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Easy Backup For The Masses: Time Machine Comes Close

With OS X Leopard, Apple's gotten much of the user backup problem right. Plug a USB or Firewire hard drive into your Mac and, with just a few

Howard Marks

January 16, 2008

1 Min Read

Well, it's been years since my whole family switched from Windows to Macintosh, giving up free tech support from yours truly as I insisted that "I don't no nothin' about birthin' no Macs" when they called. When the time to buy a new laptop came, I bought a MacBook Pro and immediately set up Boot Camp and VMware Fusion so I could still run my Windows apps.

With OS X Leopard, Apple's gotten much of the user backup problem right. Plug a USB or Firewire hard drive into your Mac and, with just a few minutes of setup, Time Machine will start making hourly backups to the external drive, storing a daily backup until the disk is full and then killing off the oldest backups as it needs space.While anyone reading this blog could figure out how to backup their system to an external hard drive, Apple deserves big brownie points for making it transparent and providing a great restore user interface that will let even a typical Mac user find the version of his résumé from last month by clicking through folders that represent each set of backups.

At Macworld this week, Apple announced the $299 Time Capsule, an 802.11n router and 500-Gbyte hard drive that Time Machine can use as a backup target.

Capsule shampsule! Time Machine should support backup to a network share. Every geek I know has a home NAS server and, unlike Time Capsule, they have mirrored drives and media servers so we can play those MP3s on the stereo.

Now if Apple can automate a second stage backup from Time Capsule to .MAC, that would be something.

About the Author(s)

Howard Marks

Network Computing Blogger

Howard Marks is founder and chief scientist at Deepstorage LLC, a storage consultancy and independent test lab based in Santa Fe, N.M. and concentrating on storage and data center networking. In more than 25 years of consulting, Marks has designed and implemented storage systems, networks, management systems and Internet strategies at organizations including American Express, J.P. Morgan, Borden Foods, U.S. Tobacco, BBDO Worldwide, Foxwoods Resort Casino and the State University of New York at Purchase. The testing at DeepStorage Labs is informed by that real world experience.

He has been a frequent contributor to Network Computing and InformationWeek since 1999 and a speaker at industry conferences including Comnet, PC Expo, Interop and Microsoft's TechEd since 1990. He is the author of Networking Windows and co-author of Windows NT Unleashed (Sams).

He is co-host, with Ray Lucchesi of the monthly Greybeards on Storage podcast where the voices of experience discuss the latest issues in the storage world with industry leaders.  You can find the podcast at: http://www.deepstorage.net/NEW/GBoS

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