More reliability for backups by Time Machine

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by Mac2013orlater, May 19, 2014.

  1. Mac2013orlater macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2014
    It is about backing up iMac Late 2013 - it means the SSD is built-in and not removable.
    Currently Time Machine is used for backups.
    TM target storage is a NAS by QNAP.
    No mass storage is reliable, data disaster can happen every minute
    even if NAS with RAID array is used.
    It is critical in case of data collected by Time Machine - these are backups!

    In order to increase reliability the idea is to have additionally a TM data copy
    on separate external hdd/ssd. Will it be possible?
    Where to find appropriate instructions?

    Used NAS does also support Rsync Server and RTRR Server.
    Will any of them two be more suitable for backing up the iMac SSD?
  2. whsbuss macrumors 68040


    May 4, 2010
    SE Penna.
    I also backup to a NAS (MyBookLive) and do a daily backup to an external HD on the network. Its not off-site but at least if the NAS dies I have a backup. QNAP I'm sure support this.
  3. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Take a look at Synology. Here is a video:

  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Just buy a cheap USB3 external drive and attach it then follow this to configure the drive as a second Time Machine backup. Then Time Machine will alternate backups between the USB3 drive and your NAS, giving you the redundancy you want.

    Also, this direct attached drive can be used to boot from and do a full system restore that you can't accomplish with the NAS. So that would be a nice side benefit for you.
  5. Mac2013orlater thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2014
    Thanks for all your inputs.

    I am not sure it is true. Vendor of the NAS used in this case claims the whole restore by OS X Recovery is possible/supported. And indeed, if I start the Mac in restore mode (cmd+R keys), then follow the option Recover from Time Machine in one step it offers the Time Machine data on the NAS as recovery source.

    Some Apple KB article describes how to copy TM data from one drive to another.
    This would be one option how to create redundant copy for more reliability.
    Yet another is to use additional drive as the second TM backup as described in your messages.
    Yet another seems to exist on NAS side, vendor claims it should be possible to get access to image of TM data. This option however was not yet checked.
  6. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I have never tested this, but if you have a newer machine that supports Internet recovery, the vendor might be correct. Theoretically, you may be able to command-option-r boot to Internet recovery and restore from the NAS. I am fairly certain though this would not bring back over the recovery partition like a local Time Machine disk restore would do.

    You raise a good point though.
  7. Mac2013orlater thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2014
    It is a Mac Late 2013. So I-net recovery is supported as I guess.
    I will examine what options are available with my NAS in step 2.
    Now I follow your track regarding Recovery HD on the backup media "I am fairly certain though this would not bring back over the recovery partition" - thanks for highly valuable hint.

    Fortunately there are means to create a clone of Recovery HD on external drive, e.g. Recovery Disk Assistant which
    was introduced by Apple for Lion, however it should still work with Mavericks - our version of os x.
    Unfortunately, these means do not work in case of this iMac - have tested creating and using Recovery HD
    generated by Recovery Disk Assistant. Test was redone with (a) IDE HDD connected to mac via IDE-USB2.0 adapter (b) SD flash card in card reader (c) USB thumb drive. The last successful step during the test is every time to select during the boot (alt/option key) the Recovery HD created by Recovery Disk Assistant. After that the system does not show any progress for a long while, so finally the user stop the test by power cycle.
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If you want two copies of the Time Machine disk then connect two disks and tell Mac OS X to ue BOTH disks for TM. It will them alternate between the two Every hour it will switch. Actually you can have three or more drives and it will rotate between the drives.

    Then after TM updates all the drives, unplug one and put it in a fire safe. Periodically swap the one in the safe with the live one.

    It is best not to have all your backup drive plugged in. Id say NEVER do that always have enough backup drives to that you can have at least one of them put away safely.

    The reason not to have them plugged in is because common way to loose data are:
    • theft of the equipment (I thick this is the #1 cause of loss)
    • building fire or flood
    • electrical owed surge (lightening hits the power line outdoors
    • software or operator error

    The after you have this set up an OFF SITE backup using either an on-line service or some plan where you rotate disks to some far off location like the office at work.

    I would use single disk drives for all of this unless you need more space and are forced to use RAID. For a given among of money you are better off using more single drives then using RAID.
  9. Mac2013orlater thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2014
    We consider the aspect pointed out by ChrisA as well while
    constructing the plan suitable for our needs and situation.
    How much will be implemented from beginning and what components
    in later implementation steps it is open at this moment.
    Thanks for your input Chris!

    Let's check this point in following fashion.
    If the TM backup on NAS does also include the Recovery HD the NAS is expected
    to manifest it permanently and independently of the state the Mac client is,
    means if in deep operation, in normal booting, in booting with option/alt key.
    If the Mac boots with the option key pressed and the NAS manifests offering of Recovery HD
    the Mac should forward this offer to user, means the HD selection menu should present
    also Recovery HD offered by NAS. In case of our setup this does not happen, so I conclude
    the TM backup on NAS does not include Recovery HD. Is this understanding correct?
    If it is important for us to be able to have
    redundant Recovery HD - and it should be important - other ways of obtaining a copy of Recovery HD on separated storage should be examined.

