Need Backup help - internal and external HD full

Discussion in 'iMac' started by joton1, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. joton1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    #1
    I need advice on the best method for backing up. I store a lot of home movies and pictures as well as music and my computer has run out of memory as well as my external hard drive. I'm looking into getting another external hard drive, but need advice on if this is the best method or not.

    Ideally I hope to have 2 sources of backup for all of my data. Any suggestions on how I should go about all of this?;)
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    "I need advice on the best method for backing up. I store a lot of home movies and pictures as well as music and my computer has run out of memory as well as my external hard drive. I'm looking into getting another external hard drive, but need advice on if this is the best method or not.
    Ideally I hope to have 2 sources of backup for all of my data. Any suggestions on how I should go about all of this?"

    You could buy an external drive until it fills up, then buy another, and another, etc.

    Or...

    You might consider getting one of these:
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer Technology/FWU2ES2HDK/
    (Note: this one has firewire 800, firewire 400, USB2, AND eSATA, and that's why it's more expensive)

    If you're satisfied with USB2 transfer speeds, you could save some money with these (various items shown):
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=aps&field-keywords=USB+sata+dock&x=0&y=0

    With a "docking station", you can swap out "bare drives" in a few moments. This makes it possible to back up to multiple backups one after another. You can even boot from these docks if necessary.

    I use one of the cheaper USB versions, and it works well enough (bootable, etc.), but it's such a useful device I'm considering splurging for the Other World Computing "quad" dock for the faster speeds. It looks to become a VERY handy accessory to have around!
     
  3. joton1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    #3
    Sorry if I'm asking stupid questions, but this is new to me. So with the option you mentioned first, I would buy the docking station and then would buy an internal hard drive to use with it? Or is the SATA drive something different? Then when that fills up, you get another, but you can use the dock to switch them out as needed? I just want to make sure I'm understanding this. Thanks!
     
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #4
    Q. I would buy the docking station and then would buy an internal hard drive to use with it?

    A. Yes. Go to the first link in my message above. You can see the OWC dock with a drive "in it". Looks like toast in a toaster. Put the drive in, use it, when you're finished, "pop it out".

    Q. Or is the SATA drive something different?

    A. No. "SATA" is the connection on the hard drive itself. Older drives used "IDE" connectors (40 pins). Modern drives use SATA (smaller connection). If you go to newegg.com and check out "internal hard drives", you will see that most are "SATA", but you can still buy older "IDE" drives. You want SATA drives.

    Q. Then when that fills up, you get another, but you can use the dock to switch them out as needed?

    A. Yes. That's the whole point. Several drives, but you only need a single dock. If a drive goes bad, just get another and keep using the same dock. If the dock itself goes bad, just get another dock and keep on using your drives.

    Something to be aware of:
    The concept of "SATA docking stations" seems to provide a very useful solution for backups, archiving, diagnostics, etc. I'm not sure I'd want to use one as "always-on storage" (though I have used mine for a few hours at a clip without problems). I'm not sure how well they dissipate heat from the drive, since there is no fan to move air over the surface of the drive (as you would find in most external enclosures).

    But for backups, archiving, troubleshooting, and short-term online usage, they're great.
     
  5. joton1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    #5
    Thanks for the advice! I'll definitely be looking in to it:eek:
     
  6. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #6
    You could buy a big external drive- big enough for all your iTunes media and then some room for future media.

    Move all your iTunes media out to that drive.

    Use Time Machine, or a Time Machine capable drive to backup everything on your Mac, but exclude the iTunes media drive.

    Backup the media drive to a separate drive manually, when you add new media. A great tool for this that will also delete duplicates is Chronosync.

    Why not just backup everything to Time Capsule? With iTunes media, every time you make any little change (description, title, etc.), it's going to back up a fresh copy of the file. Thus, if you have a 2GB movie and correct a misspelling in iTunes, or change the description, or drop in a Movie Poster, etc, Time Machine will back up 2 MORE GBs for the updated version.

    The separate drive + Chronosync solution will easily move the updated version to your backup drive, then delete the old version. Thus, if you have Chronosync backup everything on your media drive, the backup should end up using just about the exact same amount of space.

