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Managing external drives with an iMac
Posted by: Robert M
Date: October 06, 2016 03:24PM
Managing external drives with an iMac

Hi everyone,

Although it appears I found the source of the problem with my office’s Mac Pro, it turns out we actually still need a new machine. Another machine broke down and needs replacement. So, I plan to purchase an iMac to replace the tower. The tower, in turn, will replace the broken machine.

The question is how to manage the drives that are in the tower. The employee doesn’t need a machine with a 1TB SSD and three additional platter drives. I’m going to pull the SSD out of his broken laptop and install it in the tower. That leaves me four drives that need homes.

The tower's 1TB SSD is going to go into a dedicated USB 3.0 or T-Bolt enclosure. Or, I might install it into my '09 Macbook Pro 13" which only has a 480 GB SSD. One way or the other, it will become a clone backup of the iMac. That was an easy decision. I’ll still need a home or homes for the tower’s internal Time Machine drive, Archives drive and the other clone backup of the 1TB SSD.

Any suggestions as to how to handle the three platter drives? I was thinking of going with a single 4 bay USB 3.0 box or 2 qty 2 bay boxes from our sponsor and setting them up JBOD drives.

Thanks,

Robert



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/06/2016 03:26PM by Robert M.
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Re: Managing external drives with an iMac
Posted by: mikebw
Date: October 06, 2016 03:42PM
Why not use one of the three spinners as an external TM backup? If any of them are identical make/model you could RAID them.
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Re: Managing external drives with an iMac
Posted by: JoeM
Date: October 06, 2016 03:56PM
I use a single StarTech docking station and swap out my drives as I need them, keeping them in cases when they are not needed. They make docks that hold up to 4 drives: [www.startech.com]



JoeM
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Re: Managing external drives with an iMac
Posted by: jdc
Date: October 06, 2016 04:31PM
How big are the drives? and how full? and or how much space do you need?

And the 3 drives are 1. archives, 2. TM backup 3. Clone (of a drive thats now moving?)

I ask, because those might determine how I configure my iMac.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/06/2016 05:10PM by jdc.
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Re: Managing external drives with an iMac
Posted by: Robert M
Date: October 06, 2016 09:21PM
Hi everyone,

Some specs:

1 qty 1TB SSD. Currently has 525GBs used on it. This is currently the primary drive of the tower. It may replace the 480GB SSD that is in my 13" MBP or I may drop it into an enclosure and turn it into a wicked fast clone of the internal drive of the iMac. I haven't decided yet.

1 qty 2TB drive. Time Machine. Was internal, will be external. I plan to continue using the drive for Time Machine backups. It'll need to be accessible at all times.

1 qty 2TB drive. Archives. This drive has 1.5TB of data on it for now. I had a 480GB drive in the tower and needed to unload data to manage the storage on it. Hence, the Archives drive. I need access to the drive at all times.

1 qty 1TB drive. Currently a clone of the 1TB SSD. If I take the SSD and place it in my MBP, then this drive will continue to be a clone. Only it will be a clone of the iMac's fusion drive. This drive does not need to be accessible all the time.

I'm thinking of getting a dual bay enclosure for the Time Machine drive and the Archives drive. It'll stay in JBOD mode. This ensures they'll be accessible at all times. They'll have proper cooling.

I already have a USB 3.0 drive dock. The clone drive can stay in it for normal day to day operations. I can swap it out for another 1TB drive I use as an additional clone, which is stored off-site.

That's the current plan. smiling smiley

Robert



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/06/2016 09:22PM by Robert M.
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Re: Managing external drives with an iMac
Posted by: jdc
Date: October 06, 2016 10:54PM
Not sure I followed all that, but lets say you got an iMac with a 3TB Fusion drive -- wouldn't that have enough room to make it the "archive" lets say? reducing one external?

Ive been on a big kick to reduce the number of externals I have going, they just got overwhelming.

I rally wanted to have just one external backup drive, with an iMac having 1) SSD boot 2) HDD with working files and thats it. The external could be TM or CCC if I wanted an immediate boot drive (not that Ireally need it) and then backblaze.

And my next move is going to be to 2,5" drives in a RAID 0. less space, less heat, less noise.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Managing external drives with an iMac
Posted by: Robert M
Date: October 07, 2016 07:15AM
JDC,

Yups. If the machine had a higher capacity internal drive, I can avoid the archives drive. However, I've gotten accustomed to having it now and the system works well. Four drives is easily manageable.

Primary drive. Archives to access as necessary. Time Machine, which runs transparently. Clone which is updated regularly and used rarely. It has to be this way since Apple refuses to offer a machine with internal expansion at a reasonable price.

In looking at what you want, it's similar to my configuration. Your SSD is your boot drive. Instead of an archives drive, you have a drive for working files. Since iMacs don't support multiple internal drives, the working files drive must be external. A second external is a Time Machine drive or Clone drive. As much as you want to reduce drive clutter, you can't escape it. At least two of your drives will be external.

An option for Time Machine is to use a NAS box. That way, the drive is somewhere on the network but not necessarily connected directly to the computer. I have a 4 bay Readynas box that is used for backup of the archives drive and as a secondary Time Machine backup drive. Redundancy is key.

Robert
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