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Backup Solution #1
Mark Alderson's picture
by Mark Alderson
April 11, 2012 - 2:18am

Joseph,

While we are on the subject, what is a suggested backup solution for Macs?

I still have my Windows Home Server that runs and backs up my game machine every night. It used to back up all my Windows machines and those of me wife and kids flawlessly. But the kids are gone and the wife has a MacBook Pro, I use Super Duper to back up to separate drives, but I would really like an automated setup.

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
April 11, 2012 - 2:40am

Mark,

The beauty of the Mac is simplicity.

Here’s what I do:

Time Machine for local backup, and Backblaze for offsite (cloud) backup.

My main computer, with several TB of online storage, is backed up by Time Machine to a 4TB RAID that I only turn on once or twice a week (or after a big photo import) because it’s noisy and sucks power. This is my local, manual backup.

All other computers in the house back up on Time Machine to a Time Capsule, which is wireless. So they backup pretty much constantly.

ALL computers also backup to Backblaze. Yes it took ages to get my main system backed up, but I now have something like 4 or 5 TB of data in the cloud. And even after a big shoot, it only will take a couple of days to get that backed up as well. I do have a 10Mbit uplink, but still, even with slower it does work just fine. It just takes longer.

And that’s it, really.

Oh I do very rarely update my Vaults, which since I’m not managed that’s only updating the metadata. Honestly it’s not necessary, I just do it because I can.

@PhotoJoseph
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Luke Pingel's picture
by Luke Pingel
April 13, 2012 - 7:32pm

Mark - you can use a WHS server as your TimeMachine backup drive. I have a HP Home Server that I’ve used for several years (and which I have resisted upgrading) because the “DriveExtender” feature of WHS 2007 is so user-friendly. WHS will guide you through the set up process. YOu can find the instructions in the WHS Control Panel.

Luke

Butch Miller's picture
by Butch Miller
April 13, 2012 - 7:56pm

I use Time Machine (saved to an external FW800 drive) on my main work station with an hourly update schedule. Then, nightly I perform a scheduled backup using Carbon Copy Cloner … and another drive kept off site is updated weekly with an auto setting in CCC that it backs up automatically every time the drive is attached to the workstation … both of the latter drives are connected via a drive dock from OWC (combo USB/FW800/eSATA dock)

Why do I do both TM and cloned backups? … you can boot up a workstation from a cloned backup drive and continue working in a pinch … not so much with TM

All my image files reside on two four-bay trayless external FW800 towers … each have four 2TB drives … the first tower is working files, the second tower is the first backup, then I also keep four drives off-site that are backed up weekly, or after a large job, whichever comes first … again by using the “when mounted” backup preference in CCC …

I store the off-site drives in Weibetech Drive boxes (think old VCR containers fitted to 3.5” drives) and place them in a padded Pelican case for easy transport.

I only use a single backup clone for my laptop because any work accomplished on that is moved to the main workstation upon return to the office … and Time Machine is of little use when working outside the office so I don’t use it for the MBP.

I’m thinking about upgrading the bridgeboards in my external drive towers to eSATA when I upgrade to a Thunderbolt capable iMac since LaCie introduced the Thunderbolt eSATA hub last week ($200) … since there doesn’t seem to be readily available Thunderbolt bridgeboards … that should speed up throughput to the towers quite a bit …

gfsymon's picture
by gfsymon
April 14, 2012 - 8:03am

I have a very similar system to Butch, though some time ago, I switched to a wired backup over ethernet to a Mac Mini with connected drives, which lives in an armoured/fire-proof safe in the basement, I had to switch from CCC to Chronosync. CCC claims a bug in HFS+ handling (filename and permissions) makes backups over LAN fail, but Chronosync handles it fine. Both are excellent products though.

I use the same drive dock as Butch too. An old Mini is a much better solution for backups than a NAS for Mac users. Pick one up on eBay for little cash, but make sure it’s post PPC, because the earlier ones only had 10/100 ethernet (as fast as an ‘n’ wifi though! Remember too that gigabit wired on a clean network is as fast/faster than FW800.) The Mini can easily be run headless from any Mac running 10.5 or later, via built-in Screen Sharing. Hell … I even use my iPhone to manage the home network, via screen-sharing. The Mini also has excellent power management, produces very little heat and is almost silent. It handles the waking and sleeping of attached drives extremely well and all in all is a … well it’s a Mac. It’s what you’d expect.

