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Old 1st March 2019
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Best practice external hard drives

Help please. I do back ups to two 4tb drives. My present external g- drive 4tb x 2 are nearly full.
Whatís best practice, purchasing 2x 8tb and transfer over the photos to the new drives, thus leaving me a further 2x 4tb of usage on each of the new drives ? Plus leaving the 2x 4tbold drives redundant.
Or purchase another pair of new 4tb drives thus having a total of 4x 4tb plus all the extra wiring connections etc thatís involved? All this is on a MacBook Pro 2018 usb-c. The iPhoto libraries are all on the drives not the MacBook Pro.
Advice needed please.
Kind regards Mike
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Old 2nd March 2019
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Re: Best practice external hard drives

Mike,

You are in a similar position to where I was when my 2TB drives started to fill up. I replaced them with 4TB drives , copied all the files to the 4TB drives and turned the 2TB drives into archive drives and put them into storage.

I’ll do the same when the 4TB drives fill up.
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Old 2nd March 2019
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Re: Best practice external hard drives

I'm not being facetious but it was so nice when I was a kid for Mum to get the 'shoe box' out of the wardrobe and we'd sit around the fire with tea and bickies looking at the old 'snaps'.

These photos I still have in five large albums, easily accessible. My son has put his name down for them when we go.

Stuff that I have on hard drives I don't think will even get a look in, that's if they can still be accessed.

Ho-Hum.
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Old 2nd March 2019
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Re: Best practice external hard drives

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Originally Posted by griffljg View Post
Mike,

You are in a similar position to where I was when my 2TB drives started to fill up. I replaced them with 4TB drives , copied all the files to the 4TB drives and turned the 2TB drives into archive drives and put them into storage.

Iíll do the same when the 4TB drives fill up.
Thanks and yes thatís what I am considering, maybe get a raid? System
Kind regards mike.
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Old 7th March 2019
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Re: Best practice external hard drives

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Thanks and yes thatís what I am considering, maybe get a raid? System
Kind regards mike.
Using the MacBook (like any laptop) you have limited options.

All of my bulk storage is to LTO tapes, but you need a PCIe card (either SAS or SCSI) to connect them to. The advantage is that tapes are cheap and data integrity is better than disks. Backups are also exceptionally fast (faster than a single hard drive). The downside is that the drives are pricey new, but they are readily available second-hand at reasonable prices.

As a guide an LTO-3 drive will store up to 800 GB of data. An LTO-6 will store up to about 6 TB of data. Tape cartridges for both are about £25 each!

As an alternative my son bought a Promise R4 external RAID system for use with his MacBook and iMac. This is connected by Thunderbolt I think. It has four hard drives in a RAID 5E type array providing plenty of fast storage space. However, at some point you will need to archive off your data which is where the LTO tape system comes into its own.

Whilst I think about it, LTO-5 and above allows direct access to a portion of each tape so you can use it as an external drive.
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Old 2nd March 2019
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Re: Best practice external hard drives

I used to keep all my old photos in a mixture of albums, shoe boxes and envelopes which were in storage below a bench at the side of my bed room. Then, in January 1985, our house was flooded and all my photos were destroyed..... Except for the slides. Those I kept in slide trays on top of a cupboard. They survived.

Ever since then I have been a bit anal about backing up my photos. I have six full backup sets and never leave them all in one place.
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Old 2nd March 2019
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Re: Best practice external hard drives

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Originally Posted by griffljg View Post
I used to keep all my old photos in a mixture of albums, shoe boxes and envelopes which were in storage below a bench at the side of my bed room. Then, in January 1985, our house was flooded and all my photos were destroyed..... Except for the slides. Those I kept in slide trays on top of a cupboard. They survived.

Ever since then I have been a bit anal about backing up my photos. I have six full backup sets and never leave them all in one place.
Oh....you just jogged me memory, I have boxes and boxes of slides in my loft, not looked at those for at least twenty years.

I don't expect anybody to bother to look at these either.

I've come to accept that if my kids/grandkids/greatgrandkids are anything like me, then it's just the stuff on hard copy that will be kept and looked at in future.
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Re: Best practice external hard drives

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Oh....you just jogged me memory, I have boxes and boxes of slides in my loft, not looked at those for at least twenty years.

I don't expect anybody to bother to look at these either, access is an effort.

