, Time Machine, or what have you. Use a second drive for a secondary backup if it's critical to you.

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