Author Topic: Time Machine  (Read 2624 times)

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Offline ashort

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Time Machine
« on: Tue, 19 February 2008, 09:41:34 »
http://www.macworld.com/article/132118/2008/02/timemachine1.html?lsrc=mwweek

MacWorld has a list of "things Time Machine won't do".  I'm curious as to how much of what is so bad about Time Machine are real issues?  You have to approach Time Machine as a software with a specific purpose.  Jobs himself at two different keynotes did this.  He did not promise the world and come up short.  He said "here's a neat tool that those of you who - shame on you - don't backup can use to give your data some security, and it's SO easy to use...watch this."  Time Machine is aimed at a large population of users who do NOT backup their systems regularly.  In filling that gap, I think it is a fantastic product.  I just wish my wheel mouse would flow through the snapshots while I am in it.  That would be extra special cool.

What Time Machine can’t do for you

Doesn’t Make Bootable Duplicates[/B]
 I don't know how important this is.  If I am recovering a system, wouldn't I want to completely refresh at least the bootable and system portion?  How many home backup solutions (which Time Machine absolutely IS) provide you with an easy to restore bootable archive?

Doesn’t Give You Much Control
 It backups so often, it's easy and free with OS-X.  Who cares?  And there are hacks for those who don't like the schedule.

Doesn’t Use Optical Discs
 Some really nice things about optical disks:
  • they decay over time
  • they would require that you label and swap out every few days.
  • they do NOT work well with Time Machine's easy restore mechanism.

 Huh...I wonder why Time Machine doesn't support optical media.

Simple Controls: The Time Machine preference pane has just a handful of controls, including a cartoonishly large on/off slider.
  Didn't he hear jobs talking Time Machine up?  Simplicity is exactly what Time Machine was supposed to be!

Doesn’t Use AirPort Disks
 This will be baked in soon if it hasn't already, and I am using (have been since day 1) a very simple but very effective hack to use a FreeNAS afp server for my Time Machine backups.

Doesn’t Compress Files
 Disk space is so stinking cheap, and the way Time Machine works with multiple links to the same file on the same drive fro files that never change or seldom do.  That saves a lot of space already.  And, I store most of my data on mirrored storage on the same FreeNAS box mentioned above.  It's already backed up (RAID mirror) so I don't worry about it.  I am using only 45GB of my iMac's drive because I offload pictures and music and podcasts and application specific backups to the FreeNAS box.

Doesn’t Use Encryption
  Again: Simplicity!!!  You want encryption?  Encrypt the drive that Time Machine writes to.  Done.  Now it has to mount that drive automatically so you'll have to cache the password somewhere and that defeats the purpose.

Doesn’t Work Well with FileVault
  Should it?

Doesn’t Include Off-Site Protection
  SIMPLICITY!!!  If Time Machine works for you, you aren't too worried about offsite storage.  And again...I don't know how Time Machine would work with offline media anyway (see optical)

false sense of security. After all, someone who breaks into your office and steals your Mac will probably pick up the hard drive sitting next to it, too.
 Yep, all true.

Just feels to me like they are slamming Time Machine for being everything that Apple intended it to be, and nothing else.
Andrew
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Offline IBI

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Time Machine
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 19 February 2008, 10:49:19 »
I think it's a combination of two things:

1. This is OS X's built in backup app, and programs that come with the OS should be useful to the majority of it's users. As time machine isn't too useful for quite a few users there's probably something of a feeling that it's wasted disk space/money.

2. It should be made easy for people to follow proper backup procedure and more difficult to do anything less, maybe it's seen that apple are wrongly encouraging people to not bother making proper backups?

There are just possible reasons, I haven't seen time machine working yet so I've got no personal opinion on it.
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Offline iMav

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Time Machine
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 19 February 2008, 11:40:19 »
I think Time Machine is great.  (and with the latest software update, network disks work just fine, BTW)  

"Proper backups" are simply what allows you to restore what you NEED if/when your computer fails (hdd, or otherwise).  Personally, I would never restore a full system image from backup.  I'd see it as an opportunity for a nice, fresh install.  Lay down the OS, patch, reinstall your apps, and restore your data.  

And lets not forget that in the "real world", backups are primarily relied on for accidental deletions of data.  A scenario that Time Machine excels at.

IMHO, TM is excellent for the average Mac user.  For those a bit more demanding that require more, there are tons of software packages available.  And, for those that are a bit more tech-savvy, there are tons of tools available with OS X to help you back up your data however you please (rsync, dd, tar, etc).  ;)

Offline Nonmouse

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Time Machine
« Reply #3 on: Wed, 20 February 2008, 13:08:51 »
Quote from: ashort;3117
http://www.macworld.com/article/132118/2008/02/timemachine1.html?lsrc=mwweek


Doesn’t Use Optical Discs
 Some really nice things about optical disks:
  • they decay over time
  • they would require that you label and swap out every few days.
  • they do NOT work well with Time Machine's easy restore mechanism.

