Storage and Backup solutions for an SSD only iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by RoryO, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. RoryO macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2013
    I'm starting to look at alternatives setups to my "noisy" 3TB Fusion Drive iMac. I originally chose the Fusion Drive mainly for it's simplicity in setting up storage and backups.

    I was planning on sticking to a standard setup of having all my data on the computers 3TB Fusion Drive, with cloud backup via crash plan, and a single external backup drive using time machine. This means I have two physically separate local drives storing my data and an offsite backup too. I also have the added benefit of versioned backup with time machine.

    If I switch to an iMac with a smaller SSD drive to get rid of the noisy HDD, then I need to add external storage, cloud backup for that storage, and another physically separate disk for local backup.

    How have other iMac owners solved this? The bulk of my storage needs are for family photos and video, 2TB would probably cover me for the next few years. With mac laptops going all SSD as well it must be a common question for users, with no obvious simple solution from Apple...??
  2. tomnavratil macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2013
    Litovel, Czech Republic
    I'm actually looking into backup and data work at the moment on the iMac I should get in a couple of days (1TB Fusion).

    The price of external, powered USB3.0 is very low and with Seagate or Buffalo Drivestation offering simple storage for an automated backup such as Time Machine.

    Along that I'm planning to use either another USB3.0 external drive for data usage and carbon copies of the main drive or to purchase a DAS solution with 2 bays running either RAID0 or RAID1 - either speed using RAID 0 or at least some security running RAID1. I do know that RAID1 is not a second backup! In addition to that, I'm planning to purchase Crashplan and setup and automatic system to keep one backup in cloud (off-site).

    Depending on the data and usage you can even think about a NAS solution or DAS solution with more bays running RAID1 or RAID5 if you're looking for more protection. Nevertheless, you would need much more money to set this up. It really all depends on how much you value your data.

    Anyway, this is just my plan and I would be more than happy to hear others, how they sort out their backups as I'm currently designing my system, which will go on the new iMac, so thanks the OP for the topic :).
  3. bp1000 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2011
    I purchased 2 externals

    2TB buffalo DDR
    3TB buffalo DDR

    2TB will be data
    3TB will be time machine which will back up the 2TB too

    Internal drive is the 256GB ssd in the haswell imac

    First thing the buffalo like all my externals is noisy. You would need to buy a longer cable to have it on the floor for less vibrations.

    However benchmarks show these drives to be very fast on some circumstances. Even without caching they are above average speeds for externals.

    I don't need them connected 24/7 - i have iTunes Match and my 200gb of photos are cached as thumbs on the ssd. So I rarely need the data drive connected

    It is also good having data external to internal drive
  4. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I have the following for my late 2012 iMac:
    1. 768GB SSD (internal)
    2. 8TB Thunderbolt Pegasus R4

    I have my Pegasus configured as a 4TB RAID 10, and it contains all of my streaming media (both iTunes media & FCPX/iPhoto). Everything else fits on my internal SSD.

    For backup:
    1. 3TB Time Capsule
    2. Crashplan+
    3. 3TB Seagate Thunderbolt GoFlex Desk single spindle drive.
    Both Time Machine & Crashplan back up 100% of my internal SSD & External Pegasus R4. That is one great advantage of DAS over a NAS... it is a permanently mounted drive and can be part of your backup set... the same as any drive internal to the machine.

    Local backup is over the network to the Time Capsule... located in a secured location away from my computer. Cloud backup runs every 15 minutes to Crashplan Central. Both are automated.

    I really do not "need" the 3TB Seagate... but I had it laying around from an earlier (pre-Pegasus) project. I use that as a "carbon copy cloner" (CCC) destination of 100% of my media libraries (Aperture, iTunes, iPhoto, FCPX). I do that because that particular drive has USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FW800 & TB interfaces... so if my iMac was ever gone for repair/replacement... I could move that copy of my media to any other Mac that I own to continue my work.

    I am still waiting for availability of an optical TB cable. I was told I would be getting one "very soon". One that happens, both my Pegasus and my Seagate will be remote in the secured equipment room, and my office will no longer have any spinning media.

