Recommend a backup strategy for me please :)

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by OceanFrog, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. OceanFrog macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2009
    I have a 2008 13" MBP as my main computer. I use this at home with an external monitor a few days a week, and the other days I'm out in a few different locations with the MBP. I have a lot of data which I need to keep backed up ... it would be a very big problem if any of this data were lost/corrupted.

    My current backup strategy is as follows;

    Firstly, I have a 1tb WD drive which stays in my home office. This drive is partitioned and used for frequent TM backups. The other partition is used for misc media/music files.

    I also have 2 portable iomega 500gb drives. The first I use to make a clone of the MBP HD (using SuperDuper!) ... I do this weekly, and keep this HDD hidden in the bottom of my wardrobe. The second iomega is always kept in my car ... it's used for TM backups when out of my home office.

    I also have an Airport Extreme (no HDD attached), a LaCie 150gb HDD, and a Maxtor 500gb HDD. These drives are a bit noisy, so I just keep some misc files backed up on FAT32 in case I need to use a Windows machine. I also have MobileME (nothing backed up there as yet), and about 30gb available in DropBox (about half full with important stuff at the moment).

    So my question is this ... is my current backup strategy any good? Can anyone here suggest a better, and more efficient, way of having a relitavely foolproof backup system using my current hardware? And finally, how often should I clone?

    Thanks in advance ... OceanFrog
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Well, you have multiple backups in various locations so it is pretty much as good as it can get. In case one, or even two of your HDs die, you still have the data in some other location. In case of fire or theft, you again have the data somewhere else.
  3. OceanFrog thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2009
    Thanks Hellhammer.

    So you would suggest no improvement to my current data protection/backup strategy? Or better way to use my unused hardware or cloud storage? Or my Airport Extreme?

    Also, how often would advise cloning with SuperDuper?
  4. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    There is no need to improve it as it is very secure already. You could connect the 1TB or 500GB external to the AE to eliminate one cable and backup wirelessly. Again, there is no need to and USB is a lot faster but in case you just want to do something. AE + 500GB ext would be a nice storage for videos or photos for example. Could be accessed anywhere in the house and with multiple devices.

    Once a week is more than enough IMO.
  5. Mike Oxard macrumors 6502a

    Mike Oxard

    Oct 22, 2009
    If it's really vital for your work you should test it out, replicate an hd failure (e.g. Put a blank hd in the macbook) and see how easy it is to get back working again. You could perhaps borrow a MacBook from someone and see if you can boot their computer from your SuperDuper clone. At least if you test it you will know if you have any weak areas.
  6. mscriv macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    It sounds pretty solid to me OceanFrog. Like HH, I agree that once a week is a good timeframe for cloning your drive. How often are you doing your Time Machine back ups? Is the portable TM backup done regularly or just occasionally?
  7. TheAshMan macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2009
    Clarksville, Maryland USA
    Better than most people

    You are definitely backed up, but security also means your data not falling into the wrong hands. That is a lot of drives. Are you sure that in and of itself is not too much of a pain to manage and cause its own problems? Sometimes the best philosophy is to simplify. I like an extra copy off site at work or relatives that you regularly rotate and having really important things in the cloud like dropbox. The main problem you need to solve is data protection; making sure you can get it in case of a failure and making sure no one else can get your data. Do you have any sensitive information on these backups? Tax forms, your SSN or other personal information? I would make sure anything that is off site or in your car is encrypted. Use TrueCrypt or maybe SuperDuper does something like that.

    Best of luck!
  8. slu macrumors 68000


    Sep 15, 2004
    I think you are covered really well, but in my opinion, your process is very labor intensive and not that efficient.

    I personally subscribe to the set it and forget model.

    I use a 1TB drive connected to an AE to do Time Machine backups wirelessly for all my machines. Sure the initial backup takes some time, but once it is configured, it just does its thing when the machines are connected to the network. This way I never have to remember to manually initiate a back up weekly.

    Then I have set all my machines up with Carbonite to backup to the cloud. Again,this take some time to perform the first back up, but once it is done it just does its thing. This satisfies the need for off-site storage.

    Lastly I do have one more external drive that I use to make a bootable copy of the hard drive on my main machine a few times a year. This is probably not needed, but I do it anyway just for the extra peice of mind.

