I am taking my Macbook Pro in for repair today, so I spent most of last night backing up all the data (critical and non-critical) in case the system needs restoring or it has to be away for a while. It made me re-evaluate my backup strategy a bit.
I do the majority of my work on my Macbook pro (120Gb) on my home wireless network. I also have a Linux machine as a backup solution. This backs up to an external 250Gb hard drive overnight, using rsync (so as to only backup the changed files).
This solution is not great, and it is a bit cumbersome. I plan to replace this with a solution that will involve RAID-1 (two hard drives mirrored. If one fails nothing is lost).
There are a few ways to do this:
- I could add RAID 1 to the Linux machine. This is a little difficult as it is a tiny machine that sits underneith the TV and there is really not the room for a second hard drive.
- I could replace the external hard drive with a USB enclosure that uses RAID 1. This is not too expensive, but adds a second device which also needs space and power.
- I could invest in a NAS box, such as a Synology, QSNAP or Thecus.
BUT, it’s not that simple…
As I do most of my work on the Macbook the first and formost important thing for me is to backup that data, live data that I am working on at the time.
As I work on a wireless network I dont want to transfer 120Gb every time I backup. This leaves be two options:
- I could use a backup program that detects changes
- I could use OSX’s built in Time Machine
Time Machine takes hourly backups of the current dat, along with weekly and monthly backups as space allows. The problem is it only works (properly) using Apple Airport hardware. There are hacks around for getting it working on a normal NAS, but there are pitfalls as well.
I have experimented with rsync options and even those seem to interfere with the operation of the macbook while I am working. Time Machine (from what I see) is fairly seamless.
That leaves one option, the Apple Airport Extreme.
Although it does not (as standard) use RAID the data is actually in two places anyway, the Macbook and the backup drive. This is a perfect solution for the Macbook backup, but what about archives?
Archives work a little differently. Data is passed from the Macbook to the Airport-attached hard drive. Once it is there it gets deleted from the Macbook.
This means that is the hard drive fails the data is lost… back to RAID!
After consideration I feel my best solution is to use the Apple Airport Extrme with a hardware RAID external hard drive. This means that the macbook live data is actually on 3 hard drives, and the archive data is on 2.
What do you guys use for your backup solution and archive data?