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rh26
04-29-2008, 12:01 PM
So here's my proposed backup strategy. I welcome all critiques. Questions follow at end.

I have an iMac with 500 GB HD.
I have purchased a 500 GB FW drive for SD backups.
I have purchased a 750 GB FW drive for Time Machine.

Plan is to connect the 750GB drive and allow TM to run continuously.

The 500GB SD drive will be used to clone the iMac, and then the drive stored off-site (at work). I will bring it home once a week or so to do a Smart Update and return it to work the next morning. (Obvious downside to this plan is that the SD backup is 20 minutes away if I ever needed it urgently. And a second drive that I could rotate is not in the budget right now.)

So with this plan I do have a bootable backup if I ever crash a disk. (Plus I can do a backup if I need to take the iMac in for repair, etc.) And I have hourly backups against "stupidity" data losses of single files, directories, etc.

Question #1: Does this approach seem robust?

Question #2: Suppose I have a disk failure in the iMac (the SD clone could be up to 1 week out of date). There are two recovery scenarios, but I think they are effectively the same.

Scenario 1: Run to the store and by a new drive, swing by work and grab the SD clone. Install the new disk. Clone (restore) the SD backup to the new internal iMac drive. Now mount the Time Machine disk. So how do I restore those files automatically? Assume I don't even remember the exact date I last ran SD on the clone. How do I tell Time Machine to restore everything that's not already there or out of date?

Scenario 2: Assume I have to mail order a drive and get someone to install it and so I need to restore the recent TM changes to the SD clone drive and run from the clone for a couple days. (I know at this point I'm living dangerously.) I assume the TM restore procedure would be the same as Scenario 1...

Maybe I'm missing something but I can see how to do a TM restore to a virgin disk. And I understand how to do single file restores. I'd like to rest easy knowing that using SD plus TM allows me to do a simple 2 step restore...

Thanks,
Robert

dnanian
04-29-2008, 12:14 PM
Time Machine can't really restore "the stuff that changed in the last week". It works in a "find a file and restore it" or "restore everything" mode, and no other way that we can find...

rh26
04-29-2008, 01:55 PM
Time Machine can't really restore "the stuff that changed in the last week". It works in a "find a file and restore it" or "restore everything" mode, and no other way that we can find...
That's what I was afraid of. So what then is the "correct" use of SD and TM?

Realistically, TM is the only way I'm going to have hourly backups with versioning. Even if I ran SD every night I run risk of data loss throughout the day. And once a nightly clone-backup runs I have lost all versioning.

But, I understand (and have benefitted from!) the goodness of having a bootable clone backup against catastrophic loss.

So, given a total hard drive crash and a Scenario 1 kind of solution (I run out and buy a replacement drive for the iMac), what *IS* the "best" path to getting everything restored?

Robert

dnanian
04-29-2008, 02:00 PM
If you don't have a recent SuperDuper! backup (which I think you should have), you can restore from your Time Machine backup.

If you have a recent SuperDuper! backup, you can restore than and then, if there is something you were working on that you need back, restore that file (or two) from the Time Machine archive.

rh26
04-29-2008, 02:21 PM
If you don't have a recent SuperDuper! backup (which I think you should have), you can restore from your Time Machine backup.
By definition, I won't have a recent SD backup. Even if it runs every night, a hard drive failure at 5PM means the SD backup is not complete. The TM backup is nearly so.

If you have a recent SuperDuper! backup, you can restore than and then, if there is something you were working on that you need back, restore that file (or two) from the Time Machine archive.
If I do have a crash, by the time I get a new drive, suffer stress, etc. there is a good chance I won't remember all I was working on.

So why can't SuperDuper! have some kind of Smart Restore feature? I would install the new virgin hard drive. Boot from the SD clone FW drive. Turn on and mount the Time Machine Drive (or in the case of the TM backup on the same partition then skip that step). Run Smart Restore which clones the SD backup onto the new/clean iMac drive, *THEN* goes to the Time Machine backup, finds the most recent completed TM backup in the folder structure and then copies over everything that is newer (and optionally deletes things to make them identical). It's the same logic as a Smart Update isn't it?

Don't get me wrong. I love SuperDuper! I have used it for a LONG time now-- it saved me when my MacBookPro drive died. And I'm more than just a little uncertain about Time Machine. But, IMO the solution has to get better...

dnanian
04-29-2008, 04:59 PM
Well, one can hope that Time Machine can improve its interaction as well: it's not unreasonable to expect Time Machine to be able to roll a disk back or forward a certain amount of time, given its feature set.

Having us implement that is not something I'd expect: we'd be encroaching in on what Time Machine does, and once we 'pioneered' that feature, it'd likely get done in Time Machine later... and all our work would be worthless...

rh26
04-29-2008, 09:36 PM
Well, one can hope that Time Machine can improve its interaction as well: it's not unreasonable to expect Time Machine to be able to roll a disk back or forward a certain amount of time, given its feature set.
I agree with you. I didn't mean to leave the impression that I thought Time Machine was even close to perfect. Improvements that you describe would be welcome.

Having us implement that is not something I'd expect: we'd be encroaching in on what Time Machine does, and once we 'pioneered' that feature, it'd likely get done in Time Machine later... and all our work would be worthless...
My guess is this: TM will always be targeted to the widest audience. No power features. So I would expect over time to see tweaks on UI (e.g., highlight files that are changed as you fly back in time) more integration into applications but probably NOT something such as this. IMO, Time Machine will never do more than recover single items as needed (Oops! kind of stuff) and a full restore to a blank drive.

Making a Smart Restore that is clearly tied to SuperDuper! users probably doesn't encroach. Your opinion is the one that counts though (I admit, I'm not close to the developer community and you have probably seen more instances of Apple stealing somebody's lunch money).

I also want to thank you for the quick responses and enlightening discussion.

rh26
04-29-2008, 09:42 PM
I also want to thank you for the quick responses and enlightening discussion.
Keeping this thread alive, can I ask another question (not strictly SD related so I recognize the generosity in any reply)?

Assume I did a complete restore from a SD clone backup. But that backup was a couple days old. So I go into the most recent Time Machine backup folder (let's say using Finder). Can I just drag everything and answer "Yes" to the "Replace?" question? Or would that be bad?

dnanian
04-30-2008, 12:18 AM
You can certainly do that for folders/files you 'own'.