Want to keep a backup of your data? How about using Time Machine with a NAS!

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Doward, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. Doward macrumors 6502a

    Feb 21, 2013
    If you've got a spare old computer around, you have a network attached Time Machine (Time Capsule) setup - you just don't know it, yet!

    Easy as can be. You can install FreeNAS to a USB stick to boot the system, and just install as many HDDs as you have lying around for storage area!
  2. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    The only NAS that Apple officially supports for TM backup is the TC. Some people use a NAS...sometimes they stop working, and finally some NAS boxes work better than others. Synology has a good reputation.

    Some people will put OSX Server onto an older Mac or buy a purpose built Mac Mini Server. That is also supported by Apple for TM backup.

    Personally... I only want to use supported solutions. I view my backups as mission critical to my data. It is not a hobby.

  3. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Nov 12, 2007
    Bad idea to use TM with non-Apple products, unless you're one of those users who don't upgrade often. You're just going to have more problems doing this, especially if you upgrade your OS X on the first day. When Apple make changes to the protocols in OS X, the NAS will fall behind and remain incompatible for several months.

    In my experience with Synology NAS and OS X, the TM backups get corrupted once a month, of which I have to perform a 2-3 hours repair procedure to fix. It really gets annoying, so it's not worth it.

    In addition, when Lion came out, Synology couldn't get the TM to work with Lion for a few months after Lion was released.

    In my experience, Synology sucks with Macs. They're slow to update their system to make it compatible with new changes in OS X.

    Even now, they don't have a solid SMB2 protocol (the new default file-sharing protocol in Mavericks) in place that'd work great. Folks have tried it with older OS X and Windows and experienced a lot of performance issues with it.
  4. Dalton63841 macrumors 65816


    Nov 27, 2010
    Rather than TM, I always had Freenas set up to perform an Rsync, and used Crontab to schedule it. Then you can also schedule super duper or carbon copy cloner to schedule making a bootable backup and keep it updated as well.
  5. Doward thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 21, 2013
    I've had my Linux/netatalk setup (Fedora 18, about to upgrade to 19, actually) going since I purchased my 17" MBP.

    Never once has anything corrupted, or gone wrong.

    I have 4TB set aside for rotating backup between my systems ;)
  6. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006

    How do you know that you have never had corruptions?

    Do you perform routine file integrity checks so you know for a fact that nothing is corrupted?

    Have you ever had to perform a bare-metal recovery?
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    FreeNAS works flawlessly. Apple has no enterprise class solution for backups. They only offer a home or VERY small business solution. Nothing for the company who owns dozens (or hundreds) of Macs.

    As said above, Synology works and Drobo works well too.

    But watch it. What if the Synology or the Drobo chassis or main board dies? The data may still be OK but you'd have to wait for the box to be repaired. So there is good reason to own TWO of these things. Having only one is not good if you ned the data from a dead box TODAY.

    Or you can use a NAS that is built from standard PC hardware and standard software. FreeNAS works but is kind of overkill for a small home user with only a couple Macs. As it needs to have 3 to 6 drives installed to be economical.

    Whatever you do do NOT go cheap. If you needs a small just buy an Airport router and add an external USB disk. Plug the USB drive direct to the Mac to do the first backup, it will be MUCH faster then way, then move the drive to the Airport. But if all your data does not get on one drive yu are going to need an array. FreeNAS using ZFS is the most robust product out there.


    Yes. I've tested this. First off, I run a job on the NAS to checksum the entire disk array periodically. It actually reads every sector on every drive and verifies CRCs.

    Then as a test I pull the power cable off one of the disks while it is writing data and verify that the system still operates with a failed drive.

    I would never suggest using a NASf or disk array without doing the above. You really need both. Especially the periodic CRS verification. Otherwise you might have bad data on a failed block and never detect it.

    One More Thing, always use incremental backups so you never overwrite data known to be good. Time Machine gets this right and will fill up the entire drive before it resorts to overwriting

    Also keep the data in more then one location, rotate to an off site or use a cloud based device. Don't depend on just one backup.

    The other feature that is nice to have on a NAS is remote replication. It does this: You Macs write to the NAS then periodically your NAS connects up to it's twin and "syncs" so that the twin has a copy of the data. Lcate the twin as far away as you can, in sme other city is best but at least in a different room.

    Need to thinkabout (1) house fire, (2) theft of the equipment, (3) lightening hitting the power pole and taking out everything that is plugged into an AC outlet.

    lastly TEST your backup system, try to do a restore, verify that faults are detected and so on.

    FreeNAS does all of the above. An has enough performance to use multiple Gigabit Ethernet cables or a 10GB port if you can afford it. But do you have this much data?
  8. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    I am well aware of all of the above. I currently have to FreeBSD boxes acting as NAS devices, one with 10 x 2TB in a RAIDZ-2 and the other with 5 x 3TB in a RAIDZ-2. Both systems have ECC RAM to further prevent corruption and I run a full scrub every 35 days.

    For one to say they have not had any corruption is a big claim, similar to a Windows user that does not run antivirus software saying they have never been infected or are not infected, so I was just inquiring about what you do to verify the integrity of your data..
  9. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    I've tried this for a few months (airport plus USB drives on a powered hub) and found it quirky and unreliable. Drives were routinely disappearing, airport locking up on a monthly bases (only 7 Macs backing up). One usb drive on an airport seems to function OK. A TC seems to handle multiple drives better than the airport extreme.

    A mac mini running OX server (with attached drives if needed) is by far the best approach for a mac home or small business environment. In the short term it may cost more than a bottom tier synology NAS. In the end, you will spend much less time fiddling and scratching your head as typically it just works. And if your time is money and want to live without frustration... makes a lot of sense. Any mac laying around can be made into a server, and refurb mini servers are routinely in the apple store. Just saying.
  10. Doward thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 21, 2013
    Yes, although ChrisA has already demonstrated how it's done.

    As for a bare-metal recovery, I just completed one yesterday after the latest 10.8.4 updates somehow borked my FV2 password. I had to boot from CD, command line in, and remove the entire volume in order to reformat, and restore from my NAS.

    I then re-encrypted my drive. Everything works as expected, and as previously tested.

    NO backup solution is complete with a periodic test and eval - that's Backup 101!

    As for speed - I don't like USB attached, as it's so SLOW. Dual bonded gigabit here, my server has run 145MB/s read or write over the network.

    Restore speed tends to be ~95 MB/s, though, as the MacBook Pro only has a single gig port :(
  11. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    You must be using poor USB drives or drive enclosures. I routinely get 200MBps read and write on a USB3 cable to a RAID setup... 300MBps+ to single SSDs, not that you would use SSDs for backup.
  12. drsox macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
  13. Doward thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 21, 2013
    USB 2.0 on my MacBook Pro. USB 2.0 on every system (except the NAS) at work.

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