I've come to accept that if my kids/grandkids/greatgrandkids are anything like me, then it's just the stuff on hard copy that will be kept and looked at in future.
My father died in February 2012 and that started me looking back. I bought a slide scanner and started digitising my old slides. I scanned about 2/3 of them before I was interrupted by a trip back to my native South Africa for a high school reunion. I never got around to scanning the rest. That is a bit of a reminder to get off my butt and digitise the rest. Fortunately, most of them are on Kodachrome 64, which ages very well.
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Old 2nd March 2019
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Re: Best practice external hard drives

Coming back to the OP, can you clarify the situation? You say you have 2x4TB back-ups, but also say the iPhoto library is on the external drives not on the MBP. This sounds to me like one of the 4TB drives is a back-up, the other being the 'original' (even if they are in reality mirrors of each other). If this is so, my preference would be to get 2x8TB drives and transfer the data across. This convenience of this arrangement will be appreciated long after the cost of the new drives is forgotten. The old 4TB drives can become an additional safety copy. Store them somewhere different in case of a total loss in your home.

You say 'g-drives'. Does this mean G-Tech drives? I believe these have aluminium cases that can be opened up with a few screws (mine does), giving access to the standard SATA drives inside. Therefore, you could just buy two 8TB SATA hard discs and fit them in the old cases. Do them one at a time as you transfer the data. Buy a USB3 HD dock so the old discs can still be accessed (you can also put the new discs in the dock to do the initial transfer). This might save a few quid, but the prices of hard discs on their own are not substantially cheaper than cased USB3 drives these days so its not necessarily worth the extra effort.

Mark
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Old 2nd March 2019
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Re: Best practice external hard drives

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Originally Posted by Mark_R2 View Post
Coming back to the OP, can you clarify the situation? You say you have 2x4TB back-ups, but also say the iPhoto library is on the external drives not on the MBP. This sounds to me like one of the 4TB drives is a back-up, the other being the 'original' (even if they are in reality mirrors of each other). If this is so, my preference would be to get 2x8TB drives and transfer the data across. This convenience of this arrangement will be appreciated long after the cost of the new drives is forgotten. The old 4TB drives can become an additional safety copy. Store them somewhere different in case of a total loss in your home.

You say 'g-drives'. Does this mean G-Tech drives? I believe these have aluminium cases that can be opened up with a few screws (mine does), giving access to the standard SATA drives inside. Therefore, you could just buy two 8TB SATA hard discs and fit them in the old cases. Do them one at a time as you transfer the data. Buy a USB3 HD dock so the old discs can still be accessed (you can also put the new discs in the dock to do the initial transfer). This might save a few quid, but the prices of hard discs on their own are not substantially cheaper than cased USB3 drives these days so its not necessarily worth the extra effort.

Mark
Thanks Mark, my drives are the G-tech. Didnít think of taking the drives out and replacing them. Would that be easy? They are usb 3 which is fast enough. Your correct yes I have my iPhoto libraries on one drive and the other is the backup.
Kind regards mike.
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Old 2nd March 2019
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Re: Best practice external hard drives

Hi Mike,

Opening up the G-tech drives and swapping the HDs should be straightforward, though I've not done it my my current 6TB G-tech since it is still under warranty. I used to use Lacie Firewire drives and swapped and upgraded the discs on a regular basis. They just use standard SATA drives inside. A few screws (one of which will be under a tamper proof label) to open the case. A few more screws to detach the hard drive from its carrier and it should unplug from the interface bridge.

Whether it saves much money with a USB3 drive is another matter. If the drive cases have Thunderbolt connections (which add a huge premium) it would be worth considering. I suppose the advantage is you can buy higher spec HDs for the upgrade.

BTW, I don't think Thunderbolt offers much advantage over USB3 when using SATA drives as the SATA3 interface itself is limited to 6Gb/s and USB3.0 is 5Gb/s. The reality is the speed of the mechanical disc limits performance to well below these levels.

With regards to RAID, I would not go this way. I have a Western Digital My Book Duo USB3 (2x6TB) and originally configured it for 'mirrored RAID' so it looks like one 6TB disc to the Mac but the data is automatically replicated on both discs. I then realised this increased the risk of loosing the data. The two discs cannot be read individually once configured for RAID. I can't take the discs out of the case, connect them to an HD dock and read them. So, if the MyBook case becomes faulty, neither disc is readable.

