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Author Topic: A simple, safe backup system  (Read 1139 times)

RMW

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A simple, safe backup system
« on: March 06, 2017, 04:01:37 PM »

Hello All.
I know there's a lot of ways to store and safeguard files. What I'm looking for is a very simple approach. I use an iMac, with it's auto backup system to an external hard-drive. Recently I started using Apple's iCloud also- as a redundant system. This morning a tech person at Apple told me I was making a mistake because the files could go to the cloud before they got onto the external HD. Now I'm confused and don't know how best to proceed.
Right now I have about one terabyte of info to safeguard.
Any guidance will be greatly appreciated.
Richard
richardwallerphotos.com
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Joe Towner

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Re: A simple, safe backup system
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2017, 08:32:53 PM »

Step 1 (done) - purchase an external usb3 hard drive, anything 2tb or larger is fine.  Plug it into your Mac, format it for mac and set Time Machine to backup there
Step 2 - go to http://backblaze.com or http://carbonite.com or http://crashplan.com and sign up for one.
Step 3 - figure out if iCloud Drive is really what you want

If you use Lightroom, you should be fine, but if you do edits in Photoshop, you  may want to exclude the base of your photos directory from iCloud drive.
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BobShaw

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Re: A simple, safe backup system
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2017, 09:44:49 PM »

Just use Time Machine with multiple external drives.
Change them every day, week, month or whatever.
The Time Machine preferences will use all the ones connected alternatively.
However don't have them all connected at once or a single power surge can take out the lot.
Ideally have one drive that is not too old stored elsewhere.
You do not need anything other than Time Machine.
Cloud for most people is impractical because each Terabyte takes over a month to restore.

My system has all of my data on a Mac Mini server and it backups up every night at 1AM.
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bassman51

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Re: A simple, safe backup system
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2017, 10:01:56 PM »

IMHO, you need two systems: onsite using Time Machine, and offsite using one of the cloud services mentioned above (I use CrashPlan).   You need both because your house may burn and you'll loose any backups that are there, and the cloud vender may screw up so you need the local copy.  Also, it is correct that it takes a long time (relatively) to both initially backup and then restore from the cloud, so the onsite backup is the one you hope to be able to use.  Finally, you need two different systems running different software and hardware to avoid a common problem taking out both at the same time. 

I have about 3.2TB at CrashPlan, including 1.3TB in LR.  I recently lost my primary LR storage and my Time Machine backup (hardware failure on the first, user error on the second).  CrashPlan restored the 1.3TB in under a week.   As it turned out, I was away for most of the week so I just let it run.  If I had been home and needed access, I would have restored the files in the order I needed them, and had (for instance) all of 2016 back in a day or so.   
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Ken Bennett

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Re: A simple, safe backup system
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2017, 08:14:22 AM »

+1 on using multiple Time Machine drives. I keep one at my office and one attached to the computer, swapping out every couple of weeks. I suppose if I were really concerned I would keep three copies, maybe one in a safe deposit box.
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JayWPage

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Re: A simple, safe backup system
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2017, 12:11:33 PM »

Time Machine is fine and dandy for incremental hourly backups but it shouldn't be relied on to be your only backup. A few years ago I had a situation where the Time Machine backup had become unreadable (possibly because of bad sectors on the hard drive?), anyway I had to start over with TM on a different drive.

I have 3 external hard drives and use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone my main drive onto them at regular intervals, approximately every week and sometimes more frequently if I am working on something important. One of the copies is always stored in another location. The external drives should have a decent capacity, maybe a TB more than the drive being backed up. Also do some homework and research the drives before you buy them. There are big differences in reliability between manufacturers and between models. Enterprise level drives in solid enclosures are, in general more reliable than consumer grade drives where the emphasis is on portability and style.
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BobShaw

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Re: A simple, safe backup system
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2017, 09:10:03 PM »

Time Machine is fine and dandy for incremental hourly backups but it shouldn't be relied on to be your only backup. A few years ago I had a situation where the Time Machine backup had become unreadable (possibly because of bad sectors on the hard drive?), anyway I had to start over with TM on a different drive.
That was not a problem with Time Machine. That is a system problem. You should always have multiple hard drives as they all fail.

