Over the years, I’ve bought 2/4/8/12/16/18TB drives. For a long time the maximum capacity was just enough for a year or two, almost like a constant of nature. It was a steady expense and nuisance to keep replacing drives that overflowed all too often, every 2 years or so.
I ended up with a whole bunch of 14TB drives 3-4 years back—fantastic until you get 14.05TB of stuff at which point a single drive cannot hold it all, which sucks for backupss. House cleaning can only net you 6 months breathing room.
Backup before major system switchover
As I will be moving to the 2023 Mac Pro soon, it was time to get every backup up to data, particularly since my 2019 Mac Pro has to be shipped off to the buyer. This is a significant effort, particularly since I have to setup a temporary workstation “spare tire” using the 2021 MacBook Pro M1 Max.
The first step is backups, and as part of that making sure all data is valid using IntegrityChecker. For this, slow hard drives really, rally suck—just reading 15TB of data can take most of a day.
And so my entire day yesterday and today has been occupied with doing complete and full backups, the problem being splitting stuff across many drives. This rapidly becomes a major error-prone PITA. OTOH, it’s too expensive to just discard 20 or so perfectly good hard drives and buy larger ones.
RAID-0 and RAID-4 are great for main storage, but I don’t like RAID for backup; it means fewer backups for the same number of drives, a higher chance of failure, software complexity, multi-bay enclosure. But it’s way better than discarding otherwise good drives. RAID by itself is not a backup.
Wanting multiple single-drive backups of everything (in addition to RAID-based ones), I compromised as follows.
- (no change) One 3 X 14TB RAID-0 stripe in OWC Thunderbay 4 as primary backup for maximum speed.
- (no change) One fault-tolerant 3X 14TB RAID-4 volume (24TB volume) in OWC Thunderbay 8 as second primary backup also with high speed but fault tolerance resistant to one drive failure.
- (no change) various SSD backups of primary active work.
- (no change, but will soon overflow) Four (4) 14TB hard drives in OWC Thunderbay 4, each with a full backup of all my older work.
- (no change) Two (2) 18TB hard drives in OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual each containing everything. Easily stored offsite.
- CHANGED: Four X 14TB hard drives reconfigured as two 2-drive RAID-0 stripes in OWC Thunderbay 8, each containing everything. When the other 14TB drives overflow, I will do the same for them as well. The stripes double the speed and capacity.
- ADDED: Two (2) 22TB hard drives in external enclosures with full backup of everything. Easily stored offsite and I can take a copy of everything with me when I travel.
I recently reviewed the WD Purpose Pro 22TB hard drive and found it to be excellent. But there is a new Seagate 22TB hard drive at a very attractive price, so I ordered two of those. These will be self-contained in two OWC Mercury Elite Pro USB 3.2 single-drive enclosures.
Best advice I can give is to order drives with at least 50% more capacity than you think you’ll need in the next 3 years. It will save a ton of aggravation and money.
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