OS X Server and Time Machine Questions

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by SoundsEclectic, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. SoundsEclectic macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2016
    I need to setup a backup solution for about 10 Mac users in our office. I have a 2014 Mac Mini with 4 GB RAM (not user upgradable....) and I am looking to buy a 12 TB external RAID thunderbolt 2 backup drive.

    I am new to OS X server and Time Machine in general.

    A few questions:

    1) Will a 2015 Mac mini with 4 GB RAM be capable of doing Time Machine backups for about 10 users on the network? The backend are all gig port switches so local network bandwidth is not an issue.

    2) Should my "enterprise" hardware aka mac mini die, can I swap in another mac mini with os x and reconnect it to the external RAID device and have Time Machine backups available? Or will the replacement mac mini not be able to access the Time Machine backups and will I have to wipe the external and start new backups.

    Bonus question:

    Does OS X server offer some type of printer management? Currently when we have a mac user needing to connect to a network printer, we have to manually install the drivers from a network share or web site.
  2. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Time Machine is only for one Mac to back up. With the amount of users you have I suggest a modern NAS that has support for Time Machine for your users. You cann look Synology NAS Time Machine Server. This way you won't being eating up cycles on the server!
  3. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Time Machine server in OS X Server is for multiple computers, not just one.
    4GB of RAM for a server will be pretty marginal, but if all you're doing is using the server to host Time Machine, it should work ok.
    Yes, you could swap in another Mac to host the external drive. You'd want to back up the Mini too so that if you need to, you can restore the configuration from the backup.
    OS X Server can share printers, same as the OS X "workstation" can, but you'd still need to get the drivers from somewhere. Some printers can automatically trigger OS X to download the drivers, but that depends on the printer being supported by Apple's printer drivers.
  4. SoundsEclectic thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2016
    Thank you for your insight. Yes I have a spare mac mini laying around and it will be solo for doing backups. I'll give it a shot and update the post.
  5. hfg macrumors 68040


    Dec 1, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA. USA
    I use a 2011 i5 8GB Mac Mini to back up all my household computers (8) with Time Machine using OS X Server on the Mini. It is connected to a Thunderbolt 12TB RAID-5 ThunderBay-IV disk system. You can simply limit the maximum size each user is allowed to avoid having one over-active user consume all the disk space. Once a user reaches the limit allowed, the oldest redundant files are removed as per Time Machine design.

    I also have the server share printers to avoid the driver installation when my guests are using the network and WiFi. The server is also host to my "archive" files for my private access from any computer, and is stored on another ThunderBay-IV in a RAID-5 configuration with a separate daily-backup drive. The server also has all my music and movies available to the household AppleTVs, computers, tablets, and phones.

    So far, it is working great 24/7 here ...
  6. SoundsEclectic thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2016
    --- Post Merged, Jul 9, 2016 ---
    Geezus, you have 8 household macs?? Thanks I might look into that RAID-5 ThunderBay-IV disk system. Maybe the 20 TB version.
  7. kiwipeso1 Suspended


    Sep 17, 2001
    Wellington, New Zealand
    1. Yes, OS X server will run the TM through the TB2 drive as quick as the ethernet connection gets to the TB2.
    As such, you should have 1gb/s connection to the TB2 drive while doing TM backup. (TB2 is 20gb/s).
    In other words, it should be fast enough to get done while at work, or just leave them running after work for the initial backup, then leave them going during the workhours and afterwards for the incremental backups.
    As TM clears away the oldest backup only when it is full, that should work for your TB2 drive.

    2. Yes, it will work exactly as you plan and let you continue from existing backups.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 2, 2016 ---
    Wrong. Time machine on OS X server does network time machine backups.
  8. hobowankenobi, Aug 3, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016

    hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2015
    on the land line mr. smith.
    Per others, you need to run Server to do this successfully. Really important to set quotas, as mentioned, or one user can fill all the space....preventing others from being backed up.

    As for space, more is better. Remember that with any incremental backup system, including TM, you will be saving multiple copies of everything.....so the amount of history (number of copies) is dependent on space. More space = more history....more copies.

    Don't forget to consider excluding (not backing up) things that are not unique. User data and files are usually the most important stuff. OSes and applications can be reinstalled. Unique files and data cannot. With enough space, you can backup everything. If space is precious.....you can decide to just back up user data (the User folder but not System, Applications, Library, etc.)
  9. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    I strongly recommend starting with a fresh install of the OS on the spare Mini and then downloading OS X Server to it. Furthermore, I recommend backing up to multiple locations in case one location ever died. Provided that all the Macs that are backing up are running at least OS X 10.9 Mavericks, then you can set limits on how much space each Mac can back up.

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