Set up file & time machine server


macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 3, 2015
Hey everyone,

Im looking to set up a time machine and file server.

The file server part i have done, The question i have is if i purchase OS X Server will it let me use the server as a central time machine?
I have 6 macs and each has a ex hd for time machine i would prefer to have a central back up of all my macs

Is this possible?



macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 3, 2015
Thanks for that :)

Ok next question.

What is the ideal spec of a server?
High CPU high Ram?

Im thinking to get a 4,1 Mac Pro. 3.47 Quad Core and put 32gb or 48gb ram?
Or should i go 6 core?

Or would a 3,1 xServe with dual 2.93 quad and 32gb ram fulfil my needs?

My thinking behind the Mac Pro is there is room for 6 HDD but the xserve would have to be external?


macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 3, 2015
Well it is depending on what you are going to do. If you just use it for backups, a Mac Pro is total overkill...
Hey Fabian90 Thanks for the reply.

Yeah a time machine and file server.
Im new to the whole server world and not sure what specs are suitable, A base 2009 mac pro with a 2.66 quad core is around 400-500 and a xserve with dual 2.93 quad is around the 600-700 mark.
I just figured the mac pro due to being able to store 6 HDD in it

Do i need more ram and don't bother with cpu?

Ideally i want 4x 2tb raid and 2x 8tb archives (1x time machine & 1x backup raid)

At most 2 computer will be accessing the server at one time. Maybe 3 if the misses is watching a movie.


macrumors regular
Feb 19, 2013
Bonn, Germany
Well, tbh I think a new Mac Mini would be the better option. It consumes less power and is nearly completely silent. The HDDs should be in a hardware raid, maybe attached via Thunderbolt to the Mac Mini.

The new disk utility in El Capitan does not support RAID as far as I know and software raid is not that good.

I, for home use, use an old 2009(!) 4GB Mac Mini with external drives and it's fast for Time Machine and Fileserver, Caching Service etc and speed is not an issue at all. The limitation comes from the FireWire drives I use and not from the dated CPU... New Mac Mini (except the entry level one) should be sufficient, I would use 8 GB Ram at least. Then OS X Server and you're good to go =)

Geeky Chimp

macrumors regular
Jun 3, 2015
A Mac Mini 2014 should be fine, plus a lot less power consumption and noise. Even the Base Spec with 1.4Ghz CPU and 4GB RAM would probably suffice for File Sharing/Time Machine.
WD Have The External MyBooks - the higher end ones of which have Hardware RAID, which may be of interest to you.

(I have no connection to WD - just a satisfied customer)


macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2015
on the land line mr. smith.
A basic, low end Min is adequate. 8GB of RAM is plenty, 4 would work OK. File serving and Time Machine are not resource intensive.

I would suggest spending your $ on reliable storage. Something with redundancy, a thunderbolt connection, and from a storage company, like this.

And you need lots of space so that Time Machine can save lots of history. In order to have lots of history to restore, TM needs to save many copies of your it will eat all the space you can give it.

As a hypothetical example, for 6 work stations:

500GB x 6 = 3000GB (total workstation data to backup)

3000GB x 3 = 9000GB of space for Time Machine.

So in this example, you would need about 9TB of backup space. Yes, you can get by with less, but the more space you have, the more backup history you have. are likely making more data all the time, so you need room for growth.