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View Full Version : Could Apple be building an online time machine service?




wisty
Oct 29, 2010, 02:14 PM
Back-ups are a PITA, but are pretty vital. And I'm betting that about 5% of Windows users, and 10% of Mac users (thanks Time Machine) have any back-up at all.

$1000 for a DSLR, $2000 for the lenses, $5000 for the holidays. Losing all your photos because you didn't back up .... priceless.

There are online services. Mozy, Carbonite, Jungle Disk, rsyncx with a cheap web host, perl scripts mirroring your data to the server in your friend's basement ... but it's just not Mac-like to have so much choice. There should be a default option, and I'm sure Apple would love to control it.

Apple is building a datacenter. A big one. What's the bet that they could offer 200GB backups for $200 / year (let's just assume they charge a premium - $100 for unlimited is more competitive), and sell it through the Lion App store?

They'll have the servers. They'll have the captive audience. They'll have one-click purchases set up, so people don't procrastinate while they consider their options.

There would also be some scope to integrate it with MobileMe. If they already host the photos, it's a no-brainer to make serve them to the public. There's lots of cloud things they could do here - iPad, MBA, iPhone, iMac - all connected to a central repository.

Time Machine (as it stands) is OK, but it's not ideal. It can easily be stolen or destroyed along with your computer in a real catastrophe. And you can't take it everywhere you go.

What do you guys think?

And how could they market this? I can just imagine the ad ... "Hey PC, can I see your baby photos?"



wackymacky
Oct 30, 2010, 02:25 PM
Back-ups are a PITA, but are pretty vital. And I'm betting that about 5% of Windows users, and 10% of Mac users (thanks Time Machine) have any back-up at all.

$1000 for a DSLR, $2000 for the lenses, $5000 for the holidays. Losing all your photos because you didn't back up .... priceless.

There are online services. Mozy, Carbonite, Jungle Disk, rsyncx with a cheap web host, perl scripts mirroring your data to the server in your friend's basement ... but it's just not Mac-like to have so much choice. There should be a default option, and I'm sure Apple would love to control it.

Apple is building a datacenter. A big one. What's the bet that they could offer 200GB backups for $200 / year (let's just assume they charge a premium - $100 for unlimited is more competitive), and sell it through the Lion App store?

They'll have the servers. They'll have the captive audience. They'll have one-click purchases set up, so people don't procrastinate while they consider their options.

There would also be some scope to integrate it with MobileMe. If they already host the photos, it's a no-brainer to make serve them to the public. There's lots of cloud things they could do here - iPad, MBA, iPhone, iMac - all connected to a central repository.

Time Machine (as it stands) is OK, but it's not ideal. It can easily be stolen or destroyed along with your computer in a real catastrophe. And you can't take it everywhere you go.

What do you guys think?

And how could they market this? I can just imagine the ad ... "Hey PC, can I see your baby photos?"

I use time machine for my perpetual backups, of my data, system and programs. I also back up my user data (personal/ work folders about once a month) on a high quality portable hard disk drive that is kept separate from my computer.

Although I use iDisk, mainly to have things accessible on the move I wouldn't want to use on line storage as it would be giving up control of my data to a third person.

None of the people who offer these services for the public accept responsibility for data loss or data theft. Also as much as I love Apple I don't trust them not to use my data for there business purposes. (do you really believe that google collected all that wifi network info with there street view cars just by mistake)

And also is there the infrastructure in place for ISP's etc to handle everyone suddenly doing a few 100mb of online backup on top of the usual network traffic.

maflynn
Oct 30, 2010, 03:47 PM
They actually had an "online" backup option with .mac (prior to it being called mobile me). It was slow, and generally was not feasible. If they were to try this again, they'd need to make the servers quicker then what we have for the iDisk, as those are painfully slow.

cuestakid
Oct 30, 2010, 09:45 PM
If Apple was to offer any kind of online backup, at the very least it should offer iTunes library backups-or at the very least a real means of restoring purchased content. I have never been a big supporter of online backups, for the simple reason that it can get quite pricey if you have a lot of data.

maflynn
Oct 31, 2010, 06:05 AM
My only question with those types of services is how long will it take to restore a system?

I mean, downloading a 100gig of data will take forever, even if its been compressed to some degree.

Hellhammer
Oct 31, 2010, 06:09 AM
Unless Apple is planning to install fibre connection to every Mac owner, it's not going to happen. Connection speeds are way too slow, it would take days, even weeks or months to backup your data, especially if you have a lot data. It's not very practical to wait days to recover your data

Transporteur
Oct 31, 2010, 06:17 AM
My only question with those types of services is how long will it take to restore a system?

I mean, downloading a 100gig of data will take forever, even if its been compressed to some degree.

There are services today that will send you a USB drive or a DVD/BluRay with your data in case that you want a quick restore.

The problem with full online backups still is the connection speed. Although download speeds are very reasonable these days, upload speed generally isn't fast enough for a convenient, solely online, backup solution.

The industry is definitely going there, but with the slow development of comprehensive high speed broadband (I would say that you need at least a 100k upload connection for a convenient solution) I don't see it coming from Apple in the near future.
At least in Europe the broadband connections still suck (except for the really big metropoles), and I'm not sure that the US has a much better area-covering.

maflynn
Oct 31, 2010, 08:12 AM
There are services today that will send you a USB drive or a DVD/BluRay with your data in case that you want a quick restore.
Well that's certainly a plus but I cant help but think with the low cost of external drives, how much easier, quicker and cheaper it would be to use one of them.

I have two external drives, I use CCC for both, and the second one is portable, so I take it off site.

In both cases, I can generally restore my Mac in less time then with one of those services.

mulo
Oct 31, 2010, 08:17 AM
They actually had an "online" backup option with .mac (prior to it being called mobile me). It was slow, and generally was not feasible. If they were to try this again, they'd need to make the servers quicker then what we have for the iDisk, as those are painfully slow.

they still do. if you have mobile me there is an app on there that you can download and install.

maflynn
Oct 31, 2010, 08:21 AM
they still do. if you have mobile me there is an app on there that you can download and install. It will allow you to sync any folder on your computer with mobile me

The haven't pulled it yet? I don't see it advertised and the last time I used it, I was frustrated by how slow it was. Of course I shouldn't have been totally surprised since iDisk is pathetically slow.

jbg232
Oct 31, 2010, 08:36 AM
Way too slow for my uses at least. I personally love time machine and given how cheap external drives are these days ($100 for 2TB!) really are a no brainer. I shoot a lot of photos in RAW and every time I import after a session I would have to upload ~8gb of data which would literally take all night if not longer. Not to mention the drain this would have on my internet connection. Not feasible in my opinion.

mulo
Oct 31, 2010, 08:39 AM
The haven't pulled it yet? I don't see it advertised and the last time I used it, I was frustrated by how slow it was. Of course I shouldn't have been totally surprised since iDisk is pathetically slow.

nope, its located here /Volumes/MMUName/Software/Backup/MobileMeBackupv3.2.dmg

About Backup 3 (version 3.2)

Welcome to Backup 3, the fast and easy way to protect your important files from accidental loss. Use Backup 3 to back up files to:

Your iDisk
Recordable CD and DVD discs
A folder on a USB or FireWire disk, your own hard drive, a network server, or other available disks

With Backup 3 you can create multiple backup plans for backing up your most important data, such as your computer's home folder, your essential personal data files, and your iLife content (photos, movies, and music). And, you can schedule automatic backups so you never forget a backup.

What's New in Backup 3.2
Backup 3.2 is*recommended for all users of Backup 3. This update improves the reliability of backup*restore and uses space more efficiently on your iDisk or local storage (e.g. external hard drive or DVD).*

For more information on Backup 3.2 improvements, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3991

wisty
Nov 1, 2010, 06:46 AM
The haven't pulled it yet? I don't see it advertised and the last time I used it, I was frustrated by how slow it was. Of course I shouldn't have been totally surprised since iDisk is pathetically slow.

It won't be fast. It can't be - the network will be slow and they will use slow disks to save money.

But it's good insurance. You can do better, with a 2T external disk and a safe deposit box, but there's about a billion people (10% of them with Macs) who don't.

GroundLoop
Nov 1, 2010, 06:55 AM
It won't be fast. It can't be - the network will be slow and they will use slow disks to save money.

But it's good insurance. You can do better, with a 2T external disk and a safe deposit box, but there's about a billion people (10% of them with Macs) who don't.

I remember the days when I could do a full backup on a single 2TB disk. Now, I barely fit my data on a 8TB Drobo (5.5TB usable space)

GL

DoFoT9
Nov 1, 2010, 07:21 AM
Unless Apple is planning to install fibre connection to every Mac owner, it's not going to happen. Connection speeds are way too slow, it would take days, even weeks or months to backup your data, especially if you have a lot data. It's not very practical to wait days to recover your data
A minor concern especially when the users data is in question. I would wuite happily send my data off to apple (or a trusted hosting comapny) to store my data. Apple would be able to integrate it nicely into the osx time machine in the following manner.

1. Time machine would fully scan the disks content. It would identify what are system components and what is user data and users apps.
2. User data is copied to their servers, music, documents, etc.
3. The osx system and its file structure neednt be copied over, there saves about 5gb of space,
4. The default applixations that come with osx neednt be copied over, there is more data saves.
5. any applications of the user that are already stored with apple dont need to be backed up again, only the preference file and user data (i.e. Software licences) are important there, which have already been backed up.

Once the initial backup is done the incrementals (hourly?) would be much faster.

