Macs in Chemistry

Insanely Great Science

Backblaze Hard Drive Stats Q1 2020


A while back I wrote an article on Backing up data which seemed to attract a fair amount of interest. One of the things that was highlighted was the reliability of hard drives.

Of course the reliability of the internal disc drives can vary, fortunately Backblaze who obviously use a vast number of drives keep a regular report on hard drive reliability for both manufacturers and disk models/sizes.

The stats for Q1 2020 are now out on the Backblaze site, it does seem that the drives continue to improve in reliability.

The Annualized Failure Rate (AFR) for Q1 2020 was 1.07%. That is the lowest AFR for any quarter since we started keeping track in 2013.

The actual failure rate varies from 0% to 1.4% depending on the model so well worth having read before you purchase.


Mac backup options


We now have so much of our digital life on a hard drive including photos, music, emails from friends and family. In addition it is always worth having a current backup prior to a major OS upgrade, and with macOS Catalina on the horizon now would be a good time to review.

This page reviews backup options including external or network hard drives, and cloud storage, in addition to the software tools available.

Backup Options for Mac.



Backup, backup, backup


This is often a time of year when people do some spring cleaning. Of course it always too easy to delete something that you may need later so having a good backup strategy in place is strongly recommended.

I was reminded when I saw the article in Nature recently "11 ways to avert a data-storage disaster. Hard-drive failures are inevitable, but data loss doesn’t have to be" Link.

I have a couple of types of backup, an archive that stores critical versions of files, I have copies in Time Machine, an external server and I use Amazon WebServices to provide external storage.

The second runs every evening and generates a copy of the hard drives and stores then on Amazon WebServices

The final type is the every day stuff and for that I use Time Machine, this gives me virtually instant access to accidentally deleted/corrupted files, this is stored on an external Synology server.

I recently had to restore a machine from a backup and was delighted to be up and running in a couple of hours.


NAS Storage


Since I added the new MacPro to my network I’ve decided I need a network file server and improved backup strategy. After reading a number of reviews I’ve narrowed the choice to Synology DS213J 2 Bay DiskStation Desktop NAS (Amazon link) which seems ideal for a small office environment.

I was slightly surprised to find that the enclosure with 8TB storage Synology DS213J 8TB (2 x 4TB WD Red) 2 Bay DiskStation Desktop NAS is pretty similarly priced to buying the enclosure and drives separately.

Any comments or suggestion?


Offsite backup options

Whilst I have an external hard drive for backups I used to use my dotMac account as my off site backup but with its closure I had to look for alternatives. I thought it might be useful to summarise my findings.

Backups are one of those things that seem pretty mundane until you really need the backup, and it always seems to occur at the most inconvenient time.