raid 5 time machine backup suggestions.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by macusersince5, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. macusersince5 macrumors member


    Mar 13, 2010
    Ok so I got my new mac Pro and I have the stock 1 tb hardrive and also a seperate 1.5 tb drive in my mac pro. I would like an external raid array to use as a time machine backup preferably 4 bays and firewire 800 and raid 5. Can you guys recommend any raid enclosures?? I looked at drobo but I read some horror stories and am a little iffy on them since its not a regular raid and they use their own method and I don't really like OWC 4 bay raid because i have had issues with it using Esata but if all else fails I will have to go with them. What do you guys think or do you have any other suggestions for raid 5? Oh and my budget for the array would be like no more than 500 dollars and I would like to get the longest warranty I could get.

    Thanks a bunch
  2. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    $500 is that with HDD ?

    I have something like this

    not sure about these ?

    I have been curious about this one also ? they have a mac version ? $10 more no clue what the dif is ?
    but this seems like the most true RoC you are going to get in a standalone compared to the others ?

    the other option could be just the new 3TB single drive from seagate in a external ? its $199 on sale
    might be enough room for ya ?
    you could always get one and use for BU then do another for TM ?
  3. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Given the $500 budget (box + disks), you're going to go slightly over.

    The OWC Qx2 box is $310 (has a FW800 port).
    Assuming you only need to contain 2.5TB of data, I'd go with 3x 1TB disks (Samsung 1TB Green model @ $70 each = $210 for 3TB of storage). It uses an Oxford chip to provide hardware support for RAID 5, though you really need a UPS as well when running parity based arrays (no battery option for the box).

    This puts you at $510 + shipping for the box. Given your budget, you're only going to be looking at 1 year in terms of warranty on the box, and 3 years for disks.

    The enclosures listed by Honumaui are also hardware controlled (not sure what's in the Sans Digital units, but the information indicates an RoC of some kind), but the first one would need another eSATA card (RR622 is included, but there's no drivers for OS X).

    Of the three, the Areca would be the best of the bunch (better than the Qx2 as well, as it's an RoC as well), but it's also more expensive (not a RoC = RAID on a Chip as the others are, so it's more robust; think actual RAID card inside the enclosure). It also has a 3 year warranty. But it would push the cost to ~$850 + shipping (you'd need to run enterprise disks).
  4. macusersince5 thread starter macrumors member


    Mar 13, 2010
    well max $500 dollars for the case. I know the disks are going to be expensive but I really don't have a choice. I just need a really good case. What about Drobo should I really take it seriously despite all the horror stories I've read?? I would be looking at the 2nd generation drobo 4-bay..
  5. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I'd skip the Drobo units.

    If at all possible, go for the ARC-5020 (cheaper here @ $470.57), and get an eSATA card to run it (newertech will be work well). It's a much better unit than any of the others, but keep in mind the disks need to be enteprise models. ;)

    Disk wise, I'd go with the WD RE3 WD1002FBYS (1TB model), as Areca's products do well with this disk.

    BTW, I've used provantage on numerous occasions, and they're a good company to deal with (they tend to use better packaging materials than newegg as well).
  6. cnstoll macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2010
    I thought about Drobo but the problem I have with it is recovering from a device failure seems sketchy at best. For the most part you can take a "drive pack" out of a drobo and shove it into another of the same model and everything will "just work", but that isn't always the case. You have to make sure the firmware from each device is matched up for starters. And models are generally not backwards compatible. All of these as well as the failure horror stories and low speed reviews steered me away from Drobo when I was looking at similar systems.

    Some things for you to consider in your search:
    1) Don't expect too much in the speed area for whatever you buy. RAID5 isn't going to be breaking any speed records.

    2) Do some research on the chipset the device's RAID controller is using to make sure it's legitimate.

    3) Personally I don't think i'd buy any hardware RAID device with less than a three year warranty. If the device fails and you can't find an identical replacement then you're basically screwed.

    4) Can't stress the importance of using a UPS in conjunction with these things enough.

    Finally, I think I'd explore other options if I were you. For starters you may not need time machine for the entire system. The advantage to time machine over other "cloning" backup schemes is versioning. If most of your data is movies/pictures, that probably isn't something you need, unless you find yourself casually deleting your files on a regular basis. Versioning is going to be more useful for files you're constantly changing.

    I'd consider options like data archival and drive mirroring. If have a 1TB drive with all your documents, music, user data, and applications, then yeah, back that up with Time machine to an internal or external 1-1.5TB drive. If your 1.5TB drive is full of pictures and videos, then just buy another 1.5 or 2TB drive (or two, to have some added redundancy, maybe even in a RAID-1 array) and create a mirrored backup.

    More information about your data usage would be needed to formulate a solid backup strategy. But my point is that RAID 5 may not be necessary for you. If your total data consumption is less than 3TB, then I can almost promise that it's not. If you can avoid using it, then I would advise you to look into cheaper, simpler, and perhaps even more reliable options for your backup solution.
  7. Honumaui macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2008
    $500 for box ? standalone ? I have not used the arreca but of course use their cards and had good luck so I would try the areca stand alone and ditto provantage have used them before no issues

    one thing I bought two of my boxes when I got them ? some time ago now ? but my reason one is if one dies I can use the other one to get data off ! it sits on the other computer ? if it dies ? I get the data off then use the other one as more a archive of whatever ? but nothing critical think 4th layer bu ?

    in BU I always say have two ! I like one to be quick enough to work on and another can be whatever ? its also nice to have a offsite set !

    my basic 5 disc box hits about 180 MB/s I think ? ore there abouts ? fast enough for TimeMachine and keeps me a touch safer from one HDD failure ?
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    1. There's not too much that you can expect from a single eSATA port (3.0Gb/s tops out at 270 - 275MB/s, and there's overhead involved with the card). But 180 - 210 isn't unreasonable with newer generation 7200rpm disks.

    2. Good advice (a necessity when dealing with a RAID controller, or you're begging for trouble). Fortunately, Areca is one of the top rated brands in the RAID card industry (performance and reliability). The ARC-5020 operates the same way (web interface, separate Intel processor running it,... as their cards). Reviews are good as well, so it's not as worrysome as other products.

    It would be quite sufficient for a primary backup source so long as it's run with a UPS.

    But beyond this (whether its the best solution or not), there's no way to know, as there's not much information to go on. Assuming the primary data is on the 2x disks mentioned, a single disk per as a backup would be sufficient for an on site solution, and an off-site backup location along with it would be even better (i.e. Mozy or similar, as you can still get your data, even if the entire system is destroyed; think Acts of God type of things like fire, flood,...).

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