MacOS Sierra Server Part 15: Time Machine

OS X Server
In this screencast tutorial I cover how to set up the Time Machine Service built into macOS Server. The service built into Server is to back up the client machines you have on your network to a central location. I cover how to set the service up and how to connect your clients to the server’s back up drive. I also cover how to monitor your client back ups using the server app.

As always thanks for watching! If find these tutorials helpful please like, favorite, and share them so others on the internet can find them.


Online Back Up With Backblaze

When it comes to making sure all your digital data is safe you need a good back up strategy. For most people, they think about back up after they already lost something they didn’t back up. The key is to put a strategy in place before losing any data so you never have regrets. Depending on how important your data is to you, you may border on paranoid when it comes to data lose. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to back up:

1. Hardware will fail at some point.
No matter how well you take care of your computer, hard drive and other electronics we all know that our hardware will fail at some point in the future. It is usually before we think it will happen so it surprises us, but we know it will take place. When it does fail, many times it fails beyond recovery, meaning all of you data could be lost forever.

2. A good backup strategy includes multiple copies
A good rule of thumb is, one copy is good, multiple copies is better. The more copies the more you minimize your risk of losing data.

3. Location of those back ups can be as important as how many backups you have.
You have to take into account the fact that having all your backups in one place means you have a single point of failure. If they are all at your home and get stolen or burned up or damaged by water or some other force of nature you have lost all of your data. If you have your data in multiple locations (at least one more besides your home) you still have your data even if you lose your local copy.

With this in mind, here is my strategy. First, I have a time machine back up of my data. This gives me an incremental back up just in case I accidentally delete something I want to get back. I can go back in time and get it with Time Machine. It also serves as one complete back up. Second, I use a
Drobo as an external drive for those backups so if one hard drive fails my data is still safe. Next, I use SuperDuper! to make a bootable clone of my main drive so if that one fails I can boot from this backup and keep working as if nothing happened until I get an internal drive replacement. Finally, I back up to Backblaze online to handle my offsite back up. For things I really don’t want to use like family photos, etc. I back those up to another external drive that I store in a safe place.

With that in mind, I did this tutorial on
Backblaze for offsite back up. Backblaze has been a great service that integrates well with the Mac and allows you to set it and forget it. It continually backs up in the background. Whatever strategy you use, be sure to keep all of these possibilities in mind (I’m sure I’ve forgotten some but at this point this is the extent of my own paranoia on the topic of backupHappy.

Feel free to leave a comment here or on my
YouTube Channel!


SuperDuper!: Backing Up Multiple Drives to One

I recently had my dad ask how to update two drives to one. He has two internal drives in his MacPro that he he wants to back up to his Drobo without using Drobo Copy which has been giving him errors lately. He doesn’t want to go through the process of partitioning his Drobo which I have tried before on a Drobo and is not really the way I like to use my Drobo either especially since my space needs could change at anytime and having to repartition a Drobo takes a lot of time and takes away the benefit of just adding storage. I prefer to use it as one big drive myself.

To help him see how to back up two drives to one, I put together a podcast to walk him through the process. The basic instructions on how to do this can be found in the manual for SuperDuper! found HERE. Enjoy!


New Back Up Strategy

I have been wrestling for a while with how to back up my stuff. I never seem to have enough hard drive space to do incremental back ups on Time Machine. I have over 1 TB in hard drive space in my MacPro and I only had a 500GB and 250GB external drives I could use to back up. I was using the 500GB for Time Machine and would frequently run out of space and have to restart the process of delete files from being backed up which of course would ruin the reason for backing up. So rather than playing roulette with my data I decided to do 2 things that I believe have helped me do better back ups on the cheap.

Online Back Ups
I had always heard a lot about online back ups but usually heard negative things. They are too slow to do with large amounts of data. Or, it is a pain because you have to remember to initiate it. Or, the bandwidth limitations by many online providers make it almost impossible to do. I did a little research on this and I think I have found the perfect solution from a company called BackBlaze. BackBlaze is an automated, set it and forget about it, unlimited data for $5 a month plan that, so far, has actually been painless. You download a system preference pane that backs up in the background and you hardly notice it is there. It is a back up everything solution that allows you to exclude files you don’t need backed up and even allows you to throttle the bandwidth is it using so your system does not get bogged down. The initial back up takes quite a while. My almost 500GB of data I want to back up is taking around 15 days to get online but after that, it is will incrementally back up any changes and save old data like Time Machine does for 30 days. Now I am protected against a fire or other event that would wipe out all my data at home.

