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Bulletproof backups for your Mac - Page 2

post #41 of 63

Strange omission in this review.  Many Mac and iOS users do most of their file creation in one or more of Pages, Keynote, and Numbers.  Files made in such programs are incrementally added to, thus, to save the last few minutes (not to mention hours) of work, the backup must be almost continuous.

 

Backup is built-in for those apps, is continuous, and file changes are so fast and automatic I can't even see them happening.  If you have a single computer and it breaks, files can be accessed from any browser on any computer.  It's even simpler and more secure if you have more than one Apple device, say a Mac desktop at work and a laptop for home and travel,  or a Mac and an iPad, or even an iPhone.  You can literally have your whole computer run over by a truck, go home and pick up your iPad, and just continue editing from where you left off, probably with no data loss whatsoever. Generally, there is a copy on the device you are using, another copy in iCloud, and when other devices are turned on, copies on them as well.  Very secure, extremely fast, almost continuous backups, no conscious effort whatsoever.  (Being able to continue work from any device has lots of other workflow and convenience advantages as well.)

 

Of course this doesn't cover all cases (files created by other programs, restoring an entire disk including directory structure and apps, etc).  But for many or most computer users, these productivity apps are the most important case to cover well, and I believe backup of these files works better than any of the solutions described in the article.  

 

Personally, I use the above and Time Machine, with occasional home-work cross backups.  It is way simpler and more secure for my needs that this review's solutions.

post #42 of 63

A lot of people here have better backups than me, I just use a single Time Capsule.

 

BTW there is a trick on Mavericks that lets you store anything you want in iCloud - just drop a file in to ~/Library/Mobile Documents and your Mac will sync it up to iCloud in the background.

 

It's not even that much of a hack - when you go to this folder, Finder changes the window title bar from "~/Library/Mobile Documents" to "iCloud" and when you delete things from here it warns you that you are in fact removing them from the cloud.

 

 

Everyone gets a free 5GB of iCloud so that might be enough for some people's off site needs.


Edited by ascii - 1/1/14 at 10:42pm
post #43 of 63
Hi,
Yes, the winner is CarbonCopyCloner - it's a productivity saver. I have to deal with all kinds of clients, all in common: minimize downtime. Here's my usual setup:

MacMiniServer 3 external drive (USB 3 mostly)
#1 mirror of the startup drive, each night with CarbonCopyCloer
#2 drive 2x size of the startup drive for TimeMachine, backups everything
#3 for the backup journal file of my databases

Frankly, that's not enough. Recently I'm using Synology's "Rackstation R812 ", 12 TB with a RAID setup, 1 drive can fail and I can attach an expansion unit with 16 TB (12 TB net), you can't beat the price with any backups Apple offers. It works as a TimeMaschine and I can use it as my (customers) cloud service (Mac, Windows, iPhone, Android). Try to get a 5 TB account from DropBox & Co.
Important Macs do a TimeMachine backup to 3 different TimeMachine servers. I have also a setup for a remote backup, using CarbonCopyCloner's remote sync. Works like a charm.

Then I started testing good old Retrospect again. It seems to work again - but it has a bug when backing up to NAS drives, it is not possible to limit the size (like: max 2 TB) on a NAS, the backup fails in the second run, sometimes it has problems to mount the NAS, once this is fixed, it will look a lot better.

I've tried several cloud based backup systems, all mentioned here in the comments, they all failed. Beside that it is slow (depends on your upload speed) and they have a problem with deeply nested path names from a Mac drive and if the backup is > 1TB. Best thing I can say is, I got all the paid fees back.
post #44 of 63

As many others here I prefer CrashPlan. I was a user of Backblaze for a year or two and then switched to CrashPlan and been using it for more than a year, so I know of both services. Both are good and worth the cost, but CrashPlan has more useful features and more generous storage. When I was using Backblaze if you removed a backed up external drive and not connecting it for a period of time (30 or 60 days) then Backblaze deleted the backup while CrashPlan saves the backup forever (as long as you are a paying customer that is).

 

Also, and this is the best feature, CrashPlan also makes lokal backups, backups over the LAN or even to friends over the net. After several corrupted and lost Time Machine archives I switched to CrashPlan for my lokal backup as well. Works very well. CrashPlan also has good access to all files through web and iOS app. And there's advanced options for those who want to customize the encryptions of backups for better security.

