14 users on a Time Capsule?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Minicube, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Minicube macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    #1
    I do IT for an office of 14 Mac users and would like to make the Time Machine backup process more automated by installing a Time Capsule and doing backups wirelessly.

    My questions are:
    1. Does anyone have experience with this type of situation? Is 14 too large a number of Macs to backup to a single TC? (most users have well under 150 gigs of backup files, so there should be enough disk space on a 3 Tb TC) .

    2. I assume TC is able to keep all 14 backups separate and selectable if needed for restoring? I.E., no need to format the drive into 14 partitions...

    3. I understand the initial backup will be large/slow and intend to do that via wired ethernet. Subsequent backups should be much smaller (most files are Word docs) and not bog down the network, true?

    Any possible problems with this setup?

    Thanks for your (experienced) feedback.
     
  2. edk99 macrumors 6502a

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    May 27, 2009
    Location:
    FL
    #2
    For Time Machine you need 2-3 time the space of what you are backing up. 14 people on a 3tb TC is not going to work. You would need 2-3 of them.

    Don't have any sort of a file servers in this office?
     
  3. Minicube thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 5, 2011
    #3
    Nope; our server is in the cloud, and what a relief that is.

    I currently back up everyone on 2.5 Tb worth of hard disks, so I'm thinking a 3 Tb TC should work. I only need to save 3 or 4 backups for each user; and the backups can be days apart.

    Anyone know if you can hang an external hard drive off the TC for added expansion?
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    #4
    I see no reason this would not work as long as you have looked at backup sizes and figured out it will fit on the Time Capsule. No need to make partitions, you can backup multiple machines on the same Time Capsule partition.

    ----------

    You won't need 2-3 times the space unless you are writing a lot of very large data files that get backed up over and over. If the machines are just normal office use with email and some document storage you can easily get by with far less.
     
  5. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    #5
    My experience is that the TC's bring the suck in a multi-user environment. They have their own issues backing up wirelessly, but then when you add in the drive contention of a bunch of machines trying to write to a single disc at the same time you end up with a boatload of corrupt sparsefiles. TC backups don't like to see a dropout or be queued.

    Your call, it's your job on the line, but I'd be looking for a solution that was a bit more robust.
     
  6. jayhawk11 macrumors 6502a

    jayhawk11

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    Oct 19, 2007
    #6
    This. A Time Capsule was never made for 14 user environments. You're begging for trouble by setting this up as your primary backup for users. Why not go for something like Synology? They're made for this type of stuff.
     
  7. charlieroberts macrumors 6502a

    charlieroberts

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    Feb 5, 2007
    #7
    But can you use Time machine wirelessly onto a Synology? And have all the conveniences of the TC?
     
  8. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    Jul 29, 2011
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    #8
    Yes I have four HDDS attached to my TC. Works like this.

    TC (3TB) is used exclusively for backing up my three Macs. 1 iMac, 1 MBP 1 MBA.

    Four HDDS are attached to the TC and are used for archival and for large files I'm working on (projects frequently get put on hold)

    the backups to the TC are seamless, set on the schedule you choose, and as long as you check the parse bundles from time to time you should be fine.

    14 machines is a lot to ask a 3TB TC to manage, but I don't know how much data is on your machines. I work in the music business so file sizes are large, hence the need for the NAS attachment.
     
  9. jayhawk11 macrumors 6502a

    jayhawk11

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    Oct 19, 2007
    #9
    Yup. Synology Time Machine Support
     
  10. blevins321 macrumors 68030

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    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #10
    Yes, it works quite well. One difference - by "wireless," it can do it from laptops that are connected to a router wirelessly. The unit itself is not wireless though. It has to be plugged into a router. But if that router is wireless, then yes it will work that way :). Search for "DS411j Honest Review" for a review (mostly software-related) that I wrote last year. For an office with that number of employees, I'd maybe suggest a little higher than the home-oriented 411j. Maybe the 411 or the 411+II.
     
  11. Minicube thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 5, 2011
    #11
    Thanks for this info. I'll check out Synology as well...
     
  12. Minicube thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 5, 2011
    #12
    But is there any need for a Synology if all the backups fit on a Time Capsule?
     
  13. blevins321 macrumors 68030

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    Dec 24, 2010
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    Winnipeg, MB
    #13
    Expandability for later. With Time Capsule you're stuck at a single drive volume size forever unless you break it open and put a new drive in. With Synology, you have the ability to swap drives out for larger ones. Also, as long as you don't get a 1-bay, you get drive redundancy in case one of the hard drives inside the unit fails. Your data would still be safe.
     