    So, if you go this way, you should buy an external big enough for present & future media, and a second external the same size as the first (to be your backup).

    This works like a charm for me.

    If money is really tight, you could manually go in each time you update iTunes media backed up to Time Capsule and delete the old versions. But if money is not THAT tight, the above will minimize human error (forgetting to go in and deleting old version from a Time Capsule (everything) backup.
     
  7. joton1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    #7
    I understand some of what you're suggesting, but I'm a little confused on the Time Machine aspect. I use TM, but just in the basic sense. I actually don't know that much about it. You mentioned that it would recognize when I make a change or add something - then do you mean that it backs up the new version as a replacement of the old, or would I just have 2 versions then - the old and the new? Also - I'm actually mostly concerned with my raw movie data and pictures from Iphoto in addition to Itunes. Would use use this method in the same way - keep all of these media types together on one external, and the computer stuff on another?

    At first, I was backing everything up on 1 external hard drive, but it has filled up very quickly. I may have been backing up too much. Do I need to continue to back up system stuff if nothing has changed? Or could I just back up the media as I add new to it?

    Sorry, but this is all very new to me, and a lot of the advise I'm getting sounds a little foreign!

    thanks a bunch!
     
  8. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    #8
    TM is very simple when it backs up it simply adds new or changed information. So for example lets say you have a file called MYFile that was created June 1st and left it alone until October 1st when you added some information to it. TM will create the initial backup on June 1st and then make new backup of the file October 1st when it has changed.

    It is really the most simple way to backup. About the only downside two downsides to TM I can think of is eventually the TM drive will fill up and need to be replaced. The size of the drive you purchase and the amount of data and changes/additions to it will determine how long that drive lasts. The second is TM is not bootable, so if your internal drive crashes you cannot boot the TM drive to limp along until the internal drive is replaced. If you invest in a second external HD and create a bootable clone using something like CCC or SuperDuper this will clone the internal drive which is nice if the internal drive crashes then you can boot from the clone and you're back up and running again. Here is an excellent article from MacWorld that explains back up schemes based on your level of fear. Many people (including me ) will use both TM and a bootable clone.

    http://www.macworld.com/article/141363/2009/07/backup.html
     
  9. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #9
    Old & New. For example, you render a 2GB movie, import it in iTunes, Tag it in iTunes (name, description, etc). When TM runs, it will back up that 2GB movie to your TM disc. Then, you notice a one-word misspelling in the description, so you fix it. TM will backup another 2GB version of the file. Then, you decide to drop an image into the part of iTunes in which a CD cover is typically stored (for example, using a movie poster for the movie). Again TM will backup another copy of the 2GB movie. So, now you've got the exact same movie file in iTunes, but your "fine detail" tweaks have resulted in TM allocating 6GB for it. That's pretty common with big movie files, so they will fill up just about any TM backup very quickly.

    TM works like it should- which is good. It would be complicated to code TM so that it could know which copies to delete and which to keep.

    That's why I've chosen to store big media files- like movies & tv shows & home movies on an external hard drive that is excluded from TM backups. TM will ignore that drive no matter what I do with updating files, fixing misspellings, changing "album" art, etc.

    However, media needs to be backed up. So I use a separate external and Chronosync to take care of that. When I add a new movie to iTunes, I hook up the backup and run a Chornosync "sync" operation. The big difference is that Chornosync can be set up to only store the most recently updated version of the file. So in the above example, my 2GB (latest version) will be backed up as 2GB, not 6GB. If I notice another typo or something and update it, next time I run a Chronosync sync, the old backup will be deleted and the newly updated (again) version will replace it. Net backup 2GB.

    This works well for your- and my- situation. I don't need TM for this kind of thing as I'm not constantly adding new content to the media drive. For example, I'm not constantly adding new email or address entries or calendar info, etc- all that SHOULD be backed up via TM. When I occasionally add new (big) media though, I know I've done it, and know to run a manual Chronosync backup.

    If you're going to be working with lots of video, you need to be thinking about BIG storage. 1TB is probably not going to do it. I store my raw stuff on a 4TB WD external (also that same media drive). So, I've got all my big media for iTunes in one folder, and all my raw footage in another. Then, I've got a separate 4TB for Choronosync backups of that whole drive, as well as two 2TB drives for a secondary backup of each of the 2 folders (media & rawmovies). I also use Chronosync for the backups to the two 2 TB drives.