 

All in all I think CrashPlan is at least worth mentioning in an article like this one and personally I recommend it over Backblaze.

post #45 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by tflanders View Post

Time Machine information is incorrect. Local Time Machine backups include a recovery volume and are bootable.

Some people like to claim that because it is a recovery volume it isn't "bootable enough". However, using a "fully bootable" clone as a backup means that, should you need to use it, you will be using your backup instead of backing up to it. You will have to make a new backup at some point regardless. Plus, most machines are notebooks these days and using an external clone as a boot volume really isn't practical because it eliminates your mobility.

To restore most Macs to a fully functional system will take the same amount of time with Time Machine as with a bootable clone, but you lose all the benefits of Time Machine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tflanders View Post

Time Machine information is incorrect. Local Time Machine backups include a recovery volume and are bootable.

Some people like to claim that because it is a recovery volume it isn't "bootable enough". However, using a "fully bootable" clone as a backup means that, should you need to use it, you will be using your backup instead of backing up to it. You will have to make a new backup at some point regardless. Plus, most machines are notebooks these days and using an external clone as a boot volume really isn't practical because it eliminates your mobility.

To restore most Macs to a fully functional system will take the same amount of time with Time Machine as with a bootable clone, but you lose all the benefits of Time Machine.
Agree with this post. Don't agree with article much. Time machine is still the best backup option because it's up to the minute as best as possible. In my experience when HDs fail you always need the latest files you were working on restored the most. CCC doesn't accomplish this. Best backup option is to use an external USB HD bigger than your internal HD. Use disc utility to partition the external HD into 2. Make one partition about 25 gigs or so and the rest of the space for the second partition. On the small 25 gig partition install Mac OS X so it's a bootable partition, and put a standalone Mac OS X installer file on the partition. Use the big partition as your time machine backup. When your internal HD fails you can boot up off the small emergency partition on the external HD, repair your internal HD if possible, reinstall OS X on the internal HD if needed and then restore all files to your internal HD from the time machine backup. Easy peasy. Has saved me many times. If you use iLife and iWork software, as you should, files are auto saved and/or backed up to the internal HD and the cloud automatically by the minute, this has also saved me a few times. Time machine rocks. With the newer macs that have an SD card slot I have started using a 32 gig SD card as my emergency OSX boot disc rather than partitioning the external time machine HD. This also works well.
post #46 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by knowitall View Post


Note that offsite storage is almost never necessary. A hard disk usually survives a fire or being submerged in water (for a longtime).

Yeah, and no hard disk is ever stolen either!

 

Actually, there are plenty of reasons to use offsite backup. Besides protecting the data in case of theft it also gives a nice availability of all files. The CrashPlan iOS app has saved my day more then once when I needed a file that was on my computer but I only had my phone with me.

 

Also, the offsite backup usually run continuously even if you are away from home. So I get my latest changed saved even while I'm on the train or hotel wifi while I travel.

post #47 of 63
I would add one more dimension to this well written article:

Sharing offsite backups with a trusted person (cousin, sibling, etc.). My brother and I have decent internet speed, so we use Transporter (http://www.filetransporter.com/) for him to back up to my house (we live in different states), and me to back up to his. We each bought a Transporter and 500GB hard drive, and for no additional fees we can backup offsite to each other on a regular basis.

The upside is that I have all my critical data files backed up to a trusted source hundreds of miles away, so that if I ever have a disaster strike, there is a very low likelihood that my remote backup is lost.

The main downside is that if I ever do need that data back, he has to ship me the hard drive back, but the hope is that we never have a major disaster, right?

So, we do this in ADDITION to the other backup methods you listed, not INSTEAD of.
post #48 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by ayresm View Post

I use CrashPlan and think it is fantastic and great value for money. Surprised it isn't mentioned here.

Agree. It is worth your money to buy CrashPlan+ and have access to features like multiple backup sets (e.g. only a local convenience backup for stuff I could restore otherwise and local & off site for more vulnerable material), more fine-grained time options, etc.

 

I have a setup with a Mac OS X Server that has CP+ installed. I backup to a friend, he backs up to me. That gives us both a free off site backup. A few more friends/family are backing up to me. It is available for multiple platforms (Mac, Windows) which means it is much easier to make deals with friends and family to do peer-to-peer backup. Of course, the backups are encrypted (even the local ones), so it is has the basic security you need.

 

Inside my network, the computers all have 'mobile'  accounts, which means that the accounts are synchronised with the server. So, every 20 minutes or so, the logged in user's stuff is backed up to Mac OS X server using Portable Home Directory synchronisation (HomeSync/FileSyncAgent). Then every hour or so, CP+ backs this up from the server locally and off-site. This way, every user in our home can take any available computer and just work on it and have his/her own files available.

