Time Capsule vs NAS for TM backup (reliability)

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by lexvo, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. lexvo macrumors 65816

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    In your experience, is a TM backup to a NAS as reliable as a TM backup to a Time Capsule?

    I ask this because Apple officially does not support TM backup to a HDD connected to an Airport Extreme (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1427?viewlocale=en_US). Although some have success with this method, others don't so I skip this option.

    A NAS however, is not excluded from Apple's same support page. So I wonder how reliable that option is (as an alternative to a Time Capsule).
  2. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    I would think that a backup to a NAS running Raid 1 or 5 drive sets would have statistically higher availability than towards a Time Capsule that has a single drive. If availability goes up, so should reliability.

    For us data availability is addressed by RAID 1 storage (not in a NAS or Drobo) that is then backed up to Time Capsule.
  3. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

    Sep 2, 2008
    Metro Kansas City
    The problem with using a NAS is that even though it can support TM now, there's no guarantee that it will be supported in the future. IIRC, when ML came out, some of the NAS solutions that were working under Lion no longer worked under Mountain Lion. It was up to the OEMs of these NAS to come up with a firmware update so their hardware would again work with TM.

    More than likely, a reputable vendor will eventually get their hardware working again with TM, but it may take some time (if it can be done at all).
  4. lexvo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    Maybe I should have been a bit clearer in my first post. My question is not about the reliability of the HDD('s) itself, but if a TM backup will keep working for a long time (which is not always the case with a HDD connected to an Airport Extreme).

    The point about firmware updates on a NAS is a good one.
  5. RMo macrumors 65816


    Aug 7, 2007
    Iowa, USA
    That configuration is not supported by Apple, so that's not entirely surprising. I'm guessing either of these two solutions would work. I'd prefer the NAS myself as it's more versatile and you have more control, but the only disadvantage is that Apple doesn't really seem to actively support that either, although they don't officially condemn it. (Several documents mention "network drives," but most refer only to Time Capsule, and it's not really clear what protocols it requires or if any one that OS X can handle is fine.)
  6. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    The answer is pretty much no, for the reason described above. Each time Apple updates their OS, you are left waiting for a fix, and it might be that part of that fix is resetting your backups. Either use a Time Machine, a directly connected disk, or a disk shared by another Mac on the network if you want the best reliability. Or use a backup solution other than Time Machine.
  7. lexvo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    Thanks all for your replies.
    I already knew that TM backup to a HDD connected to an Airport Extreme wasn't supported. I wasn't sure about a NAS, but here there are risks too (need for firmware updates).

    To be on the safe side, I think I'll stick with the standard Apple solutions. :)
  8. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    If you want to go with a NAS, simply use something like Crashplan for your backup. It works great.
  9. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I use a combination of Time Capsule and Crashplan+. I greatly prefer having both local and remote backups.

    Time Machine is great for local backup, because it also easily supports migration to new machines very well. I prefer Time Capsules over direct attached drives because it gives some extra security if the TCs are kept elsewhere in the house. It makes it much less likely that both your computer and backup are both stollen during a smash&grab. Also, for backing up laptops... direct attach drives require manually attaching a HDD periodically, which undermines the automatic backup features. I dislike any manual operation as part of a backup strategy.

    I chose Time Capsules over a NAS for the same conclusions that you seem to be making.

  10. lexvo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Nov 11, 2009
    The Netherlands
    Exactly. I have a direct attached drive now but I want also a TM backup elsewhere.

    A friend of mine had his iMac stolen including his TM backup drive, so he lost all his data.
  11. eric44 macrumors member

    May 18, 2008
    I'm running a synology NAS connected to an airport extreme.
    10.8.2 on a rMBP and 10.8.1 on imacs - all three work like a dream.
    Noticeably fast on backup, no complaints
  12. murphychris macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2012
    I know what you mean but this, however, the standard Apple solutions aren't really that safe. They're not really in the storage business, certainly not much beyond a single disk with single disk backup. To some degree this is mitigated with software RAID for redundancy and aggregation, but it's not in the realm of the reliability you get from NAS alternatives which let you use other kinds of RAID to save disk space, while also avoiding the not uncommon corruption that occurs by having storage directly attached to a computer, while also making vastly superior resilient file systems available. Unfortunately storage is an area Apple is simply letting languish in favor of cloud solutions.

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