Strategies for Backing Up a Mac

An external drive, DVDs, a Network Attached Storage device (NAS), or an Internet-based service are all options for backing up a Mac according to a Computerworld article posted Thursday.

External FireWire drives, especially FireWire 800, are excellent for backing up data, and a PowerPC Mac can boot from one. For those who want to use a USB2 drive, only Intel-based Macs can boot from a USB2 drive, but otherwise there is no impact on backing up data.

"SATA, a high-speed bus technology, is the fastest of these interfaces, but to hook up an external SATA drive to your Mac, youill need to add an adapter using a PCI card (for Power Macs and Mac Pros), a PC card (for PowerBooks) or an ExpressCard (for MacBook Pros)," Joe Kissell wrote.

Network Attached Storage (NAS) has some of its own problems which include no mechanism for automatic backup. "For all these reasons, I consider NAS devices less than ideal for network backups," advised the author.

An increasingly popular option is Internet-based storage, and services are available from Apple, Backjack, Prolifix, and Amazon. These are best suited for small data sets without privacy concerns. The Amazon S3 service charges only US$0.15 per gigabyte per month.

The article was a good starting point for considering the possible mechanisms and hardware for Macintosh backups. However, the selection of backup software was not discussed and can be difficult. Really good backups require a lot of thought and planning. To assist TMOis readers, Bob LeVitus has written an excellent introduction to the whole subject of Macintosh backups.