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Consumer Solutions

Although most medium and large organizations require the features offered by the previous options, some smaller organizations might not need them. If you have a single server with a limited amount of data on it, you might find that a consumer application can serve your needs—especially if your backup media is either an external hard drive or CD/DVD, and if you back up only files—not the server operating system and the configuration itself.

Apple’s Backup

Backup is a surprisingly powerful application available for free to all .Mac members. You can use it to set up multiple backup jobs (which Apple refers to as "plans"). What’s most interesting is that you can have multiple instances for each selected item, backing them up to different locations at different frequencies. The big drawback of Backup is that it requires .Mac membership to run as well as download. If you install it on a computer that isn’t configured with a .Mac account, it runs in a limited trial mode.


iBackup is an alternative tool to Apple’s Backup. It is available as donation-ware and it is decent for simple backup operations. It definitely has a consumer focus to it: its default backup selections are for a user’s home folder and preferences. Although you can add other folders or whole volumes to iBackup’s selections, the consumer mindset does lead to some steep limitations: you cannot create multiple backup jobs nor can you perform anything other than a full backup. Also, although iBackup can store backups on local volume or server, it cannot burn backups to CD or DVD (though it can store them as a burn folder in the Finder).


Impression is not designed as a backup solution at all; it is designed as a data archiving tool for optical media. That said, it does support automated functionality and can be used to create regular CD or DVD backups of data stored on a server. Impression can be an option for small organizations that do not need multigeneration backups and for creating off-site backups.

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