 

CP is very good at data de-duplication in my experience, so, a minimum of storage/bandwidth is consumed. It is also ver solid. It is absolutely the best solution I have come across so far. There are two main disadvantages for me:

• First: with very large sets (as I have) CP is written in java and may use quite a  bit of memory. There are ways to minimise this, the best one (running CP as a 32bit program) is not officially supported, but it does work. You can limit CP's memory use in settings (e.g. max it out on 512MB) but if it hits that limit, some actions (like purging old versions, compacting, etc. all stuff it does automatically) may end up never completing because it runs against its set memory maximum. I upgraded my OS X Server system's memory to make sure I could rive CP enough memory to work with. So,if you have really large sets: make sure you have plenty of memory for CP to work with.

• Second: Code42 is very slow at implementing new features. Now, I understand that something important as backup software must be rigorously designed, developed and tested, but even taking that into account they are slow. This holds for instance for one very important  missing feature: the ability to search for (space wasting or otherwise undesirable) entries in your backup and purge them. This has been on the wish list of users for a very long time and when after years and years it got to the to do list, still 4 years have passed and it hasn't been implemented yet. The result is too much storage required for your backup and no option to fully remove data from your setup other than changing your backup set and losing everything that has been deleted from your system. 

 

The internal setup with multiple systems (desktops, laptops) HomeSyncing to the server (Apple's HomeSync/FileSync) is not very robust. Apple has set this up in the past, but the system is flakey and not really on Apple's maintenance/improvement radar it seems. The new 'versioning' system that Apple has introduced seems sometimes to trip up FileSync. Server-side file tracking is still possible, but seems not to be supported anymore. Without it, syncing of a large home directory may take forever. Since Lion, it is even capable of locking you completely out of your system, when the syncing throws up a panel and your screen saver with screen lock kicks in. The panel behind the screen server still has focus, so you cannot unlock your screen. Remote login or a hard reboot is then your only option. And Apple's new ideas on keeping devices in sync  mean that you can have two conflicting syncing options running in parallel. E.g. use iCloud for Safari syncing and the HomeSync should be aware that it should not sync that too, but HomeSync exclusion rules and mechanism are completely unaware. So, I have changed the HomeSync setup form the standard opt-out setup to an opt-in, and now it works again properly at the cost of not syncing preferences etc. across OS X machines.

 

Back to CP: great solution: robust, reliable. But I really, really would like them to finally delver the searching/pruning feature.

post #49 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post
 

I see a few people recommending CrashPlan. We have the Pro version at work. But I find that my Mac slows to a crawl whenever it's on in the background. I often just turn it off. Have others experienced it? More generally, is such slowing down an issue to be worried about, vis-a-vis online backup services?

See my other post: CP can be a memory hog when your backup set is large. Your Mac crawls to a halt if it dies swapping memory in/out and that may happen. Have a look with Activity Monitor when that happens.

 

You can limit CP's memory by running it (unsupported, but it works) as a 32bit program. You can limit also its memory claim, but though your system will still run, CP itself may crawl to a halt and concurrently use so much CPU (because java is busy swapping memory itself) that your system slows as well.

 

On my system, it was a combination of CP and iTunes (which, when run for a long time consumed a lot of memory, more than 1GB real memory). I decided to upgrade the memory in my system and give CP free range again, and it works like a charm.

post #50 of 63

I don't know about CCC but SuperDuper! doesn't require the destination drive be the same size or larger than the drive you are copying. It only requires that there be enough space to hold the data. In other words, it you are cloning a 1TB drive that contains only 300GB of data, SuperDuper! will let you clone the drive to a 500GB external.

 

I see others have mentioned CrashPlan and it is a great service. I think it is important to note a couple of things. For an extra fee, CrashPlan will mail you an external drive so you can do your initial backup locally and then send it to them (some other services do this too). This is very helpful if you are just starting the backup and you have a lot of data. Also, you can use CrashPlan completely free by using a friend's computer in another location as a server. This way a couple of people could have offsite backup without charge by backing up to each other's systems.

 

Finally, I would also recommend looking at Arq 3 and Amazon Glacier. While Glacier is slow it is also very cheap and probably the most reliable of the services.

