Storage and Backup

I’m going through a rather large set of hardware changes here - and at the same time am reviewing my storage and backup systems. I’m out of space, and I really want some rock solid systems in place.

So - after a fair bit of research, this is what I’ve come up with. I’d love to hear opinions and ideas - particularly “holes” or potential pitfalls with the solution I’m proposing.

First up - the main machine.

Mac pro late 2010 (latest) 6 core.

Hard Drives.

OS : OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD 115 GB
Working : Hitachi 7K3000 3TB 7200RPM 64MB cache HD.
Sample Library 1 : OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 240 GB (Installed in second optical drive bay)
Sample Library 2 : OWC Mercury Extreme Pro 240 GB (Installed in second optical drive bay)
Sample Library 3 : Hitachi 7K3000 3TB (as above)
Video / SFX Library : Hitachi 7K3000 3TB (as above)

With this, I’ll distribute various sample libraries across the different drives - with the libs that have the greatest transfer requirements put on the SSD’s. After much research, I’ve come to the conclusion that keeping the drives separate (rather than a RAID 0 array) is better for performance! Once I’ve stress tested the system, I will offload some sample instruments to slave computers. However, I think things like spectrasonics, and kontakt libs that I tend to change a lot (so not my orchestral stuff) will remain on my main computer. And even a couple of PLAY instruments. But VSL, LASS and orch / choir play will prob end up on slave’s I’d say.)

Next up is backup.

Backup #1.
4 Bay RAID array.
Containing 4x3TB Hitachi drives (as above) - in RAID5. So single drive fault tolerance. 9TB usable space.

Nightly backup of my current projects stored locally on the mac (usually around 1TB) and my library of archived projects that I maintain for clients. This is currently 3TB for the last 2.5 years - but could do with some cleaning out. I anticipate I’ll need a total of 6TB storage for the next 3 years.

Backup #2.
As #1 - identical storage - but only weekly. Held offsite.

Backup #3.
Same hardware as #1, but setup as a raid 10 array. 6TB usable store. Will keep an image of my OS, and sound effects / sound library drives, as well as backup any video files that are necessary.

Yes, a lot of drives, but it seems this is almost a minimum requirement these days. As far as I can tell, the next step up is a single 8 drive array at the studio for backup, and another at home mirroring.

But comments and thoughts would be most appreciated.

Cheers, Brendan.

#1 and #2 together sounds fairly robust to me and typical in many small businesses that have offsite backup in place.

Both is a good idea and reminded me to backup as well…

Hi, Folks!

I guess the major question here is: Are all the backups for archive or recovery of “recent” work?

The reason is that long term, archival storage of any kind only works if the magnetic HDU disks are “refreshed” periodically, at least once a year; although, every 6 months is wiser! Unfortunately, according to the US Library of Congress research on the subject, even top quality CD-ROM archives only last a couple of years before unrecoverable errors start to creep into the discs. And storage environs are critical! 40 to 50 degrees F (4 to 10 degrees C), in a dry atmosphere with electrostatic discharge controls and minimal light exposure.

However, if you are periodically backing up EVERYTHING on a regular schedule, with duplicate storage devices for on and off-site storage, then the material should hold together for a considerable length of time, environmental disasters (fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.) notwithstanding.

One caveat on the RAID drives is to make sure none of the disks share the same lot numbers. The vendors quality control is so well honed, that when one drive in a lot fails, it’s highly likely that all the drives in that lot will fail within a few hundred elapsed operating hours of each other; all other operational environments being equal. The best way out of this one for RAID drives is to ensure that all the drives are from different lots. It won’t stave off drive failures, but it will prevent them from happening within a few hours of each other!

Hope this helps!