02 May 2010

good god, backup really is that complicated

at least if one wants to duplicate the convenience of apple's Time Capsule.

i've been combing over posts @ readynas.com, which is an excellent resource for Netgear NAS products. though it seems easier than ever to run Time Machine software with non-Apple devices, there are still a lot of issues. upgrading osx versions, running multiple Time Machine users, and running Parallels caused issues for a number of users.

those anecdotes are also peppered with cries of "NAS isn't a backup solution!" Which is a shame, given that's exactly what i wanted to use it for. so then i was pricing out 2 TB external drives to back up the NAS.

Time Machine tracks revisions to files, such that one restore their computer to the exact state from a date in the past (chewing up a lot of extra disk space in the process). That's a neat use case, but one I don't really need. I version my own files when it's important to me, what I need from a backup system is something for that rainy day if my laptop is stolen or the drive dies.

iow, I need the latest snapshot, that's it.

seems I already have everything I need for that: external firewire drives and Super Duper. I contacted the author and he confirmed for me that NAS solutions, while having some nice features, doesn't allow Super Duper to make a bootable backup the way it does with a dedicated device.

so I suppose I'll stick with my 3-prong approach, using Mobile Me Sync, Backup of some files to the apple servers, and Super Duper for the entire image.


pyker said...

Why isn't NAS a backup solution? I get the lack of bootable backup being a problem, but if you don't need bootable backups (say, you use time machine to recover to your new machine), what's the problem?

And even with bootable backups, aren't you worried about your back being on a non-redundant external disk?

zim said...

> Why isn't NAS a backup solution?

the arguments @ readynas are centered around well-known issues, such as lack of an off-site copy.

i like the idea of automated, wireless, in-the-background cloning, with a RAID system on the other end.

but reading about the Time Machine issues on NAS, not only configuration and keeping it going, but TM needing a lot of disk space for a need I don't really have (being able to access old versions), I started rethinking the whole process.

i like the OWC (macsales.com) Mercury Elite drives, those have worked well for me. I could get a single-enclosure dual-drive RAID 1 setup, for pretty much exactly 2x the price of a pair of single drive enclosures of the same size.

I'll probably do the latter, and keep one off-site.

me.com / Backup allows for 20 gig of cloud storage, where i'll keep stuff that changes frequently.

once i surveyed what's available and what i've already got, i kind of gave up on the NAS. i may re-evaluate some day, if say I have too much music/photos to keep on a laptop drive and want to serve that stuff from a fileserver.