Backing Up Macs

The question has been raised recently of how best to back Mac computers in use within the School. Macs running a reasonably modern version of MacOS come with Time Machine which allows the Mac owner to easily back up and restore from an external disk and we would suggest that this should be the first port of call for Mac users. There are some issues with time machine though, for instance the need to have the time machine backup volume available before backups and restores can take place, tricky if you need to restore something urgently at work and have left the disk at home, and the fact that the integrity of the backups relies on the hard disk on which the backup volume resides continuing to function correctly.

With these issues in mind, the School offers an alternative to time machine for small amount (usually less that 5GB) of important data. Users can arrange for such data to be backed up using the School’s commodity backup service based on Teradactyl’s True Incremental Backup System (TiBS). Data backed up in this way is written to tape off-site and is retained for 13 months. Machines can either be backed up automatically every night or can be backed up when it suits the user by running a simple command. For details of how to configure a Mac to make use of this service, see Mac users may recall that when MacOS Lion was introduced, there were some incompatibility issues with TiBS but these have now been overcome.

Windows users should not feel that they are being left out since they too can make use of the TiBS service. See the above document for details.

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