What's your data storage and backup strategy?


I’m still figuring out my whole backup strategy, but I’m definitely getting there with my Mac Pro 3,1, I’ll post the pictures of my Time Capsule upgrade as soon as I get the office. Right now I’m eating brekkie at home, but I’m about to toss my MBP in my back and go catch my train.


Just a note that High Sierra doesn’t like software RAID setups - which has broken my RAID0 on my desktop SSDs - not a huge deal as that was more for speed and actually reduces redundancy, but just in case other people rely on other RAID setups using software and wanting to upgrade.


Time Capsule first gen upgrade. 3TB up from 1TB. I got it for $50 like three years ago, so not worried that despite my best effort, the bottom cracked.

So now I have RAID 0 SSDs in standard bays (but I hope to get a PCI card for them soon), and two 1TB drives in the Mac Pro, and the 3TB Time Capsule. In addition to the Time Capsule Time Machine backups, I also do nightly clones to a partition on one of the 1TB drives of the boot drive.


I did the same thing and the same thing happened. Who cares, it’s hidden hey!


Great to see my thread getting a bit of love lately :smile:

Things have changed a bit at my place. I no longer use the N40L - a couple of the drives started showing signs of impending death, so I unplugged it and put it on a shelf. One day I might put it to use ¯\(ツ)

I’m currently using a 5TB external USB drive connected to the Mac mini as my media storage. This is mirrored manually via rsync every week or so to another external drive.
I don’t use Plex anymore, I just use Infuse on an Apple TV 4 to access my media. Sometimes I use a cheapy S905X box running LibreELEC instead, but I have a love/hate relationship with it.

My photos are in iCloud Photos and my iTunes library is in Apple Music.
Additionally, I have the Mac mini backing up to Backblaze (encompassing the media drive, photos, iTunes etc) as well. On my 100/40 NBN link it took around 6 weeks of uploading, mostly between midnight and 7am (unmetered traffic during offpeak on my ISP) with a couple of days at the end of each billing cycle to smash through my quota :wink: - as a result I’ve got around 5TB of data backed up in the cloud should something bad happen.

I figured that I can pay for a couple of years of Backblaze for what it would cost to replace the dying drives in my NAS. Given that the NAS drives are relatively small by today’s standards, it was looking like a fairly expensive proposition to replace all 6 1TB drives that are fitted.

It might not be the best backup strategy, but it seems to do the job at this point. If worst comes to worst Backblaze will mail me a drive or two containing my data.


Backup Strategy in place:

MacBook backs up to TimeMachine volume on Drobo NAS
Plex server backups up to NAS and a local disk (using Crashplan)
TimeMachine backup also backs up to CrashPlan

Long term plan to to somehow afford another Drobo and drives and the locate one at work and mirror NAS at home to NAS at work.

You can never have too many backups!


I have unlimited home internet…

I have unlimited home internet…

I have unlimited home internet…

I guess I should consider online options…




Hence why I’m recovering my own data this evening.

Alright, perhaps “none” is inaccurate. I backup four machines in total to dedicated LaCie external drives, one per machine. Time Machine handles the automatic backup. No cloud backup here, because the cloud never seemed like such a brilliant solution for me, and given that the internet connection where I live is capable of around 740kB upload, not exactly a viable one either.

My MacBook Air is the odd machine out. I use it primarily, it stores a bunch of data on the SSD but nothing overly critical. Some of it is backed up across the other machines and hence across the other drives as well - Music, Movies, Photos and the like. The Desktop and Documents are exclusive to the Air, because they contain project data for whatever I’m working on at that exact moment, and those are backed up to the dedicated backup drive for this machine.

The same backup drive I was in the process of repairing when my filesystem turned to dust this afternoon.

My backup solution didn’t account for “data lost in transition”. That is the possibility that both drives could experience some form of corruption within the same window of downtime. It’s not exactly a common occurrence, but it happened, and the chances of getting the lost Desktop and Documents folders back are slim to nil.

Thankfully they contained nothing of any real importance, some files for projects I was never going to complete anyway, outdated receipts from a decade ago, some old articles for MacTalk, some TV shows and videos that are replaceable…

Doesn’t mean I’m thrilled about it. Because I spend most of my working life telling others how important backups are, it’s a bit of a slap to the ego.

The best part? The drive works, but the data was deleted because of a script intended to clear the App Store cache files to force re-download macOS installers for local use (another project) didn’t cd into the directory successfully and without checking to see if it had, performed an rm -rf ./* on the contents of the home folder.

I’m sure there has to be a relevant XKCD comic there somewhere.


Would these folders be too big to use iCloud sync with? Or to do what I do and make the desktop and documents folders symbolic links in Dropbox? You’d never have to worry about it then.


Yep, they’re constantly changing but usually 20GB+ at any given time. Thinking about some kind of network attached storage solution that backs up the volume wirelessly, not a Time Capsule but something I can assemble from the components I already have.

Thankfully I remembered I had most of the data backed up on my older backup drives, and because they still worked I hadn’t thrown them away. Turns out I hadn’t erased them either, so while the data isn’t exactly current, the drives still contained the oldest (and most important) files. Restored from backup and I’m back in business.


I did a stupid thing - I consolidated my partitioned drives when I converted them to APFS, and backed up almost 4 Tb of local data - took 4 days to do via local crashplan. Then like a stupid person, I used CCC to clone my local OS drive onto the same consolidated drive, assuming CCC would make a disk image, not completely delete everything on that drive.

Thankfully no data was lost, as I still have the original (good thing I didn’t try it on my actual live data drive). I just had to repartition the drive, and re-backup the data again - will take another 4 days.

Lesson learned.


When I picked up my 4TB WD MyCloud NAS drive, I intended to use it to remotely store all iTunes / iPhoto / Docs etc. Then I read that Apple does not recommend using non-Apple-formatted drives for storing those libraries… But after reading several blogs etc, decided to go ahead regardless, having already purchased the drive.

Whilst transferring the data from my multiple Macs, there was a glitch, however ultimately everything seemed to be safe… Spot checks all good… So I then put 2 of my original drives into a new enclosure set to Raid 1. That’s when I then learned that a random selection of music files were corrupt… unrecoverable… And, well, somewhere along the line - possibly my own fault rather than the drive/format/etc - it would appear my wedding photos may have possibly disappeared… (Should have them on a disc somewhere…!)

I then ended up with a 2nd 4TB Cloud because the first was misbehaving… So my plan was to get another Firewire enclosure to stick the 2 x 4TB drives in, and use that as my data collective, on good old safe Mac Journaled blah blah. Looks like a firewire Raid box will set me back around $250…

Then I remembered that my iMac crashes when I stress it with Final Cut Pro… probably needing a new graphics card… $200…

So… hell, may as well invest in a mid series Mac Pro (tower) instead… with 4 bays for drives… So that’s my new obsession… first am digging out all the old bits n pieces to sell off… (sans TAM, don’t even ask).