Need suggestions Mac Backups over networks...


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 4, 2014
I have 4 mac mini's running on a small home network. One is running as a headless server, one as a headless machine to run windows, and two stand alone machines that have their own screens and keyboards.

Right now every night the macs backup to a TC. I also have CCC and have it clone the macs to a 8TB external HD I have attached the mac I use as a server. The 8TB is partioned off so each mac gets its own drive on the external drive.

Everything works well, and the CCC just saved my butt from a HD failure. I made an image from the back up to an external and was able to boot off of it. But I am still don't have a backup of the macs off site. My internet is too slow for an internet backup.

I was toying with the idea of getting a second 8tb external and swapping them out once a week. Put one in, then keep one off site, but because the external drive has to be partitioned into a hard drive for each mac, I am not sure how that would work.

Any suggestions?


macrumors 65816
Aug 27, 2015
on the land line mr. smith.
Your headless Mini server (if you are running Server) can be the TM desination by simply plugging in storage.

If you use TM, or if you backup to disk images using CCC, you don't have to partition drives. Allows better use of space.


I would consider a NAS that supports TM backup, as well as other backup tools. Lots of reasons, including always on, easy to manage, the potential for hard drive redundancy, etc.

The biggest downside is that it is on if there is an earthquake/flood/zombie can still lose everything.

Three ways to protect against the undead (and other disasters)

  • Backup the backup and rotate drives (either to an off-site location or a fire-proof safe)
  • Cloud backup the backups to a low cost archive service like AWS glacier
  • Skip the local backups altogether and jump in to something cloud based. The good options are always on, and not much more than buying your own hardware every few years (as it ages and/or fills up)

As for a NAS option, Synology has some of the most Mac friendly stuff out there. The low end boxes are a single drive, but if you want truly resilient backups that protect against hard drive failure, you want a minimum of 2 drives. 3 drives lets you expand and grow and hard drives age, prices go down, and volumes go up—without erasing your backups and starting over.

Added bonus is that you buy them bare, and put the drive(s) you want in them. Greater flexibility, and easy to swap when the day comes.

Added bonus: You get a file server, and can do loads of other things with it if you like. But it could also just be a dedicated backup server.

There are other options too, like QNAP.


macrumors 604
Sep 6, 2002
Here is my recommendation:

1. Get two more 8TB hard drives. Keep one attached permanently and make it a Time Machine drive for all of your Macs. High Sierra can do this as belvdr said. macOS only acquired this ability with High Sierra. There is lots of help on the net, for example:

2. Then you take the two remaining hard drives, keep them partitioned into four, and set up CCC to make daily clones. Keep on online and one off site. Rotate them as often as you like (weekly, monthly).

This way you get versioned document backups with Time Machine, the local clones protect against simple drive failure, and the off-site hard drive is your no kidding emergency backup for catastrophes like fire. Use cloud storage for important stuff that needs to be always current.


macrumors 65816
Aug 27, 2015
on the land line mr. smith.
Interesting, I don't ever recall using macOS Server for Time Machine backups.
TM Server was pretty nifty going way back, because you could set quotas and see errors and backup logs from one dashboard. If you already had a server (always-on box) and a bucket of external storage, Server was worth the $29 just for TM. Used to set up older Macs with large external RAIDs and TM Server.

Not an enterprise-grade BU tool by any stretch, but very good low cost option.

Glad to see that it is still rolled into 10.13, even if without the simple, centralized dashboard.


macrumors P6
Jun 11, 2007
If you are fairly bandwidth limited in the sense that you can't backup large quantities of data quickly, I would suggest to make use of delta sync such as what Synology offers. You can have 2 Synology devices on-prem backing up to each other (via the Synology replication backup technology) and then take 1 device offsite. With some fairly simple configuration, they can continue to replicate block level changes (or file level, depending on the specific backup method you choose) and there is only delta changes that need to replicate offsite.

I have done this many times before for clients even though they have <1mb/s uplinks between sites.

At the end of the day it will probably depend on the amount of data that you change per backup timeframe.

Worst case, you could also physically take a device offsite if you're really that limited for uplink speed.
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