    Unfortunately, creation of Recovery HD on external USB storage does not work.
    We have tested it by Recovery HD Assistant (Apple), and Disk Utility Clone Function.
    We have tested it with external HDD, micro HCSD card with two readers and USB pen drive.
    No one works. Problems are described in my previous post.
  10. Mac2013orlater, Jun 7, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014

    Mac2013orlater thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2014
    Regarding my problems with Recovery HD clone on external usb drive the following turns out.

    Startup Manager (booting with option key depressed) should actually offer
    all bootable partitions, internal and external (usb, firewire). Means the regular os x
    start up partitions and recovery HDs.
    This is my understanding.
    Also the Apple KB articles for Recovery Disk Assistant
    state the created clone can be used when booting with Startup Manager.

    However for the Mac here the Startup Manager offers two disks to boot from.
    The one internal with os x installed on it (it is only internal drive in this mac) <<
    it is definitely not the internal recovery HD;
    and the external usb drive ().
    It does not offer the Recovery HDs, neither that one on os x startup disk,
    yet that one on external usb drive (here the recovery hd clone was created in prior of this).
    So the impression is Startup Manager - at least in case of this Mac -
    assist the user in the journey merely to booting os x, but in no case to booting recovery HD.

    It means, from point of view of my current understanding of the situation,
    the Startup Manager can see the connected external usb drive,
    but it expects on it merely the working and bootable os x installation.

    A ssd is this mac's only internal drive, no FD, no hdd on it.
    Just one ssd internally.
    The Disk Utility CAN see the Recovery HD partition on internal drive.

    This wonders me cause several discussions in web state it is possible
    to select also recovery HD (regardless of if internal or external) to boot from.

    What's wrong here?
  11. Mac2013orlater thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2014
    Just created a second TM backup on a external usb drive.
    After completion the disk was shortly examined under Disk Utilities.
    So the external usb drive with second TM backup on it does include just one
    partition - that one of TM. No recovery partition is present on it.
    So I doubt the restore from TM external usb drive will bring back over the recovery partition.
  12. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    If there is a recovery partition on the internal drive, a locally attached TM backup will create on the external drive, but you can't see it by just looking ion Disk Utility because it is a hidden partition. You can test it by holding the option key and booting to the TM disk and it will start to the recovery screen.
  13. Mac2013orlater thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2014
    I am sorry for lack of significant information.
    Disk Utility started with debug menu where it is possible to show also hidden partitions.

    Even this test does show the opposite, as described in previous posts.
    Means booting with option key depressed results in an icons lists where the
    recovery partitions (regardless if on internal or on external usb drive) are not listed.
    To be more accurate, there are two icons on screen after booting with option key.
    One for internal drive, one for external drive.
    If to choose the internal one, the quite normal os x starts in its quite regular mode.
    If to choose the external one, the game ends with no-go sing and spinning wheel forever.
    So the impression is all drives presented after option boot are expected to be
    quite regular os x installations.
    Apparently option boot on this Mac does not support recovery partitions, regardless of where such partition is located, means on internal drive or on an external usb.
  14. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    A Time Machine backup to an external like this will create a recovery partition on the external disk if one existed on the internal to begin with (lone has to exist to copy over). I am wondering if you have a recovery partition on your internal drive. Run "diskutil list" in Terminal (without the quotes) and tell me is you see 650MB Recovery HD partition there inn the main internal OS disk.

    If there is no recovery partition on the main internal drive, there is not way for one to be created on the external, because nothing exists to copy over. If you do not have a recovery partition on the external, just reinstall the OS over top of the existing install (without erasing anything) and it will create one.

    Backup first just to be safe.
  15. Mac2013orlater thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2014
    Apparently as for this iMac Late 2013 with a single internal drive for any unknown reason the Startup Manager does
    not want to offer/present the recovery partitions, regardless where the particular recov part is located.
    Some facts allow to make above assumption:
    -) Disk Utility running in debug mode enables to show hidden partitions.
    According to DU in such mode the Recovery HD is present on internal drive
    -) Booting to recovery mode via alt key leads the user in the fact to recovery mode.
    And it is definitely not the I-net recovery. One can invoke also I-net recovery which looks
    significant differently from that one started via alt key boot.
    -) Recovery Disk Assistant completes the creation of Recovery HD on external usb with success message.
    -) Disk Utility in debug mode shows the made clone is present.
    -) /dev/disk0
    0: GUID_partition_scheme *500.3 GB disk0
    1: EFI EFI 209.7 MB disk0s1
    2: Apple_CoreStorage 499.4 GB disk0s2
    3: Apple_Boot Recovery HD 650.0 MB disk0s3
    0: Apple_HFS Macintosh HD *499.1 GB disk1

    > A Time Machine backup to an external like this will create a recovery partition on the external disk if one existed on the internal
    A TM backup to external usb was made as well. It does not include the recovery partition.
    Some statement made previously here in this thread read one doubts the TM would be able
    to recover recovery partition. See post #6 please. So these two statements are inconsistent.

    For me it sounds rather like problems with Startup Manager, not the issues of recovery partitions.
    Startup Manager offers/presents two disks the internal one, and the external one. All fine so far cause the ext usb
    is attached at this moment. If to select the internal one quite normal OS X starts. If to select the ext one,
    it completes with a hang up - never ending spinning wheel and no-go sign instead of Apple logo on white screen.
  16. Mac2013orlater, Jul 1, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014

    Mac2013orlater thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2014

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