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Backing Up the Music Library

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I'm really in a quandary. I have 420GB of music that I've ripped over the last year. If I lost it I'd be seriously upset. The problem is that I haven't made up my mind on how to run the system.


Simplest solution would be to buy another drive and back it up. Then I've left with having to maintain the backup every time I add music.


So, a bit more elegant would be to buy a new RAID-1 (mirroring) disk system, copy my library to that, and then use that for the foreseeable future.


I don't really need NAS as only one computer accesses the music. NAS is slow for backups, too, from what I've read.


What I really need is a new computer. The Powerbook works hard doing all I ask of it. This opens up another can of worms: small PC? Mac Mini? Imac, with a built-in drive? Powermac with its four drive bays so I could do the mirroring thing internally? Add the cost of a RAID-1 assembly to a small computer and you get close to the cost of a Powermac desktop.


So far, items I've looked at include the G-Technology G-Drive 750GB in the four-interface version, and the Glyph GT 062 RAID box, which has two drives. Either would work with any new system... but they're not cheap. Buying a Powermac as a music server seems like overkill, but it would replace all three of my current computers so it wouldn't be all that bad.


Decisions, decisions. At least I don't need to think about a new CD player.


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Given the end-outcome of 'not losing what you have already ripped to disc', sometimes I think that it doesn't matter how much you want to spend, but that the only thing you really have control over is when you want to spend it. Within a given set of limits...... My experience with (HD) digital audio so far has been that if you fail to plan properly at first, you end up spending more by starting out with less. I think you nailed the 'root' quandry when you say "I haven't made up my mind on how to run the system", LC. I too want to think about this some more.....


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Chris, which way I'm leaning on this question varies by the time of day, it seems. The simplest solution would be to buy another hard disk and let it run an overnight backup.


Part of the problem here is the sheer mass of data. I'm just not used to thinking about 420 gigabytes of stuff; my first hard disk was 40 megabytes and I never did fill it. Then I got into scanning film at 25MB per file and had to back up those files to CD. I planned on working with video but then learned I hate editing. So, music is the first real data hog I've had.


Right now I'm just glad that modern hard disks are very reliable. Still, something needs to be done. Maybe that new Mac Pro, with its modern and lower-TDP Penryn processor. Four drive bays: one for the system, two in a RAID-1 for the music. I was thinking of dual 750GB, but if you guys succeed in talking me into downloading high-resolution files then they'll have to be 1 terabyte drives. Sigh.


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LC, as you know, I'm just beginning my journey into this adventure, but I can give you a bit of encouragement on the data backups, at least in terms of time. Using Disk Utility (which comes on every Mac), I used its Restore feature to clone a few drives. The largest of these was 160GB, so, by a few simple calculations, I could venture that a 420GB drive would take about 2.625 times longer. That doesn't sound too inviting, but I can tell you that my 160GB drive was cloned in less than 90 minutes. The beauty of this is that Disk Utility appears to work flawlessly, and makes the purchase of something like Super Duper an unnecessary expense.


I'll also concede that I am not in the financial position to afford buying the Drobbo system that Chris wrote about a few weeks ago. If I win the lottery, the first thing I would do is to buy one of these. This makes sense in that, as I understand it anyway, the system backs itself up automatically, and it enables you to use any size HD, no two need to be the same. Yes, this is a pretty costly solution, but it automates a lot that might otherwise frustrate you.


Since I'm getting up there age-wise, I am not as concerned about new music purchases as others are. My goal is to load a 750GB drive with my present music collection, then clone it once to another drive like it just once.


BTW, anybody who plans to use a Mini or MacBook as your computer of choice, just yesterday I replaced the original drive in my Mini with a brand-spankin'-new Seagate Momentus. I chose this drive because it was affordable, and it performs at 7200 RPM. I am amazed at how quiet this drive is, and, yes, the increase in speed during disk access is much faster than the 4200 RPM drive that had been in there. I'll begin archiving my music to an external drive within the next few days.


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I hope that I didn't inject undue uncertainty here. My criteria for hardware is most probably higher than the criteria needed for most home use. It is just that I let my equipment do 'double duty' as home audio equipment (can't afford two sets of equipment...), which will naturally color my preferences for hardware.


After having thought about it for a while, this is what I feel is most important with regard to storage for most folks contemplating the home music server at this point:


- If you don't mind spending the time re-ripping your music after catastrophic hardware failure, then I guess you don't and shouldn't really care about backups.


barring that,


- HD's are like humans: they begin their physical demise from their day of birth. The only variable is how long their reliability will last. Have a back up as soon as possible, because the original WILL die. ~period~

- Don't put off building that backup drive too long......

- RAID 1 makes life easier after a disaster (eventually.....)

- The industry standard warranty for reputable home-use HD's is 3 years. Seagate upped the ante to 5 years on most (if not all?) models about two years ago.

- The warranty won't do your stored music any good however, if you don't have a backup when the drive dies (see my first point, above..).

- Most HD's will last much longer than the warranty.

- The quality of the HD (thankfully) doesn't affect the quality of the audio that is stored on it **UNLESS the HD is in the process of dying or is a defective unit (run extensive HD read/write analysis utilities before storing data to determine this - it will take hours, especially when you get to the terrabyte size range -).

- 7200 RPM minimum

- Think about expansion capabilities (does the drive act as a "hub" connection too?)

- That is about it!


Other things that shouldn't be anywhere near as important to home users: super-uber-durability (SCSI RULES!!!! ... sorry.) , data-transfer rates (don't worry about this one much if you aren't running more than 8 simultaneous tracks), customer service, total ease of use and esoterics. These all cost $$ that won't really add to your experience as a home user. OK, your mate wants estoterics....


Aside: HEY SGB - 'Way to GO' on that HD replacement project and good luck on the next project too. It really sounds like you are on your way! YayyEeee!




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On my non-media desktop, I use one of those online backup services (mozy.com). What is wrong with using something like this on our music servers? Seems like it would save the hassel of having yet another external drive or NAS. It is about $4-$5 per month for unlimited storage. It only backs up new / changed files, so ti wouldn't be a huge drain on your bandwidth once the initial backup is complete.


Here is what I do:

I have my music server as a mapped network drive on my desktop. I run a nightly backup (from the desktop) to an external hard drive that is then backed up to the mozy server. This way if there is ever a everything-burned-to the-ground type of disaster as least I still have my music. I know this could be simplified even further, but it works for me.


What am I missing?


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I've always been very skeptical that these online services would work for large music libraries. I am very happy that it works for you! How much easier can it get.


Her is why I can't see it working for me.


As of 1 minute ago my upload speed tested at 366 kbps.

I currently have a 700 GB library.

I can easily come home with 4 or 5 CDs from the local used music shop. This is about 3.5 GB uncompressed AIFF

24/96 downloads from Linn & iTrax are about 1.5 - 2 GB each


The initial upload would be very painful if not impossible. Each incremental upload of changed files could also be very annoying at a few GB each time. Also, when you lose a hard drive, downloading your complete collection would also be difficult. Are there any bandwidth limits on the services since there are no disk space limits on some?


Again, this would be a fabulous option if only my few issues were solved. Not worrying about your music would be a great thing. I store all my documents on Google servers with Google Apps. Similar concept, works great for docs.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Another possibility would be Budget Backup Services



1-You purchase their services,

2-they send you an external hard drive,

3-you copy your music to their hard drive and mail it back to them,

4-they then copy your files to an archival-quality tape and store it under proper storage conditions.


When you need your data, the process is simply reversed.


Their prices are quite reasonable, too.





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