Looking for a backup solution

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Frits, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. Frits macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    Holland
    #1
    I recently bought a 2.8GHz intel iMac with 320GB of space, and I would like to have a backup for it. I intend on using it and boot camp at the same time, and have it only backup the OSX partition. Now, I'm new to backup's and to apple/OSX in general, so I have a few questions:

    1. Does having a external HD backing up your drive in the background take up cpu and memory etc, and as such slow down your mac? If it's wireless, does it consume bandwidth?

    2. I want it to continuously maintain an exact copy of my internal HD, so no multiple restore points or anything, I don't need that. I just want to be able to, in case something goes wrong, completely overwrite the internal HD with the data on the external one so as to return it to how it was before that, or otherwise restore it to that point. So, including OS and everything that made my mac run like it did before that something went wrong. Is that possible?

    3. I do intend on buying something wireless. What would it's range be like? And is wireless significantly slower than wired?

    4. Time Capsule sounds pretty good, but it seems rather pricy to me. I would only need the 500GB version as there aren't any other machines in my network that I would want to work with it. I'm wondering if it's modem(/router? I never get the difference) function would be of any use to me. We already have router, but it's pretty old. Would it give me faster internet? And could I receive internet from my ISP on it at the same time as the other router? Would I have to install a completely new network and all that stuff? I'm don't understand too much about everything to do with networks and routers etc. so any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    Frits
     
  2. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #2
    Well, for what you describe any good external firewire drive plus a backup program like Super Duper would probably work well. Time Machine backs up changed files, so you can restore from different backup points, but this doesn't seem to be what you want.

    It does take up some resources, but you'd have to decide how often you want to do the backup. Even time machine only kicks in by default on an hourly basis. You can set up scripts to use super duper to have an exact image, but again you'd have to decide how often to scan to copy changes.

    I use a combination of SuperDuper (for a bootable image) on one drive and time machine on another. Both drives are external firewire 400 with 500 gb capacity.
     
  3. skubish macrumors 68030

    skubish

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    #3
    I would get an external hard drive and start using Time Machine.
    It was built into Leopard for a reason...use it :eek:
     
  4. Frits thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    Holland
    #4
    Thanks for your time old-wiz, that answers one of my questions. I thought time machine only worked with time capsule, but I seem to gather that isn't the case? Also, what's a bootable image and why does time machine not make it?

    Thanks,

    Frits
     
  5. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #5
    Hey. Time Machine will work with any external HDD AFAIK. I have a WD Mybook plugged in to my AEBS and all my Macs around the house back up to that with Time Machine.

    A bootable image means, to me, an exact copy of your hard drive - to the extent that if you just swapped the two over you could actually boot up from it. I use SuperDuper! to make bootable copies of my Mac Pro hard drives every night. It has a smart update feature so it doesn't have to copy the entire drive every time.

    Time Machine does not create a bootable backup, but it does provide everything you need provided you have your OS X Leopard install disk. When installing Leopard there's an option you can use to restore the Mac using your Time Machine data. I've never done it, but AFAIK Time Machine is by far the best way of having both a total and incremental backup of your OS X Leopard Mac, even if the backup itself isn't bootable.
     
  6. Frits thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    Holland
    #6
    Hi miniConvert, thanks for responding.

    Does this mean that, with SuperDuper, if something went wrong, I could boot up from the external HD, and then also restore my internal HD from there, Or do I have to boot from the external every time after that?

    And as for TM, that sounds good, and more importantly it's free, unlike SD, but I don't need the incremental backup things, so can I just have it only keep the latest version of my HD data so to speak?

    Frits
     
  7. MasterNile macrumors 65816

    MasterNile

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    #7
    You can check out CarbonCopyCloner, that's what I use, it's like SuperDuper but it's free, I have my 17" iMac booting from an external bootable HDD that I cloned using CarbonCopyCloner and works just fine.
     
  8. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #8
    Time machine will back up to any external firewire disk. I'm using a 500GB firewire 400 disk on a daisy chain right now.
     
  9. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #9
    Yes you do need incremental backups.

    Having a live exact duplicate (like in a RAID1 array) is only useful if your HD dies, which is only one of many, many possible things that can go wrong.

    If you accidentally deleted a file or email, or saved a word doc / photoshop image in the wrong version, or installed a program that hosed your mac, or got a trojan, or any one of many many other things, you'll want to go back to an old backup. Hence the need for incremental backups.

    TM is free, it does it all for you, and an external FW or USB HD costs peanuts, so go out and get one now.

    TM isn't perfect, but it's damn good, it's start and forget, unlike CCC and the rest where you have to remember to do it, which will become a pain after a while.
     
  10. Frits thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    Holland
    #10
    I don't mean live but, you know, one that overwrites the older version when it backsup (every day or so), so that I only have one version. Cos otherwise it gets full quickly and it gets a mess with different file versions and I don't want that.

