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What all does Time Machine on a Mac OS X 10.5.8 server backup? Does it backup both the system partition and a data partition?

Posted on 2011-02-10
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What all does Time Machine on a Mac OS X 10.5.8 server backup? Does it backup both the system partition and a data partition?

I am supporting a Mac OS X 10.5.8 server that has two partitions, a system partition that has all of the operating system files and a data partition that holds all of the shared files and folders that are accessed by the Mac client computers.

I need to know exactly what Time Machine backs up.

Also, I am looking for some instructions on how to customize exactly what Time Machine backs up and how often the backups are performed.
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Question by:Knowledgeable
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by:Speedfox6
Speedfox6 earned 125 total points
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This is a great walkthrough from apple that shows you all you need to know. It also has a section on restoring your entire system! So take a look through this, its given me all the info I've needed in your situation.

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1427

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by:Mac2010
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For Mac users who would normally not make (frequent) backups, Time Machine is fine. I use it myself for my daily backup (not the weekly one).
For a server I can only recommend TM as a temporary backup solution, and only if you use another extra tool to clone the internal disk(s) once a week.

> I need to know exactly what Time Machine backs up.

Actually no one really knows that. There is no log file that I know of; you don't know what got back-upped or not and can't verify if the (last) backup is complete. In Apple's own documentation is mentioned that TM makes no backup on the server of iCal-server data and AddressBook-server (10.6). Probably there is more left out of the server backup by TM. I got this from a Snow Leopard (10.6) manual but I doubt it will be better in 10.5 (Leopard).

If your data is worth more than a few hundred dollars/euros, get professional backup software, like this tool for instance. http://www.archiware.com/
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by:Mac2010
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> Also, I am looking for some instructions on how to customize exactly what Time Machine backs up and how often the backups are performed.

This article explains how to customize the interval of the backups: http://www.trickyways.com/2010/04/how-to-change-time-machine-backup-interval-on-mac-os-x/

As for customizing the files: go to /System Preferences/Time Machine/ , click on the 'Options' button, there you can select what you want to leave out of the backup. Time Machine is an opt-out system...
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mccrick earned 125 total points
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TM is a fire and forget backup solution for average users. It comes with the OS and does a better job than almost any product I've seen. As an IT guy it takes about 4 minutes to set up and mostly means verifying that the destination HD is formated correctly. It checks every hour to make sure that it has a complete iterative backup of everything that has changed since the last complete backup. It has virtually no settings except choosing the backup drive and giving you the ability to exclude certain data from the backup.

While they may not be a log, (I've never looked for one,) it is extremely easy to see and verify what is backed up. You must first appreciate that TM copies multiple versions of files as they change on your main drive and then consolidates those changes into hourly (for the day) and daily (for the week) and weekly (after that) versions. If you have a file called MyNovel.doc, that you work on for 8 hours a day every day Monday through Friday for a month, TM will have approximately 8+5+3 versions of your novel. Once you understand that, you will understand that A., the backup is much larger than the drive you are backing up and B., a complex series of directories and aliases are used to contain and display your backup on the backup drive. TM has a very cool interface for showing you what has been backed up. It looks multi-dimensional because of the dimension of time.

To actually answer your question about what is being backed up. Just look using the TM interface.

As for best practices. The main problem with TM is a lack of redundancy, this could be a no-no for a server. Having another drive around with a CC Cloner backup is well worth it. In this way you would have your protected by two different backup schemes which would give excellent redundancy. Now if you really want to go bomb-proof, swap out the CC Cloner Backup once a month and take the out-of-use drive off-site.

Now you have Apple's elegance when it comes time for recovery (backup's evil twin sister) and the knowledge that you have an exact clone of your server.
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