MacPro Backup/RAID Solution

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by klmckenzie03, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. klmckenzie03 macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2008
    I am about ready to pull the trigger on a new MacPro and I would like some opinions on my two possible backup/RAID solutions. I was initially looking at hardware RAID but it is far too pricey and out of my budget. I will be using the built in software RAID and am planning on using WD Caviar Blacks. I don't do any professional work so high speeds aren't a necessity. I am leaning more towards the second setup for the fact that it offers a secondary backup of the Time Machine backup which contains versioned backups. Any constructive help would be appreciated!

    Setup 1:
    1TB System Drive: Holds OS & Personal Files
    1TB Secondary Drive: Software RAID 1 Copy of System Drive
    1TB Tertiary Drive: Time Machine Backup of System Drive

    Setup 2:
    1TB System Drive: Holds OS & Personal Files
    1TB Secondary Drive: Time Machine Backup of System Drive
    1TB Tertiary Drive: Software RAID 1 Copy of Time Machine Backup
  2. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Both options are no backup at all.
    Backup your data on external drives that are safe if your MacPro fails.
    I would prefer an external Raid1 enclosure for two drives.
  3. TheBritishBloke macrumors 68030


    Jul 21, 2009
    United Kingdom
    How are both options no backup? What are the odds of all 3 HDD's failing? Even if the PSU fails, alot of HDD's have protection from power surges now.
  4. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Of course everyone has different claims to a backup.

    But on the long shot that you got an overvoltage all your drives in the Pro would probably fail.

    I personally would not keep all the drives in the Pro.
    Considering that a software Raid1 is everything but fast, i would exclude that option.

    To backup my data with the drives I would do the following:

    Keeping two drives in the Pro. First for the system and data, second one for Time Machine.
    Then I would buy an external enclosure for the third drive.
    That drive would store a bootable backup (Carbon Copy Cloner) of the system drive.
  5. klmckenzie03 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2008
    I should have mentioned that external drives are not an option. This was one of the reasons that I have decided to upgrade to a MacPro. I am currently using an iMac with a NAS LaCie twoBig running in RAID 1 mode. This is slow as hell and for whatever reason when using AFP half of my files no longer show up. I had to turn on the SMB protocol. I would also like to keep all of my data centralized in one machine. I realize that this in itself is a bit of a risk, and if my house were blown away by a tornado all of my data would be gone. That's a risk I am willing to take.

    The topic of power surges and hard drive failures was brought up. I have been in the field for quite some time now and I have personally never experienced a surge that has blown out a HDD. Using a proper, heavy duty, surge protector should eliminate this. Not to mention some of the newer hard drive technologies that JoelKelly mentioned that will protect your HDD's. Is this a common thing? If so, I have never heard of this happening to anyone...

    My next question would be this...Transporteur is claiming that software RAID would be very slow. Do you actually have any real life experience with software RAID running on a newer MacPro? I was considering the Quad model and have read via other posts that with the speed of the machine, the software RAID lag is negligible. I have no experience with software RAID so I would like to know which statement is most accurate.
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    RAID 1 is a mirror, so anything on the first drive, is duplicated on the second. This is meant for availability (up-time) as it's real function (achieved via data redundancy, NOT backup. The reasoning is simple, as any error is also cloned. This is particularly an issue for user error.

    Time machine is a backup, whether the drive is installed internally, or externally.

    Setup 1 would work if the system needed to be available 24/7/365.

    Setup 2 would work. Main drive, and a mirror (RAID1) used for Time Machine. A little paranoid for personal use, but viable. It has a price though. If you delete a backup copy accidentally (say house keeping, as the drive is getting full), it will be duplicated. Which is to say, it's GONE. It would be better to keep the TM drives separate, and just direct TM to use both drives. That way, if you make a mistake, the data's still on the other disk (assuming you didn't erase it from both).

    If it's photo's/videos to be stored (irreplaceable data), you might just want to use the 3rd drive in an external enclosure, and direct TM to both the internal and external drives. This would help in case something odd does happen, such as a blown PSU.

    Just a thought.
  7. McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    My take on this is to use Set Up 3:
    1 TB System Drive
    1 TB Time Machine
    1 TB SuperDuper clone of System Drive, Weekly or Monthly

    Or Set Up 4:
    1 TB System Drive
    1 TB RAID 1 Mirror of System Drive
    2 TB Time Machine
    1 TB System Drive SuperDuper Clone - Once per month

    For TM is better to have a HDD bigger than the one you are backing up.

    RAID 1 is for not loosing your Mac operational time.
    Time Machine is to be able and go back to recover old states, files gone, errors...
    Super Duper Clone - a clone of your HDD as when you clone it.
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I'd say Set Up 3, as it's simple, and the usage seems to be personal use. So the uptime (availability) provided by a RAID 1 of the OS, isn't needed.

    The only possible change, would be increase the capacity of the TM disk. But that can wait if needed, as the prices will fall, and larger models will ship. Which ever the OP chooses. ;)
  9. macrumors 6502

    Jan 10, 2008
    The Netherlands
    when does Apple come up with bigger HDD than just 1 TB ??????
  10. goodcow macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2007
    Come on, if they charge $300 for a 1TB WD Black drive which is $85 on NewEgg how much do you think the 2TB drives ($230 or so at non-drug induced pricing) would go for and who would actually pay for it as a BTO option?

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