 

Finally, while having a clone of your main drive is nice, I think everyone using a Mac should have a Time Machine backup. The problem with a clone is it will be out of date depending on when you last did the clone and how much things have changed since then. It will then be up to the user to restore the clone and get it up to date using whatever other services the user has in place.

 

I would go so far to stay the only time a cloned drive approach is better than Time Machine is if you find yourself in a situation where your boot drive has failed and for some reason you are in a rush to get your system back and in a usable state. Even here, because the clone could be somewhat out of date, it might not immediately get you up and running.

 

I combine the two by getting an external drive large enough and creating 2 partitions, one for Time Machine and one for a bootable clone.

 

-kpluck

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post #51 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


tflanders already made a wise post, in that Time Machine backups already include a recovery volume that are bootable.

 

What the article means by "bootable backup" is this:

 

Format a new secondary hard drive so it contains no OS, no data.

Set Time Machine to back up to this new empty drive.

After Time Machine backup is completed, try to boot directly from that drive.

post #52 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterInWiesbade View Post

Hi,
Yes, the winner is CarbonCopyCloner - it's a productivity saver. I have to deal with all kinds of clients, all in common: minimize downtime. Here's my usual setup:

MacMiniServer 3 external drive (USB 3 mostly)
#1 mirror of the startup drive, each night with CarbonCopyCloer
#2 drive 2x size of the startup drive for TimeMachine, backups everything
#3 for the backup journal file of my databases

Frankly, that's not enough. Recently I'm using Synology's "Rackstation R812 ", 12 TB with a RAID setup, 1 drive can fail and I can attach an expansion unit with 16 TB (12 TB net), you can't beat the price with any backups Apple offers. It works as a TimeMaschine and I can use it as my (customers) cloud service (Mac, Windows, iPhone, Android). Try to get a 5 TB account from DropBox & Co.
Important Macs do a TimeMachine backup to 3 different TimeMachine servers. I have also a setup for a remote backup, using CarbonCopyCloner's remote sync. Works like a charm.

Then I started testing good old Retrospect again. It seems to work again - but it has a bug when backing up to NAS drives, it is not possible to limit the size (like: max 2 TB) on a NAS, the backup fails in the second run, sometimes it has problems to mount the NAS, once this is fixed, it will look a lot better.

I've tried several cloud based backup systems, all mentioned here in the comments, they all failed. Beside that it is slow (depends on your upload speed) and they have a problem with deeply nested path names from a Mac drive and if the backup is > 1TB. Best thing I can say is, I got all the paid fees back.

Are you syncing time machine backups to your Synology NAS (wirelessly or wired via the LAN) or using Synology's backup software?  I have an older Rackstation RS409 I believe and I haven't tried the time machine backups yet, via wireless, with my laptops.  

 

I have done the Synology sync between this Rackstation and a cubestation I have in my office. This way my work backup gets sent to my house and vice versa.  Not sure if it will copy a time machine backup volume to another synology. Have to check that out. Although, maybe I can just do a time machine backup over the wire to my office synology via VPN. Hmmmm

 

 

post #53 of 63

There is one backup item for which  I am still trying to find an elegant/automated solution. This is backups for VMware Fusion.  You will eat up you space on time machine, if you use that to back up. Also believe the backup file of the VM container may not be either fully complete or possibly corrupted. 

 

I thought the best way to backup is to have to physically shutdown (not suspend) the VM and then backup the entire file. However, I haven't seen an automated way to accomplish. Any suggestions? 

post #54 of 63
Although I appreciate the article, I find it odd that, considering the fist image shows a broken and cracked hard drive, AppleInsider doesn't not mention external drive selection at all.
What is the expected life of an external drive? Even internal drive?
Are flash external drives less prone to the breakage shown in the image?
How does flash drive/memory compare in length of life to regular external flash? Expected pricing on flash external drives? I would have liked this to be included in the article.
post #55 of 63
Like Huddler, I give the article at "C+" grade for effort. Keep doing your homework, boys. Someday, maybe you can run with the big boy sites.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #56 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Like Huddler, I give the article at "C+" grade for effort. Keep doing your homework, boys. Someday, maybe you can run with the big boy sites.

Sad huh, these Huddler guys. Looking at their website you'd almost say they actuality have a product that some companies enjoy having. Can't say that about its end-users though. Oh well.

Huddler. Here today, gone tomorrow.
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post #57 of 63

GCTWNL,

 

Instead of using Apple's HomeSync/FileSync... why don't you just use something like Dropbox to sync all your data to your Server?

