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Old Apr 14th, 2013, 04:31 PM   #1
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Backup multiple Macs

Hi:

Right now, I have a backup drive for each Mac in the house (4). I've set up Time Machine on three, and Carbon Copy Cloner on the other, for backups. However, one of those is my son's MBP and it is only very infrequently (and with endless nagging) that it actually gets connected to the drive so that the backup runs. Soon, we're likely to buy an Air for my daughter and expect much the same issue.

The 'obvious' solution would be an Apple Time Capsule. However, $500 for a 3TB model seems way over the top. Plus it doesn't seem to have been updated in 2 years?! And 3 TB isn't that much space for 4 Macs.

One of our machines is a Mac Mini set up as a 24/7 dedicated home theatre server. What if I run OS X Server on that machine and configure TimeMachine to backup there? Does that work well for laptops that come and go and connect via WiFi? Does the 'client' have to actually log in to the server in order for the backup to run? How do you manage how much space is used for backups? (I'd have 4.5 TB in 4 external drives that I could hang off the 'server'.)

Any other options I should think about?

While I'm asking about it, any ideas on how I could easily incorporate offsite storage into this scheme? Obviously, I'd like to re-use existing stuff as much as possible and keep the cost low. (Right now, I periodically share a DVD of our photos with my siblings...they think I'm being generous; I think they're providing free disaster recovery!)

Craig
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Old Apr 14th, 2013, 06:30 PM   #2
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I'm using the OSX server option. I think I set how much space could be used but I'm not sure. I'll have to check. Not sure about the client logon question. It just shows up as a Time Machine system. I likely authenticated at first.
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Old Apr 14th, 2013, 10:05 PM   #3
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You don't need server. Just add a large enough external to the mini and enable sharing. On the other machines just connect to that shared drive in finder and it should show up in the Time Machine options as a viable backup drive. I have this same setup in my house now.
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Old Apr 15th, 2013, 11:10 AM   #4
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I have an Airport Extreme with a 2TB disk plugged into it.
The 3 Macs we have, are setup to backup automatically to the disk over wifi using TimeMachine.

I don't see a need for hourly backups, and instead am using a utility called TimeMachineEditor to schedule once-a-day backups for each machine. I space the backup times (all after midnight and before 5am) using the editor so the machines don't all try to backup at the same time.

TimeMachineEditor

This solved a similar problem where my wife had no desire to plug her MBP into a drive.
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Old Apr 15th, 2013, 11:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Pratt View Post
You don't need server. Just add a large enough external to the mini and enable sharing. On the other machines just connect to that shared drive in finder and it should show up in the Time Machine options as a viable backup drive. I have this same setup in my house now.
X2, I have the same setup and it works pretty well.
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Old Apr 15th, 2013, 03:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Pratt View Post
You don't need server. Just add a large enough external to the mini and enable sharing. On the other machines just connect to that shared drive in finder and it should show up in the Time Machine options as a viable backup drive. I have this same setup in my house now.
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Originally Posted by Z06jerry View Post
X2, I have the same setup and it works pretty well.
So, just to be clear...if you have been out with your laptop (like my kids at school), do you have to do anything before TimeMachine can start the backup? I'm looking for a solution that requires no human intervention!

Can two 'clients' backup to the same disk? Or do they each need their own volume as the backup destination?

Craig
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Old Apr 15th, 2013, 04:37 PM   #7
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Once TM knows about the drive and you have write privileges then it will back up as soon as it is connected to the network and yes you can have multiple computers backing up to the same partition....they each create their own backup file.
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Old Apr 15th, 2013, 05:26 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by WCraig View Post
So, just to be clear...if you have been out with your laptop (like my kids at school), do you have to do anything before TimeMachine can start the backup? I'm looking for a solution that requires no human intervention!

Can two 'clients' backup to the same disk? Or do they each need their own volume as the backup destination?

Craig
When you (or your kids) return home, and connect to the WIFI, TimeMachine will do a backup at the next scheduled interval (hourly, or in my case, at a daily set time of 2:15am). But, the laptop needs to be running and not asleep for this to happen.

In my wife's case, she usually brings her laptop home, and doesn't open it for 2-3 days while at home. After a few days, she gets a message on screen that TimeMachine failed to perform a backup. At that point, I usually take her laptop out of her bag, manually run a backup, then put it back in her bag for the next day (ok I forgot o put it back once and she went to work without her Mac )

So there might be some manual intervention required.

Someone already answered the bit about multiple clients and the same disk.
But one hint I have on this... TimeMachine will continue to do incremental backups until the disk is full. I have 3 Macs, with drives 320GB, 320GB and 500GB. Since most of these machines only use 50% of the disks, I partitioned my 2TB disk into 2 partitions (1.2TB and 800GB). I specified the 800GB disk to be used for all TimeMachine backups, and use the other 1.2TB for storage.

And last I checked, the 800GB was 90% full. When it hits 100%, I assume TimeMachine will delete some of the incremental data, but I will re-post my observations when this happens.
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Old Apr 15th, 2013, 05:37 PM   #9
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Whne TM runs out of space it simply starts deleting the oldest data.
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Old Apr 15th, 2013, 07:40 PM   #10
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^ yes, it is also a good idea to create folders with quota for each mac.
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