Easier, safer backup

What to do with those backup disks...

Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) and its Time Machine backup feature will make automated backup tractable for millions for the first time. And so there will be millions of new people who need to think about where to put backup disks. The obvious answer is to connect a backup disk via FireWire or USB.

But if a thief steals your computer or a fire ruins it, you will probably also lose the external backup disk connected to to your computer. Everything gone.

Now think for a minute. How horrible would your life be if you lost all your data forever? Listen to Guillermo Gomez-Peña’s open letter on NPR to the person who stole his laptop computer. He says much more was lost than just a piece of machinery — a part of his mind and soul was stolen away, too.

To keep your backup data safe, it seems clear, your online backup disk should be far away from your computer. Backing up over your (typically slow) uplink to an Internet provider has its problems. Backing up to a disk on your premises without an obvious cable to the disk requires some extra gadgetry and software. Your backup disks will have to be connected to a server box that is accessed over your local network. Wireless networking is great for this use because it frees you to hide the server away from any cabling.

We need an inexpensive backup server product to work well with Time Machine. How about Airport Express? It’s easy to set up an Airport Express as a node on your existing wireless network, and Airport Express has a USB jack that could be used for disks. So far, so good. But Airport Express contains no backup server software.

How would I describe a state-of-the-art backup server for Time Machine?

And for extra credit:

Here’s looking forward to great little wireless backup server product from Apple or from elsewhere.

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2007-12-07 Created