Sean’s Time Machine Review

I think Sean might be a tad disappointed in one of the Leopard features called Time Machine.  It would appear the new backup feature didn’t live up to his expectations.  Here’s a quote from his blog entry:

“But with two-and-a-half years of development, Apple has surely gotten backup right in Leopard, right?  Time machine certainly demos well… Having installed it tonight, however, I can tell you that Apple’s advertising is correct.  Time Machine is a “giant leap backward.”

See for the entire post.  Sean makes some good points so it is worth a read even if you have no plans to ever run a Mac and OS X v10.5.

Comments (4)

  1. Jim White says:

    Sean’s expectation that Time Machine should work with network storage is normal but impractical.  Time Machine requires file and directory multi-linking (that’s how you get normal-looking complete file trees without an explosion in size), and there’s no way to do that over SMB or on hardly any other file system format (even *nix file systems that have file multi-linking usually don’t have directory multi-linking, which is why Apple is going to support Sun’s ZFS).

    So Time Machine truly is a big step forward is backup performance and ease-of-use.  There are network file servers with shadow storage and the like, but they cost more and are much harder to use.  And Windoze of course won’t have it for years.


  2. Keith Combs says:

    Yea, the instancing issue isn’t an easy technical challenge.  I actually think it’s a cool feature and plan to have some fun with it. I would imagine the customer using Leopard Xsan are also going to love it.  Since I haven’t played with it yet, does Time Machine automatically switch between a locally attached drive, and a Xsan server?  I was wondering about someone who works part of the time in the office, and part of the time at home.

    Another question I’d like to learn when I get my Pro machine next week is on the subject of imaging.  I’m used to taking Windows snapshots via an imaging tool like Ghost or TrueImage, do imaging tools exist for Leopard so I can created a DVD image set, or an image on an external disk?  When I asked the person doing the demo of Time Machine, they said it doesn’t do imaging.

    Hey, lets tone down the remarks about Windoze.  I’ll try keep mine professional, too.  If I go out of bounds, let me know.  

  3. smearp says:

    For once I get to review a feature from the end-user perspective, and completely gloss over the difficulty behind the scenes in technically implementing the feature.  

    When I talk about Windows features, it is from the perspective of someone participating on internal Discussion Lists where the Program Managers and Developers explain why they made the decisions that they did.  I am sure that there are some entirel logical reasons why Apple architected this feature to only work over AFP to shares on an HFS+ formatted volume, but from a selfish end-user perspective, I want to be able to back up to my huge network drive (that Leopard can read and write to with no problems) 🙂

    Unfortunately, once Apple develops a feature that is "Good Enough", 3rd party development in these areas tends to cease.  If Apple doesn’t add support for backup to SMB shares, I’m afraid no-one will.  Time to head to Frys and pick up an external drive for my MBP.  Good thing they are so cheap 🙂

  4. Jim White says:

    Just use Disk Utility to create disk images.  They can be compressed to save space and/or encrypted.  You can easily backup/restore that way (and I do before things like system upgrades).  

    To do a block-by-block copy between disks be sure to check "Erase destination", otherwise you’ll get a file-by-file copy (which is handy though when changing file system formats).

    Disk Utility can now also increase the size of a partition, but not (AFAICT) reduce it even though I’ve been able to do a block restore to make the partition smaller.

    I’ve upgraded three of my four systems to Leopard and have done some Time Machine backups.  Hiccups have been fairly minor (the Unsanity Application Enhancer conflict had me quite annoyed Friday night though, I’m used to Apple upgrades being flawless…) and I’m very happy to have a backup regime that works the way I want it to!