Backup Strategy Part 2: The day, the Hard Drive Died!

In this followup episode, I go though my quick story on how Drobo and Time Machine saved me from a dead boot drive. I was back up and running, with a fully restored drive in less than five hours (most of that time was data transfer time). I also talk about a couple things that would be good to have on hand incase your drive decides to to “tits-up” while you are working including a boot disk, a second hard drive and a laptop.

I bought my drobo on amazon with four of these drives


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  • Great walk through Nick. I’m glad you didn’t lose anything. I’ve had a Drobo for a couple months and the technology is pretty amazing. Really digging Make Cool Shit btw!

  • Nick,
    I’d be interested in knowing why you chose the seagate drives for the drobo over other drives on the market.
    Also, you mention that you use 2 500gig drives in a raid set up.
    Can you be more descriptive about this, as well?


  • Nice post Nick. Too bad drobo is only for macs. Did you ever consider SSDs for your main os? Just wondering cause it doesn’t have any moving parts = more reliable. It would be comparable or may even faster than your raid drives (depending on the type of ssd).

    Lovin the site, now I got one more to add to the lists of blogs I got to visit.

  • Hi Nick, Nice backuo strategy.
    Since I can´t afford a drobo and all the drives right now, I just have a question.
    Can I put two of my external firewire drives as a Raid group, with Disk Utility, and set that as my Time Machine backuo drive? Do you think this is a good Idea? I´ve never used this Raid function of Disk Utility and don´t know if it is recommendable. excuse the english
    I know its not the best solution but better than nothing

  • Hey guys, quick question. I have a WD Sharespace that I have Raid 5 configured on it and I used it as a network drive to just dump stuff on it. It seams as though the ethernet port on the Sharespace has gone bad and I need to send it out for service. My question is – can I get the Drobo Nick uses and just take oout the 4x1tb drives I’m using now and install them in the new Drobo and everything works great? Or is there more work involved?

    Thanks for your time guys.

    • That won’t work Rob! Drobo has it’s own way of storing redundant data. It’s not a typical raid setup. You will have to get that data off those drives another way.

  • I once had an external drive blow up while I did my final output render of a video that was due for an assignment at school the next day.

    All our shots and project files where on that disk. During rendering it went “POWH!” and a really foul smelling black smoke came out of it for about four minutes or so.. Lucky for we’ve just rendered out a web version of the same video to the internal drive before the crash – so at least we had something to submit. We got top grades as well, as it was school policy to do all our work on a single external drive we could not be blamed..

    Oh well.. the web version is to be found at if you want to have a look =)

  • I’ve been meaning to ask you about your Drobo system. Unfortunately, I had a major crash on my boot drive while I was manually backing up to my external 500GB Hard Drive. Not fun. (I wanted to tweak some of the files for your reel critiques on the GreyScaleGorilla blog, but I lost some of the files on my reel—hopefully I’ll replace them with better work and re-submit).

    Needless to say, I’ll be purchasing a Drobo ASAP.

  • I have a very bad story for you. My father was running a business and he is a very tech savvy guy. Before he worked for a big company as the IT director. So he knew how to back things up.
    Well anyway at this company he had a server set up with 4 hard drives all raided together and it stored all the financial data. Then one day they all went kaput. Even the external drives for reducntancy went kaput too. This all played into that business going bankrupt.
    So even having the most advanced backup system doesn’t always work.

    • What an awful story Ben. But I think the moral should be “backup in two places”, not “don’t back up at all.” Any backup strategy is better than NO backup strategy. In fact, that’s a great reason to do an offsite backup and to use a more robust storage medium like tape.

      No backup system is perfect, but having a strong, onsite AND offsite system in place is a great way to save the day when the unthinkable happens.

  • For future reference, Micro Center price matches NewEgg. They don’t advertise it (probably because they don’t actually want people to use it) but I do it all the time. Now you can get the nice NewEgg prices without waiting for the shipping!

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