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5D + Time Machine + External Drive sync - Printable Version

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5D + Time Machine + External Drive sync - nelsonlau - 05-16-2017 08:11 AM

Hi all,

I just bought my first Drobo 5Dt with 20TB and have set up Time Machine allocating 8TB, and then allocating the remaining 12 for external drive use.

I have another external Western Digital drive that I would like to clone and sync with the Drobo and was wondering what the best way to do this would be? I have read Acronis True Image is a possible method although the instructions are a bit vague in terms of existing partitions on the Drobo being wiped off if you decide to set up syncing.

I'm not sure what the best practices are but was wondering if I need to create 3 partitions on the Drobo before using Acronis to sync my 8TB drive to my Drobo - So, one partition for Time Machine (8TB), one for external Western Digital drive sync (8TB), and one for external drive use within the Drobo (4TB)?

Would Acronis be what others would recommend to clone and sync my Western Digital 8TB with my Drobo?

Thanks in advance!

Drobo Newbie

RE: 5D + Time Machine + External Drive sync - Paul - 05-17-2017 01:08 PM

hi nelson,
i think there are a few contexts worth considering here, as separately, there probably is a way to make each work ok, though merging all of the ideas you mentioned above, may be a bit risky depending on how it is done...

for example, having the drobo, with lots of free space to use, is great in itself Smile
i have the same acronis, and have used it with my drobos without issue, but only in a certain way...

- for example, i have used it to clone my boot drive (computer drive) as 1 huge .TIB file, by booting up the acronis bootcd, (which has recognised a few of my das drobos that i tried it with, just 1 drobo at a time when i did it though), and was able to have it essentially clone my boot drive, onto the drobo, BUT simply stored on the drobo as a huge data file.
(this way, i could recover it to another compatible, non-drobo blank hard drive, to restore my system, if the drive crashed, while also being able to simply mount the .TIB file, on any computer that my drobo was connected to, and access some bookmarks or documents etc from it, if needed)

- if you wanted to set-up, some kind of auto-synching (or even manual or semi-auto depending on your preferences), so that any data on your 8TB external drive, gets backed-up and essentially synched with the version on the drobo, so that the drobo is often always upto date with what data is on the 8TB, then that is also possible.....
for example, i use a windows tool called syncbackse (part of the syncback range of tools, including some free ones), to do a mixture of syncing of selected data, (which can also be found in more details if you try a search for syncback on these forums), though basically a mix of the following:
- from computer to drobo,
- from computer to external drive
- from a drobo to another drobo
- or from a drobo to another volume on the same drobo
- or a mix of the above Smile

(if you have windows, you could try to see if synchback could help you, though please try things out with a smaller copy of your data before automating anything, just to make sure you are happy with how the program will work etc)

however, if your 8TB is just data (and not a boot drive with operating system), then i think it will be better to simply basically copy, and paste (plus verify) your data onto the drobo (which syncback can do too), instead of cloning it as an 8TB drive image....

... i say this, because several years ago (quite literally), i was trying that with various cd backups and docchris & bhiga helped me see the error of my ways, in which case it turned out to be better to copy my data onto the drobo, rather than just a flat file image, which also let me access any data directly, without having to restore, or mount, or recreate anything) Big Grin
(its an old thread with some chit chat about games too but in case you find it useful here is a link - probably best when having a tea to drink while reading) Smile

- time machine,
with time machine added into the mix, (which probably means you have a mac), i cant offer much here as do not have a mac myself, though there should be a way in dashboard to create a time machine volume spefically for time machine, for example as mentioned here:
and another user posted here about some general info about time machine that may be useful too:

RE: 5D + Time Machine + External Drive sync - nelsonlau - 05-19-2017 11:53 AM

Hi Paul,

Apologies for the late reply...I forgot to subscribe to my own thread!
Thanks so much for your detailed reply! Even though you're on a PC and I'm on a Mac, the principles are still relevant. It's interesting that you mentioned that having the external drive copied onto the Drobo as a flat image can be really problematic if there are any issues...I guess the tricky thing is that copy and pasting the drive into the Drobo the first time as a backup is easy but after that, as there are no incremental backups, you'd have to delete the entire old backup from the Drobo and then start again and copy over the entire new contents of the external drive into the Drobo. I thought third party apps like Achronis would be able to do this allowing for incremental backups as well as allowing you to access the data directly.

Thanks again!


RE: 5D + Time Machine + External Drive sync - Paul - 05-19-2017 05:58 PM

ah thanks nelson,

for acronis, as far as i know, incremental backups can still be made for data files (such as under Backup Schemes, and Version chain scheme, in the manual), and possibly even for full drive .TIBs, its just that i hadn't really had the requirement to create those kind of automatic backups every day in that way myself.

some users have mentioned encountering some problems with time machine, at one point or another, (and even a similar issue on non-drobo devices), where time machine somehow cant accept or work with an existing backup set...often resulting in disgruntlement, if that is the word (as opposed to enlightenment, from that Tao backup link) Smile so perhaps one way forward, could simply be to try to spend a bit more time (possibly over a cup of tea), to try and fleshout exactly what your workflow is likely to be or what you would be needing, and then to try and see the best way to meet those objectives?

for example,
aim 1a) backup existing data which is on an 8TB standalone drive, into a volume that has enough space on the drobo (which also then protects it from at least any 1 drive failure - or 2 with ddr)

+ aim 1b) because that drive also sees parts of it updated on a regular basis, keep doing backups of any changed data.

(questions: will the 8TB be essentially treated as a drive containing Master Source, and as such, will it essentially require mirroring the data onto the drobo volume, in the sense that if anything was willingly deleted from Source, should this deletion also be reflected in the Destination?)
or is heavy versioning required?

- also, is time machine a means to an end? (for example, is this the particular tool that can be seen as helping to copy and synchronise and version it all?) (sorry am not that familiar with time machine)

these are just some questions that spring to mind, but a tea and biscuits and simple thoughts are asually how i tackle most things Smile