Please help me choose my backup solution (hardware and software)

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by FrenchPB, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. FrenchPB macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2005
    Hi guys,

    I've decided that it's time for me to take the next step in backup technology. Since I'm not a professional, I need something not too pricey and specific for my needs.

    iMac - 500 GB (primary computer, based in Paris)
    - 1 TB external HD (used for media only)
    - 300 GB external HD (three partitions : one for video editing, one to store non media files, one to backup personal files from iMac)

    MacBook - 250 GB (fiancee's computer, mostly in Paris)

    iMac - 250 GB (parents computer, outside of Paris)

    - obviously HD failures
    - theft or home intrusion (for my iMac and my gf MB)
    - fire

    - my iMac has its most important files backed up on the 300 GB HD (documents, music, photos)
    - the other two computers don't have a backup whatsoever !!

    - I want all three computers to have at least a full monthly backup (bootable could be a plus, but what really is important are the personal files : documents, photos, and music)
    - I want my iMac and my gf MB to have a backup out of our home in Paris, so basically to have a backup of those two at my parents place which we visit regularly
    - the 1 TB media HD doesn't have a backup, but I don't plan on backing those up for the time being

    - since I'll have to buy at least an other HD to do all those backups, what would you advise me to do ? Since all three computers are one year old or less, we don't plan on changing them anytime soon. Consequently, a 1 TB external HD would probably be enough to back them up for a few years.
    - how would you do monthly backup ? Should I do everything manually, use Time Machine, SuperDuper, or try something else ?
    - Since we already have wireless routers at both locations, I think we don't need Time Capsule (which is much more expensive than just an other external HD), but what do you think about it ?

    Well basically, I just advices on what hardware/software to choose as a smart backup solution.
  2. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    I love my HP EX485 WHS. Set it up with time machine, expand the storage as required, and set it up with Amazon S3 offsite backup for the super critical stuff.

    If you use any kind of VM Windows partitions it'll easily automatically back those up as well.

    You also get the added benefits of it serving as an iTunes server, as well as serving up any other type of media you desire.
  3. corvera macrumors member


    Dec 27, 2006
    I have a similar situation where I have to backup more than one computer, but the basic question is, what do you want to back up?

    If you need bootable images of all your computers you'll need tons of space, but if you want to backup only the unreplaceable (files, music, images, self made scripts and so) you'll probably go well with selective Time Machine backup folders.

    The other thing is wether you want a simple external drive that you hook up to the computers or a wireless solution from the router. Theoretically an external HD hooked up to an AEBS will do the job for both your house and your parent's with the remote disk access. But that is, theoretically.

    I use Time Capsule at my office for 2 macs and trying to setup remote file backup for the one at home.
  4. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000


    Mar 20, 2009
    Near London, UK.
    I use Amazon S3 for my offsite backups from my Win XP PC, and it will be one of the first apps I install on my new iMac. You can set it up on your relatives computers and just let it do its stuff with minimal hassle for you once the first, big, and therefore likely multi-day, backup has run.
  5. FrenchPB thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2005
    I want to backup the most important files on each computer, which include personal and profesional files, photos, and music. I don't mind not having a bootable drive since I've always felt it was an opportunity to start fresh.

    With that said, would I be better of using SuperDuper or Time Machine ?

    If I get a 1 TB HD, should I create 3 partitions for each computer on it, or could folders do the trick with each software solution ?

    I'm not really looking into RAID solutions, but more into the smartest way to backup personal files from 3 different computers.
  6. golfhero macrumors member

    Nov 24, 2008
    A combination of Time Machine and an online repository for extra safety for important files is a good mix. If you are looking for something really easy that also lets you just target specific filetypes and can work cross platform (Windows and Mac) checkout Clickfree -
  7. corvera macrumors member


    Dec 27, 2006
    I've used to do manual backups for my computers, but since Time Machine I've found what I was looking for. I know it's not THE only and best method, but it definitely works for me. Unfortunately I can't talk about other backup systems since I haven't tried them myself.

    About your question of the partitions, with Time Machine you don't need to create partition, each backup creates it's own disk image inside the HD and it's updated every time a backup is done.
  8. dlegend macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2009
    Northern VA (outside DC)
    it might be as simple as buying (or having) 2 external hard drives, back up your computers using Time Machine and then whenever you go over to your parents simply switch the external hard drives. Then you'll have a recent version of their files in a separate location and you can continue your backups on the new drive and vice versa.
  9. FrenchPB thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2005
    Can Time Machine works wirelessly without time capsule ? The MacBook and iMac share the same Internet connexion via a wifi router. The external HD will be connected to the iMac.

    Is it possible to have the MacBook do automatic backup without having to unplug/plug the external HD to it, by sharing the drive or something like that ?

    Also, does Time Machine look into the iPhoto library package file, or does it backup the full file each time there's a modification to it ? Basically, my iPhoto library is over 20 GB and I wouldn't want it to save it all every day on my external HD... I don't know how that work, but how big should be my external HD for a Time Machine use ?
  10. FrenchPB thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2005
    I've decided that I would buy that external 2,5" HD :

    I think Western Digital is a robust brand, and I really like the design of that HD (which is always important as a Mac addict). The 2,5" is better for me since it will be used in different locations with different computers (so it will be convenient to just plug it with a simple USB cable.

    In a year or so, I'll get an other HD like that one with the higher capacity, so I could do what was previously mentionned by having one in Paris, the other one at my parents place, and then switching HD each time I visit them. I would thuse have regular backups on two drives at two different locations.

    I'll be using Time Machine also, but are you sure I don't need to create partitions on that drive for it to work fine with several computers ? I wouldn't like my Documents folder to be merged with my parents' Documents folder on the backup drive !!

    I will indeed only backup my important files, no system files. That means the Documents, Music, Photo, and Movie folders, on all three computers.

    I think that a portable 2,5 HD with Time Machine will be very convenient for my needs (just need to make sure about that partition thing), and with a second one with higher capacity in a year or two, I'll have maximum security. (I don't want to buy two right now cause capacity will go higher and prices will go down, so I'd rather add one later one, then replace the one I will buy now in 3-4 years if I need to).

    Cheers :)
  11. FrenchPB thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2005
    I just found an offer for a WD My Passport 320 GB at 80 euros, which is 4 GB for 1 euro. That seems like a very good deal to me.

    At this time, I have 60 GB of personal files on my computer, whereas my gf only has 30. A 320 GB would probably be enough for us for quite some time.

    What do you think ?

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