Blog | February 7, 2013

Don't Let Apple Cripple Your BDR Business

By Jay McCall

I just completed my write-up for our BDR (backup and disaster recovery) product test, which we'll share in the March issue of Business Solutions magazine. There were a couple of surprises that emerged from the test. One in particular was the Apple laptop/desktop backup test. The testers, Eric Brown, CEO, and Kevin Danis, technical manager, at Remote Technology Management (RTM), shared their personal experiences with this challenge. "We only have a couple of customers that use Apple computers, and we've only ever been able to back up their data by creating a workaround that's cumbersome at best," says Brown.

There's three important things you need to know about backing up Apple computers:

1. Apple is not agent friendly. One of Apple's claims to fame is that their products are less affected by spam and viruses because of the controls they have in place to restrict which products can be installed on their hard drives. The downside is that the majority of BDR products use agents, so they can't be used on Apple products.

2. Apple has its own solution to this problem -- TimeMachine. Not only is this product not good, it's potentially harmful, according to RTM. "TimeMachine has no alerting capabilities, so if you're backing up a storage device that reaches its storage capacity, it will automatically start overwriting other backups," says Danis. "A VAR/MSP could potentially lose 6 months of backed up data in a short period."

3. Apple does not support virtualization. Being able to start up a virtual machine locally or in the cloud offers several advantages, such as shortening the recovery time. Yet,  Apple, which is still primarily a consumer company, does not support virtualization, according to RTM.

During the BDR product test, RTM discovered a viable solution to this problem: agentless BDRs. "With an agentless BDR, you're not installing anything on the device; you simply provide the IP address of the device you want to back up, and the BDR software does the rest without using TimeMachine," says Brown. "We were so impressed with this solution during the test, that we're planning to start using one of the agentless BDRs for our customers that use Apple laptops and computers."

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