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Continuous Backing up of External Drives - best setup?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hardware:

1) 2.8GHz i7 iMac 2009, running fully updated OS X 10.6.7.
2) Drive A - 4TB Data Tale External Drive - 2TB + 2TB in RAID 1 for 2TB capacity
3) Drive B - 4TB Duo Pro External Drive - 2TB + 2TB in RAID 1 for 2TB capacity

I use Drive A as a music server on which I store all my music files organized by iTunes (10.2.2 fully updated), while the iTunes library file is on the iMac. Any music files I add, goes immediately to this drive.

I have had a different 4TB drive organized in RAID 1 have a near failure of the controller, so now I'm paranoid about losing my files to a similar mishap. I copied the files onto a new drive A, which I've been running the past few weeks, but I have also purchased Drive B to act as a backup to Drive A.

Here's a complication: I add music files and also remove music files virtually every day. Therefore, I would like something which automatically (on perhaps an hourly basis?) backs up any changes made on drive A to sync with the backup files on drive B, so that drive B is always a current copy of drive A. Since both drives are live and permanently connected to the iMac, I'd like any such syncing to happen automatically and in the background, without my having to take any action. I can use either USB or FW800. And keeping in mind that both drives are individually in a RAID1 configuration.

What is the best protocol to set up this? Do I need to use any particular application to do this?

Option I looked at: disk utility RAID1 between drive A and B. I'm worried about the reliability of a software RAID, and the fact that both A and B are internally RAID1 in turn - isn't that going to be a problem? Doesn't sound very reliable, but I don't know. Someone mentioned to me SuperDuper Smart Update, but I don't know anything about that - would that work? TIA!
post #2 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by FineWine View Post

Hardware:

1) 2.8GHz i7 iMac 2009, running fully updated OS X 10.6.7.
2) Drive A - 4TB Data Tale External Drive - 2TB + 2TB in RAID 1 for 2TB capacity
3) Drive B - 4TB Duo Pro External Drive - 2TB + 2TB in RAID 1 for 2TB capacity

I use Drive A as a music server on which I store all my music files organized by iTunes (10.2.2 fully updated), while the iTunes library file is on the iMac. Any music files I add, goes immediately to this drive.

I have had a different 4TB drive organized in RAID 1 have a near failure of the controller, so now I'm paranoid about losing my files to a similar mishap. I copied the files onto a new drive A, which I've been running the past few weeks, but I have also purchased Drive B to act as a backup to Drive A.

Here's a complication: I add music files and also remove music files virtually every day. Therefore, I would like something which automatically (on perhaps an hourly basis?) backs up any changes made on drive A to sync with the backup files on drive B, so that drive B is always a current copy of drive A. Since both drives are live and permanently connected to the iMac, I'd like any such syncing to happen automatically and in the background, without my having to take any action. I can use either USB or FW800. And keeping in mind that both drives are individually in a RAID1 configuration.

What is the best protocol to set up this? Do I need to use any particular application to do this?

Option I looked at: disk utility RAID1 between drive A and B. I'm worried about the reliability of a software RAID, and the fact that both A and B are internally RAID1 in turn - isn't that going to be a problem? Doesn't sound very reliable, but I don't know. Someone mentioned to me SuperDuper Smart Update, but I don't know anything about that - would that work? TIA!

Hi there

How much data do you actually have? You sound like your confusing Raid with backup a bit. Anything which mirrors your existing Drive A will not help you if you mistakenly delete a file from that drive, it will just be deleted from your drive B as well.

My suggestion?
If you have less than 2 TB of actual data set up drive A as a Raid 1 setup so if one drive fails the other will take over. Use drive B with Raid 0 as a time-machine drive. this will give you a working space of 2TB on the drive A and a backup space of 4TB on drive B which will allow you to keep several copies of your files and recover if something gets deleted.

In addition since you are really concerned about backup and if you want an extra level of protection pick up a 2 T drive and once a month copy your entire library onto that one, disconnect it and put it somewhere safe. Next month delete it and make a fresh copy of your working drive.

If your actual data is between 2 and 4 TB use the same setup but with raid 0 on Drive A.

Good luck
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by themind View Post

Hi there

How much data do you actually have? You sound like your confusing Raid with backup a bit. Anything which mirrors your existing Drive A will not help you if you mistakenly delete a file from that drive, it will just be deleted from your drive B as well.

My suggestion?
If you have less than 2 TB of actual data set up drive A as a Raid 1 setup so if one drive fails the other will take over. Use drive B with Raid 0 as a time-machine drive. this will give you a working space of 2TB on the drive A and a backup space of 4TB on drive B which will allow you to keep several copies of your files and recover if something gets deleted.

In addition since you are really concerned about backup and if you want an extra level of protection pick up a 2 T drive and once a month copy your entire library onto that one, disconnect it and put it somewhere safe. Next month delete it and make a fresh copy of your working drive.

If your actual data is between 2 and 4 TB use the same setup but with raid 0 on Drive A.

Good luck

Thank you very much, themind. This sounds like a plan - I have about 900GB of data, but it is growing.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parttimer View Post

Ever considered a hot-swappable disk array like a Drobo set up? That much data requires a serious solution.

The monthly refreshed physically off-site storage of a complete and up-to-date backup set, as themind suggested, would be the perfect last ditch strategy, if executed by rotating two identical disks, reinforced by the physical distance between the off-site set's storage location and its mother system.
Keeping another incrementally updated backup set in "the cloud" would be ideal, but isn't a viable solution IRL at current standard broadband connection speeds and cloud storage rates: it's about a hundred times too expensive, and a thousand times too slow.


You are right, trouble is that I'm not fond of Drobos due to proprietary software. But what you say is true.
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