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Old 07-19-2016, 11:08 PM
streborg streborg is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 13
It works and works well.

I run the following configuration on my Mac Pro (Early 2008). It is all backed up and maintained with Superduper! It may be more complicated than some would like, but it has been fast and keeps this 8 year old Mac performing.

Mac Pro internally hasÖ
Bay 1 - a 500GB HD partitioned into 4 equal sizes used for bootable systems.
Bay 2 - same as Bay 1
Bay 3 - 2TB HD for data
Bay 4 - 2TB HD for data
2 - 120GB SSD installed in the second optical bay using brackets and eSata cables from OWC.

On one of the partitions on the HD in Bay1 is OS X Yosemite installation. I use it as the source to create a shared users Sandbox on one of the SSDs. I always boot and update from the Sandbox and If stable and prior to significant updates will refresh Yosemite from the Sandbox. The only directories on Yosemite (shared by Sandbox) are my admin user (BootAdmin) and Shared user directory. BootAdmin is limited to installing new software, trouble shooting, and running backups. No email, no general web browsing is done from BootAdmin. I keep the BootAdmin id on the HD I boot from for recovery reasons.

I use Disk Utility to create a software RAID 1 volume (Userdata) using the HDs in Bay 3 and Bay 4. Userdata is where my various 4 general purpose userids are located. I first copied each of them to Userdata using the finder, then used the System Preferences>Users & Groups>Advanced feature (right click a user to access) to redirect the system to the new location on Userdata. After verifying everything worked and that I had good backups I deleted the original user directories (that I moved) from the original boot drive.

I find the advantages of this setup are many including small system volumes (the biggest uses about 60GB, the smallest about 20GB), fast backup and recovery. Isolating primary user directories from the system volumes prevents them from being affected by system upgrades and allows me to keep more data easily. Iíve been running this configuration for years through numerous OS upgrades and never lost anything.

The primary disadvantage of this set up is a more complex backup regimen. Because Iím and old IT professional Iíve seen lots of data loss over the years and go to extremes to avoid it. The other problem that may come is when Apple begins to implement the HFS+ replacement.

Other things that may be of interest. Why so many partitions for systems? I still actually user Snow Leopard for programs that do not run on the current OS X. I also keep Leopard so I can still play with some classic stuff with OS 9. Mountain Lion, Mavericks, not using, but havenít removed them yet. El Capitan is being experimented with, but the removal of Software Raid from Disk Utility has prevented me from moving forward until Iím comfortable with using the command line or get a new product.

I also keep rotating backups of each volume on a bare HD in a fire safe near the computer and in a fires afe in my basement. I only take volume backups when I make significant changes. Usually a few times a month. I use Superduper! for all my volume backups, and Time Machine with an external hardware RAID device for incremental backups. I also use external hardware RAID device for my image library. Additionally, I have an online backup service for the offsite copy.

I know this was a bit long winded but I hope it helps.
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