Limited storage and Cloud backup - I need help!

Greetings,

I’ve searched this forum for a solution to my question, but I’ve got many threads with many fragmented tips I’m not able to apply to my case.

I have some documents on DT, and many others heavy documents on Google Drive.
I want to move all my documents to DT, but I need to solve these issues.

I hope to come to a solution with this.

Scenario:

  • I have about 150 Gb of documents in total
  • My Mac has only about 70 Gb free
  • Also, I’d like to have a backup on the cloud, but it has to be incremental (my connection is slow, so I can’t afford uploading ALL the files each time)

Maybe I can move the database to an external SSD and put the files there? But someone here told me it’s not a good idea.

How about the cloud solution? I’ve read that backing up a database on iCloud is not a good idea, because the file may be corrupted, so I’m in doubt.

I prefer to use Google Drive, but I can use iCloud as well.

I ask you a step by step solution for this (I’m not a Tech).
I’m open to other solutions.

Thank you very much!

I am not sure you can get around this without more disk space.

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An external SSD is actually fine as long as it’s part of your backup strategy. But it’s a bad idea if the SSD (or any other server or network volume) contains the only copy of the files.

I don’t know who told you that but a connected external is the advocated method.

The bad idea is thinking about putting your databases in any cloud-synced folder. You should not - and cannot - do this as you could irreparably damage them.

How about the cloud solution? I’ve read that backing up a database on iCloud is not a good idea, because the file may be corrupted, so I’m in doubt.

Backups are not made for daily use.

And your idea of online storage is strictly limited by this comment…

my connection is slow,

You should be looking at local storage, e.g., an connected external hard drive and local primary backups, again on connected externals or potentially an NAS. And as @cgrunenberg just mentioned, the external should be part of your backups as well.

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Agreed.
I forgot to mention I already use Time Machine (on an external drive): is TM good if I use

I wonder if I can use Time Machine also for an external drive: I’ll check it out.

I don’t own a NAS.
As for a local storage, I fear I lose my business life if both my main storage and its backup are in the same place.
And I don’t have an alternative offsite physical solution: I’m a psychologist but I work at schools and similar and carry my laptop with me, so I don’t have an office.

This is the only reason why I talk of a cloud backup.
Maybe you can address my fear, from your own experience?

Thank you again!

We have addressed all this before in your previous threads.

Why not try DEVONthink databases on the external drive (taking great care as USB connections sometimes fail) and do backup to Backblaze which will backup the external drive if connected. I do not know if Time Machine backs up external drives—check.

If when you say “cloud” you mean a sync service remember it syncs a local copy so you are not saving any space. and sync services I believe are not a reliable backup anyway as flaws on either local or server sync and backups destroyed.

Best advice is get a new Mac with more disk space. Sorry, but you need some disk space headroom.

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I’ve used Backblaze for some time, and I’ve found it very good, and not really expensive:

https://www.backblaze.com/cloud-backup.html

It would also be worth investigating Carbon Copy Cloner:

https://bombich.com

External SSDs seem to be pretty cheap nowadays:

SSD esterno

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Agreed, but things were getting too much confusing for me, so I needed a fresh dedicated new thread. Sorry for this.

This is what is confusing me.

I do this way right now, with Get Backup Pro:

  • each evening, GTP looks at what has changed on my local DT database
  • then it backs up the database on iCloud. It’s incremental

It’s one-way, from local to iCloud, not viceversa: is it a backup or a sync?

But I may go for Backblaze (is it a safe solution?) and have an incremental backup offsite only if an emergency occurs, along with Time Machine: Apple says TM can back up up to an external drive ( Backup disks for Time Machine - Apple Support ).

Sorry, but on each subsequent post something new comes out from you.

Correct. But you are proposing to have your DEVONthink databases on an external drive. My hunch (but you can check) that TimeMachine does not reach out and backup an external drive.

Yes, it is complicated becuase you are trying to do what is not simply fixded with so many restrictions of disk space and your setup. Just buy a bigger computer and backup with Backblaze and TimeMachine to local USB disk.

You’re welcome!

I fear I lose my business life if both my main storage and its backup are in the same place.

You should have two separate drives: one for the data, one for the backup.

And I don’t have an alternative offsite physical solution: I’m a psychologist but I work at schools and similar and carry my laptop with me, so I don’t have an office.

You don’t need an office to have good backups.
You can store offsite backups in a security deopsit box at your bank, in a storage locker, at a friend or family member’s home, etc.

And a cloud backup is not necessarily the answer. A cloud backup can be part of a backup strategy, but shouldn’t be the only backup. What do you do if you need your backups and your network is down? And in your case, with a slow connection, online backups are going to take a long time to upload and download. Not very performant in an emergency.
However, if you have a backup on a local drive you can connect, you can be up and running much faster.

I do not know if Time Machine backs up external drives—check.

You can add externals to your Time Machine backups. Or opt for Carbon Copy Cloner (which is quite awesome IMHO).

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I had a chance to research this a bit and careful reading of some blogs show how to un-exclude drives can backup external drives. Confusing though. I backup external drives with Backblaze and CCC, as you suggest.

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I’ve had these issues several times in the past, where lack of disk space becomes an issue. The only solution I found that actually works well is to get an external SSD and run your mac off of it. For example, I’m running a 2TB SSD on my Mac Mini and it’s solved all my issues with lack of space for Photos, DTP, and everything else. This prevents having to have a complicated structure of external drives for data.

I also suggest getting another SSD of the same size and using either SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner to make a clone to it, so you have a workable backup at all times. This is, of course, in addition to your Time Machine and Cloud backups.

The only solution I found that actually works well is to get an external SSD and run your mac off of it

Do you mean putting your home directory on it as well?

Yup. The Mac boots off the external SSD.

Ahh. I’m not a fan of that personally.
And bear in mind, some applications, e.g., Apple Mail, don’t like that much, so YMMV.

I’ve been running on an external SSD for years. Probably over a decade, and have never had any issues. Before that, I was running an external spindle drive over FireWire. No problems there, either. Never.

I’ve run every categorization of app this way, too: video editing, photo editing, databases, VM, email clients, native Apple apps, 3rd party apps - everything I’ve ever used was off of an external drive and never once had a problem.

Glad it’s worked out for you.
However, I’m noting from our experience that in more recent versions of macOS, it definitely has caused problems for people, especially regarding Apple Mail.