Data safety and backup

The DIGLLOYD MPG Pro Workstation™ facilitates keeping your work safe from equipment failures, data-destroying software bugs, force majeur, and even your own blunders.

Real backup for your data

drive icons for boot, scratch, backup and master
Clone your drives to one external backup for bootable protection.

Every MPG Pro Workstation is a computer you can properly back up with a minimum of effort. Cloning is our recommendation strategy, and it’s very easy. We can even prepare backup drives for you as part of your MPG Pro Workstation order:

  1. Connect an external backup drive.
  2. Clone your system (Boot) drive to BootClone (on the backup drive);
  3. Clone your Master volume to MasterClone (on the backup drive).

Resilience to drive failure

The MPG Pro Workstation is configured to provide a rational degree of data safety. Here at DIGLLOYD, we eat our own dog food: we recommend what we ourselves use, within the limitations of the system you order. Anyone with unusually demanding reliability requirements should definitely consider a consultation [1].

The approach we take to drive failure is to ensure that Time Machine backups are in place. This strategy is cost effective and convenient. Assuming your backup drive is online and Time Machine is active, this approach ensures that your data is backed up within the last hour.

Combined with external backups, which are essential, this strategy is also reasonably robust. In fact, it clearly exceeds what most photographic professionals have in place these days, based on what we've seen with our consulting clients. This strategy cannot protect against every possible issue, but is nevertheless resilient in the face of reasonable probabilities.

When a drive fails

When a drive failure occurs, the failed drive must be replaced (we recommend keeping a pre-tested spare on hand).

If the main Master volume was affected, you'll restore from the Time Machine backup; if just the Backup volume fails, you'll replace the backup drive and let normal backups proceed apace. If both the Master and Backup volumes are disabled by drive failure (e.g., massive power surge), you will fall back to the external backups (which you must diligently make on a regular basis and you should store away from the computer).

For an extra degree of robustness, the most popular MPG Pro Workstation configurations tolerates the failure of two (2) hard drives by making the Time Machine backup volume a RAID 1 mirror, thus keeping two simultaneous local backups on two different drives, automatically.

Remember, Time Machine is good to an hour, so it's not perfect, but losing up to one hour's work due to drive failure is tolerable for most users. Users desiring higher levels of data safety should consult with us prior to purchase. All systems are designed to allow expansion after purchase, including additional fault-tolerant backup devices (RAID 5 striping + parity or RAID 0 mirror).

External Backup

Mac Pro rear with added eSATA ports
You won't find these eSATA ports on
a Mac® Pro from the Apple Store.

External backups are a critical part of any backup strategy.

External backups are for safe-keeping away from your system, preferably at another site/building, and preferably another town or city so that they are safely distant from your computer. Only you can assess the hazards, but think of floods, fire, theft, and lightning. Your external backups are your "plan B".

You must apply your own judgment to external backups, and that includes how many external backups you make, and how often you rotate them. A minimum of three complete external backups is your smart move, always stored away from your computer, preferably in another city or town.

Fast backup with eSATA

To allow backups to run at top speed, the MPG Pro Workstation includes a 2-port eSATA card, which can connect two eSATA devices. For large files (such as photos), a single eSATA port can be 2-4 times the speed of Firewire 800.

When your system is stolen, struck by lightning, flooded, burned, or eaten by dinosaurs, you will have your data intact elsewhere on your external backups, ready to restore onto a replacement computer. Don't mess around.

Users with especially large data storage requirements (over 1.5TB) should consult with us for strategies in dealing with large data sets.

More on Time Machine

Apple's Time Machine is integrated into Mac OS X, and your MPG Pro Workstation arrives pre-configured to use it. (You must personally verify it is, indeed, working correctly when you receive your system.)

Time Machine is your first-line defense against drive failures, user errors, or errant software. By keeping an hourly/daily/weekly backup along with versions of all your files, you have recourse when you delete a file by accident, save over a file, or a hard drive fails.

Users desiring even higher levels of fault tolerance should consult with us prior to purchase, but regardless of the hardware chosen, we strongly recommend using Time Machine. The Time Machine backup volume can be internal or external, depending on configuration.

[1] Users with special needs might need specialty solutions. Under no conditions are these systems designed for use where health or safety are involved.

DIGLLOYD and MPG Pro Workstation are trademarks of DIGLLOYD, Inc. Apple®, Mac®, Spotlight® and Time Machine® are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Adobe®, Photoshop® and Lightroom® are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated.