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Time Capsule backup every hour slows network considerably?

1788 Views 15 Replies Latest reply: Jul 9, 2008 3:41 PM by wilcogirl RSS
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WildBill Level 3 Level 3 (530 points)
Currently Being Moderated
May 12, 2008 9:35 PM
I have two iMacs and am considering Time Capsule for a backup solution. I understand that backups occur every hour on the hour (with no other scheduling alternatives available?). Is this true?

Moreover, these frequent backups are being reported by some as a major disruption and slowing down of their wireless network. Have others found this to be true? Any feedback would be appreciated.
24" iMac Core 2 Duo 2.8 GHz Extreme 20" iMac G5 2.0 GHz, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • tele_player Level 5 Level 5 (5,380 points)
    The backups are hourly, but not necessarily on the hour, and the size of the hourly backups depends heavily on exactly how each Mac is used, and whether TM is backing up entourage databases or disk images for virtual machines like Parallels or Fusion.

    So - it might not be a problem at all for two macs, and it depends on how they're being used. If they're Macs like mine, that make hourly backups of a few megabytes - it wouldn't be very disruptive at all. If it's a larger group of macs, with a large hourly backup, it could easily saturate the network bandwidth, especially using wireless.
    MacBook 2.0GhzCore2Duo, 2.Gig, 160G HD, PowerBook G4 1.5Ghz 15", Mac OS X (10.5.1), Logic Studio 8, Focusrite Saffire
  • tele_player Level 5 Level 5 (5,380 points)
    I don't have a TC myself, but all reports are that the initial backup is a lot quicker using the fastest possible Ethernet connection. Makes sense.

    If you used a separate wireless network for the TC, you'd need to be manually switching wireless networks, which eliminates the big advantage of Time Machine - automatic backups without any user involvement.
    MacBook 2.0GhzCore2Duo, 2.Gig, 160G HD, PowerBook G4 1.5Ghz 15", Mac OS X (10.5.1), Logic Studio 8, Focusrite Saffire
  • Dave Z Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
    I would first confirm that TC is actually the culprit in slowing down your network. Like a previous poster said, my hourly backups are typically quite small. You should confirm that large database files are not being backed up (Entourage and virtualization disk images are the common ones).

    So, when the network slowdown occurs, check the computers to see which is doing a TM backup. In the Time Machine System Preference pane, it will report the size of the in-progress backup. If it's a large backup every hour, you may want to ask why. Is someone video editing throughout the day, etc.

    I run two computers (with TM) on my network, and they almost never backup at the same time each hour. The probability of it happening all the time, day after day, is not really high. This leads me to believe that, if TM is the culprit, it could be a single computer on the network, otherwise the issue would occur more frequently than on the hour.

    Wireless is supceptable to RF interference as well.
    MacBook Pro, 2.16GHz, 3GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.5.2), 8GB iPhone, 40GB Apple TV, 30GB iPod w/Video, 2GB iPod Nano
  • Dave Z Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)
    WildBill wrote:
    Dave, thanks for your reply.

    It's not entirely clear if you're actually using TC; you mention running TM on your network? Did you mean TC +in tandem+ with TM? If you ARE using TC, are you using it wirelessly or is it plugged into one of your computers?

    I wonder how TM does hooked up to a generic ext hd vs. using it with a wireless TC? That would be useful info.

    I am glad to hear that smaller backups do not seem to significantly slow down your network. But I'd still like to know if you are using TC wirelessly?

    Thanks again.


    Sorry for not mentioning that. I have a MacBook Pro and a 250GB ext. HD connected through a powered USB hub that I backup to. File sharing is on and other Macs connect to my machine for their TM backups. I am not using TC--although the principle is the same, not that principle means much in this context. Most of the time, systems in my house use a 100Mb Ethernet connection. Although wireless has never been a problem either.

    I understand my configuration is slightly different, the troubleshooting should still be sound.

    If it makes you feel better, there are other posts of TC performance issues on the forums here. Hopefully you'll be able to resolve the issue soon.
    MacBook Pro, 2.16GHz, 3GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.5.2), 8GB iPhone, 40GB Apple TV, 30GB iPod w/Video, 2GB iPod Nano
  • TJDowling Calculating status...
    WildBill,

    I just recently bought a 500 gig TC, and I really like it. I have a VoIP phone, printer, and one computer on my network, so bandwidth is never really a big problem for me. That being said, my first backup, about 64 gig big, took close to 24 hours wirelessly. It did slow down my network noticeably. The subsequent hourly backups are unnoticeable. MacWorld (I think) did a pretty good review on the TC in various configs. I suggest you look it up for more info. It also provides some good tips for setting up a well-oiled wireless network. Some of it might be obvious, but I wasn't too savvy on this kind of stuff. Anyways, there is my two cents worth. Good luck.

    Tim
    iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • TJDowling Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    WildBill,

    No problem. Hope it helped. I think I lied about the MacWorld article. I'm pretty sure it's actually an Apple Insider review. Just type in a search for Time Capsule on their homepage. As for my setup, I'm running a n-only network. Not sure why he thinks TC is better for a non-n network, but he's probably smarter than I am. I would think that the more bandwidth available, the better. You also have the option of a gigabit hookup if you computer supports that. I think Apple Insider has the actual numbers for you on that discussion.

    Here's some more food for thought for you. To expand on what I like about TC and TM: TM is totally hands off. All I see, if I see it, is the little whiling dirvish on the menu bar that tells me TM is doing it's thing. On a negative side, hourly updates seem a little excessive. It would be nice to control that option. My usage doesn't really warrant the need for hourly updates. Also, and perhaps what gives me the most piece of mind is that TC and TM are Apple products that are fully integrated into Leopard. I'm sure there are other products out there that are equally as good or better for backups, but who better to back up an Apple computer than Apple? I'm sure there is a logical fallacy in there somewhere, but there you have it. Good luck.

    Tim
    iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.2)
  • tele_player Level 5 Level 5 (5,380 points)
    The point there is the cost of a Time Capsule will seem more reasonable to somebody who was considering buying a new base station anyway, just to get 802.11n support.
    MacBook 2.0GhzCore2Duo, 2.Gig, 160G HD, PowerBook G4 1.5Ghz 15", Mac OS X (10.5.1), Logic Studio 8, Focusrite Saffire
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