My New Backup Workflow is sorted…almost!

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: August 10, 2012

Category: General

Hey Folks,

If there’s one thing that I never seem to be 100% happy with it’s my backup workflow.

Most of the time this feeling of it not being right isn’t because of hardware failure (thankfully) but more an issue of how it’s organised and how easy I’m making it for myself to recall images in the future if need be.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve certainly had the hardware failures in the past; one time with an external hard drive completely failing and then another when my iMac hard drive threw a wobbly. In the iMac instance, thankfully I had the Time Machine set up so once the inconvenience of having the hard drive replaced was passed, getting back up and running was a breeze; the external hard drive on the other hand was another story 🙁

I’ve tried the Drobo too but only for a short period of time and replaced it as a knee jerk reaction when hearing from several friends losing data when it failed.

So I’ve been kind of getting by with a number of external hard drives connected through FireWire; one used for the Time Machine and the other two for storing image and video files; files are copied onto one and then each night the SuperDuper Software duplicates files on the remaining hard drive. It’s a bit clunky but it did the job until now.

Anyway with a whole new upgraded computer system due any day now I’ve been prompted to revisit the backup workflow again, and have decided on the following solution having taken the recommendation from Gadget Guru and Tech Wizard Terry White.

Terry recommended I take a look at the Synology and G-Tech Raids and after doing as much research as I could stomach I’ve opted for the G-Drive solution; apart from it looking pretty slick the reviews seem very promising so I’ll keep you posted with how things go…

On the subject of backup workflow though I’d love to hear what you’ve gone with and what works best for you. I used to use an online backup service too but have moved away from that now as it seemed to take forever to get everything uploaded. Do you use one?

As for Time Machine I wouldn’t be without it as it’s saved my back on more than one occasion but I don’t use Apple’s purpose built Time Machine HD as I found that too, took a very long time to do the initial backup…we’re talking 3 days!

Instead I use a regular external HD as I will be in my new set up too. One thing I never seem to get though is how once the Time Machine drive is full it’s supposed to begin overwriting the oldest data but instead I get the message that the drive is full and a backup is not possible. At this point I end up having to reformat the drive and do a brand new Time Machine back up. Obviously this is far from ideal so if any Tech Gurus know what I should do or am maybe doing wrong I’d love to know.

Right, that’s all from me for today so whatever you’re up to and have planned for the weekend, have a good and I’ll catch you back here in a few days.

Also if you have any advice/experiences on the subject of backing up please feel free to make use of the comments section below; I’d love to hear what you’ve found works and doesn’t work for you.

Cheers,
Glyn 🙂

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13 Comments

  1. Neil Harsant

    Glyn,

    Much like yourself I back up daily to 3 external drives – one dedicated to Time Machine and the other 2 duplicated job back ups. Not working from home this works for me as I can take one drive home with me to potentially elude the “office burning down” situation – at least I could be up and running with current client work pretty swiftly. (It’s also a clause in our PI insurance). I hear lots of preferred methods for back ups, I guess it’s what works for a given situation.

    Be interested to hear how you get on with the upgrade – we are about to take the plunge aswell (but might hang on a tad for the retina display 27″ Macs). See you on the 2nd Glynn.

    Reply
    • Glyn

      Neil…Cheers for that mate 😉

      Reply
  2. Natalie

    Good setup-have heard good things about the G-Speed series. I have always used a Drobo/Raid solution and been happy with it, along with the Time Machine backup (it does work slowly though), but pretty easy to deal with. The Drobo I copy manually when needed.

    The only thing I still struggle with is using an offsite backup. Yes, they can be slow, but the thought of losing everything to a fire or lightning strike (even though I have wired myself the best possible) is troublesome. I am manually backing up to AWS now, but frankly, it is getting expensive (hard to do with AWS, I know, but true).

    Considering Crashplan as I have heard really good things about it. Have you ever tried that out? With the new Mac Machine and setup, just trying as you did to start of organizing better. Constant battle!

    Reply
    • Glyn

      Natalie…Totally with you about the Cloud backup; might look into that again to be honest. Yeah it takes a reeeeeaaaalll long time but it’s worth it huh 😉

      Reply
  3. Paul Pratt

    Ive been through one total loss and one theft Glyn and the following setup has saved me both times. My computer has none of my files on it. My music lives on one external HDD & photos live on another. Vital documents live on DropBox, iCloud, Amazon Cloud & Google Drive. They are exact copies of each other. Every day everything backs up to Drobo & Crashplan using the Crashplan software.

