OpenDedup Virtual Appliance (based on SDFS)

OpenDedup just released a greatly enhanced Virtual Appliance based on SDFS. The OpenDedup Virtual NAS Appliance is designed for simple setup and management SDFS volumes for virtual environments. The Appliance includes capabilities to create, mount,delete, and export SDFS volumes via NFS from a Web Based interface. It also includes VMWare storage api integration that allow the quick Data Store creation and cloning of Virtual machines located on SDFS Volumes.

Interesting. Video.

Time Machine and NAS Hacks

Just found out that my Time Machine SparseBundle is corrupt. I thought that it would be cool to save some money and hack Time Machine to enable backups to a Network Share on my home NAS instead of buying Time Capsule. It worked perfectly for a month or so, but I’ve done some changes on my home network and a couple of abrupt disconnects caused major havoc on it and eventually that was the cause of the corruption. Just found this info on this thread:

The technical reason why Apple limits Time Machine to 10.5 AFP volumes appears to be to prevent disk image corruption. There were additional features added to AFP in 10.5 to support Time Machine. These presumably allow the disk image engine to force disk image journal data to write out all the way to the disk. Without such features, a network interruption can result in a corrupted filesystem on the disk image despite journaling. Remember, journaling relies on the journal being written all the way to disk before the changes take place. If you can’t guarantee that (e.g., because of network/NAS buffering) then the journal is useless. Time Machine appears to rely heavily on disk journaling to deal with network drop-outs, interrupted backups, and the like. Take this away and your data is at risk.

If the NAS you are using supports these features it should report them to the OS and you should natively be able to choose that volume. If you have to trick the OS to use the volume it means the NAS does not support it.

To summarize: if you care about your backup data you should avoid using non-natively supported AFP servers.

I would be interested to know if somebody got it right with non-AFP 10.5 NAS (ie, Samba or NFS hack). I am now using a local attached USB disk.

Online backups and broadband upload limits

I have a MacBook laptop that I want to backup. What should I do? Normally, I will buy a decent disk (500G or 1T SATA are very affordable these days) and I will normally use something like TimeMachine. Happy, joy. Now, I want more. What if I don’t want to spend more money with a second drive, deal with RAID and choose a storage service “in the cloud” for backing up the backup? What if want to access some files from everywhere? There is Amazon S3 (cheap, copy&forget). There is a lot of services and there is Mozy ($4.95 for unlimited storage). Hmm, I have unmetered ADSL @ home. So I’ve signed up and there we go, started the backup. Of course, my ADSL has 512K of upstream limit. Slow has hell. But I only want 12G “in the cloud”. I’ve waited and it took me more than 1 week to upload all the stuff to Mozy (mostly at night). That’s a pain in the ass. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to guess that what is pulling down the real adoption of online backup services (or storage) for SME’s and home users is the ridiculous upload speeds of most of the broadband pipes over there (I’m not talking about South Korea, Japan or some lucky FTTH beta-testers). But I have an idea. What about Mozy sending me a disk so I can do an initial backup just before sending it back to them? That could speed up things. I could even burn a DVD and send to them (for some initial digital media, for example). Mozy has an option for restoring files. They burn a DVD and send it to you with the files as long as you pay the Fedex bill. What about sending the user a big disk for the initial backup. For a 500G drive sent in the mail, 3 or 4 days for arriving at the datacenter is way faster than an 512k upload. Netflix + backups, anyone?