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Old 10-20-2008, 03:06 PM
Brad Brad is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Palo Alto, California
Posts: 13
eSATA drive & using TC for non-VM backups

Hi Dave,

About to finally take the plunge and get a new MB 2.4Ghz or MBP 2.8Ghz (though if the MB Air had 4 GB RAM capability, I'd probably get that instead--which would reduce me to strictly USB 2 externally powered hard drives, but since I want 4 GB, that's all moot)... Thinking of my backup solution at the same time.

I'm gonna get a Time Capsule, so my wife's macbook (white) gets backed up automagically whenever she's on our wireless net at home (which she is all the time), as I can never seem to get her near a hardwire cable for SD!--though I'll still do an SD! backup when I can via FW400--probably weekly or every 2 wks. I'll have the TimeCapsule also backup everything OS X on my MB/MBP, but *not* my VMWare Fusion 2 VMs (see below). I assume I can tell TC to skip my VMs and just backup everything else, correct? (See summary of Qs below.)

As far as the MB/MBP goes, I plan on having several VMs on it, at least a Windows (for paying job) and a Linux (Ubuntu probably, maybe Open Solaris too, for startup I'm helping), so there goes at least 50GB, probably 80GB or more that will need to be backed up daily via SD!, plus changes to my OS X setup, of course.

If I choose the new MBP, I'm thinking for my SD! clone/backup drive, rather than FW800, why not just get an eSata ExpressCard34 like here:

Then hook it up to an enclosure like here:

At 3.0 Gbps, that'll blow away FW800, right? Do I need two cables to get the full 3.0Gbps? Not sure I fully understand how to get the 3.0Gbps throughput rather than 1.5 out of it...

If I need to boot off of it, *can* I do it via the eSATA, or would I then need a FW or USB connection (FW 800->400 cable for the above enclosure), meaning if I can't boot off the eSATA, I'd need to spring for: or (and if so, which of those two do you recommend?--if you'd rather not make a rec, I understand)...?

Sound good? I guess my main Qs around the MBP are:

(a) Can boot off the eSATA? -- also, how do I ensure I get the full 3.0Gbps throughput when backing up to it?

(b) is eSATA the way to go to make daily smart updates with SD! as painless as possible with a couple/three VMs changing often (Windows probably daily, the others at least 2-3 times a week). If so, do I need FW 800 for booting/recovery if internal laptop drive goes down and which of the two enclosures w/FW800 (Macally or OWC Mercury do you recommend if you have a preference--again, I understand if you prefer not to say)?

My rough calculations are that the eSATA solution would be about 7-10x faster than a USB 2 solution, and probably 3-4x faster than a FW800 solution, is that "about right" ? For possible 50 GB backups daily, that's significant... (I assume that changing Fusion VMs will incur the penalty to backup the whole VM each time they change at all.)

If I go with the much (rightly) maligned USB 2 only with the new MB I'll deal with the (much?) slower backups there. Also, related to both MB & MBP:

(c) *can I* tell TimeCapsule (TC) to skip my VMs so they don't get TimeMachined whenever I'm home? And is the 'drag' on the home wireless net (given that I'd only be on it once or twice a day at home M-F, with lots throughout the day on Sa-Su) make it not worth it to setup TimeMachine on my MB/MBP to the TimeCapsule for me (and just rely on my daily SD! backups instead)? IOW, should I just set up my wife's on TC, and not mine?

Related to (c): Do you know anything about the hourly TM (via TC, which is much slower) 'penalty' that is incurred over 802.11n wireless? Experimented with it much? (Don't want the wife simply frustrated that her machine 'slows down' every hour.)

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