We also have TimeMachine backups running. These run wireless to the Mini in the same safe in the basement, to 2 separate attached FW drives. If you’re paranoid, these could easily be mirrored in case of drive failure, but I personally would call that overkill.

TimeMachine is a total no-brainer for anyone running a Mac. It can just run in the background and you forget it. But the really neat thing with TimeMachine, is … say you accidentally delete a contact from your Contacts. With Contacts open, go back in time in TimeMachine, using Spotlight (in TimeMachine) to search for the contact, then just ‘restore’ that contact. It’s so well done. You don’t have to take your entire Contacts file back to that date. You restore just what you want. We run TimeMachine wirelessly to our headless Mini (which is also wired) but if you don’t have that setup and already have an Airport Extreme, then you can make it work with that, but it’s less straightforward. Multiple drives and power over usb being a problem. I’m not sure how the Time Capsule handles that.

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
April 14, 2012 - 5:42pm

gfsymon,

Sounds like a solid solution :)

I’m curious, for your drives in a fireproof safe, how do you a) run cabling in/out of the safe, and b) ventilate the safe? Seems to me that to be fireproof it has to be sealed, which wouldn’t permit either of these things. I’m curious!

thanks
-Joseph

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Thomas Emmerich's picture
by Thomas Emmerich
April 14, 2012 - 5:51pm

Joseph,

I’ve seen off the shelf fireproof hard drives such as this one: www.klsecurity.com/disaster_ready_drive_iosafe.htm

And here’s a roll your own article:
www.networkgarage.com/2005/10/fireproof_safe_backup_1.html

I haven’t tried either one.

Thomas

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
April 14, 2012 - 6:03pm

Thanks for the links Tom!

I had to dig into that ioSafe a little bit… there’s a great BBC video on the product here.

Too cool, never knew such things existed. Thanks!

-Joseph

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gfsymon's picture
by gfsymon
April 14, 2012 - 7:32pm

Joseph,

funnily enough, I started to describe how I get the cables in, in my last post, then I thought … shit this is getting really geeky … you need help. So I deleted that part. :) :)

Fireproof means a LOT of heat. There are two holes in the floor of the cabinet and I guess they are there to allow the release of pressure … and also to allow the release of pressure from flooding too. The floor of the inside of the cabinet is raised about 2cm off the floor of the room. The exterior goes all the way down to the floor, but I raised the hole thing on a couple of strips of wood, by about 1cm. So I can get a 13 amp mains cable (extension with plugs) in one of the holes and an ethernet in the other. Works fine.

Patrick Vijgeboom's picture
by Patrick Vijgeboom
April 17, 2012 - 11:36am

My solution is really simple. I have an disk called Archive to store my files such as applicaties en files for longterm storage. My iMac and Archive disk are back upped using TimeMachine. My most important files such as my photo’s, movies and documents are stored on a separate disk (the second backup) and save in a locker of the bank. Every month I change the disk with a updated version. So for the bank I have two disks for my most important files.

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
October 15, 2012 - 7:15pm

Grant,

Thanks for the tip on the link speed. Mine shows 3 Gigabit.

So the drives that OWC recommended are “3G” drives; do you know if that means 3 Gigabit? I couldn’t find any reference to the 6 Gigabit you mentioned.

Oh yeah, must be… the front page for SSD shows 6G and 3G drives. The 6G is about $100 more for the 480GB size, so for my Mac the 3G appears to be the correct recommendation.

@PhotoJoseph
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G Mitchell's picture
by G Mitchell
October 6, 2012 - 10:25pm

Joseph
I was wondering If you have 4 tb drive access for backups, why you choose to used referenced instead of managed. Im about to move my daughter to Aperture from IPhoto 9 and add two, 2 tb external drives to her iMac one 2 tb for here working Aperture Managed library and the other 2 tb for her Aperture vault. Since the Managed Library dose not add to much of file size. Is there a reason I should look at not doing it this way and doing referenced.
Her current iPhoto library is 238 GB’s, so I have to move it off her iMac drive of 320 GB’s. So I thought a 2 TB should hold her a few years more.

G. Mitchell

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
October 11, 2012 - 1:24am

G Mitchell,

That sounds like a fine solution, but don’t forget the offsite backup (i.e. Backblaze). The second drive with a Vault won’t help in the event of fire or theft.

Also how old is your daughter? Old enough to rely on her to run the Vault manually? You can also use Time Machine, which will backup everything, and can be set to a schedule. That’s the Vault’s on drawback; no scheduling.

I use Time Machine, Vault and Backblaze — can’t be too safe ;-)

@PhotoJoseph
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PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
October 11, 2012 - 5:04pm

G Mitchell,

Sorry I missed your first question — the reason I use referenced is that the internal drive is much faster than an external drive on FireWire. I don’t have thunderbolt or external eSATA on this iMac, so perhaps you’d get better performance over those paths with a very fast drive or RAID on the other end, but as long as FW800 is the path between the computer and the drive, even the fastest RAID will be slower than the internal drive.

That said, for casual users I think that keeping the entire managed library on an external FW800 drive will be just fine.

@PhotoJoseph
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G Mitchell's picture
by G Mitchell
October 11, 2012 - 7:08pm

Joseph
Thank you for your response. My daughters is 37 and a busy mom that takes at least a couple dozen photos a day of here growing children. So approx 700 to a 1000 photos a month. And mom dose not like to delete any of them good or bad. Her iphone fills fast. Thus the move to Aperture 3. So she will have the ease of the auto dump to a monthly folder of her photo stream, when she opens Aperture, thus allowing her to keep her iphone unclogged. And also the vault back up. She will be receiving a Christmas gift this year of BackBlaze subscription. So external Libray, external Vault and Backblaze will be her routine. Thanks again, Your sight is a great resource.

G. Mitchell

Mark Alderson's picture
by Mark Alderson
October 11, 2012 - 7:17pm

Joseph,

If you run you Aperture library as referenced, your masters are kept separate from your library, correct?

If you keep the referenced masters on a drive off of your main drive, is there a performance hit when working on a photo in Aperture? I think that I might have gotten a little confused in this thread.

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
October 11, 2012 - 7:23pm

G Mitchell,

Great, glad that’s all sorted. Great gift, too!

-Joseph

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PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
October 11, 2012 - 7:27pm

Mark,

Yes, there will be a performance hit, but it’s negligible. I don’t feel that I ever have to wait for my RAW images to load (21 MP images, so not small) that I’m accessing off the FW800 drive. However I like that the Library itself is local and a bit faster. I think if I were to have everything on the internal drive (not possible due to size, but just pretend…) then yeah there might be a small increase in performance, but again I think it’d be negligible. If however my Library was on the external drive, I do believe I’d see that performance hit. The library is thousands of tiny files that are accessed repeatedly; the Originals are one big file that is loaded into memory, then dumped when it’s no longer needed.

What I personally want to do, and probably will in lieu of upgrading my iMac any time soon, is replace the internal HD with an SSD, which will hold my Library (but not the Originals of course). I’m confident that this will give a big performance boost.

-Joseph

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Mark Alderson's picture
by Mark Alderson
October 11, 2012 - 7:48pm

Thanks Joseph!

BTW, what are the specs on your iMac? I have mid 27” 2011 base model with the i5, and it seems plenty speedy, I had been thinking of upgrading, but maybe an SSD would be a better plan.

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
October 12, 2012 - 5:50pm

Mark,

My iMac is a 27”, 2.8 Ghz i7, (late 2009 model 11,1) and I upgraded to 16 GB RAM earlier this year (for about $100… insane). I got this in early 2010 I think, so it’s over two years old. Considering a specced-out iMac even without SSD is about $2600, and with SSD/HDD combo it’s $3200, and that only gets me up to 3.4 Ghz i7.