    I like this solution because both backup systems offer the ability to go back to a previous version of a single file and the ability to recover a deleted file. This has come in handy more than once.

    The only downsides to this system are that it does take a long time to restore a drive from Time Machine wirelessly. I tested this and it worked fine, it was just very slow. The other big downside is that Carbonite does not back up data on external hard drives. This is not an issue for me since I would never keep any important data only on an external hard drive, but I realize others do. If you do, I believe there are services similar to Carbonite that allow you to back up data on an external drive.

    Short version: If you are fine doing your process and you are fine with potentially losing up to a week's worth of data, you are in good shape.
  9. OceanFrog, Apr 1, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2011

    OceanFrog thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2009
    Thanks for all the replies guys ... I really appreciate the feedback.

    TM backups are ongoing as I work ... every 15 minutes I think. The portable TM backups are done at the end of every working day. I clone every friday.

    This process gives me two full TM backups at the end of every day (one offsite), and a weekly clone.

    This is something I'm worried about. Backing up/cloning to 3+ HDD's is time consuming. Is there a better/more efficient way I can organize this?

    I have some sensitive stuff, but nothing critical. I might consider TrueCrypt, but am worried this will make my backup process even more time consuming. Any opinions on this?

    @ slu ... thanks for the advice ... much appreciated.

    I'm happy with my TM HDD connected directly to the MBP, but do you think an second HDD connected to my AE would be good for SuperDuper clones weekly? This takes about 2 hours when connected to MBP directly ... is it likely to take longer wirelessly with the AE?

    Btw, I have satellite broadband ... ping is usually 700ms and download speeds are steady at 3.5Mbps. (Does this make any difference????)
  10. Satori macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2006
    A big consideration here is the amount of data that you have to back up. If it is not too huge you might consider a cloud option. This would mean that everything is in sync everywhere you go.

    Right now this isn't a good option for people (like me) who have huge media libraries. But I do keep all of my critical work files synced with mobile me.
  11. OceanFrog thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2009
    All critical files are on my MBP ... about 200gb in total. These are the files I cant afford to lose.

    I have many of these on DropBox, ut my problem is that my satelliet BB has a small monthly cap, and very slow upload speeds. Thus, not really an option to sync everything to the cloud every day.
  12. phantasmagoria, Apr 1, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011

    phantasmagoria macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2006
    It sounds like you've got yourself covered, albeit with a fair bit of effort involved in manually managing things.

    My strategy is pretty similar. I mainly work off a 17" MBP hooked up to an external monitor, but also sync stuff I'm working on to my backup 13" MBP using ChronoSync. Time Machine via a Time Capsule is used for regular backups of non-encrypted data. Anything even vaguely sensitive is stored locally in encrypted sparsebundles and these are backed up regularly via Espionage to an external drive attached to the Time Capsule, which also contains hot copies of my SVN repositories and a few other vital bits and pieces. That external drive is backed up onto encrypted Jungle Disk cloud storage overnight by an old Mac Mini (which doubles as my home media centre!). And finally, once a week I run a SuperDuper clone onto an external HDD.

    I hope it covers all bases as I run my business from my computer, so I can't afford to take risks. It's all automated, which takes the pain out of the process, but I get logs emailed each day just to check it's all running, otherwise I'd risk forgetting about it! Cloud storage is a real peace of mind, but I'd also like to add a local off-site physical backup, which I don't have at the moment.
  13. seandavid010 macrumors newbie

    Jun 28, 2006
    It sounds like you've got the redundant backup thing taken care of. Just as others have said, what you need to worry about now is securing those off-site backups.

    Three words: Safe Deposit Box.

    It's cheap (think like $20 a year), convenient (I assume you visit your bank a few times a month, so you're there already), and secure (it's a friggin' bank vault for crying out loud!)

    Here's my setup: I have a HDD dock that I picked up with a bare 1.5 gig drive in it. I back up to that drive for two weeks, then I simply go down to the bank and swap it for the one in my safe deposit box. Take that one home and plug it into the dock, and bingo. Wash, rinse, repeat once every two weeks. My off-site data is extremely secure. I would highly recommend it.

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