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Author Topic: Performance & Backup Strategy  (Read 2596 times)


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Performance & Backup Strategy
« on: July 12, 2008, 10:16:06 AM »

I purchased a MBP last October. I love this machine. I also have 2 External HDs that I use for primary (working) disk for my images and a boot partition and the other External HD for a backup copy of all images from the 1st External HD. I am considering making some changes/upgrades and would like some opinions. I am not going to discuss specific products as I would like to keep the discussion to the approach and not brand.

Main Purpose/Uses are for Digital Photography. I use Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom. These are the two main applications. I also run Parallels (usually when I am not doing my digital Photography work) to run MS Office apps.

Currently this is my setup:

MacBook Pro 15” 2.4 GHz, 2GB RAM (667), 160GB 7200 HD
•   This internal drive is used for OS and Applications
•   The Lightroom Catalog is also on the internal HD – /Users/myname/Pictures/Lightroom
•   The CS3 Scratch Disk is also located on the internal drive

2 External HD – 500GB ; Western Digital My Book Pro (USB, FW400 & 800) Both connected via FW800. The second daisy chained to the first
•   The first drive is partitioned into Two MAC OS Extended Partitions consising of a Boot Clone (150GB/80GB available) – as a backup of local documents (office, email, etc) that reside on my MBP internal drive and in case I need to boot from other than the internal drive. The other partition is for Storage (315GB/154GB available).  This partition is where I keep all of my images (RAW, JPG, PSD, etc). This is the critical data.
•   The second drive is a single partition also MAC OS Extended (465GB/304 Available). This single partition is a copy of the Storage partition from the 1st External Hard drive – another copy of my images.

I use SuperDuper to 1) refresh the Boot partition from my internal drive each night, 2) copy my data partition from External HD 1 to External HD2 each night.

I am considering the following changes. My goals are 1) Better performance specifically for CS3 and Lightroom (as well as in general) and 2) more robust backup protection.

•   Upgrade to 4GB of RAM from 2GB
•   Add another drive that will become my Primary Data Drive that contains all of my images and that I work from. Takes the place of the current 1st Drive that has the 2 partitions. I am considering 1 TB ; Raid 0; eSATA via card on my MBP. I will Partition this new drive in to 2 Partitions - 1) CS3 Scratch Disk
and 2) Primary Data Storage and working disk for all of my images
•   The Current 1st 500GB External Drive will remain the same – boot partition and data partition. But, this drive now becomes on-site backup of the Primary storage from the new drive above as well as the Boot partition. Thus I now have my primary storage on eSATA Raid 0.
•   The Current 2nd 500GB External Drive will be reformatted and partitioned to look just like the current 1st 500GB External Drive and will also contain a boot partition and a 2nd partition for my data. However, this drive will be refreshed every week and then taken offsite for safety and protection.

How does this sound?
Any major issues? Any “gotchas?”
How big should the CS3 Scratch Disk partition be?
Will I gain better performance?
Is this a better backup strategy now that I incorporate offsite refresh once per week?

Thanks so much for you input in advance. I really do appreciate it.


Ken Bennett

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Performance & Backup Strategy
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2008, 11:45:33 AM »

Well, the additional RAM will be a big performance boost, so that's a good idea.

My first thought when you described what you do right now is that it's too complicated, and too prone to environmental failure (flood, fire, theft.) Your new plan makes much more sense -- keeping the second (now third) drive off-site, and backing it up every few days is a very good idea.

In my experience, it is MUCH easier to back up whole drives onto other whole drives, rather than having different partitions and drives for different kinds of files. Again, good idea.

I have a Mac tower at my studio, along with a server which houses my entire RAW file collection. I back up the server onto external hard drives, which I keep at home. (That server is also backed up to our tape silo downtown, but that's an advantage of a staff job that is usually unavailable to independent photographers.) There have been several occasions when I was glad to have the off-site backup available.

Good luck.
Equipment: a camera and some lenses. Images: Work photos. Personal photos.
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