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How do Pros manage backup?

2705 Views 76 Replies Latest reply: Oct 20, 2013 10:44 AM by PlotinusVeritas RSS
  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,830 points)
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    Oct 13, 2013 9:46 AM (in response to AceNeerav)


    any case, I think a RAID 1 NAS will serve me good.



    I'll try one more time to save you from this, RAID is not backup. Really simple, look up any reputable text on backup procedures that mentions RAID and you will see the same thing.


    RAID is designed for high availability applications where no down time is tolerated, if one of the drives goes bad you hot switch to the other and keep going.


    Sounds like a perfect backup plan, right? Until you stop and think of all the things that backups are intended to do apart from hardware failures.  And that RAID doesn;t do. And even this one thing that it does, protect against a drive failure, it doesn't  do all that well. With a RAID enclosure you have a single point of failure, if the enclosure or the control card fails you very likely loose both drives, then what?


    Good luck with this but if you do what you are proposing you will have troubles in the future.



  • macjack Level 9 Level 9 (50,445 points)
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    Oct 13, 2013 9:55 AM (in response to AceNeerav)


  • hands4 Level 4 Level 4 (2,215 points)
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    Oct 13, 2013 2:04 PM (in response to AceNeerav)

    I get the sense that you do want two backups and you want the second copy to be created automatically without having to maintain it.  You can do that and do it better without using RAID-1.  Here is how.


    You have 128 GB internal SSD and an external volume with photos and other stuff that won't fit on the SSD. Each of these is for live data, not backups. 


    You intend to have a wireless NAS RAID-1 box for a Time Machine backup.  That is one (and only 1) logical copy of your Time Machiine backup.  It is spread across two physical disks but is only one logical volume.  If this is your only backup then if the NAS box fails or if Time Machine corrupts the backup you will not have a second backup.  Corrupted Time Machine volumes are uncommon but not unheard of.  I have experienced this flaw twice in restoring a filesystem and at each time I was happy to have made a second, independent backup.


    So how do we create a hands-off independent second backup that just works?  Easy.  Use two independent wireless NAS boxes (each containing a single disk.)  Then simply tell Time Machine to backup to both of them and in a few hours you will have two independent Time Machine backups.  If one of the NAS boxes fails or if one of the Time Machine backups is corrupted, you will have an independent second copy to fall back on. 


    Done.  This would be a pretty darn good backup system.  And this will not cost much more than buying a RAID-1 NAS.  I would sleep OK at night with such a backup system.

  • hands4 Level 4 Level 4 (2,215 points)
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    Oct 13, 2013 2:07 PM (in response to hands4)

    OK.  Now the next (optional) level.


    With a little more work (which you might not want to perform) if you want to backup more like a pro, you could improve on this by having not only two NAS boxes but also two-different backup utilities: (1) Time Machine with its easy of use but fragility in its underlying complexity and (2) a Carbon Copy Clone that uses a more reliable backup utility but is harder to setup (a little harder, not much).


    To do this you would partition the second NAS drive into a 128 GB partition onto which you would clone the SSD and use the remaining partition for cloning the external drive.  You could then use Carbon Copy Cloner ($40) to schedule nightly backups from your live volumes onto these cloned volumes.  That would be two scheduled backups per night, one for the SSD and one for the external drive.  Once this is setup it will run hands-off, not needing attention. 


    I would sleep even safer using this scheme but it is a little more complex to setup than just two Time Machine backups.


    Frank or others:  I assume you can schedule CCC to clone two independent volumes per night.  Right?

  • PlotinusVeritas Level 6 Level 6 (13,675 points)
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    Oct 13, 2013 3:05 PM (in response to AceNeerav)

    I dont think you got what Frank above was saying.


    In any regard....


    Four  words "compartmentalization of autonomous redundant data" C.A.R.D.



    RAID isnt that.



    The "CARD RULE"

    (something I coined a decade ago)

  • PlotinusVeritas Level 6 Level 6 (13,675 points)
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    Oct 13, 2013 9:49 PM (in response to AceNeerav)

    Have i got my self confused about RAIDS.



    Ehhh, kind of like storing fireworks and matches in the same building.



    Why is raid 1 not a substitute for a backup   



    RAID? I don’t think so
    Why not? Let me count the ways:

    1. Complexity: RAID fails ugly. Pick the wrong drive to pull or copy and your protected data is no more. And due to the redundancy, RAID systems have failures much more often than a single disk does.
    2. Completeness: while RAID solves some problems, it isn’t a substitute for a backup. Getting customers to understand that is hard. Not all the ZDnet readers get it.





