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Wondering If Any Have Had Success With Time Machine To A NAS Drive

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The tplinkwifi.net is just a network address, not a drive address or drive. In that network is a drive called sdb1, and that is the drive you have attached. You can't move files to tplinkwifi.net because that is not a destination, but a collection of potential destinations. If you could hook multiple drives to the TP-link you would still see ONE tplinkwifi.net, but more than one sdb# drives.

Does that help? Are you trying to get TM to use tplinkwifi.net? IF so, that may be why it's not working, it's not a drive.
 
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Thanks Jake for your good explanation.
I've been trying to use sda1 as the drive for Time Machine. (It's not always called sda1, Sometimes it shows up as sdb1 or similar when I connect to server. Beats me why.)

Today, I tried connecting the drive directly to the computer's USB port and letting Time Machine complete a backup to it. The disk name is 120GB USB.
Next, I ejected the drive and connected it to the router.
I mounted it with Go -Connect To Server.
The Finder shows sda1. The router does not show 120GB USB. The Finder window for the sda1 drive also does not show 120GB USB.
I ran a Time Machine backup and 120GB USB, although on TM's list, was skipped while attached to the router.
This tells me Time Machine can't see the 120GB USB drive when it is connected to the router.

Next, I removed 120GB USB from Time Machine's list. Reconnected the disk to the router to see if Time Machine could then find it in Select Disk. No luck.

I am starting to think that the sda1 has to have a "disk" on it so Time Machine can find and use it. But I am totally lost how to do this- if it is even possible.
 
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Maybe a bit of a primer on how a NAS works. Basically, the NAS sits in the network and offers a protocol to other networked devices to attach to it. The format of the hardware is invisible to the network, as that is handled by the NAS itself. Network users who want to use the storage use the protocol from the NAS to send/receive data and have no insight into the format of the drive or where it is stored on the hardware. It's almost like a wall with a window in it. Behind the wall is a storage system that says, "Ask for something in this form and I'll get it for you" and "Give me something in this form and I'll store it for you." Where and how that storage is done is not visible to the user.

So what is key is that the drive be formatted in a format that the TP-Link needs and can use. That's key for the storage to be available. However, TM wants more, normally, to be able to use the drive if you connect it directly. But if you have a NAS and point TM to it, TM knows that it cannot proceed "normally" as it would with a direct drive, so it switches to a format called sparsebundle that can use ANY format drive. That way the data from TM can be stored on formats that normally TM would not be able to use directly.

So, going back to your most recent post, you let TM do a backup to the drive directly. That means the drive must be in a format usable to TM, which is normally MacOS Extended Journaled. I don't know if TP-Link can use that format, but for now let's assume it can. So you detach from the Mac and attach to TP-Link directly. But you cannot see the drive name. And that's correct, you cannot see behind that wall, even if you KNOW the name. The new address for that drive is whatever TP-Link assigns, not what you named it. TM shows the name in its list because it used the drive at one time and remembers it, even though it cannot now see that name because TP-Link is hiding it. As far as the system is concerned, the only NAS drive is whatever name TP-Link assigns it, period.

Earlier (post #20) you said TP had indicated that the TP-Link you have cannot be used with TM. That's your answer and no amount of trying will get past that. The protocol that TP-Link is using is incompatible with TM, apparently.

So it's a waste of time and energy to try to do the impossible. And that conclusion leaves you with two options: 1) Use the drive as a NAS for other purposes, assuming you need a NAS, and get a direct attached drive for TM and 2) Use the drive for TM by directly attaching it and go without a NAS drive. But it's useless to try to get TM to use that drive attached to the TP-Link. Not going to work.
 

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That wall analogy is a good one Jake. That's the best way I can think of to explain what's happening.

@PGB1 If you decide to go with a different router to give yourself network backup capability check the documentation carefully. Not many, if any are going to say they support drives formatted HFS+ extended journaled directly. Some do support Time Machine though so it will take some digging and perhaps an email or two to tech support.
 
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Some do support Time Machine though so it will take some digging and perhaps an email or two to tech support.

Why even bother using an app (Time Machine.app) that doesn't even use a normal Backup Method itself???

Wouldn't using something like Carbon Copy Cloner be better and a more compatible option???

Or does it not work with NAS type drives either???


