How the OWC Drive Dock can backup your large RAID quickly and easily.
Let’s start off with a bit of a story…
I was away working on an editing job when I read an article describing that ransomeware called ‘Deadbolt’ was attacking a certain brand of network attached RAID devices. I won’t mention the company (not OWC), but a quick Google should supply you with a long list of data loss horror stories.
As I had a unit connected in my studio, I became worried that it too would be susceptible to Deadbolt as it was connected to the internet for remote file access. I phoned a colleague and got them to pull all the ethernet connections out of the unit immediately.
On my return, I connected to the RAID and there was good and bad news. Of the four disk partitions I had created on the RAID, three were fine, but one had been infected. On that partition, every file had been zipped up and locked. To unzip them, I had to send about $700 in Bitcoin to an anonymous address and then a password would be provided to unlock everything.
As luck would have it, I had a copy of most of the data on that drive so I didn’t need to pay the ransom, but I learnt a very valuable lesson. As safe as you think a RAID might be, you also need another completely separate backup of your data.
Now, if you are going to throw the ‘Two copies, two locations’ line at me, I’d agree, but I have a LOT of data that won’t just fit on a plug-in USB drive. So how do you back-up a large RAID?
I bought an OWC Drive Dock out of my own money with no discount from our very kind website sponsors! At about £110, this unit takes two 3.5” or 2.5” SATA drives inserted into the top. Better still is the USB3.1 connector that can plug straight into the back of my iMac Pro. The drives appear as regular drives on your desktop.
You can buy large third-party drives, plug them directly in (without the hassle of connecting cables) and backup your data. Seeing as a ‘bare’ 12TB drive costs about £300, this is a very cheap and fast way of making a copy. One tip here, keep an eye on drive prices as there are some great deals to be had, especially when a manufacturer launches another larger drive model. Don’t worry about speed either, you won’t edit off these drives, they are purely for backup.
Here goes the clever stuff. We have championed Chronosync here on FCP.co many times. It is a disk copying utility that not only does incremental backups, but you can also build a list of tasks it has to complete and then set them off with one click.
In my case, I do an incremental backup of three disk partitions of the RAID to one 10TB disk and another partition to the second disk in the OWC Drive Dock.
So every Friday, the disks come out of their safe storage location, get inserted into the Drive Dock, a custom action is started on Chronosync and the system is left to backup the RAID.
As Chronosync only works out what is different, it is also quick as it will only copy over new files or files that have changed. It also gives out a very reassuring bell and displays an info panel at the end indicating no errors on transfer. (One note here, it will also copy and update open FCP Libraries.)
All this is facilitated by the Drive Dock which works a treat, it just does the one job well. I used to have a similar USB2 dock, but that took forever and it ended up gathering dust in a dark corner. The OWC Drive Dock is fast, up to 10Gb/s, which is good news as backing up a RAID can involve a lot of data transfer. Although you can leave it running overnight, I like to remove the drives when finished and store them safely away as soon as I can.
If you are are running a RAID without a backup, you are risking your data. Yes, you can replace a faulty disk, but as this user story shows, drive failure is not the only reason why you could lose everything. Ransomeware is still an on-going problem and although I have configured my unit to be as safe as possible, I still worry about it getting hacked.
Using the Drive Dock with separate drives and running Chronosync is a very cost-effective backup. For extra safety, you can of course make more than one copy of your data by running another action to a second set of drives.
Full disclaimer: Although the Drive Dock was purchased by me for the full retail price, we do receive support from OWC. It’s a great product though and I use it every Friday!