I just checked with OWC and unfortunately the SSD/eSATA upgrade isn’t available for my iMac because it doesn’t have the 3rd SATA port found on the 2010/2011 models, however I can do a SSD-only upgrade.

Since I just spent time on chat support with OWC, here’s what I need for my system. May as well share here in case it helps anyone else:

Kit to put SSD in the Optical drive slot: $65
External housing for the optical drive: $28

Kit to put SSD where your current HD is: $20
Software you need to control fan speed if you replace the HDD with an SSD: $30

The SSD drive itself; OWC recommended the “Mercury Electra 3G” for my iMac, you may want to see which is best for yours. Prices are about a buck a GB, so getting better for sure.

So then… to swap out my 750GB internal HDD with a 480 GB SSD will run $542, and I think I’ll see a heck of a speed jump for that. I could even go for a full 960 GB for $1168 but considering my current HD is 1TB and has 670 GB on it, yet my main Aperture library (referenced, hardly any previews) is about 140 GB I’m sure I could clean up this system and get by with the 480 GB SSD. For another $43 I could do the optical drive replacement, which might make more sense. I only use that thing about twice a year it seems.

Yeah… christmas is coming ;-)

-Joseph

@PhotoJoseph
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gfsymon's picture
by gfsymon
October 13, 2012 - 9:15am

Joseph,

I have a 2 internal drive setup in my MBPro. I never miss the DVD drive, but OWC and others offer an ext. casing should you ever need it.

The first thing you need to look at for SSD, is the Serial-ATA info for your iMac, which you will find in the System Report (Apple Menu / About This Mac).

You will see Link Speed and Negotiated Link Speed. If these do not have *6 gigabit*, then you will be wasting your money buying a top-of-the-line SSD, because it will not be able to run at full speed, only at 3 gigabit.

I think the best way to get the most bang for buck for an Aperture system is to first max out the RAM, then have an SSD drive for startup and general docs/email/web etc. For this I would put in a 250gb and partition it to 2 partitions/drives. A 60-80gb or so for the system and the remainder for files. (60-100gb for the system should be plenty if you keep your system reasonably lean). I would put this drive in the DVD caddie. Then the real crux come with the price/performance equation of an SSD Aperture drive. Ideally we can just dump everything in one place, but as we know, that is not really possible. One of the major considerations for Aperture speed/integrity is that it be written contiguously. So having it on its own drive is really helpful, because it becomes trivial to keep it contiguous. Keeping the Aperture library contiguous also reduces the likelihood of corruption.

Personally, I find that I can keep my internal drive as a managed drive, by only retaining the ‘keepers’ on this drive. So this is what I do … When I’m working on a job, it is in this internal managed Library. When I finish, I export the Project as a Library to my archive drive which has the usual Finder structure for client folders etc. If I already have a Library for this client I merge the new into the old. This drive is mirror backed up to a second ‘failsafe’ drive. I take it upon myself not to fuck up. It is a good way of focussing the mind having a mirror drive system (although I do have my backup software ‘archive’ prior to trashing. I empty this archive manually every month or so).

Now back on my internal Aperture drive/library, I trash all the images from the job, that are not ‘keepers’, or potentially useful. This generally means everything below 4 stars for me. The result is that I’m able to keep an internal managed library for Aperture, which has all the ‘delivered’ work on it. It’s amazing how small this can be.

Of course, every time you trash a lot of files from Aperture, you introduce the possibility that new files may be written non-contiguously, so formatting this drive every so often, then putting a copy of the Aperture library back on it, will ensure that it remains ‘optimised’. Smaller libraries are also less prone to problems, so contiguous + small is good. It’s so easy to switch Libraries since Ap3, that this is quite a feasible solution for many.

Grant

Chris Biele's picture
by Chris Biele
October 6, 2012 - 9:13pm

I’ve used Time Machine since it was released, but never used it with Aperture since there was a major glitch in the beginning where it would keep multiple copies of your previews and would bloat your backup until your disk was full. I heard they’d fixed that issue shortly after, but I never had the gumption to try it since.

I will definitely give TM a go now for my Aperture library rather than relying on manually updating my vaults.

Thanks for all the tips. I might even look into a Mac Mini solution!

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