    Like I say it’s saved me twice. Most recently we were burgled and I had all my computers, iPads and camera gear stolen but because of the redundancy built into my backup strategy I lost no data.

    Reply
    • Glyn

      Paul…Sounds like you’ve got it sorted mate; cheers for that but sorry to hear about the theft.

      Reply
  4. Tracy Comer

    Don’t hate me for being a windows user but here is the setup I have going on.

    My work machine has a G-Tech G-Raid, which contains all of my photo and video files. Several times throughout the day these files get synced to a windows 8 file server, which uses a new technology called Storage Spaces. Basically you can hook up many external drives and it acts like a raid system. This allows you to keep multiple copies of a file and if a drive goes bad you just plug a new drive in and are ready to go.

    This file server is setup with Crashplan so it automatically backs up into the cloud whenever new files arrive. The good thing about this is the file server does all of the cloud backup , so it doesn’t affect the performance of my workstation.

    Reply
    • Glyn

      Hi Tracy..No hate coming from this direction 🙂
      Thanks for your input…the Storage Spaces sounds real interesting…I’ll take a look at that.

      Cheers,
      Glyn

      Reply
  5. Mark Imhof

    Hey Glyn,

    I am allso Interested in your solution to the Data Backup Challenge.
    Till now I have been working with external Harddriives but they are filling up fast and I need a new Solution.

    Have a great Weekend
    Greetings from Switzerland

    Reply
    • Glyn

      Hey Mark…Totally with you about gathering external HD’s…bit of a nightmare huh 🙂
      Hoping the ability to remove eSATA drives is a better alternative; I’ll keep you posted.
      Cheers,
      Glyn

      Reply
  6. John Gardiner

    Glyn – very many thanks for sharing this with us all. The issue of back-up seems to plague & alarm so many of us and never to complete satisfaction, so it seems.
    I too, had been brought into the fold a few years ago when having bought the fated original 500GB Apple Time Capsule, the hard drive died on me. This was then closely followed by a mother board collapse on my iMac. By a dint of good fortune (NOT forward planning, I’m embarrassed to admit), I had back up my images to another external hard drive. The mother board and hard drive were replaced on my iMac (how pleased was I to have invested in AppleCare) and I could retrieve my images – lost everything else – contacts, emails, etc. Lesson learnt! I have my Time Machine set to a Western Digital external hard drive – ironically, I still have the original Time Capsule as the WiFi continues to work perfectly.
    An issue to confront us now is that I am buying my son a new iMac (graduation gift) when the next release is made (c. 4th qtr.?) and we, too, are looking at back up options. Appreciating your comments on slow uploading, we are still tempted with the new 2 or 3TB Time Capsule for everything including images but also a further external hard drive as a secondary back up for the images – these are going to be the ones he will be earning a living with! Will continue to watch “your space” to hear how you progress. One last point – sorry it’s so long – Adam Christainson of MacCast fame (www.maccast.com) is paranoid on back-ups and has some tested and experienced systems on his blog – well worth a search if you can get over there. Thanks again, Glyn, for sharing.

    Reply
    • Glyn

      Hey John,
      Sounds like you’ve had an interesting time with the backups then huh 🙂 Def’ agree with you re Time Machine…life saver for sure 🙂 Interesting that you’re considering the Time Capsule again despite the HD dying on you before. I tend to use external HD’s for the Time Machine as it’s quite an expensive bit of kit and I never saw the benefit of it over a HD to be honest.

      Thanks for the link too…I’ll go check that out,
      Cheers,
      Glyn

      Reply
  7. Brian Taylor

    BREAKING NEWS!!! I just got confirmation from a reliable source on when every hard drive in the world could fail…closest estimates are ANY MINUTE NOW!!!!

    Quick!… Backup… and then back-up your backups…and then move a backup to mom’s house (why is it always mom’s house).

    Drive makers (some) only give you a 1/3 guarantee. They’ll give you your money back if a drive fails within a certain window of time. However, they don’t guarantee you’ll get the data back with it–OR–that the drive WILL FAIL at some point.

    Reply

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