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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

Time machine using an emac as server


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nargnog

 
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Hello, I am having some time machine issues. I am running snow leopard on my intel MacBook from 2008 (I think). I set up AFP and netatalk on my ubuntu 10.10 Linux server and got my sparsebundle working but the backups become corrupt. I read on several sources that using time machine with anything other than a Mac or a time capsule will result in corrupted backups, usually when you try to restore... which is what was happening for me. I also tried using samba on my Linux box for time machine with the same result.

So here is what I would like to try, I just want to know if anyone can see anything wrong with this plan. I would like to set up an emac with 1.2 ghz processor, 512 mb of ram, 40gb HD running leopard as my time machine backup server. I would like to plug in 4 terabytes and use 2 terabytes for my Mac and 2 terabytes for my wife's Mac. But I am not sure if an emac will be able to handle this size of hard drives ( i will probably use 2 x 2tb USB drives is what I will use). Also I am wondering if Lion will talk to an emac as a time machine backup server. I want my time machine backups done cable-free, automatically in the background.

To be clear though, time machine via USB works perfectly for me, but my 500gb portable drive was filled in 8 or 9 months only backing up once every week or two.
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MacsWork

 
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First, the idea of Time Machine is to fill the drive. Older backups are rotated off the back.

Second, no idea on the Lion and Leopard thing, though I would say it's a go.

Third, Leopard on the eMac should work though the eMac is by all means a dinosaur and nothing I would trust my backups to.
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nargnog

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacsWork View Post
First, the idea of Time Machine is to fill the drive. Older backups are rotated off the back.
What exactly do you mean by that? I did fill my drive and the old backups get deleted in rotation, but it's in like 120gb chunks and I don't really like the idea that I 1/4 of my 500gb dive is getting deleted when I backup. Which is what is happening right now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacsWork View Post
Second, no idea on the Lion and Leopard thing, though I would say it's a go.

Third, Leopard on the eMac should work though the eMac is by all means a dinosaur and nothing I would trust my backups to.
Yeah I know its old, and I know it will run leopard. But if you compared an emac to a NAS device, an emac has way higher specs than a pogoplug or dlink NAS or even the specs of a time capsule. An emac has much more horsepower than a time capsule. If the emac dies, I'll just buy another one. They are around 100$.


But I'm open to alternatives, the problem is cost. I am not going to spend more than what it would cost for a NAS.
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All you said was that the 500GB drive was filled in 8-9 months backing up twice a week.

I simply said that the backup drive used by Time Machine is supposed to fill up.

You also know that your eMac needs Leopard Server to use Time Machine services right?

When you start to get creative with a backup strategy such as you are, a couple of things are going to happen.

One, you might get offended when someone tells you you're doing something outside the box. Personally I don't care what you plan on doing with an eMac, ubuntu, a rubber band and a bent paper clip.

Two, what you want to do is not being done by anyone else and therefore might be the reason recommendations are scarce. There once was a time when I did things because I could. Tried to breath life into old technology, tried to tweak things to have them perform something they weren't meant to.

That said, I do not know of a way to get Leopard client to work as a Time Machine server across a network. I do know that for a time I did this with my old PowerMac G4 sawtooth with a 1Ghz Sonnet upgrade CPU and 1Gb RAM running Leopard server. When Snow Leopard came out I bought a Mini and loaded Snow Leopard server and now it runs my Time Machine services. Later this month I will upgrade all my Macs (except one that doesn't spec out) to Lion and continue using Time Machine services from the Mini.

So I would recommend running Time Machine services. They do work. I have never had to do a full system restore but have restored several files and data.
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wheelguy12

 
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I am doing backups similar to your approach, have been for a few months. My backup server is an old Windows 2003 laptop that sits on top of my safe. From it, I have a 500gig USB drive inside the safe with the USB wire going out through a hole into my laptop. The laptop is connected to the home network (100meg speed) and, from there, 2 windows machines and 1 mac maintain constant backups.

The Mac backup works like this: I created the dreaded sparcebundle file with a 700 gig capacity, using terminal commands. Actual file size is right at 1 gig. I then copied this file to the backup disk connected as a smb drive. That took a while over the 100meg network! Finally, I pointed TimeMachine to the smb drive and it has been working perfectly ever since.

When the backup fills up, TimeMachine tells me to delete the old backup and start over. So, I delete the old one and re-copy the 1 gig sparcebundle file again. So, I save that PITA sparcebundle file for this recurring task - instead of re-executing the terminal commands.

