View Full Version : Need advice on setting up a rotating backup scheme

01-19-2009, 09:57 PM
First, I've spent some time looking through this forum. And I've been extremely impressed with the level of product support you (the developer) provide -- rapid responses, thorough explanations, etc. That's awesome for any piece of software -- much less a $30 application!

We (my wife and I) have been using SuperDuper to run automatic nightly backups of our respective Macs to external firewire drives for the past several months with no big difficulties. But I'd like to simplify and robustify (if that's a word) a few things, and so I'm seeking advice.

Here's what needs backing up:

Mac Pro with a 250GB system/applications internal drive and a 1TB photodata internal drive (obviously, the scratch disk won't be getting backed up).
iMac with a single 233GB internal drive, which holds all system/apps/documents/tunes/etc.

Proposed strategy:

For Mac Pro :: Use 1.5TB quad-interface (but we'll actually be relying on firewire 800) drives (with 280GB partitioned to hold system/applications and the balance for photodata). I want to allocate lots of extra space for the photo backup partition to avoid the "Destination Full" problem, because the Adobe Lightroom library is a huge (15-25 GB) single file and is being modified on a daily basis.

For iMac :: Use 1TB quad-interface (but firewire 400 is what I'll use) drives. (This is massive overkill, but we already happen to have these drives lying around!) I'll probably partition this drive too, either to do rolling backups or whatever.

Wrinkle (rotating offsite backups):
Thus far, when we've taken one set of drives off-site and replaced them with the other set, I've had to manually disable/enable various scheduled backups. But I've encountered several threads where you allude to a method (something about UUIDs) that would enable us to just physically swap out the drives, and SuperDuper would just continue running the same schedules sans problem. How do I swing this?

Hardware question:
We've been using OWC Mercury Elite-AL external drives for several years. They've been reliable enough (although an enclosure did go kaput on us a year ago, but the drives themselves were fine). As I'm about to shell out for two 1.5 TB drives, I just wanted any input on this. Also, can we toss (gently, of course!) these external drives into a messenger bag and take them a few miles to the offsite location every couple weeks without harming the drives -- i.e., how careful must we be in the physical handling of the drives?

Thanks for the help!

01-20-2009, 07:10 AM
The only current issue with 1.5GB drives, other than the fact that they're pretty new, is that the Seagate ones have had well known firmware issues. From what I can gather, the latest firmware resolves the issues, but you'll want to ensure you have that applied before you rely on the drive(s). This is different than the *other* Seagate issue with their 1TB drives that have been publicized recently: I don't know if that affects the 1.5TB units too.

For the rotation, drop me a note to suppot and I'll provide the steps you need. You should be generally gentle with drive cases, but they're not eggs. Careful transport shouldn't be an issue.

01-20-2009, 09:14 AM
As to the firmware problem, is that the cache-size bug [ described here: http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/support/downloads/other_downloads/cuda-fw ]? If so, our current Seagate drives have the GOOD firmware version.

What's the "*other*" recently publicized issue with Seagate's 1TB drives (pardon my clueless-ness)? Should I be scared?

As to the UUID thing, I'll drop you a support email.


01-20-2009, 09:25 AM
Here's an article about the problem: