Keeping an external media library backed-up?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by MaskAndWig, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. MaskAndWig macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2009
    I'm sorry for yet another "how do I back up..." thread, but I couldn't find a suitable answer in any of the related threads. I'm looking for some advice on keeping a large external-HDD media library backed-up.

    Here's my situation: I've got a MBP with a 1TB internal SSD. I do a lot of audio work, and over the past several years, I've accumulated several 1TB external drives for storing my raw and processed audio files. I've been manually managing back-ups by plugging in two external drives and dragging and dropping files twice to be sure my files are on two external drives before deleting from my internal drive. It's not only cumbersome, but prone to errors. Now that some of those external drives are 7-8 years old, I'm thinking about consolidating everything onto one 4TB or 6TB drive and then keeping that backed up (mirrored).

    I know that for those with deep pockets the possibilities and configurations are nearly limitless, but given my rather limited budget, what I'd *really* like to do is get two of these WD MyBook 8TB units, use them in either striped RAID0 or JBOD mode, and have a way to keep them mirrored. (Given that a failure of a unit's internal RAID 1 controller could lead to data loss, I don't want to rely on that.) I think it's theoretically possible to use Time Machine to back-up an external drive, but I don't want my external drive backups mixed in with the back-up of my MBP's internal SSD. Would Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) give me the right tools to keep the two units in line with each other?

    Especially now that Apple is betting on people opting for smaller internal SSDs and storing most data externally, surely there must be some reliable way to keep external drives backed up on a rolling basis? (I.e., without making a periodic clone of the entire drive every now and then.)

    I'd be grateful for any advice. Thanks!
  2. MaskAndWig thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2009
    Maybe I just answered my own question...

    Looking through some other threads, I found a link to this article:

    Any reason I couldn't buy two of the WD MyBooks, have each run in RAID0 and then use Disk Utility as described in the article to have the drives mirror each other?
  3. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Mirror is not backup, but it does reduce down time should you have a drive failure. You accidentally delete a file or some software malfunctions, you lose it.

    Does your MBP have Thunderbolt? Something like the OWC Thunderbay IV may be a more reliable enclosure for the drives of your choice. Many here use them. If you are planning to invest near $800, then a $400 TB enclosure with four drives without all the WD riff raff may make some sense.

    Do you have an aversion to running something like CCC to automate your backups?

    Disk utility is great for making RAID 0s and mirrors, and the drives (or RAID0 pair) can be read by any Mac in any JBOD enclosure.

    Personally I have my working files (those transferred from my rMBP) on one RAID0 set for performance. I use CCC to backup those files to another drive set. If I accidentally delete a working file, I usually can find it in the CCC archive on the backup drive set.
  4. MaskAndWig thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2009
    Thanks, ColdCase, for the reply. My MBP (early 2011, 13-inch) does have the one TB port, but I'm using it as a Mini DisplayPort to drive a non-TB external monitor. I was figuring on using any external drives via USB. Speed for the external drives isn't of critical importance for me at the moment. However, I do hope to purchase a nMP in the coming year, and I'd love to be able to swap the external media library over to that when the time comes. (The MBP is serving as my temporary main computer while I'm between desktops.)

    I'm by no means committed to the idea of the WD drives I mentioned -- they just seemed to be reliable and not terribly expensive. I was also a bit nervous by the thought of putting everything in a single external enclosure. I toyed with the idea of the Pegasus R4. But is it possible for some controller in the enclosure to go bad and ruin all the drives? Something that will hold up to daily use and provide a solid, reliable back-up are my primary considerations.

    My apologies if I misused the term "mirror." In my ideal set-up, the back-up drive(s) doesn't necessarily need to update to match its mate in real time. I'd be just as happy with something I could manually back-up once a day or so (that works akin to Time Machine to backup only those files that have changed since the previous backup). Is that something I'd need CCC to do?

    Thanks for the guidance!
  5. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Most Thunderbolt enclosures have two TB ports, for daisy chaining. So you only need one computer port and then six or seven devices can be daisy chained together and connected to the single computer port, the last one in the chain would be the display.

    You can certainly get by with USB3, but Thunderbolt is better as it supports all the SATA commands, is disk friendly, and easily scalable. A bit more money perhaps, but it can be worth it, for the capacity and scalability... even if you don't need the speed... yet. I'm just suggesting that, being you are basically starting from scratch, may as well as do it right from the start.

    Unlike the RAID boxes you were referencing, there is nothing special about the TB enclosure controller I suggested. One can pull the drives out of a failed enclosure an put them into another enclosure or dock, whether its USB or eSATA or Firewire or TB, same brand or different brand and they will work just the same. TB enclosures have been very reliable, however. Unlike much of the USB stuff that is more geared to consumers on a tight budget.

    But there is a dozen ways to skin the cat. I spent some time trying to get by with USB drives, have a stack of them that currently have archives on them. I find that TB is just so much more robust. But pick NAS or RAID type hard drives over low end models for better reliability.
  6. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    I have 2 identical NAS units running in RAID5. One in use and the other switched off and mirrored from the first once a week using CCC. CCC also backs up to the first one every day. I have 7TB of video and 350GB of audio plus 200GB of data. I also have another 1TB USB drive in the bank.

    I don't generate much data or change much so I'm only guarding against a drive failure and a NAS failure. I also have UPSs on each NAS. This has worked fine for me for 7 years or so.
  7. MaskAndWig thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2009
    Thanks again -- that Thunderbay IV does look very tempting, and not nearly as expensive as the Pegasus R4 (with the added benefit, it seems, of being able to add any drive and not just those from a short list of compatible HDs). Being able to remove and use the HDs in other enclosures (in case of Thunderbay failure) is a big plus, and daisy-chaining my display is icing on the cake. It sounds like exactly what I need.

    Since it's a big purchase, I'll think on this for the next day or so, then report back. I'm really leaning towards that Thunderbay now!
  8. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    I like my LaCie 2Big Thunderbolt. I came with two 3TB drives. I replaced the drives with two Seagate 6TB drives with 128MB cache. I run them in RAID 1 and have a LaCie d2 with a 6TB as my TM backup drive.

    Time Machine does not make a complete backup each time it runs. It copies the delta between the current state and the previous backup.

Share This Page