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10.5: A warning on unsupported Time Machine solutions Network
If you've used this hint to enable Time Machine backups to non-supported network drives, this hint is for you. In particular, your backups are in danger. I have received a few hint submissions warning about problems with these disks, where everything seems to work fine at first, but when the SMB drive fills up, Time Machine will quickly destroy all of your backups! This seems to happen because Time Machine can't free the space inside the networked sparse image bundles (or the reported space is incorrect). Whatever the cause, Console will show all of your backups being removed once the networked drive fills up.

I have placed a strong warning on the original hint (as this issue is noted in the comments there, too). However, I felt it worth running on its own for anyone who may be using an unsupported network drive and isn't yet aware of the impending troubles they will have when it fills up. You have been warned; for now, this is not a usable backup solution, it seems. (I don't know if limiting the size of the backup, as per this hint, would solve the problem or not.)
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10.5: A warning on unsupported Time Machine solutions | 14 comments | Create New Account
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10.5: A warning on unsupported Time Machine solutions
Authored by: stokessd on Dec 17, '07 07:40:30AM
A good workaround is to not use SMB but rather AFP for your timemachine backup share. netatalk is your friend and free:

http://netatalk.sourceforge.net/


Sheldon

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No: Non-10.5 AFP is NOT okay
Authored by: dbs on Dec 18, '07 06:48:19PM
I tried this. It worked fine until TimeMachine had to delete old backups. When that happened they deleted successfully (at least the disk space came back) but the TimeMachine GUI lost *all* the previous backups. They were still there on the sparsebundle disk image, but the GUI did *not* see them.

To test this get TimeMachine to use a sparsebundle with a small size limit and backup a small directory. (There are several ways to do this: create it from scratch and re-name it or use the hdiutil command to resize an existing one.) Then keep changing files until it has to delete a backup. At least on my AFP/linux-based NAS this appeared to work, but did *not* work completely.

There is another solution, but it's a bit more involved. I backup to an old powerbook running 10.5.1 (completely supported) and have an rsync job that syncs that backup to my NAS over AFP. I believe this works, but I still use CCC to sync to a disk image on that disk as well. You can read more about how I do this (and how to get passwords from the keychain into command-line scripts) at: http://cva.stanford.edu/people/davidbbs/mac_scripts/index.html

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So are AFP network drives OK?
Authored by: Fanglord on Dec 17, '07 10:00:37AM

I've been wanting a Time Machine backup to a network drive since I heard about TM in the first place. Having a local hard drive as the only acceptable backup location defeats one of the the main tenets of creating a backup; that it should be in a different physical location from the original.

From the other hints posted here, Apple contemplated allowing network backups (otherwise why have the preference available, though hidden?).

At my work, I have a 2TB XRaid array that I would love to use for my backup, but am wondering at the safety involved.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I thought I'd ask y'all out there if anyone had tried the different possible mount points (AFP, SMB, and NFS), to see what pitfalls there might be.

If nobody's done this, maybe I'll give it a whirl (with a known good Time Machine backup on a local drive, first!)



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So are AFP network drives OK?
Authored by: cdaiger on Dec 17, '07 10:04:46AM

I am using my ReadyNAS NV+ as my Time Machine drive via AFP. I have not run out of space yet so I can't tell if data is being deleted. Can anyone confirm that this is not a problem using AFP?



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So are AFP network drives OK?
Authored by: Crazor on Dec 20, '07 12:35:58PM

With Netatalk, this does not work. Same problem as with SMB.



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So are AFP network drives OK?
Authored by: stokessd on Dec 17, '07 10:56:53AM

I don't have extensive experience with this, but here's what I have:

My macbook Pro and my wife's macbook both backup wirelessly to an openSUSE based server with a software raid array (2.5TB). I'm using openSUSE 10.3 and what I think is still the most recent release of netatalk. I share various directories on the raid both via SMB and AFP (apple-babble). I've been reliably backing up both computers every hour since November 8th. I have specified the max size of the backup sparse-image (via a previous hint) and haven't hit that limit yet. I'm also advertising the services on the server (mDNS also known as bonjour) using avahi.

The server is attached via gigabit ethernet to an airport extreme. The computers typically backup via the airport extreme wireless connection, but at times I've got them attached to a wired connection if the computer is on either of our desks. TM doesn't seem to care as long as it can see the server.

I've restored several files and applications over the last month or so partially out of need and partially as a test. So far it's worked flawlessly.

The really impressive parts are how nicely it behaves when away from home and TM can't connect to the server. And how nicely it resumes when I am finally back at home.

At this point I have to say that it seems robust for my hardware configuration and I'm quite pleased with how well it works, and how it stays out of the way when working. The only indication that it's working is that the network share mounts and appears on the desktop, then disappears a minute or so later.

However, it's not my only backup, I also used superduper before Leopard and I'm using Carbon copy cloner until superduper is leopard ready. I use TM for daily backups and every week to month (depending on computer usage), I do a complete system backup (smart backup typically). I do that to a pair of external drives. One of which lives in a fireproof box. I've got a couple time yearly offsite backup that lives in my parents guest room and gets updated when we visit.

The beauty of TM is that it's got your back every hour, no other backup scheme that I've ever seen implemented keeps such fresh backups as you work. I treat it as a stop-gap between what I consider my true backups.


Sheldon



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So are AFP network drives OK?
Authored by: Wodgy on Dec 17, '07 11:47:08AM

XRaid is a supported configuration for Time Machine, isn't it? You don't have to enable this hack, just be running Leopard on the server.



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So are AFP network drives OK?
Authored by: Fanglord on Dec 17, '07 12:43:21PM

I believe leopard server is a possibility, but over the network? Anyway, I'm running Tiger Server on the Xserve, and have no plans to run Leopard any time soon. Also, I'd love to set something up for my home computers to back each other up via the network. Still not perfect (i.e. off-site), but better than the half-a$$ed way I'm doing it now. Currently I'm just burning CDs of stuff I think is important. I could set something up with rsync, etc., but I've been so looking forward to Time Machine being my backup of choice, both for ease of use and as an example to my PC using friends!



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So are AFP network drives OK?
Authored by: Wodgy on Dec 17, '07 01:09:36PM

You don't need Leopard Server to use Time Machine over a network. Just regular Leopard is fine. I do this at home. It's a supported configuration (in the help files and everything).



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10.5: A warning on unsupported Time Machine solutions
Authored by: Sven G on Dec 17, '07 10:14:52AM

Personally, I tried the Terminal "defaults" in hack in that hint, in order to show my AirPort Disk in Time Machine, and then backed up my iBook G4 to the AirDisk: the first backup took quite a lot of hours (over a "g" wireless connection), but completed successfully; since then, incremental backups (which are automatic only when the computer is not on battery power) have been flawless, at least apparently.

The real possible problem, of course, is the restore part of the process: but I haven't tried that, and won't until Apple officially fixes the whole thing.

BTW, when you restore the whole system from the Leopard DVD, will it also scan for network-drive-based Time Machine backups, e.g. the sparse bundle on an AirPort Disk? Or must one connect the drive directly to the Mac? That's a question which isn't yet so obvious to answer, maybe...



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10.5: A warning on unsupported Time Machine solutions
Authored by: Sven G on Dec 20, '07 02:32:23AM

I answer myself, here: I just tried to restore wirelessly from the Leopard DVD, and indeed - after logging in to your AirPort network form the Menu Bar - it immediately does find the AirDisk, with its sparse image Time Machine backup (another login required, to your AirDisk); but it takes a long time (about half an hour, in my case, over a "g" wireless connection) to open the backup, and then also to compute the space required for restoring. Anyway, it really seems to work (I didn't actually restore form the backup, but everything else worked flawlessly)...



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10.5: A warning on unsupported Time Machine solutions
Authored by: felix-fi on Dec 17, '07 01:25:55PM
Here is my original post on this:

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=5918065#5918065

I am now conviced that using an SMB drive as a TM Backup is VERY dangerous... if you are not, read my post above.




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10.5: A warning on unsupported Time Machine solutions
Authored by: Crazor on Dec 20, '07 12:32:47PM

Yeah right, I experienced the exact same behaviour on AFP volumes shared via Netatalk. Indeed, I submitted this hint, too, and Rob mailed me that he got several warnings about this behaviour.



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Anyone Tried MacFuse/MacFusion
Authored by: repetty on Jan 18, '08 12:27:26PM

What about using sshfs or MacFuse/MacFusion for ssh-Finder filesystems?

I may play with this if no one else has.

--Richard



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