    If I didn't have spare 2TB external drives already on hand, and I didn't already own those 4TB drives, what I would do now is probably buy one of the OWC Raid boxes like: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/hard-drives/RAID/Desktop/ and let RAID5 also act as my secondary backup. If I had the money, I might buy 2 of them, so that I could have a local RAID5 box hooked to my iMac, and then a separate one solely for backing up the first (and then storing offsite).

    This might be something to consider if you have the money.

    I'm pretty tech-capable, so I've also looked at something called unraid: http://lime-technology.com/technology, which allows you to add storage as you need it, mix and match drives sizes & speeds, etc. So if I was completely starting over, I'd do that (but only because I probably have the tech experience to put one of those together and get it going). Once these external drives get nearly full, I'm probably going that way (unless something better shows up between now and then), as I can see the need for storage north of 8TB in the not too distant future (raw movie files really eat hard drive space), and I don't want to keep collecting individual external boxes. unraid has an interesting internal backup alternative to normal RAID. Instead of using some space on every drive, it uses one disc as a parity drive, which is a smart way to facilitate mixing & matching drive sizes. I like the concept as 3TB drives are just around the corner(s), so that solution can grow in capacity as bigger drives come out, without having to come up with something to do with the smaller capacity drives (RAID generally likes matched capacity & matched speeds). I also like the green nature of it (such as how as little as ONE drive could be spinning at any one time, compared to how RAID generally works). Etc.

    In your case (I'm perceiving limited tech confidence from your post), that OWC solution may be the better way to go, or you could do more along the lines of what I'm doing now (with a couple of external drives).

    I hope this is helpful. Ask more questions if anything is foggy.
     
  10. joton1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    #10
    I appreciate everyone's help. I'm beginning to get a good concept I think, but I want to read some more on the articles you all have mentioned. Have any of you looked into the new Seagate 3TB drive. That keeps coming up in my searching and at first I was considering it. Not so sure now though, after all the advice.

    In reference to my earlier post - does anyone have any advice on how frequently I need to actually back up my system stuff. As I mentioned, I've mostly been concerned with backing up my media for personal/sentimental reasons. But I'm wondering what I should be doing in reference to my system as well - how often to back up and what?

    Many people (including me ) will use both TM and a bootable clone.

    http://www.macworld.com/article/141363/2009/07/backup.html[/QUOTE]

    I read this article and it was VERY helpful and in easy to understand terms. One question though. Is it not possible to use Time Machine to back up to more than one external hard drive. For instance, if I purchase a second to use as my backup stored away from the house, can I not use Time Machine when I bring it home to back up to it as well as the one I keep hooked up all of the time?

    Another question. If I go with the 2 external hard drive method, I still have the problem of needing to get stuff OFF of my computer since it's out of memory. Is it safe to keep it stored just on 2 separate external drives. I can then plug one in to access the media if need be, correct? Thanks! And sorry for all of the questions again!
     
  11. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    #11
    TM will backup as many external HD's connected to your Mac as you have. If there is one you don't want to be backed up (for example a bootable close) there is a simple setting in TM where you can tell it what drives, folders and files you would like it to exclude. I have 3 external HD's connected to my iMac, 1 is my TM drive, the second my bootable clone and the third I use to store my music and photography libraries. I have TM back up the third drive in addition to my internal HD.

    I'm not sure I understand that question, if you could re-state it maybe I'll get it the second time.
     
  12. joton1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    #12
    I want to take all of my movies off of my internal hard drive to free up space. So I was wondering if I can just use 1 external drive for my workable folder and then another to back that folder up. Is that safe? And can I easily access them if they are stored on an external drive as opposed to the internal drive. I hope that makes more sense :)
     
  13. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000

    rkaufmann87

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    #13
    Yes that would work fine.
     
  14. PhelpsiPhan macrumors 6502

    PhelpsiPhan

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #14
    That would be perfect for your situation
     
  15. joton1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    #15
    Thanks for all of the help! Now I just need to actually pick some decent drives in my price range :)
     

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