Time Machine Backups over Network ( iSCSI or AFP ) Freenas

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by QUiKSR20, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. QUiKSR20 macrumors member


    Oct 12, 2008
    Neptune, NJ
    Hello All,

    I am almost done with my FREENAS Server build.

    I would like to backup my Macs via Time Machine to my FREENAS Server. I know Time Machine issues some kind of token or needs to see some kind of connection that usually isnt reliable via regular network shares.

    With that being said iSCSI would be seen as a local drive, And I believe AFP would also allow this token.

    Which would be a better more reliable solution to work for backups. As I said I am almost done with my FREENAS server build and would like to remove my USB drive connected to my machine..

    Also say in a crash would I be able to copy the Time Machine files to an External USB and then boot my mac from the external as I would if I was using it for the Time Machine backup all along?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. corbywan macrumors regular

    Feb 4, 2008
    Forest Grove, OR
    To the best of my knowledge, there is some disagreement and degrees of success when it comes to backing up using TM to a device that is not directly connected to the computer. A TimeCapsule works because that's what its designed to do. For a season Apple promoted the ability to backup to a drive plugged into an AirPort Extreme Base Station (as thought it were a TC) but they have apparently yanked the promotion and support of this feature. Some have it working (such as myself without a hitch) while others can't get it to work to save their lives. Apparently Apple's intent with TimeMachine is that the drive be directly attached to the computer, unless it is a TC. Not over a LAN be it wired or wireless, but directly attached be it another internal drive or an external drive via FireWire, USB, etc. if iSCSI does what you say it will do, it might work. Someone else who has experience with that may be able to speak to it. I've never played with it.

    As for starting up from a external with a TM backup on it, my knowledge may be out of date or incomplete, but my understanding is that (1) a TM backup doesn't not include the System folder nor any of the other hidden/invisible system/os related directories needed to boot. It's primarily user information, prefs, files, Applications apparently, but it does not create a bootable drive. (2) I don't think you can boot from a drive attached via USB even if it is a valid OS install. It's an interface limitation. You can book from a drive connected via FireWire but not USB. That was the case at one point and it may have changed.
  3. QUiKSR20 thread starter macrumors member


    Oct 12, 2008
    Neptune, NJ
    Hmm thats the info im looking for, If iSCSI it will think its directly attached, As in an INTERNAL drive. Just not sure what will work better I am aware it was not intended to be used this way.

    It just that I hate having all these external devices hanging around when I have a nice Redundant NAS sitting in the room with lots of space.
  4. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Here are a few articles on trying to get it to work with a both ReadyNAS server and Windows Home Server device.



    By the way, I gave up on trying to get it to see an emulated AFP share (Windows Server 2003). However, that was before Time Capsule shipped and the sparse bundle workaround was found.

    People here have managed to get it working with unofficial devices (including AirPort Extreme base stations), but they usually don't mention if they've managed to complete a successful restore. Therefore, I would be leery.

    In the long run, I think you're better off just using SuperDuper for backups or getting a Time Capsule.
  5. QUiKSR20 thread starter macrumors member


    Oct 12, 2008
    Neptune, NJ
    Thanks for the link!!! I may look into super duper or just maybe setup an RSYNC Backup... I just completed building a pretty nice FREENAS server setup with good drives & hardware.
  6. pointandclick macrumors regular

    Apr 29, 2008
    I ran across this article a few days ago while trying to set up netatalk/afp on an ubuntu server after getting fed up with the way FreeNAS handles things (more on that below).


    I was only really concerned with the process of getting netatalk working since I don't use time machine, but I did try it to see if it would work. I ran into the issue mentioned at the end where it says "the disk image could not be created". Like I said I don't use time machine, so I didn't try any further. It may be an easy fix though.

    Anyway, you mind if I ask you how you have FreeNAS setup? The way it handles mount points and shares seems wrong to me.
    I'm using the 0.7 beta because I want per share user authentication.

    Basically I want to have Home directories available to users (really only me)
    Music and Video folders writable by me and readable by anyone (guest access).

    I'm running off a 1g usb drive so the whole HDD is for data.
    As soon as I mount the HDD at /data and enable AFP "data" is seen as a share on my MBP. The mount point is supposed to be a system level process to make a device accessible. I shouldn't be able to see that unless I set up a share point as the root of the drive.

    Have any ideas, or are you more practical and not care about authentication on a home network.:rolleyes::p
  7. obiwan22 macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2002
    MN, USA
    I've used an iSCSI volume created on my OpenFiler machine as a Time Machine target without incident.

    Just make sure your iSCSI client is set to mount the drive automatically at boot and/or login, or Time Machine freaks out that the volume isn't there.

    On a GigE connection, it's been a fast and troublefree solution. I havn't used FreeNAS, but if it can present an iSCSI volume, I would guess it would work as well.

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