 Huh...I wonder why Time Machine doesn't support optical media.


Is there a "don't" missing from the line I bolded?  o.O

Offline ashort

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Time Machine
« Reply #4 on: Wed, 20 February 2008, 14:43:48 »
Quote from: Nonmouse;3142
Is there a "don't" missing from the line I bolded?  o.O


Nope.  Bit loss due to age is a real problem with CD and DVD media.  I don't think it is worse that tape media, but it is still there.
Andrew
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Offline Nonmouse

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Time Machine
« Reply #5 on: Wed, 20 February 2008, 15:15:39 »
Quote from: ashort;3144
Nope.  Bit loss due to age is a real problem with CD and DVD media.  I don't think it is worse that tape media, but it is still there.


Well, yeah, by the second law of thermodynamics, -all- data degrades over time.  My impression, though, was that optical disks were the most resistant of the currently available choices, since it requires the media to be physically degraded, either by photodegradation or mechanical damage, and to a lesser extent by humidity or chemical degradation, whereas magnetic media are susceptible to magnetic fields, and more susceptible to chemical, photo and mechanical degradation plus spontaneous flipping of the field orientation, either because of the influence of nearby fields (other bits) or just Heisenberg uncertainty.

While it's technically accurate that optical media degrades, rejecting the most stable storage media available because it isn't perfectly stable seems... backward...

Offline ashort

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Time Machine
« Reply #6 on: Wed, 20 February 2008, 16:24:15 »
CDFreaks has a lot on this subject.  It really depends on the quality of the media, what is writing to it, and the environment in which the disks are stored.  Light, humidity, and temperature will all contribute to it's quickened demise).  

The tone of the "What's wrong with Time Machine" article was lambasting Time Machine for not allowing permanent storage like optical, and my point is that optical shouldn't be considered permanent.  Most people consider it bulletproof and that assumption is dangerous when you are talking about the ability to recover important files.  Ask my kids (with a PS2, an XBox 360, and MANY dead DVDs behind them) how destructible magnetic media is.  =-D

I have two methods of backups right now:

1.  Time Machine.
2.  Important files on mirrored storage off box-TM doesn't touch these files, it is a part of this file system though.

I am considering adding a third hdd to the mix because if my house burned down, I would still lose all of it:  I could buy one more drive for the mirrored storage and swap that drive in an out every month or every week so.  Break mirror, pull drive, insert drive, re-mirror.  Fun.  That way if it all goes away, at least I have the important stuff from the last drive swap.  I may upgrade to the Terabyte range before I go there.  Right now, it is only something I am considering.  I would carry the third drive to the office and leave it in my desk there.  If either place "goes away" I'm not out a lot because all the important stuff is in one place or another.  The kicker:  I live an hour from the office and once per cycle I would have all three drives in my house for one night.  But it is still far more than I have today.

Not that magentic media is infallible either, but the constant refresh of the mirror would force a persistence on it that isn't there naturally.  Maybe I prematurely write off optical media because I can't see where it fits into a good backup strategy.  Even a dual layer DVD won't hold all my photos by themselves or all my music.  

I think that Time Machine would be great as a first layer of a comprehensive backup solution (which I am hopefully working toward).  Use Time Machine and a few hundred GB for the quick and easy file restores ("oops!  I deleted the March spreadsheet for last year!"), and something more comprehensive for a "within the hour" restore of your entire hard drive.  Given the ease of TM at restoring individual files and directories, that comprehensive solution could backup ONLY an entire hard drive.
Andrew
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Offline Nonmouse

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Time Machine
« Reply #7 on: Wed, 20 February 2008, 18:38:28 »
Well, okay- I'll agree, it's not permanent, but it's about the closest we have these days- whenever anybody talks about archival storage, they almost always mean optical.  Of course, not having a Mac, it's pretty much an academic point to me...  :D

Offline ashort

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Time Machine
« Reply #8 on: Wed, 20 February 2008, 19:03:15 »
I'll say this:

Time Machine is why I turned up my FreeNAS box.  

Then I was waiting on TM to arrive in Leopard and then decided that putting the pics and music on it with mirrored storage was a good idea.  Now Time Machine is here and I am considering striping two non-redundant disks together strictly for Time Machine and other stuff that's fairly non-critical if I were to lose it.  Cisco PDFs, Quicken backups, backups from my wife's business, for example.  I can get those back so why waste mirrored space and cycles on it?  Besides, I have what is very likely a dead Tivo I can recover the drives from for just such an occasion.
Andrew
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Offline ashort

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Time Machine
« Reply #9 on: Sat, 01 March 2008, 15:02:25 »
http://www.engadget.com/2008/02/29/mitsubishi-develops-corrosion-resistant-dvd-rs-for-the-long-haul/

Interesting idea of special disks to use for long-term storage.  CD's that last 300 years?  Wow!  Hopefully we'll have everything in bubble memory by then.  =-D
Andrew
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