Apple Time Machine and RAID

One of our clients have several MacBooks and iMacs and required a central backup solution that was protected with a mirrored RAID 1 array. RAID is a common method for combining several hard drives that can either be duplicated (mirrored) or joined (striped) or both.

The benefits for mirroring drives are that if one drive fails, the data is not lost. Striping drives allows for multiple drives to be access at the same time which significantly speeds up data reading and writing.

To centralise the backup solution, a storage device was required that would sit on the network and allow multiple machines to access it through Time Machine. This is called a NAS drive (Network Attached Storage).

At the time of writing Apple’s Time Capsule solution only contains one drive which is fine but once that drive fails, data on the device is lost.

We looked around at the various devices that would be compatible with Apple Time Machine and with price and user reviews in mind we decided on the Synology DS212J DiskStation. We then purchased two compatible SATA hard drives from our local supplier and installed them in the NAS drive.

When we came to setup the device we were amazed by the sheer number of features; it could even be used as a web server! Once in place we were able to very quickly setup Time Machine on each computer and soon the devices were starting their backup over the network.