    Last question:
    Does anyone have a recommendation on which FW HD to buy? Does it make a difference to get a FW800 one or is that a waste of money? I'd prefer something not too expensive, around 500GB

    Thanks,
    Frits
     
  11. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #11
    TM does an excellent job of keeping it all in the right order, and keeping all the file versions separate.

    You only have 320GB on your iMac, a 1TB external will take forever to fill up. You can store other files on that external at the same time as using it for TM.

    You could even partition your external, so that TM only use a max of say, 500 GB or only 320GB of space on the external.

    When that limit is reached, TM then automatically starts deleting older backups, but it'll take a while.

    Do you realise that if you really want a solution where the new backup overwrites the old backup, with no incremental backup :

    1. if there's a power cut or a disk crash in the middle of backing up, you may lose both your HD and the backup file, and have nothing left.

    2. you'll be copying up to 320GB of files every time you do a new backup. That'll lock up your machine for hours every time you do a new backup.

    I really advise against going this route. People who do full disk backups, and there's not many of them, have two or more separate externals (drives or storage tapes) and backup to alternates ones each time.

    USB is OK for TM.
    FW400 costs a bit more, but is nice to have, much faster for big files, and nice to have if you will work with photo or video files held on the storage.
    FW800 is probably too expensive, and only needed if you are intending to do a lot of video editing.

    My drives are FW400 if that's any help.
     
  12. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #12
    Well my vote is still going to go for using Carbon Copy Cloner to most closely meet your "want list" for the following reasons:

    • The ability to immediately boot from and run the clone backup while you obtain and replace an internal drive should you have a problem with it- something you cannot do if using just Time Machine.

    • The fact that after the initial backup, doing an incremental backup which only copies new or changed files goes very quickly- and results in your desire to only have the most current copy of any given file. Carbon Copy Cloner does offer an option you can use if desired to archive older versions when they are replaced in the current clone so past versions can be available if you want them to be BTW. It's your choice with CCC.

    • Carbon Copy Cloner does not have to be run manually to make sure the backup is current. You can schedule it to run automatically hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis, or whenever the backup drive is reconnected to your system- considerably more flexibility than the default choices of only hourly or when the drive is reconnected in Time Machine.

    So overall while I am running a TM backup of my boot drive just to stay up to date on TM issues, I also have it backed up via CCC as I do my other 4Tb of disk space. In the year that I have been using TM I have yet to need to "go back in time" to retrieve an old version of a file, so I guess I just don't see the need for a non-bootable backup of some of the files on my boot drive. I am more of fan of knowing that at any moment I can boot from my backup (which runs daily at 2 am) and immediately clone the info on it back to any replacement drive necessary.

    Different strokes anyway- no matter how you choose to do it, the primary thing behind it all is just to make sure your data is backed up one way or another!:) Good luck with yours!
     
  13. Frits thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    Holland
    #13
    Alright, that's all I wanted to know. Thanks so much to everyone for helping me out. :)

    Frits
     
  14. trule macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    #14
    Um, there is also the time it takes to clone a disk, you might want to consider that too? Copying several hundred gigabytes does take a fair while.
     
  15. jamesdmc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Cittagazze
    #15

    Same here on my Mac Pro. External dual drive enclosure from OWC with a 640 gig for SuperDuper and a 1TB for Time Machine. I'm amazed at the quality of OWC's external drive housings; solid construction and they feel damn near bulletproof. Wish I'd bought one for my iMac instead of that MyBook studio.


    James
     

    Attached Files:

  16. n8236 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2006
    #16
    Two programs: SuperDuper & Time Capsule. Why?

    SuperDuper creates a "bootable" clone to ur ext, so if you tweak ur system and funk up OSX to a point where it gets all jacked, you can simply boot off ur clone and restore it back.

    In the event that you make created a bad SuperDuper clone and need a prior date of your OSX, Time Capsule is your friend.

    A dual solution for a dual situation. It's suggested that your ext hd size is at least 1.5x of your original hd because you need to keep Time Capsule and SuperDuper backups in a different partition.

    Ex. If your hd is 500 gbs and say u have a tb ext, 500gbs of that ext will be dedicated to SuperDuper while the other 500 will be dedicated to Time Capsule. The more space u have for ur TC, the more dates you will be able to retrieve your data.
     
  17. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #17
    Yes, but only for the initial clone which is the same for the initial Time Machine backup- so either solution is going to be slow the first time through! ;)
     
  18. Frits thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    Holland
    #18
    But restore my HD, when it's broken, from TM too right? I just need the OSX disk and stuff, but I have that, so I don't need that SD dual solution, right?

    Frits
     
  19. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #19
    Yes, you can restore from TM also. The main difference between the two types is that if you only use TM should your hard drive fail you cannot run your computer until you get and restore the data to a new hard drive. With CCC you can immediately boot from the clone and be right back running- without having to wait for a replacement drive.
     
  20. Frits thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    Holland
    #20
    Someone else in this thread told me that you can actually boot from TM, but you just need to insert the OSX disk in your computer and force it to boot from that, and then you have an option to restore your internal drive from your external one. Not true?

    Frits
     
  21. paduck macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    #21
    No, you can't boot directly from TimeMachine. You boot with your Leopard DVD and then do a restore to the hard drive. It takes a little while, but you get a perfect copy. I've done this a couple of times on computer transitions (which is functionally the same as a recover following a crash) and it has been perfect. I would strongly recommend the 1TB external drive route. Plus, storage is cheap right now - you should be able to find 1TB externals for right at $100 now.

    One reason to do a SuperDuper! or CarbonCopyCloner occasionally is for off-site storage. I know there is a low risk of fire, flood, earthquake, etc. but having a total backup completely disconnected from your computer and house completes the backup scenario pretty nicely. I don't do this, but I think about it sometimes. It's all about risk management.

    My TimeMachine backup is on a second SATA drive. Removable, but still on the same system. I have assumed some risk of two drives being fried by electrical surge. I should mitigate this with a line conditioner/UPS that is more robust than my surge protector, but I haven't yet. The risk I am more worried about is drive failure and I am well protected there. Also, I have periodically had to do version management which TimeMachine is excellent for - just go back in time for eight weeks and get that old file you deleted or changed. That is extremely convenient with TimeMachine. I think you will appreciate that benefit once you start using it.

    I saw this product the other day and it intrigued me:

    http://www.electronista.com/articles/09/01/28/box.2.box.storage.device/


    Basically, it syncs two hard drives between remote locations. Make the local one your TimeMachine and you have a remote TimeMachine over the Internet. Not sure how well it would work for Macs, but an interesting idea. Certainly it would use bandwidth, but if you do the initial backup locally and then move the drive, you only do incrementals from then on, limiting network usage. It isn't cheap though.

    My mother uses TimeCapsule as she also had to replace a router when she was upgrading computers. She doesn't really do version control, although she could. She just knows that her MacBook is backing itself up constantly when she is at home and if disaster strikes, her data is safe. TimeCapsule (or AEBS with external drives) is a nice solution for laptops.

    Just having the TimeMachine backup will put you ahead of about 90% of the computer-using population though. Plus, there is nice peace-of-mind.

    Good luck!
     
  22. Frits thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    Holland
    #22
    Well, that's what I meant, so that's cool. I'm really thinking about either this http://www.g-technology.com/Products/G-DRIVEQ.cfm or this http://www.g-technology.com/Products/G-DRIVE-mini.cfm.

    The G-Drive Q has this new chipset that they advertise with, they don't tell which one the mini has, does anyone know whether it's a lot worse or whether it even matters?

    Also, the mini is bus powered, does anyone know whether the Q is too, because they don't say that either and I would like that.

    Thanks in advance,
    Frits
     
  23. Frits thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    Holland
    #23
    Alright nvm those last questions, I found the answers myself. :eek:
    Instead here's another one ;): I want to buy the G-Drive Mini with 320 5400RPM. Is 5400 RPM alright (I have apparently have 7200PRM inside my iMac), or do I want 7200RPM?
    And is 320GB enough to use it with TM (I don't have that much data on my mac, only 32GB right now, but it's just new so it'll probably be around 100GB in the future)?

    Frits
     
  24. paduck macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    #24
    5400RPM is going to be fine. The initial backup will be a little slower, but that is it. You will be doing much smaller incrementals with TM and won't even notice speed. Better to save a few watts of power and some money on the drive. Theoretically, it should be more reliable as well since it will be generating less heat and stress on the platters. Plus, it will be quieter.

    320GB should be enough. Especially if you are only at 32GB now. I had a lot of trouble filling up disk space on my computer until I ran into digital video. Then I started using a lot more. I went from about 100GB up to 250GB pretty quickly. Even then, I am not really in the same league as others. So, if you think you are going to be putting a lot of digital video on that drive, then you might go higher. If it's just tunes, then I wouldn't worry too much.
     
  25. klcc88 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2008
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #25
    Tm & Ccc?

    I've started to use CCC on my new External G drive mini as I've had my HD crap out on me a couple of times and wanted another way of booting from my Internal HD. So CCC is what I'm going to try out. Can I use TM and CCC together? or is that a waste since CCC does pretty much what TM does? I'm using a MBP with Leopard 10.X .

    How do I test if my External HD works as a bootable Drive once I have it cloned?

    Thanks for your feedback!
     

Share This Page