 

That way, since your Server is already being backed up, all your important data from your "mobile" computers will automatically be included in your existing process.

post #58 of 63
I personally have been using automatic nightly SuperDuper! backups for years, along with Time Machine hourly incremental backups, and it has worked perfectly for me. When a SuperDuper! automatic backup fails for any reason, it highlights in red, and I run Disk Warrior on it to check it out and fix it, if it's a simple corruption issue. If it's a hardware issue, I have the Time Machine backup to protect me while I replace the failing drive.

I especially like the bootable nature of the SuperDuper! backup to continue working if the internal drive fails. And if an iWork app automatically backing up to iCloud was in use when the hardware failure occurred, I've lost nothing.

Businesses certainly need a more comprehensive setup for mission critical data, but my $30 (SuperDuper!) + external HD cost has worked perfectly for me over the years.

- Dave Marsh
iMac Intel 27" 3.4GHz, iPad Air 64GB, iPhone 5 32GB

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- Dave Marsh
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post #59 of 63
There are lots of descent backup tools out there but the most seamless local backup solution I've seen is Time Machine. You can then either manually do additional backups of your data or use something like crash plan to get what you need.

Personally I don't care about keeping every bit or byte I have on my computer so I run Time Machine for a full restore option. Not only can you do a fresh install & then restore from Time Machine but you can also use a tool like CCC & restore just the "latest" backup from the sparseimage that is your TM backup.

I use a combination of Flickr & iCloud to backup my really important data that I can never loose. Flickr gives you 1TB free and you can export your photos straight to it from Aperture or iPhoto.
post #60 of 63
People should be careful to understand that *backup* and *sync* are very different. Sync is convenient but it's worse than backup if you accidentally delete a file or it becomes corrupt - instantly all the other copies are too!

For syncing files out, Dropbox requires that the files be stored in the Dropbox folder. We prefer SugarSync because you can designate folders to sync, so you can keep the folder structure on your computer in tact.

I've used a lot of backup software over the years, and CrashPlan is excellent. We use it for online backup of the *data* in our web design studio.

Thanks for the useful article AI.

Mark, Project Director-Owner, Sund Co
post #61 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by marksund View Post

People should be careful to understand that *backup* and *sync* are very different. Sync is convenient but it's worse than backup if you accidentally delete a file or it becomes corrupt - instantly all the other copies are too!

For syncing files out, Dropbox requires that the files be stored in the Dropbox folder. We prefer SugarSync because you can designate folders to sync, so you can keep the folder structure on your computer in tact.

I've used a lot of backup software over the years, and CrashPlan is excellent. We use it for online backup of the *data* in our web design studio.

Thanks for the useful article AI.

Mark, Project Director-Owner, Sund Co

Good point. And welcome to the forum.
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post #62 of 63

marksund - what's the disadvantage of using a Sync type process as part of your backup plan? For instance, if you have Dropbox and their Rat Pack option (which allows you to go back and retrieve a prior file that may have been corrupted or deleted) and you also maintain a local backup process (like Time Machine which also maintains prior version).


Edited by Rich364 - 1/5/14 at 4:29am
post #63 of 63
Quote:

Originally Posted by imt1 View Post

 

Are you syncing time machine backups to your Synology NAS (wirelessly or wired via the LAN) or using Synology's backup software?  I have an older Rackstation RS409 I believe and I haven't tried the time machine backups yet, via wireless, with my laptops. 

 

Have the folks at Synology ever gotten around to adding HFS+ support over USB?  :rolleyes:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kpluck View Post
 

Finally, I would also recommend looking at Arq 3 and Amazon Glacier. While Glacier is slow it is also very cheap and probably the most reliable of the services.

 

"Slow" is an understatement.  We've taken to calling it Amazon Glacier.  ;)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kpluck View Post
 

Finally, while having a clone of your main drive is nice, I think everyone using a Mac should have a Time Machine backup. The problem with a clone is it will be out of date depending on when you last did the clone and how much things have changed since then. It will then be up to the user to restore the clone and get it up to date using whatever other services the user has in place.

 

I would go so far to stay the only time a cloned drive approach is better than Time Machine is if you find yourself in a situation where your boot drive has failed and for some reason you are in a rush to get your system back and in a usable state. Even here, because the clone could be somewhat out of date, it might not immediately get you up and running.

 

In addition to being bootable now, a cloned drive also allows you to back out a problematic OS or application upgrade (provided you cloned the drive before you started).

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

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