So, I wiped the lot and reformatted as JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Discs). This means they look like two independent discs to the Mac. I can take any one out of the WD MyBook case, put it in the HD dock and the Mac can still read it. One of the 6TB drives is my 'Data' disc and has all my data not on the internal HD of the Mac. The other is the Time Machine back-up for the internal Mac HD. The G-Tech 6TB drive is the back-up of the WD 6TB 'Data' disc. I do this back up manually. Yes, this means there is a risk of some data loss if the HD fails between manual back-ups, but because it is a data store disc, the content does not change rapidly.

I also back up to a 4TB portable disc which I take with me to work in case the house burns down or I get burgled. i admit I don't do this as often as I should.

I hope this helps.

Mark
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Re: Best practice external hard drives

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Originally Posted by Mark_R2 View Post
Hi Mike,

Opening up the G-tech drives and swapping the HDs should be straightforward, though I've not done it my my current 6TB G-tech since it is still under warranty. I used to use Lacie Firewire drives and swapped and upgraded the discs on a regular basis. They just use standard SATA drives inside. A few screws (one of which will be under a tamper proof label) to open the case. A few more screws to detach the hard drive from its carrier and it should unplug from the interface bridge.

Whether it saves much money with a USB3 drive is another matter. If the drive cases have Thunderbolt connections (which add a huge premium) it would be worth considering. I suppose the advantage is you can buy higher spec HDs for the upgrade.


BTW, I don't think Thunderbolt offers much advantage over USB3 when using SATA drives as the SATA3 interface itself is limited to 6Gb/s and USB3.0 is 5Gb/s. The reality is the speed of the mechanical disc limits performance to well below these levels.

With regards to RAID, I would not go this way. I have a Western Digital My Book Duo USB3 (2x6TB) and originally configured it for 'mirrored RAID' so it looks like one 6TB disc to the Mac but the data is automatically replicated on both discs. I then realised this increased the risk of loosing the data. The two discs cannot be read individually once configured for RAID. I can't take the discs out of the case, connect them to an HD dock and read them. So, if the MyBook case becomes faulty, neither disc is readable.

So, I wiped the lot and reformatted as JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Discs). This means they look like two independent discs to the Mac. I can take any one out of the WD MyBook case, put it in the HD dock and the Mac can still read it. One of the 6TB drives is my 'Data' disc and has all my data not on the internal HD of the Mac. The other is the Time Machine back-up for the internal Mac HD. The G-Tech 6TB drive is the back-up of the WD 6TB 'Data' disc. I do this back up manually. Yes, this means there is a risk of some data loss if the HD fails between manual back-ups, but because it is a data store disc, the content does not change rapidly.

I also back up to a 4TB portable disc which I take with me to work in case the house burns down or I get burgled. i admit I don't do this as often as I should.

I hope this helps.

Mark
Hi Mark and thanks for the in depth description I will need time to fully absorb your explanation. I be checked on utube and it looks kinda easy but will need to make sure I get the correct drives.
Kind regards Mike
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Old 7th March 2019
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Re: Best practice external hard drives

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Originally Posted by Mark_R2 View Post

With regards to RAID, I would not go this way. I have a Western Digital My Book Duo USB3 (2x6TB) and originally configured it for 'mirrored RAID' so it looks like one 6TB disc to the Mac but the data is automatically replicated on both discs. I then realised this increased the risk of loosing the data. The two discs cannot be read individually once configured for RAID. I can't take the discs out of the case, connect them to an HD dock and read them. So, if the MyBook case becomes faulty, neither disc is readable.
If the drives are mirrored (RAID 1) they can be read individually. (I have just done it this morning!)

However, if the drives are striped (RAID 0) or in a RAID 5 or 6 array they cannot be read individually.
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Re: Best practice external hard drives

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If the drives are mirrored (RAID 1) they can be read individually. (I have just done it this morning.
Unfotunately not true in my case because i also tried. This might be a limitation of the Western Digital software based RAID.
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Re: Best practice external hard drives

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Unfotunately not true in my case because i also tried. This might be a limitation of the Western Digital software based RAID.
Yes; it needs to be hardware RAID. Software RAID is not quite the same thing.
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