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  1. Can't speak to all of this but I use Arq from Haystack Software for encrypted de-duped off-site backups to Amazon S3, Google Nearline, Amazon Drive and folders on local media or my NAS. It also supports sftp targets. The licensing is easy, and there is an open source recovery tool should the software ever stop being maintained or whatever written in python on Github. You can configure it quite granularly, it supports all macOS/HFS+ metadata and restores it perfectly. You can also create different backup sets on different destinations, and you can do snapshot-style hourly incremental backups that age out to daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. I keep some stuff in Amazon S3 Glacier, others in Google Nearline and some on regular S3; my current working documents are archived nightly off-site but I do hourly snapshots locally. My NAS at home is FreeNAS and I was a Solaris admin in a former life, so I prefer to use ZFS for redundant/reliable storage. There is OpenZFS on OS X which is a very good implementation for Macs and I use it on an iMac 5K Retina 27" and MacBook Pro at work with USB 3 devices and on my Hac at home with Thunderbolt/eSATA and occasionally USB 3 drives (usually just to duplicate or send/recv a pool snapshot) You can't boot from ZFS but that doesn't bother me much personally; I am fine with jhfs+ for a system and application volume and just having my important stuff on ZFS or ZFS-backed jhfs+ zvols is safe enough for me. The TimeMachine service in OS X Server is pretty good; you can target ZFS datasets or zvols and easily enough recover a MacBook Pro's backup to a fresh disk. People do it all the time, I tested it once with one of the household MacBook Airs and it was without incident. The other nice thing about OS X Server is that goddamned caching server for iCloud/AppStore. It's awesome if you have a household of Macs and iOS devices. The software update service can easily balloon if you set it to defaults so I selectively manually fetch large OS releases and safebrowsing updates and things like that but don't bother mirroring all the voices and other one-off items that aren't used by every single device in the house. On the Pro you have one good option for storage; Thunderbolt. Think about what filesystem you want to use, think about if you'll be early adopter of APFS or if you end to use Core Storage. Don't think you're going to use AppleRAID or something because there are already better options and it's likely to be pulled at some point in the near future. I prefer software like ZFS to handle devices but you can find Thunderbolt hardware RAID enclosures out there. I stick to JBODs or enclosures I can present the devices over those just because I hate hardware RAID unless I have the budget and requirements for single-vendor (e.g. spending more than USD$200k with someone like HP/NetApp/Oracle) — for my personal use I'm going to be using commodity hardware piecemeal and it needs to adapt and change over time or I end up being trapped in some legacy universe where I demand a PS/2 port, Snow Leopard, or a floppy drive to go along with my powdered wig and buggy whips.