Apple users frustrated by lack of online backup options

Apple users frustrated by lack of online backup options

Users of Apple computer systems have become increasingly frustrated in recent years due to a lack of products that can back up their data online.

For example, Matt Frederick, a senior at the University of Texas, has lost an Apple Computer Inc. iBook laptop and two external hard drives -- and all the data stored on them -- to system failures over the past two years, while his searches for online backup tools have proved fruitless.

"I was never prepared for the three [failures]," he said. "I never had my data backed up, or worse, [the failed devices] were my backup. I ended up losing a lot of important stuff." The failed systems also included a 60-gigabit Iomega Corp. drive and a 200-gig external hard drive from Acom Data.

"There's still a weird anti-Mac bias in this world that surprises me," Frederick said. "I need an alternative [online backup solution] for my data. PC users have that option, but it doesn't apply to me."

Some Apple users say their frustration with the lack of online backup options has led them to contact makers of PC-based online backup offerings, such as Carbonite, to learn when that functionality will become available.

Vance Checketts, chief operating officer of Berkeley Data Systems, said the company has released updated beta versions of Mac Mozy beta every three weeks since April. The product is slated for general release by the end of this year.

"Certainly, there are users that have issues, but they are the minority," Checketts said. "We have over 20,000 customers that are largely happy and backing up regularly and storing their data as needed."

Boston-based Carbonite is soliciting beta testers for the Macintosh version of its online backup PC service, said CEO David Friend. The beta version for the service will be available in October, with the customer version set to launch in December, he said.

Friend said Carbonite's first Mac offering will closely resemble its PC online backup service, but will add a Mac-like interface.

Last week, Intronis released Version 3.0 of its eSureIT online backup service, which adds support for Macintosh and Linux systems, though only by command-line interface (CLI). Intronis will release a Mac graphical user interface (GUI) in the first half of 2008, said Sam Gutmann, CEO of Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based Intronis.

Version 3.0 will have Macintosh functionality, Gutmann said, "but it won't be a pretty GUI. [Mac users] want more than a CLI. The market from that standpoint is underserved," remarked Gutmann.

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