Backup software for large Mac network?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by scotty321, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. scotty321 macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hi gang,

    I was curious what others are using as backup solutions to backup medium-sized Mac networks (17-25 Macs on a network)?

    I had been using Retrospect 6 since the early 1990's, and it was absolutely wonderful and a delight to use. But the new Retrospect 8 — which I have been trying to use unsuccessfully for almost a year now — is just horrible. The product changed hands several times and has a new set of programmers, and the product has literally thousands of bugs and is completely unreliable. Retrospect 8 may very well be the worst piece of Macintosh software that I have EVER used in 17 years of business. If you check the Retrospect 8 forums, you will see that I am far from alone on this opinion! :)

    So, Retrospect is no longer a viable option anymore as backup software.

    Any great backup ideas from the other Mac backup aficionados out there?

    Thank you! :)
  2. zachsilvey macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2008
    Battle Ground
    I run a network about the same size and what we use is a Mac Pro running Snow Leopard with a DroboPro attached and use the built in Time Machine sharing. This would work just the same on a MacMini with external drives. We have found this to work amazingly just as long as you have enough space and a capable server. I am guessing you probably have a server or two because of the size so you might just have to enable the feature.
  3. Moof1904 macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2004
    I have to echo your experience with Retrospect. I've used 6 forever in a business setting (work group of eight macs) and a home network (with five macs).

    I was thrilled to upgrade to Retrospect 8 and found it to be horrible, too. It was so bad that I wrote them and requested a refund, which they provided.

    Now, with just the home network to worry about, I upgraded my server to Leopard (can't run SL server as it's not an intel server) and I have two different time machine drives that I rotate offsite. Time Machine is good about that since the catalog for the time machine backup resides on the time machine drive. The drives just pick up where they left off when I plug them back in. Each drive spends about a week off site before rotating home.

    Even though each family member's mac has a dedicated time machine drive on it, I encourage everyone to store (or at least mirror) their home directories to the server so that their personal files are backed up offsite, too.
  4. scotty321 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Great ideas, folks! I really appreciate it! I didn't even think about using Time Machine on the local computers to control the backup, as opposed to a program on the server.

    And thank you for telling me about the folks at EMC giving you a refund on Retrospect 8 -- I am definitely going to go down that route.

    I came up with a few additional ideas for backing up a Mac network:

    1. I can't believe I didn't think of this earlier... the makers of the outstanding ChronoSync recently released ChronoAgent, which is an EXCELLENT way to backup an entire network of Mac computers, and control it all from the server machine!
    I love ChronoSync, so this looks like an outstanding solution!

    2. Another smart backup strategy — for an all-Mac office — would be to use the Portable Home Directory feature of Mac OS X Server, which keeps every user's home directory synced with the server. There are lots of great advantages here (e.g. they can use any Mac in the office and still have access to their home folder; if they lose their laptop or their laptop gets stolen, they can get a brand new machine and the server will resync their home folder back to their new machine again; they can work offline or off-network and when they get back online/on-network again, it will sync; etc.) But perhaps the greatest advantage of all is that with Portable Home Directories setup, you've got ALL the user's home folders sitting on the server itself. So... you only have to worry about backing up one machine — the server! Once you're down to backing up just one machine, it eliminates the need for confusing or unreliable backup software that you need to install on every client's machine. You just need to worry about backing up the server. Apple has outstanding documentation on how easy this is to setup in their "User Management" manual here:

  5. yellow Moderator emeritus


    Oct 21, 2003
    Portland, OR
    This is probably far too large for your network, e.g., too expensive, but a SAN solution and IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager works just fine with Macs.

    More along the lines of what you might use is a server with much disk space and ChronoSync will do a nice job.
  6. scotty321 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA

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