System Requirement:

In the innocent days of the very late 20th century there was The Family Computer. For many of us, those days are long past. When that happens the question of what to do with an old Mac invariably arises. Given a multi-Mac household and the need to retain the data stored on those Macs, one of the first things you should consider is turning that old Mac into a backup server—one Mac to rule the backup roost.

Time Capsule is an acceptable and easy-to-use solution as it allows you to back up multiple Macs running Leopard or Snow Leopard to a single device via Apple's Time Machine. Additionally, if you have a lot of data to back up, the 1 or 2TB of storage found on a Time Capsule may not be enough.

A Mac-based backup server allows you to get around these limitations. You can add exactly as much storage as you need and upgrade that storage at a later time.

The Best Backup Software for Mac

And you pay only for back up software and storage rather than a wireless router that may be redundant given the gear you already own. The backup server and all the Macs you wish to be backed up will have to be on the same network. For the fastest backups, use a wired Ethernet network preferably gigabit Ethernet. Those incremental backups won't take nearly so long.

A power-efficient Mac mini makes a great backup server. Next, calculate the amount of storage you need to back up all your computers and then double or even triple it. Thanks to massive media files and libraries, we store a lot of data these days. Unless cloud storage really takes hold we can expect to store increasing amounts of data in the future.

While a 1TB drive may seem impossible to fill today, next year it may prove to be positively cramped. However, if you routinely store data outside of your Home folder—at the root level of your hard drive, for example—you should consider moving it to within that Home folder or prepare to configure your backup software so that it looks in such nooks and crannies for your data. For many people the resulting list will contain these items: Personal photos and videos, e-mail, financial data, in-progress work projects, personal creative projects, contacts, calendar events, and bookmarks.

Now work your way through descending layers of potential regret.

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On the other hand, you can probably exclude the college papers you penned in the mids and that archive of jokes forwarded to your AOL account. There are many backup options available to you. At its most basic you choose a source—a folder on your Mac, for example—and a destination, which might be the external hard drive attached to your Mac.

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Click the Synchronize button and the selected source files are copied to the destination in their current state—as individual files and folders, making it easy to restore just the files you want. But it can also back up the data from Macs on the network. Simply mount the drive of a networked Mac, choose it or a directory on it as the source, and then select a destination—again, the backup drive attached to your Mac running as a backup server. ChronoSync can also be configured to unmount the drive when the backup is complete. ChronoSync is an affordable, flexible solution for multi-Mac backup.

ChronoSync provides options for deleted and updated files. Enable the Synchronize Deletions option and any files you delete from the source will also be deleted on the backup. Enabling the Archive Replaced Files option instructs ChronoSync to keep a copy of all the revisions of a file. Server is a different beast and you can and will set up many large databases - some of which need to be archived and then restored later like mail, web, LDAP.


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As your server grows, you will come to think of each data as separate since backing them all up with the same frequency or mechanism isn't a good solution technically. You can even boot from that disk using any other Mac and have your entire system at your fingertips, no tedious software installations, System Preference setting or desktop wallpaper hunting required. Did i mention you can schedule the backups Sign up to join this community.

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How do I backup Mac Server? - Ask Different

Asked 7 years, 5 months ago. Active 3 years, 8 months ago. Viewed 10k times. Does anyone have a recommendation on what to do?

It does not surprise me, yet another reason to not trust time machine with all your data, yes TM and other full disk backup is the best way to go. No one needs a "backup solution" - everyone needs a tested "restore procedure". Server's no different than normal OS in that respect.

Use an old Mac as a backup server

I agree, but in this case I'm having trouble getting the cart going, much less ahead of the horse. Check this answer. The "tested restore procedure" everyone should be using.

MrDaniel MrDaniel Did you set up alternate data location for some of the services? Did you "correct" any dot files for users and run any terminal commands? Do you have any launchd tasks that are not packaged I often make routing and other changes that run to set static routes, roll over application log files, etc I agree with everything you wrote here and luckily my data is separate from the OS so I don't have to restore both.