I've been looking at the best way to protect my data and I've learned a few things. My first thought was RAID but a bit more research showed RAID is not a fix-all. It has it's own problems and even if I use a RAID1 or RAID10 array (depending on the number of drives) a failure in one drive can actually set off another drive, killing multiple drives and still destroying my data. There are a few other issues I've seen, such as the way you need to manage a RAID system that don't overly appeal to me.
So what I'm thinking now is two separate hard drives that are synced in some manner. Both of these drives are going to be sitting on the back of my iMac at all times so there's no real worry about their needing to be connected to back up. The question is how best to do it?
So far my options are:
Chronosync: Software wise, I know this can sync across drives and as such has been something that interests me. However, I'm not sure how powerful it is and I'm still curious about how I would have to use it.
SuperDuper: Same thing as Chronosync, really, just a different piece of software.
Rsync: To be honest, this is the one that interests me the most. I need to look into it a bit more I'm starting to think this might be a great choice for me. With some caveats.
Basically, here are the things I'm going to use it for:
- Two 3–4 TB HDDs or RAID0 arrays.
- Storing of general project archives, images, documents, movies, music, that kind of thing.
- Possibly for system backup with Time Machine.
Now, how I'd prefer it to work is:
- I keep both hard drives plugged in via FireWire cables.
- Ideally, whenever I edit, add or delete a file on one hard drive the change is immediately made to the other.
- Once the syncing is set up I never touch it again, don't have to.
- The only time I ever have to come back to it is if I'm swapping out one or both of the drives for larger ones.
- All of this is controlled by some sort of GUI
I'm willing to accept terminal commands if I have to... But I'd really prefer not to. Also, if the syncing has to be done every hour or once a day or some other similar schedule I'm willing to accept that as well, though it's not preferred.
So that's what I'm looking at doing. I'd love to hear what you guys think.
The best way to protect your data is to back it up using multiple Different methods. That way a flaw in one methodology should not affect the others.
SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner are good choices for creating a full bootable clone. They can also be used to backup to a networked file system (not bootable, but still a copy of your data).
Time Machine is good for backing up your data on an hourly basis.
If you have an off-site storage area (at least for critical data) that is also a very good idea as that protects against theft, fire, floods, huricanes, tornados, etc...
If you are interested in rsync, then look more closely at Carbon Copy Cloner. It actually uses rsync, and if you want to roll your own rsync, then at least get the copy of rsync inside of CCC, as it is the most Mac compatible up-to-date rsync.
As for storage, as long as you have "Backup in Depth", then any collection of external disks is fine. I've got Drobos, iomega, G-Drive, and a bunch of misc generic drive enclosures with commodity disks inside. It is the "Backup in Depth" that counts, more than what you use as storage devices.