    Streamlining thought about data protection, or C.A.R.D. (compartmentalized autonomous redundancy of data)


    I coined this acronym few years ago. Four words: "compartmentalized autonomous redundancy of data" or C.A.R.D. What this means regarding your data is “centralize it, isolate it, and multiply it”. This easy acronym to remember about how to approach your data is a great first approach to keep in mind.


    Compartmentalized: separating out your data from your system files, centralizing all static and active files into a location or two to make backups, and archived data easier to update and locate. Centralizing your data collection is the primary hazard to overcome for what usually is the case of data that is scattered everywhere throughout your internal hard drive.


    Autonomous: Isolation of data from changes, theft, decentralizing data to safes, fire boxes, offsite and online locations. Importantly ‘freezing’ data onto independent storage media for protection and from alterations, such as DVDs, hard drives, and online encrypted files, or .DMG created files of static data collections.


    Redundancy: making copies of all autonomous isolated data such that data is decentralized not only in place and in media storage type (DVD, HD, online) for safety and protection as a failsafe, but each aspect of that failsafe has at the very least two redundant copies.


    Data: all files made, saved, created, modified or working on. Important pictures, documents, videos, PDF, financial, personal. Any data large or small which you would not dare lose, which is private, important, hard or impossible to recreate, or most importantly, would take tremendous time to regenerate. Essentially anything important to you, your company, your loved ones (will, medical records, financial information, etc.), friends or otherwise.

  • PlotinusVeritas Level 6 Level 6 (13,675 points)
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    Oct 13, 2013 11:55 PM (in response to AceNeerav)

    time machine is not a 'frozen' archive, nor is it a secure data nexus



    you're talking about NAS and cloud storage... which is fine but only as a third archive point of your data.



    there is no ultimate genuine security in those options


    There is no autonomous principle in those server and cloud based options


    Fundamentally you don't seem to be able to distinguish an unsafe backup......from a secure 'fireproof' 'unattackable' archive.



    if you can hack it, crack it, attack it, crash it ALL, or erase's NOT SAFE,'s not therefore a safe data archive


    That's exactly what NAS and cloud storage IS,......ergo.




  • hands4 Level 4 Level 4 (2,215 points)
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    Oct 14, 2013 8:44 AM (in response to AceNeerav)

    To install a second wireless NAS drive will be trivial.  Just buy a wireless NAS drive and plug in the power cord.  It will talk to your Mac wirelessly through you existing router.  You will need to use Disk Utility to format it in Mac OS Extended (journaled) format before you begin using it as a Time Machine backup.


    Example NAS drive (I'm not enforcing it, just giving and example): W/ref=pd_sxp_grid_pt_1_1



    As others have indicated, there are even better backup schemes than two wireless Time Machine NAS volumes.  However this is not a bad solution for its simplicity of use and that appears to be important in this case.



  • hands4 Level 4 Level 4 (2,215 points)
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    Oct 14, 2013 9:08 AM (in response to AceNeerav)

    > So one tm backup in the nas and one in the cloud. Only to worry about is archive iphoto libraries which i think can stay on a second physical drive.


    Using a cloud backup service as your second Time Machine backup will work instead of purchasing a second NAS drive.  Having two Time Machine copies is the basic-minimum principle so this satisfies that constraint.  Using cloud storage is more complex than using NAS or USB-connected storage.


    Here is a dirt-simple, more reliable, and least-expesinve option.  Purchase another USB external 1 TB or 2 TB drive. ($70 to $100) to use as the second Time Machine disk.  Purchase a powered-USB hub ($20).  Plug your external photo disk and this new Time Machine disk into the hub and plug the hub into your Mac.  Done!  Now whenever you have your photo disk connected you will also have your second Time Machine disk connected. 


    I recommend this option over using a second NAS box or cloud storage.


    Finally, you don't need to worry about backing up your photos on your external drive.  Time Machine will do that for you.  It will automatically backup your SSD and your external photo drive unless you tell it not to.

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,830 points)
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    Oct 14, 2013 11:21 AM (in response to hands4)
    Finally, you don't need to worry about backing up your photos on your external drive.  Time Machine will do that for you.


    No you do need to worry about backing up photos and such. TM does incremental backup, not archival backup.


    A photo that is backed up to TM and then is deleted from main storage will eventually disappear from the TM  backup also.


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