I have never been unable to restore a computer in ten years of using TimeMachine alone. Cloning is not backup as you usually can not rebuild a new computer from it. In most cases that means a loss of operating system, users, applications, passwords, serial numbers etc which can be weeks of work. TimeMachine will rebuild everything on whatever OS and hardware you happen to be using.
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JayWPage

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Re: A simple, safe backup system
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2017, 12:43:38 AM »

Cloning is not backup as you usually can not rebuild a new computer from it. In most cases that means a loss of operating system, users, applications, passwords, serial numbers etc which can be weeks of work. TimeMachine will rebuild everything on whatever OS and hardware you happen to be using.

The clones made using Carbon Copy Cloner can be used to cold book your computer, (on a Mac you hold down the [Option key] to chose which drive to boot from). I test this aspect of the clone I make occasionally. It's a useful feature when upgrading operating systems because you can switch back to the previous operating system if you please, or perhaps you may have software that won't run under a new operating system (a problem that some have had with Sierra), you can re-boot and run the old version under the previous operating system on the clone. Admittedly, sometimes jumping back and forth between drives doesn't always allow you run some software which is able to restrict the operating license to one drive. But the clone does give you a source that you can copy the software back to the licensed drive, (or you can run them on the clone if you re-enter the registration key)

You can also at any time, access any or all of the data, nothing is encrypted so I am able to access the data on the clone with other computers. In fact, I think that you could even access the data on the clone from a Windows computer if your drives were formatted to FAT32.

This is seems pretty versatile to me. I don't see how this would NOT be considered a backup in every sense of the word, or how would it NOT make it easy to "rebuild a new Computer"? I'm not questioning the value of the Time Machine, I run TM myself, it allows you to access previous versions of your data, while a clone is a "snapshot in time". But the TM is not the the only answer to backing up your data. If you develop bad sectors on the drive you are running the TM on, you may lose the entire backup, while on a clone you would be limited to losing the file(s) written to those sectors. So, you make multiple clones and store them in multiple places, etc, etc.

Here is an article goes into the pros and cons of TM vs Clones: http://pondini.org/TM/Clones.html

Neither the Time Machine nor clones are the complete answer to backup security by themselves, I think it's best to do both.



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Joe Towner

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Re: A simple, safe backup system
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2017, 02:26:55 PM »

Depending on how used, cloning absolutely can be a bootable replacement for a computer.  Acronis TrueImage or SuperDuper!, depending on the platform, are my go to tools for swapping standard hard drives to SSDs.

Now if you only clone your photography directory, then yes, you still need to reinstall your system, but the advantage of a Clone compared to a backup is that a backup needs the software loaded to be able to restore it, where as a Clone just needs a SATA to USB3 adapter and a computer.

If downloading your backup is too long, most vendors will ship you a drive with your data.
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BobShaw

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Re: A simple, safe backup system
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2017, 04:57:18 PM »

A lot of people seem to be hung up on having something "bootable". That is a huge thing with Windows I know from experience.
My response is that everyone should have at least one Mac operating system on a thumb drive. I have the last three OS. You can then use the OPT key at startup and boot from them. However I hardly ever use them. You should also do trial restore on a separate hard drive. Then you can plug that in.

I have a 2008 iMac with a dead internal drive that is permanently run from an external drive that I restored from a Time Machine backup. The 2008, 2010 and 2013 Macs are all running the same OS (El Capitan) but they could be running vastly different ones. They are however exactly the same computers to use. They have the same users, same applications, etc because as I bought a new computer I simply migrated everything from them.

Obviously the data is the prime consideration, but if your computer dies, as a photographer you are pretty much out of business. I can go down to the Apple shop, walk out with the latest machine with different hardware and different OS and be completely operating with every app and user running in half a day with no user intervention. That me is the proof of a backup.
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