The terminal commands needed to create the sparcebundle have to be done exactly right - block size has to be just so, for example, to accomodate large backups. I didn't save the 2 commands that are needed since I saved the sparcebundle, but you can find the info on how to create it correctly. Just look for instructions that take account of setting the block size correctly for large files.

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nargnog

 
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Here is the link to the page I have used in the past to set up ubuntu for time machine:
HowTo: Make Ubuntu A Perfect Mac File Server And Time Machine Volume [Update6] › Kremalicious
Beware this page is huge, there are over 700 comments posted all on the same page.

Here is what apple says about backing up with 10.6
Mac OS X 10.6 Help: Disks that can be used with Time Machine

There is no scarcity for recommendations, there seems to be an overflow of information. But most seems to be people using Linux or windows for time machine. I just have not found anyone using an emac, I think its because they were used for education and not many people had them outside of schools. And the iMacs of the time were the lesser powered cousins of the emacs.


My big question is:

Will this emac (the one that I named the specs for in my first post), be able to handle multiple 2tb drives? I don't believe 2tb drives were even available when the emac came out.... I'm concerned that an emac wont know what to do with a drive that size.

Linux and windows major problem with handling time machine is their handling of a journaled file system (HFS+). That's is really the only reason that I am not using my amd 3ghz quad core, 8gb ram, 10tb ubuntu file server.


Wheelguy12, are you able to restore with your windows machine? Again I have been able to create backups on my ubuntu machine, but restore has been sporadic at best for me. Also is there a way to mount hfs+ in windows? That seems to be really important for time machine.
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nargnog

 
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I tested this out with my hackintosh today. What I tested on is a Dell mini with a 1.6 ghz atom processor and 2gb of ram running leopard, it ran with a 1.5tb hd plugged via USB formatted as hfs+j with 2 partitions (one for me and one for my wife). It served time machine to my MacBook and my wife's MacBook pro seamlessly. I am going to go forward with my emac plan. I know there have not been many responses here but I have run into much more info in the past day elsewhere. Still I'm not positive that an emac will be able to handle a 2tb volume drive. But I guess I will find out in a week, that's when it should be delivered. I would just use my hackintosh as a server because it work so nicely, but I still use it and I don't want it wired up all the time.
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wheelguy12

 
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I have not tried to do a full restore using my windows time machine backup, but I have restored individual files. It'll get a good workout when I put a new drive in there, but for the time being, since file restore works, I'm assuming that a full restore would also work.

Your operating system of choice does not need to know how to read/write HFS+. By virtue of communicating with the Mac over a network, both machine speak to each other using Samba - a file system that is understood by all operating systems. The down side is that you must communicate over a network. I might not, for example, plug my USB drive into my Mac and expect it to read the sparcebundle directly from NTFS.

I understand that there are some HFS solutions out there for Windows - the one that comes with the Seagate 1.5T USB drive, for example. But I have read about reliability problems with those drivers - mostly bad news, not much good news. As a result, I didn't want to risk it.

2011 MacBook Pro 13" i5, 8/300 gig 27" + 23" disp
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MacsWork

 
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I believe the old G4 PowerMacs were the last to have size limitations, though I'm pretty sure that the limitation was only on the ATA channel, and not USB.

I've plugged 500GB drives into them without issue. 2TB drives would also be fine.

eMac G4/1.25 (USB 2.0) Specs (eMac USB 2.0, M9425LL/A*, PowerMac6,4, A1002, 1903) @ EveryMac.com

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nargnog

 
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Wheelguy, yeah I had a very easy time getting time machine to recognize samba on my Linux box. The most time it took was creating the sparsebundle, but restores appeared to work for a time, then when I really needed to restore randomly it didn't work. After further research I found that the problem was files were being corrupted and for whatever reason leopard was reading the backups as successful. The info I came across all said it was because osx needs journaling for time machine to work properly. If I didn't have that issue I would just continue using samba. Also I do not use windows anymore, not since a month or two after vista was released. Personally using windows is not something I would do on purpose, but it's interesting to hear that it's working for you.

Macswork, thanks for the info.

I might try using FireWire instead of USB but I'm not sure if it will help much because the emac Ethernet port is not gigabit and I'm not sure if the cost difference for FireWire will be worth it. I will have to look at the speed difference in gigabit vs 10/100BASE-T (considering the write speed and older hardware firewire might not really improve things).

Now I just have to find space for this massive 17 inch emac when it shows up. I'll probably squeeze it into a closet or in the basement. My Linux server and switches already takes up a ton of space in my closet.
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