Why Time Capsule could be a bitter pill for business

Apple also used the event to launch its latest bid for storage supremacy: the Time Capsule. For Mac-loving households, this might be good news, but as a business storage solution it leaves a lot to be desired.

A new slim MacBook and a new way to rip off iPod owners might have gotten the bulk of the media's attention at Macworld 2008, but Apple also used the event to launch its latest bid for storage supremacy: the Time Capsule.

For Mac-loving households, this might be good news, but as a business storage solution it leaves a lot to be desired.

Time Capsule is, in essence, a Wi-Fi-enabled external drive which works in conjunction with OS X Leopard's Time Machine software to automate the backup process. Two models are available, a 500GB box for AU$429 and a 1TB model for AU$699.

$699 for a terabyte of drive space might seem reasonable, but there's a couple of caveats.

Firstly, Time Capsule is a Mac-only solution. Outside of graphic design firms and advertising agencies, the number of businesses that run only Macs would be a very short list indeed.

If you're going to introduce a business-wide backup solution, you want it to work with everything. Enterprising hackers might eventually work out a way to get non-Mac machines to connect (perhaps by modifying their PCs to run Leopard), but that's not a useful or practical solution in the real world.

Secondly, there's the mere fact that you have to be running Leopard. Assuming you could find a business running nothing but Macs, it doesn't necessarily follow that they'll all be running the latest OS.

Many of the changes in Leopard are largely cosmetic, but upgrading runs the risk of breaking key applications -- not a step any enterprise would take lightly.

Finally, Time Machine itself has been widely criticised since Leopard's launch for its relatively inflexible approach to backup. You can specify the inclusion or exclusion of individual folders, but you can't make major adjustments to the actual backup schedule. Time Machine also backs up entire files whenever it detects changes, which can rapidly consume disk space for applications like email which constantly get altered. For business use, that simply isn't good enough.

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