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Good Apple server backup solutions?

Posted on 2015-01-19
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Last Modified: 2015-01-27
We are going to be setting up a Mac Mini with 2TB of external storage connected via a thunderbolt enclosure. It will share data with the rest of the office (~5 people).

We need a good technology for doing backups of the Mac Mini server, and I'm not sure what is the current best-of-breed software out there? thing to use.

1) Backups must be automated and run continuously, or nightly, and send reports of their success
2) Backups should be saved to external storage media (e.g. an external hard disk)
3) It should be possible to rotate the backup media so that we can keep an offsite copy
4) The backup needs to be a complete system image backup of the entire Mac Mini, so the whole thing can be restored in the event of a hardware failure

Is there some de-factor gold standard product typically used for Macs for this purpose? I'm tempted to use Time Machine but I imagine there must be better commercial software out there.
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Question by:Frosty555
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pgm554 earned 668 total points
ID: 40560184
The built in backup ain't bad,but the gold standard for Apple backups is Retrospect.

http://www.retrospect.com/en/products/mac
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by:davidanders
davidanders earned 668 total points
ID: 40560195
Time Machine backups are not bootable.
SuperDuper! and Carbon Copy Cloner are most often recommended. There are others.
http://www.shirt-pocket.com/SuperDuper/SuperDuperDescription.html
https://bombich.com/
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by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 40560609
If you want to get your hands dirty, rsync can do it all. Some people have made easy to use scripts exactly for this function
https://github.com/jedda/Counterpart

This allows you to store the files anywhere you want  (offsite linux server), then restore them to new apple hardware if you need to.
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by:serialband
ID: 40565147
Counterpart looks interesting but I've never used it before.

You can already do it with regular built in tools, but not with a live, running OS.

rsync will only work if you've already created a bootable system to copy the files to.  While you can copy running system files, it's not a good idea as they can become corrupt during the copy if something changes during the copy.  You can copy configuration and user files easily with rsync.

You can already duplicate the drive with built in tools.  Boot into Recovery mode and use Disk Utility to backup your disk.  You can also boot into single user mode and use dd on the command line.  The reason to boot into Recovery or Single User mode is to mount the disk in read only format, so that you can properly copy files while they're not in use.
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by:Peter Loobuyck
Peter Loobuyck earned 664 total points
ID: 40570935
Time machine is bootable now in 10.10 or you can go for crashplan - works fine, but is not bootable.

All other solutions are not backup solutions, but sync solutions. You will not be able to go back in time.
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by:davidanders
ID: 40571062
From the best Time Machine website I know
http://pondini.org/TM/Clones.html

Disadvantages of Time Machine

    •It’s not bootable.  If your internal HD fails, you can't boot directly from your Time Machine backups.  You must restore them, either to your repaired/replaced internal HD or an external disk.   This is a fairly simple, but of course lengthy, procedure.  You can also transfer the apps, user accounts, and data to another disk or Mac, via Setup Assistant or Migration Assistant.  See How do I set up a new Mac from an old one, its backups, or a PC? for details.
    However, if you're running Lion 10.7.2 or above, and backing-up to a directly-connected external HD, there's probably a copy of your Recovery HD on the Time Machine drive, so if your internal HD fails, you can start from that.  See Using the Recovery HD.
    •Time Machine doesn't keep its copies of changed/deleted items forever, and you're usually not notified when it deletes them.
    •It can back up to many network locations, but not from any.
    •Time Machine is relatively complex internally, and while it’s been around for a while, there are still some things it doesn’t do (like back up your photos while iPhoto is open).
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Expert Comment

by:serialband
ID: 40571301
You could probably make time machine disk bootable by installing a small bootable partition on the time machine disk and leaving a larger partition for all the time machine data files.

You can then periodically rsync the system to the bootable partition.  You can rsync all that to another disk for offsite backup.  That way you can keep the system up to date and have a bootable backup.

There's also rsnaphot, which works similarly to Time Machine but on the command line.  You can install it through Homebrew and probably also MacPorts.
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