Restoring would be a lot faster, apple pieces the software and OS back together for you using indexes from the backups and it redownloads it for you. This would be much faster, because download speeds are many times higher thennupload speeds.

I remember the days when I could do a full backup on a single 2TB disk. Now, I barely fit my data on a 8TB Drobo (5.5TB usable space)

GL

yes i am also in a similar boat. The amount of data we store has increased at a steady rate however the physical space required (amount of hard drives) has increased, even though densities are marginally lower then before. In a sense networked storage seems a logical way to go, but there are too many limiting factors.

P.s. Excuse my typos! First time trying to type without spelll checker on ipad :rolleyes:

wisty
Nov 1, 2010, 07:30 AM
Well, they could eliminate duplicate data the same way rsync does it. It's not rocket science these days.

Photos (and other big user-created things) would be ... difficult. They could offer premium prices to pro-photographers, but there seems little point. Pros are better off using hard disks.

Another option is to resize photos, and just back up a crappy low res version. They could integrate it with iPhoto, so more popular photos get backed up at a higher resolution, and less popular photos are backed up at a low resolution.

It would be better than no backup.

DoFoT9
Nov 1, 2010, 04:08 PM
It would be better than no backup.

Not a solution in my opinion. I do not want my data being lossy!

Imagine what theyy would do with movies!

karsten
Nov 14, 2010, 08:03 PM
transfer rates are too slow for full system backups, but maybe they could treat an installation as a diff against a plain osx installation. then users would basically just be uploading their /home directories. then after that it would just be changes against that, so it would be pretty quick. what i would like to see though is a online backup for itunes purchases. its terrible customer service in today's state of tech that you only get one download of a purchase.

Supa_Fly
Jan 22, 2011, 01:45 PM
A minor concern especially when the users data is in question. I would wuite happily send my data off to apple (or a trusted hosting comapny) to store my data. Apple would be able to integrate it nicely into the osx time machine in the following manner.

1. Time machine would fully scan the disks content. It would identify what are system components and what is user data and users apps.
2. User data is copied to their servers, music, documents, etc.
3. The osx system and its file structure neednt be copied over, there saves about 5gb of space,
4. The default applixations that come with osx neednt be copied over, there is more data saves.
5. any applications of the user that are already stored with apple dont need to be backed up again, only the preference file and user data (i.e. Software licences) are important there, which have already been backed up.

Once the initial backup is done the incrementals (hourly?) would be much faster.

Restoring would be a lot faster, apple pieces the software and OS back together for you using indexes from the backups and it redownloads it for you. This would be much faster, because download speeds are many times higher thennupload speeds.



yes i am also in a similar boat. The amount of data we store has increased at a steady rate however the physical space required (amount of hard drives) has increased, even though densities are marginally lower then before. In a sense networked storage seems a logical way to go, but there are too many limiting factors.

P.s. Excuse my typos! First time trying to type without spelll checker on ipad :rolleyes:

Definitely a GREAT solution and since its a FIRST party offer it would be great. You know Microsoft would offer a similar solution soon after though; photocopy machines.

I'm MORE curious how renaming the Macintosh HDD to a custom name then back again or a home folder would do to a restore from Time Machine or Time Machine Air/Cloud Machine (whatever Apple would call it) would do to user data and permissions of files.

iPhoneCollector
Jan 22, 2011, 01:49 PM
That would be awesome ad then when it would be linked to your itunes account

iPatrick99
Jan 27, 2011, 07:58 AM
Unless Apple is planning to install fibre connection to every Mac owner, it's not going to happen. Connection speeds are way too slow, it would take days, even weeks or months to backup your data, especially if you have a lot data.

and there it is!

DoFoT9
Jan 27, 2011, 08:06 AM
Definitely a GREAT solution and since its a FIRST party offer it would be great. You know Microsoft would offer a similar solution soon after though; photocopy machines.

I'm MORE curious how renaming the Macintosh HDD to a custom name then back again or a home folder would do to a restore from Time Machine or Time Machine Air/Cloud Machine (whatever Apple would call it) would do to user data and permissions of files.

one would hope that Apple uses folder IDs to identify them, rather then their "visible name". :)

Andeavor
Jan 27, 2011, 02:51 PM
Neat idea. Back up wherever, whenever. :)

hfletcher
Jan 27, 2011, 02:59 PM
One thing that would be very useful, would be the ability to re-download iTunes purchases. What is the point in backing everything up locally, when you have already purchased a license to the song/video etc and there is already a copy on Apple's server somewhere?

For example, the new Mac App store allows you to download apps again once you've bought them. Why not iTunes? For me, most of my space is taken up by downloaded TV shows.
And before someone says "oh you can just email iTunes support and explain that your dog ate your hardrive etc..." , there should be a more elegant, integrated solution built into iTunes itself that can do it automatically.