Best way to backup 2 iMacs

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Dilby, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. Dilby macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #1
    Hi -

    My wife and I work from home and both have iMacs (mine is a little newer than hers and has the thunderbolt port while hers doesn't).

    I'm wondering if anyone out there has any thoughts on the best way to backup both of our macs to the one device. I was hoping there was a way we could stick a drive on a shelf and then our computers are both backed up to it for peace of mind. I'd also like the ability to be able to manually add files that I don't want to keep on my mac, such as old memories or client work.

    As a possible complication, I also have a little portable drive I have connected to my iMac most of the time but sometimes take it with me that has lots of client work on it as I sometimes work from my laptop. I'd like to be able to back this up too.

    (Also, is getting OSX Server helpful for this?)

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    California
    #2
    http://www.apple.com/osx/server/features/#time-machine

    Yep.... that's your answer right there. Attach a external USB drive to one of the iMacs then install server to add networked Time Machine backup support. Then have the second iMac backup to the networked drive attached to the first iMac.

    You other external can also be backed up to this Time Machine drive. By default, external drives are excluded from Time Machines backups, so just go into the Time Machine options on the iMac and remove that other external from the excluded list.
     
  3. Windowsrefugee macrumors regular

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    Microsoft Land
    #3
    Agree time Machine is a great option. You can also consider adding backups using other software like CrashPlan https://www.code42.com/crashplan/ . The FREE software will allow you to back up both computers on to one target drive attached to one of the computers. You can also back up to a drive attached to a remote computer so you have redundant, offset storage to protect against disasters like fire, water or storm damage at your residence where all devices would potentially in jeopardy. Finally, CrashPlan offers central off site backups on their servers for a fee. But the FREE version may address your needs. For insurance I use both TimeMachine and CrashPlan (including off-site back ups). There are many other on-line or cloud solutions, but CrashPlan is the only one that I know of that allows back up to external drives on both local and remote computers for free.
     
  4. shaunp macrumors 65816

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    Nov 5, 2010
    #4
    I wouldn't bother installing OS X server on any machine right now as Apple have no clear path for support of this product and I wouldn't be surprised to see them quietly drop it. It's also overkill just to backup a couple of Macs. I would go with either an Apple Time Capsule or a decent NAS from QNAP, Synology, ASUS, etc - these have a TimeMachine server built into them. I've been using NAS's for years and they have proved to be very reliable.

    Like one of the other posters has said, software options like CrashPlan also work well. Look at ChronoSync too. If in doubt download the trials and see which one you prefer.
     
  5. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #5
    Apple just came out with a OS X Server update for El Capitan, so I don't know what you mean by this comment? Are you just speculating it will be discontinued?

    There is nothing overkill about it. You pay $19.99 for the OS X Server upgrade and it officially support networked Time Machine backups just like OP is after. Everything you suggest costs well over $200, so I don't understand how you could think adding a $19.99 software package to OP's existing hardware is overkill.
     
  6. Windowsrefugee macrumors regular

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    #6
    My ignorance.... Can you explain why you need Server software to back up >1 Macs on a single TimeCapsule or network attached drive or what the advantages of this approach are??? We back up 3 Macs to a single TimeCapsule using just the TimeMachine software built into OS X.
     
  7. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #7
    You would not need OS X Server to backup as many Macs as you want to a Time Capsule device, but you do need it if you want to backup over the network to a drive attached to another Mac. The software needed to do this is not included without OS X Server being installed on the target Mac.

    So for your setup with a Time Capsule there is no need for OS X Server at all.

    Edit: I think I see where my earlier comment confused you. When I said you need server for networked Time Machine backups, I meant using another Mac as the target for the backups. Nothing needs to be installed on the other Macs to do this.
     
  8. Dilby thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2007
    #8
    Thanks all - I'm looking at time machine now; for some reason I thought you needed a time capsule to use it, and not just any external drive. Out of curiosity, is there a way perhaps with a NAS or the like, that I can dial in remotely and access a certain file from the drive? (not reinstate the install but just access a file in case I've gone somewhere with laptop and haven't brought my portable drive for example). Thanks!
     
  9. Dilby thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 8, 2007
    #9
    Also, I can plug either or both macs into the external drive. Do I therefore need a drive with two 'inputs' (if thats the right phrase) or can I just set up a master and then connect via the network WITHOUT OS X server?
     
  10. Mr. Buzzcut macrumors 65816

    Mr. Buzzcut

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    Ohio
    #10
    Since your requirements are both backup and external file storage, I'd probably go the NAS route and make sure you have at least a mirrored pair of drives. The NAS will also need a VPN or "cloud" function to allow you to connect remotely. You can backup the NAS to a portable hard drive every week or month depending on how critical that data is. Just exclude the "Time Machine" data since your Macs already have a copy of that. I'm mainly worried about the files you store off of your Macs if you go with a solution that has no hardware redundancy like Time Capsule or Server with only an external USB drive. A NAS with redundant drives that you backup occasionally seems to cover all the bases.
     
  11. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #11
    Yeah... that is more of a NAS feature. If it is just some documents, you might just sync them to Dropbox and you can access that from anywhere. That's what I do.

    The latter... you just get a plain old USB drive off the shelf and plug it in to the Mac that has server on it. That Mac backs up directly the the drive like usual. Then the second Mac backs up the that same drive over the network. It is this second piece that you need OS X Server for.
     
  12. shaunp macrumors 65816

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    Nov 5, 2010
    #12
    I couldn't see it at the time - but I still think Apple will drop it. Besides it's still overkill (in terms of complexity for most users) for backing up two machines compared to a time capsule.
     

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