How Do I Manage My Data? (On my mac)

My original post, ‘How I Manage My Data?‘, was geared to the Microsoft Window’s side of things. This post will be geared to Apple’s OS X side of things.

My MacPro Setup

Hard Drive #1 – 640GB SATA – Boot Drive: This drive is strictly for the Operating System installation and application installations. 640 GB came with the Mac Pro and is more than enough. (For now)The MacPro has four SATA slots for Hard Drives.

I use SuperDuper to backup my boot drive on a nightly basis and utilize my Drobo (also my Time Machine Drive) to copy the data to it. So if my hard drive crashes on me, I simply replace the drive, boot off the Drobo, and re-image the drive. (Re-image takes me roughly 30 minutes)

Hard Drive #2, #3 & #4 – (3) 500GB SATA – RAID 0 Array, Totaling 1.5TB of usable data:

After performing the following benchmarks ( using Disk Speed Bench X ), I have decided to use the disks in bay 2,3 &4, and create a striped array, Raid 0. Others have benchmarked their setups and they are getting close to 300MB/sec!!! The RAID0 Drive is my primary drives for data. The Drobo has been designated as a backup for the RAID-0 array. OSX has built in Raid 0 & 1 capabilities, so no extra costs is needed. You can set it up in Disk Utility. If you need to go the RAID 5 route, an extra hardware RAID card is required. With that said, RAID 0 (striped disks) distributes data across multiple disks in a way that gives improved speed at any given instant. If one disk fails, however, all of the data on the array will be lost, as there is neither parity nor mirroring. In this regard, RAID 0 is somewhat of a misnomer, in that RAID 0 is non-redundant.

See attached image for current timings.

The following screenshot is from a single 500GB SATA drive:




The following screenshot is from my Drobo, which has (4)  1 TB SATA drives, and is connected to my Drobo via Firewire 800:




The following screenshot is the RAID-0 Array:

External Copies

Everything mentioned above is housed internally to my Mac Pro. Now let’s talk about backing up data externally.

External Copy #1: Every three hours, I use Time Machine to backup data from my RAID-0 array to my Drobo. By default, Time Machine is kicked off on an hourly basis. I think that is way to often, so I use a application called Time Machine Editor to adjust the frequency to every three hours. (Similar to my Windows setup). My Drobo consists of (4) 1 TB drives, totaling 2.69 TB of usable data. Drobo uses a proprietary RAID like solution. It works very much like RIAD 5, so one of the four drives is used for protection or parity.

External Copy #2: Every month, I sync files from my RAID-0 array, to an external hard drive and store it off-site. Store it somewhere safe, anywhere but in the same location as your desktop. I would highly suggest encrypting the data on the drive using TrueCrypt.

External Copy #3: Another option that I have taken advantage of is Amazon’s S3 service. On a weekly basis, I upload new data and have it stored in the ‘cloud’. Since Amazon S3 is more of a back-end service, I use Jungle Disk to mount a drive on my mac, then use the schedule service in Jungle Disk, to sync the files over. Just a quick note about this; I do not send every single file up to Amazon’s S3 service. I only sync up the important documents, photos, video, etc… Amazon has encryption available when you store the files on their drives, but the way I look it, they probably have the keys for them, so I rely on TrueCrypt to encrypt the data.

Here is a visual diagram on what I discussed above:

Final Thoughts

As you can see, I take my data and security very seriously, because you never know what might happen. Years and years of data is on my drives! It’s better to be prepared! Worst case, I’ll never have to go recover from backup. I can go much deeper into every topic I mentioned above, but that’s for another time.

If you have any questions/comments/suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below or please contact me.

To see how I handle my data on the Microsoft Window’s side of things, follow this link!

January 18th, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Wow! Impressive setup, even more impressive backup. I like the idea of multiple backups, internal and external. My system is nowhere near as elaborate as this. But then I’m sure I don’t have the massive data you do.

This is a very helpful and insightful post. Question: Did you have to change the OEM power supply to support all the disks for RAID?

Obviously, this is not for the average non-tech savvy user. But well presented and of great interest to those who understand.

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