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Kiran Garimella's BPM Blog

David Ogren

Apple WWDC, DTrace, Time Machine, Mac Pros

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A little bit off-topic from BPM today, but I'm still thinking about the announcements from Apple's WWDC conference yesterday. A couple of quick things worth noting for a Mac user such as myself..

Apple didn't make much hoopla about it, but Sun's DTrace has been integrated into Leopard, the next release of OS X. DTrace is one of the things that I miss now that I don't work with Solaris as much. DTrace is hard to describe to people who haven't used it, but it's the ultimate debugging and tuning tool. DTrace lets you peek into exactly what is going on inisde your computer and automatically sift through that data to pinpoint and monitor exactly the data you want. I'm excited that I'll get to use DTrace on my day to day computer again someday.

Another feature that Apple did demo in the keynote is "Time Machine", however. Time Machine is a backup tool that gives you a visual view as you search backwards through backups to find a previous version of a file. Nice from a UI perspective, from the perspective that it will be a ubiquitous part of OS X, and because it will be available for third party applications to integrate with. (Meaning that you'll be able to restore your files without ever leaving your application.) More interesting, however, at least from my perspective, is that Time Machine is built under the complete assumption that you will be backing up to a hard drive. Either to an external hard drive or to a hard drive on a local server somewhere.

I think this is a great thing. One of the reasons people don't do backups today is all of the trouble spanning CDs, DVDs, or backup tapes. If the file I want to restore is on backup CD #37, what are the chances I can find the right CD and that CD #37 won't be scratched/corrupted/list/damaged? Time Machine wont' solve everything: everyone should still do periodic full backups to a separate offsite hard drive in case of fire/flood/theft, but Time Machine will be a nice step forward towards making backups more practical. It's also a complete victory for the idea that "disk is the new tape".

Finally I'd just like to say that I'm completely jealous of the new Mac Pros. With that kind of memory, processors, and disk it's basically a server in a desktop form factor. Makes me want to buy one to run Solaris and ZFS on it. :-)

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