  14. Minicube thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 5, 2011
    #14
    OK, so since I already have an Airport Extreme router, there really is no need for a Time Capsule; I could just plug the Synology directly into the router and backup wirelessly via Time Machine?
     
  15. kas23 macrumors 603

    kas23

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    Oct 28, 2007
    #15
    If your job is on the line, I would stay away from Synology. They make fantastic NASs. I even have one. But, Apple does not official support Synology as a Time Machine compatible machine. Apple could break it at a moments notice, like what happened last Fall when Lion came out. It broke the Time Machine feature on Synology NASs. Sure, Synology fixed it. But that would have been a big problem if your business depended on it.

    Secondly, sometime you (infrequently) get weird error messages when backing up TM to an NAS. One such is the dreaded:

    ”Time Machine completed a verification of your backups. To improve reliability,*Time Machine must create a new backup for you.”

    This happens from time-to-time and is tricky to fix. If you are backing up 14 computers onto an NAS, you'll likely become very familiar with this error message.

    I don't own a Time Capsule because I think for personal use it's a total waste of money, but if your company depends on stress-free back-ups, I would go with the tried-and-true Time Capsule. Why don't you get 2 of them? 7 computers for each.
     
  16. charlieroberts macrumors 6502a

    charlieroberts

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    Feb 5, 2007
    #16
    Well, arguably if your job s on the line, you don't upgrade to a newer OS before you double check all compatibility and give the community a little time to find the bugs!
     
  17. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 26, 2010
    #17
    I've never tried to share Time Machine with multiple computers, so I have a question.
    Doesn't Time Machine need 1 partition per backup?
    So 14 users = 14 backups = 14 partitions?

    Like I said, I've never done more than 1, and I just point it to a partition.

    Thanks!!
     
  18. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #18
    TM backs up one sparsebundle per backup. They all live in a single partition.

    I back up all of our laptops to a single TC.

    /Jim
     
  19. LFMNX macrumors regular

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    Feb 14, 2011
    #19
    You don't need to partition the hard drive for multiple users. Time Capsule/time machine just rolls off older backup as space is needed. I would suggest to try it and see how it works. If it is problematic you can direct a handful to time capsule, and additional to a TC attached USB drive. There is always use for the 3 TB drive.
     
  20. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #20
    I do not think that TM will back up to a HDD attached to a TC via USB. I am pretty sure that you can only back up to the TC itself.

    /Jim
     
  21. LFMNX, Feb 27, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012

    LFMNX macrumors regular

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    Feb 14, 2011
    #21
    Hi Jim. It works ! I just plugged my Lacie 500 GB USB hard drive into my 2TB time capsule then redirected my macbook air to use it and it backed up fine. The thing that is nice about using the function within time capsule is it will not over tax the network bandwidth to cause user performance issue. The backups just run in the background.

    You can also of course plug a USB device into a computer directly and also use time machine functionality.
     
  22. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #22
    I just looked at the Apple support site, and I believe you are right. Thanks for correcting me.

    /Jim
     
  23. Minicube thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 5, 2011
    #23
    That's great info to know. I tried backing up via TM with a drive connected directly to Airport Extreme USB and that didn't work. But if it works through a Time Capsule, I'll have lots of room for expansion. Thanks. To get around the issue of different machines backing up to TC at the same time, I'll put them all on different schedules (I don't see that option in TM prefs, but surly it's there with a TC, right)?
     
  24. LFMNX macrumors regular

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    Feb 14, 2011
    #24
    You can perform the same function on the airport extreme since they have the same functionality but without the internal drive. You need to identify and enable the USB drive as part of the airport extreme settings. Make sure you have the latest firmware updates as well. There are of course various generations of the devices.

    There aren't a lot of options in time machine and I don't see scheduling but I notice that my devices kick off at different times. I don't let my laptops backup unless the power cable is connected which is one of the options.
     
  25. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #25
    I am pretty sure that Time Machine is fixed to backup every hour. That is another reason why the OP might want to get a couple of TC's and assign various machines to different TC's.

    Also... lots of people have gotten TM to work with an AEBS, and a USB drive. However, Apple does not support this, and several people have reported stability problems. It is possible that is is as simple as the format of their USB drive... but I prefer to not use unsupported configurations for backup.

    /Jim
     

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