Dear Mac users, Apple’s Time Machine is fine and dandy, but some people may not feel so happy about it! If you’re one of them, I’m happy to tell you that you can use rsync to backup your data. As on Linux, Mac does utilize rsync and it works the same way as on Linux. After you rsync whatever data or everything on Mac to an external storage location such as another computer, whenever your Mac has a hard drive failure, you can rest assure all your data can be restored.
I think restoring Mac using rsync is as simple as firing up rsync command again. You just have to make sure Mac’s OS X is reinstalled onto the replacing hard drive, and then rsync it with your backup. Although the method is a little crude just to get rsync in a working condition, but as long you have rsync working you can be rest assure that all your backup data will be restored in pristine condition. For your information, rsync comes by default inside all Mac OS X and Linux, but if I’m wrong you can always download it at a reputable source that you may find through the use of Google.
Using rsync is simple as telling the source to sync with the receiver. Here is one example: Let say your Mac has a hard drive failure, you replace the hard drive, reinstalling Mac OS X, firing up a terminal, and then you can begin to type in the rsync command such as [rsync -avz -e 'ssh -p 1212' --stats --progress email@example.com:/home/user/backups/ /]. You can safely ignore the square brackets when entering the rsync command since I put them there for visibility. Make sure you replace -p 1212 with a correct port number that your ssh server is accepting. Also, you need to replace the firstname.lastname@example.org with a working username and IP address or domain name of a remote storage/host. If my memory serves me well, rsync will not work when you rsync to an unavailable directory (i.e., /home/user/backups/) — it’s imperative for you to create a backups directory at receiver first before firing away the rsync command.
The command I’d mentioned above, it’s for you to restore your data from a remote backup storage. It’s obvious that you have to reverse the roles of the source and the receiver if you’re going to backup your data to a remote storage. Here is one way of how to reverse the command above, [rsync -avz -e 'ssh -p 1212' --stats --progress / email@example.com:/home/user/backups/]. Once again, just ignore the square brackets.
There you have it, not only rsync is available on Linux but it’s also available on Mac so you can use it to backup your Mac’s data. Rsync requires very little resource and so it will be light on your system. The best part is that you can rsync your Mac with a Linux PC! The idea is great since not everyone has an extra Mac around, but many more people may have an extra PC/laptop around which utilizes Linux; if Linux isn’t available on such a system, it’s only a download away since Linux is free!
I love it when my Mac is miles away from my Linux, and yet I’m able to rsync at zero cost. I don’t need to buy an extra external storage or pay for a third party service to backup my data — I could be wrong but Time Machine requires you to either have another Mac or an external storage to be hooked up to your Mac the whole time for it to work. Last thing on my mind in relating to this very topic, even better, you can virtualize your Linux with VMWare or VirtualBox so you don’t have to sacrifice your real operating system such as Windows 7.