Local Back Ups

Having online back ups is great but it is really slow if you have to recover all that data or expensive if you need it fast (BackBlaze will give you a DVD at $ a pop, or a 160GB hard drive for $) so local back ups are still a must. Since I didn’t want to spring for new drives just yet and I didn’t want to invest $499 for a Drobo unit that I would still have to get drives to fill (this is overkill for me at this point but I do like the concept), I decided to use a program called SuperDuper! to handle my local back ups. SuperDuper! will not only do incremental backups on any schedule you like, it also can make a bootable back up of your main drive so you can boot from the external drive if your main drive fails or if you need to recover your data all your settings are in place so it puts you right back to where you left off. I decided to use my 250GB drive as the bootable back up for my main drive and the 500GB for 2 of my internal drives (the other drive is long term storage that I wouldn’t need in a hurry so I am just letting BackBlaze handle that drive). In the settings of SuperDuper! I scheduled the bootable backup of my main drive to run every night and the other drive to run once a week. Now I don’t have to think about that either since it will run on its own as long as the computer and drives are powered on.

So that is my new backup strategy. I will write an update at some point to let you know how I like it but for right now I have a better back up strategy than I have ever had. My MacPro is handled and my laptop backs up wirelessly to an Aiport drive I have hooked up to my Airport Extreme. Now I can start the new year with confidence that I at least can get to my data if I need it. Next on the list is a ultra portable drive to do a clone of my laptop drive!


Using Airdisk as a Time Machine Backup

I have been wanting to get around to setting up a Time Machine back up for my laptop that allows it to work like Apple’s Time Capsule and happens wirelessly. I never liked the idea of getting a router with a hard drive enclosed because I know drives will fail that that will only set an expiration date on my router by the life of the hard drive. I have usually resisted getting all in one solutions for that reason (can anyone say a television with a VCR built in?). So having an Airport Extreme router and a drive connected to it, I set out to try to make this happen despite Apple Support saying they don’t officially support that kind of set up. For those of you trying to do this, here is what I did:

1. Reformat the Hard Drive
I took the 250GB drive I had connected to the Airport Extreme and attached it to my Macpro directly, Using Disk Utility I erased the drive and made sure it was Mac Os Extended (Journaled). If you want to set up partitions you can do so at the same time on the partition tab.

2. Plug the Drive Back Into the Airport Extreme and Mount it
Next I plugged the drive back into the Airport Extreme only, powered it up and waited for the Airport Extreme to show up in the shared section of the sidebar in the Finder. Once it showed up I clicked on it to mount it (if you have a password you will have to put in your password to get it to mount).

3. Add the Airdisk to the Devices Section of the Finder

Once the drive is mounted you have at make sure it shows up in the devices section of the Finder. Just click on the folder for your Airdisk drive and drag it to the Devices section. Once you do that it will show the drive with a new icon in the devices section. This will allow Time Machine to see the drive.

4. Make sure the Airdisk Shows up as a Device Every Time You Login

To make sure the airdisk always shows up when you login, go to System Preferences and click on Accounts. Once in Accounts (you may need to push the lock button in the bottom left corner and give your system login to unlock your preferences) click the tab that says login items. On the list that comes up, click the “+” sign in the bottom left of that window to add an item. Browse to the Airdisk you just added to devices and click add. You will now see it on the list of login items. Make sure the box next to it is checked so that you will automatically mount the Airdisk on login.

5. Set the Airdisk as your Time Machine Backup
Now go to System Preferences and click on the Time Machine Icon. On the Time Machine screen click Change Disk. You should now see your Airdisk in the list of available Time Machine Volumes. Select the Airdisk. Now Turn Time Machine on if you haven’t already and it will begin to prepare the disk for back up! Remember this will take a long time as you are doing the initial back up of your entire hard drive over the air. It took me 14 hours to back up 116GB of data. You may want to set your Energy Saver settings to not let your computer sleep while the backup is going on (System Preferences-Energy Saver-Set the time to sleep to never).