MAC VSS/Previous versions Access on a Windows Share

Morning all,
    No doubt this has already been solved elsewhere but we have the following:

Design team consists of 5 MAC devices and 1 Windows computer. Initially all users were saving locally to Hard drives or connected USB devices running a 7.2k. We are now looking to migrate the data to a central SAN storage running on 15K drives presented via a Server 2012 File server. Previously users had time machine enabled on the local drives to allow for roll back of files to previous versions in the event issue happen.  We would like to replicate this ability on the Windows Server potentially using VSS and Previous versions and/or integrate Time machine linked to this networked location.

Has any one set this up previously if so what configuration was used? i have completed some research and information has linked to using multiple tools but performance issues were seen.

Any Advice on the final configuration and technology would be much appreciated.

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Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:

To be honest you're probably not on the right track using a Windows file server in a predominantly OSX mac environment.
Using a Windows Server to host TimeMahine network backups isn't really a recommended option.
OSX doesn't support Visual Source Safe.
OSX support for windows server via SMB is not 100% solid and newest OSX 10.10 has changed its SMB implementation once again which has caused issues with some older windows file servers no longer accessible by newer macs.  You'll have an ongoing struggle as Windows and OSX versions of SMB evolve.
A NAS setup such as something by Drobo or Synology or Qnap which supports OSX networking protocols might be a better solution.

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ncomperAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the Prompt response, as you can imagine the design department is only a small part of the overall business and we are looking to integrate this team into the core infrastructure (removing this random data on USB drives). We have a local QNAP and HP SAN so i will review with the 3rd line team the best options here. I am still open to options/solutions to centrally manage and secure data so if you have implemented this successfully (With additional tools) i would be interested to hear before a final proposal.
Eoin OSullivanConsultantCommented:
TimeMachine is designed predominantly for .. and works brilliantly on local USB drives.
It is a little messier and more complex to setup on network drives .. again designed to work best on Apple NAS devices such as the Airport TimeCapsule.
The incremental file backup method that timemachine uses can be quite drive/network intensive and if you want to eliminate the local USB external drives and force them all to backup to a network volume you might want to consider leaving the external HDs as a first line of defence.  
I've worked with graphic design studios where they have timemachine backups to local HD and then a Drobo NAS  connected to a macmini and use a program called Carbon Copy Cloner to do incremental backups of work and mail folders and also store system snapshots on the Drobo.
They tried a Windows Fileserver to store backups but it was unreliable and after last 10.9 OSX release it was decided to ditch the Windows box and buy a macmini and Drobo which has been rock-solid for over 2 years now.
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For a small company, that DRobo ( or any stand alone NAS) is probably ideal for your needs.  They're kind of an intermediary for someone that's not an individual home user or a large corporate environment.  If you're only backing up Macs, then Carbon Copy Cloner should work just fine.  Acronis might be cheaper since you can buy a 3 pack and a 5 pack.  You might want to consider Retrospect as well.  <-- if you only have macs <-- if you have both PC and Macs (cheaper too) <-- larger corporate environment

TimeMachine is, and always was, designed for individual consumer use.  It's really a great way for home users to back up their data.  It's not really ideal for a larger corporate level backup.

If you have a larger environment, you'll need something better.  Unfortunately, Macs, on their own, are not really great in a high end corporate environment.  You'll need additional tools.  While Mavericks (10.9) broke SMB, Apple finally fixed it in Yosemite (10.10).  They work just fine with a Windows file server now.  Basically, that means you had to skip Mavericks if you were in the corporate Windows world.  This should work just fine now.  We have Windows 2012 Server and we've been connecting ok.  Mavericks worked too with tweaking, but that was one major pain to deal with.

If you have someone that knows unix, they can always write rsync scripts to automatically back up you mac data to any file server and not have to buy any backup software.  If you want deduplication, you can also install rsnapshot or amanda for free and schedule backups.  There's a lot of built in and open source software available for the mac to do everything you want.  Treat it as a unix box and you have lots more options available to you.
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ncomperAuthor Commented:
Good Overall review of options there.
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