I'm pondering how I can best create a system to backup devices in my home, as well as separate media storage (essentially iTunes and iPhoto, hoping to put movies, music/podcasts, photos in one place).

Currently my home has an iMac (stores 500 gigs) and a MacBook Air (I think it stores 80 gigs), and a few iOS devices that get backed up to the Macs. The MacBook Air almost never travels; it just sits in various spots in the home.

I also have a 2 TB external hard drive that is always hooked up to the iMac. The iMac and the MacBook Air each backup their contents (with Carbon Copy Cloner) to that drive once a week.

This has worked fairly well over the last couple of years, but I'm starting to run into some issues:

  • The MacBook Air is always close to full (I think this is mostly because of photos of our kid)
  • The iMac is recently very close to full (it stores music, the occasional iTunes movie download, podcasts, photos, etc).
  • It isn't hard to imagine something happening to the iMac which hoses the external drive as well.

I've been thinking about buying an NAS. In my head, the configuration would work like this:

  1. I'd split the NAS into two partitions (say, 2 TB each).
  2. One partition would function as a weekly backup location for the iMac and MacBook Air.
  3. The external hard drive would host nothing but media. Presumably the iTunes and iPhoto libraries from the iMac.
  4. The other partition of the NAS would backup the shared media, and also hopefully make it easier for the other devices in my home to access it.
  5. I'd run a backup of the NAS to something like Backblaze, maybe monthly.

Are there holes in this idea? Or better solutions for an all Mac/iOS home? If there aren't better solutinos, is there a specific NAS you'd recommend that would work especially well for this (at least 4 TB)?


  • 2
    Unfortunately the way that you have it written this question invites a lot of discussion and is not really a good fit for superuser.com.
    – EBGreen
    Sep 30, 2014 at 17:52
  • If you are working with a specific product and are having an issue with it, we'd be glad to help. There are many competing backup products that each have their own strengths and weaknesses that may fit differently for different people, this makes a question like better for a forum where there's ongoing discussion. SU is about concrete questions and specific answers, and so tries to avoid these opinion-based questions. Sep 30, 2014 at 17:55
  • Just before this question vanishes into the off-topic ether, which it will soon - Backblaze doesn't do NAS, it does 'computer'. but it's worth it imnsho. One account per machine, about £25 a year, off-site. Go for it. Use Time Machine for in-house, Backblaze for off-site.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 30, 2014 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


For what it is worth here... I have been looking into a solution like this:


There are loads of good articles online about this also. Cnet has a 2014 update to their NAS "best of" list: http://www.cnet.com/topics/storage/best-hard-drives-and-storage/network-attached-storage/

  • Do you have any thoughts on combining media storage with backup? That is the main tension in my mind, I think. Oct 24, 2014 at 14:50
  • I think I'd have our split up. Media storage for example does not need to be in .tar or whatever backup format you're using. Is that what you are asking? Oct 24, 2014 at 14:52
  • I'm just thinking about - if I back up my entire hard drive (with Carbon Copy Cloner or whatever) could I have it on the same drive with all the media storage. Oct 24, 2014 at 15:01
  • Not sure on that, but from my experience with other backup programs, yes. Oct 24, 2014 at 15:02

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