- Patrick
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No need to go hyperbolic, Patrick. TM is normal, it's just that given it uses hard links for the chains to support the history it depends on knowing and having access to the drive structure. And TM can be used with a NAS, as long as the NAS and TM can communicate.

As far as CCC, I'm not sure if it can use a NAS that doesn't support TM. CCC also depends on the drive being formatted MacOS Extended Journaled. Bombich does describe a process to create a disk image on the NAS and backing up to that, but then also says that if the NAS doesn't support TM then CCC can't use it either. Here is the article from Bombich: I want to back up my whole Mac to a Time Capsule, NAS, or other network volume | Carbon Copy Cloner | Bombich Software.

So the real issue is that the NAS needs to support the right protocol to work with CCC or TM.
 

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Good find Jake. I tried to find that answer earlier but I must have overlooked it.
 
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No need to go hyperbolic, Patrick.

Hyperbolic...??? Jake?, hmmm... that's a bit extreme don't you think???

But I think you will have to admit that Time Machine certainly does generate more than enough problems posted to this forum even when used in a normal circumstance and following Apple's guidelines as to how it should and can be used.



- Patrick
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I'm not sure that's entirely accurate Patrick. It seems to me that most of the Time Machine related issues brought to the forum are not due to inherent issues with the reliability of Time Machine when it's used as designed. They seem to be due primarily to two issues:

1. Users wanting TM to behave differently (setting / forcing a different backup interval.
2. Users wanting to control deletion of old TM backups and not letting TM handle these issues on its own (Deleting backups via the Finder etc)
 
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Patrick, no offense was intended, just thought there was no reason to be so emphatic!!!. ;D

I don't agree that TM is any more troublesome than CCC or SD. RTFM still applies. The challenge is that with downloaded software and no printed manual people don't bother to read the instructions with the software or online. And the people who don't then come here and complain or ask for directions that are in the online manuals. The fact that there are more TM complaints than for CCC and SD just means that because it's included and free, TM gets more users who try it.

In the case of this particular thread, the issue is that the TP-Link does not support the connections that TM and CCC both want to see, so they do not work. And no amount of fiddling is likely to get them to work with the TP-Link. The core issue is the TP-Link, not TM or CCC.

I like TM. It does what it does well. And I did RTFM.

I also like CCC. It does what it does well. And I did RTFM for it, too.

I don't like SD, but I did RTFM and it also can only use a networked drive if it's formatted to suit SD and even then it uses disk image and sparsebundle for the backup, so it, too, probably cannot be used with the TP-Link.

So, all three say they don't work with all NAS devices. Can't get much clearer than that.
 
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Thank You Once Again for the help and education.

I very much enjoyed your explanation of how NAS works, Jake. I learned more from it than from all the many articles that I have read to date. The whole concept now makes perfect sense to my brain. (Penetrating this brain is a great compliment to your teaching skills!)

Thank You for the tip about making sure the router can work with Time Machine, Slydude. TP-Lik offers some, but it seems that Time Machine and NAS might be trouble prone no matter what device is used (and it's probably not the fault of Time machine, from what I've learned here). At most, I'd use it as a redundant backup.

I do like using Time Machine. The interface is comfortable and familiar.
Retrieving a file that I destroyed- and I do destroy files- is quicker with Time Machine than with my current off-site program, iDirve. (Which is equally easy, just slower.)

Regarding SuperDuper! and NAS, from what I've read it can be successful if SuperDuper! is backing up to a Disk Image on the network attached drive. I don't know if it is officially supported or even reliable. Perhaps, for fun, I'll try it and will report back what happens. But

My goal to have Time Machine (or I suppose SuperDuper!) plugged in to the router was less clutter on the desk and fewer plugs sticking out of the laptop's ports. Right now, the USB drive (for Time Machine) is plugged into the left port where I can't use a right-angle plug due to the MagSafe adapter plug being in the way. The clone drive is in the Firewire port on the right. No right angle there, either due to the ethernet cord. So my laptop has a rather wide footprint.
But backups are important to me, so clutter a small price.

Was My Project Successful?
I'd say Yes!
I didn't get to connect the Time Machine drive to the router right now, but I learned a lot about NAS, routers, backup applications and related topics. So it was a good experience.

Thank You All again for your help, education and a very interesting series of posts.
Paul
 
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