  5. tomnavratil macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2013
    Litovel, Czech Republic
    Thanks for this setup Jim, it does, indeed, look very robust.

    Is there a chance you could expand on the backup setup before the Pegasus?

    I'm planning to purchase Crashplan and run Time Machine as well along with Carbon copy cloner somehow but at the moment I don't think I can justify price of the Pegasus or similar 4-bay system (looking into 2-bay systems and RAID0 - to use as a data drive).

    Thank you for any tips!
  6. haddy macrumors regular

    Nov 5, 2012
    Late it March 2013:
    768 SSD internal. 2G VRAM. 32G RAM.
    3.5TB USB 3 external
    1.750 TB external

    Just one brilliant and fast and quiet and quiet. And cold!!
  7. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Without the Pegasus... the data would just be on the Seagate 3TB drive. Honestly... it works just fine for "streaming" data. That would include your entire iTunes media and also any movies.

    What size SSD are you looking at? If it is large enough to hold everything except your streaming media... then you do not need a high performance external. If you are pushing your photo library out to the external... then you might want an array of some type.

    The nice thing about a DAS... is that it acts the same as an internal drive. You do not need to do anything special to back it up. The only thing you need to do is make sure that your backup set is configured to back it up along with your internal drive. To do that:

    Time Machine: System Preferences > Time Machine > Options > make sure it is not excluded (it probably is by default)

    Crashplan: When you set up your backup... make sure the external is checked.

    That is it... everything will just backup automatically.

  8. tomnavratil macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2013
    Litovel, Czech Republic
    Thank you. I will have a 1TB Fusion in my iMac, which I will keep for OS, Apps and daily use data - documents, things I'm working on etc.

    As I do lots of photography and play with Adobe CS6, I would prefer RAID0 for heavy usage - PSD files, pictures, media library, movies, iTunes etc. RAID 0 should give me more speed than the Fusion (2-bay setup) I do believe.

    This RAID0 and the Fusion itself will be backed up on the Seagate or Buffalo 4TB using Time Machine.

    Another copy of the Fusion might be hold on the external or the DAS (not sure about this) using a different methodology like Carbon Copy.

    Along all that I'll set up a Crashplan, which I don't have to care about later on I assume as ling as it's set up properly.

    This will be the outlook for me system as I don't need NAS (1 user), and because of my needs I cannot justify RAID10 or RAID5 setups at the moment.

    This should work out pretty cheap hopefully considering price of Seagate of Buffalo - 4TB storage, LaCie 2bay RAID0 and subscription for Crashplan.

    Do you guys think I'm missing something or this seems like a reasonable system? Thank you all.
  9. RoryO, Oct 5, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013

    RoryO thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2013
    Thanks, that's a useful point. I was starting to look into NAS but of course crash plan wouldn't back it up.

    As I was going down this path to minimise noise I started to look at Western Digital Thunderbolt Duo, which use quiet drives and is fanless. I could do something with RAID 1 or use one disk for data and one for time machine. Prices are crazy though £430 for £150 worth of hard drives leaving £280 for the enclosure. The RAID is handled by OSX as well so there's not even a RAID controller in there either. Oh and no TB cable either so another £50 to plug it in!

    Perhaps two USB 3.0 drives instead as they are slower drives after all so TB might be overkill.
  10. RoryO thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2013
    I was a little concerned at the possible resale value of a 256GB iMac, did that bother you at all?

    So it sounds like iPhoto plays nice with data on an external drive then. I was worried I might be buying myself a load of data management headaches by moving away from the single internal drive ( like I have with my Windows Media Center, god forbid we don't want to put everything on the C: drive!!!! ). Have you found it easy splitting your setup across drives? Any gotchas or tips?
  11. tomnavratil macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2013
    Litovel, Czech Republic
    Very true. I'm still looking into different options including TB / USB 3.0 options with a possibility to run RAID 0 to get increased speeds. Then I use another external for back up both drives (including internal).

    However I still didn't find an ideal solution to this, any ideas are more than welcomed!

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