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Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: December 27, 2020 08:04AM
Reference thread from two(!) years ago:

[forums.macresource.com]

Believe it or not, finally getting around to this, now that all four of us have computers (older son did finally get an Air over the summer and younger son got an Air last week)

So, four computers to backup...wife and I have CCC and kids have nothing yet for reasons mentioned in the original thread (ie, hard to get them to keep an external drive connected and ejected properly every time they want to go mobile, etc.)

Trying out Arq's free trial - started my Mac mini last night with it's initial backup - currently it's backed up about 28GB out of 109GB over the past 7 hours or so - have a feeling that each computer's initial backup will be painfully long

Anyway, I was also looking into the USB drive plugged into the router route with CCC

Do I just plug the drive into my router's USB port and then it should show up in the Finder as a network drive? Then, just map that drive as the destination in CCC? Reading through CCC support documents, it seems they don't recommend backing up over the network:

[bombich.com]

The other thought I had was that my mini is always on, 24/7, so maybe I could plug a large USB drive into it and then backup all the other Macs to the mini's external drive - it would still occur over the network, but I wonder which is better of those two options - drive plugged into router vs drive plugged into mini?

Thanks

EDIT: Here’s what CCC says about backing up to another Mac on the network - seems complicated

[bombich.com]



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/2020 08:41AM by pinkoos.
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: December 27, 2020 08:07AM
By the way, came across this helpful link yesterday

[tengl.net]

That and what @Clay mentioned in the original thread convinced me to try Arq rather than Backblaze
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: DP
Date: December 27, 2020 08:31AM
A problem I see is backing up all your family's machines to one backup source, if I'm understanding this correctly. Obviously, if that one storage choice fails, all of yours and your family's backups are lost...

Am I missing something-I don't know Arq; is that a cloud storage service?





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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: December 27, 2020 08:42AM
Yes, Arq is a Backblaze type service
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: sekker
Date: December 27, 2020 08:48AM
If you find your solution annoying, another would be iCloud family sharing for 2 TB and set everyone up with their documents folder and desktop stored in the cloud. That’s now our preferred approach even though I have a wireless Time Capsule too for time machine for everyone.
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: December 27, 2020 08:52AM
But wouldn’t that be more of a sync service rather than backup?

If my wife deletes a file from her desktop and later realizes she needs it back, it would already be gone with iCloud but would be available with a true backup
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: sekker
Date: December 27, 2020 09:00AM
Quote
pinkoos
But wouldn’t that be more of a sync service rather than backup?

If my wife deletes a file from her desktop and later realizes she needs it back, it would already be gone with iCloud but would be available with a true backup

Some iCloud-stored files can be recovered within 30 days.

[support.apple.com]

But I agree - backup vs archiving are different functions. That’s why I still insist on a wireless Time Capsule for our Macs. Plenty of inexpensive options including Apple versions on eBay.
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: December 27, 2020 09:03AM
Quote
sekker
Quote
pinkoos
But wouldn’t that be more of a sync service rather than backup?

If my wife deletes a file from her desktop and later realizes she needs it back, it would already be gone with iCloud but would be available with a true backup

Some iCloud-stored files can be recovered within 30 days.

[support.apple.com]

But I agree - backup vs archiving are different functions. That’s why I still insist on a wireless Time Capsule for our Macs. Plenty of inexpensive options including Apple versions on eBay.

Interesting, I don't think I had heard about that recover option or, if I did, I had forgotten about it

Thanks for the reminder
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: December 27, 2020 09:13AM
Quote
pinkoos
Do I just plug the drive into my router's USB port and then it should show up in the Finder as a network drive? Then, just map that drive as the destination in CCC? Reading through CCC support documents, it seems they don't recommend backing up over the network...

What model router do you have?

In many cases, you can designate an attached drive as a network Time Machine backup drive, in which case each Mac can use Time Machine to back up to it like Apple's Time Capsule.

...Scheduled CCC backups to a shared drive over the network is fine. Just do it to a disk image on the shared drive. For Macs that run Catalina or Big Sur, back up just the Data volume (CCC should prompt you about it when you're setting up the scheduled backup).

...Having both a cloud backup and a local backup (Time Machine, clone, or both) is a good practice. The local backup allows for a fairly quick recovery after a crash. The cloud backup protects against catastrophic data loss or situations where you have to evacuate your home.



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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: December 27, 2020 09:39AM
It’s an Araknis router, this one specifically:

[www.snapav.com]

It has a USB port on the back, will plug an external in today and see what happens

Why the suggestion for a disk image with CCC rather than just the normal backup routine?
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: mattkime
Date: December 27, 2020 09:58AM
Are you avoiding timemachine? I'd just set up timemachine via a networked hard drive.



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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: December 27, 2020 10:04AM
Quote
mattkime
Are you avoiding timemachine? I'd just set up timemachine via a networked hard drive.

Actually, yes

I had been running TM for years up until a few years ago when I had major issues with it eating up huge amounts of space on my *source* drive somehow (IIRC)

I don't remember the details but decided I'd rather use CCC

Also, if you have a chance to look at the link I posted at the top [tengl.net]

the author makes a good point about TM towards the end of his post:

"Time Machine over the network — Time Machine is very Apple: when it works, it works beautifully; when it doesn’t, there is absolutely nothing you can do"
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: davemchine
Date: December 27, 2020 10:56AM
I have a largish drive attached to an Airport Extreme that is the backup destination for all laptops in the house. Time Machine is is a pain at times but it does work and it's pretty easy to setup. In my case I partitioned the drive into four volumes so each backup is separated.

It's really really hard to get kids/spouse to backup when don't understand the value so anything that can "just happen" has a big plus sign next to it. Otherwise it falls on you to go to each computer and perform the backup periodically. That's what I do for my father-in-law but it's once every few months backup and that's not terribly tedious.



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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: December 27, 2020 11:15AM
Quote
pinkoos
Why the suggestion for a disk image with CCC rather than just the normal backup routine?

In the hypothetical, you're cloning multiple Macs to the same destination. Back each one up to its own disk image. This keeps the backups separate with minimal fuss and provides for an easy migration of the backups if you ever want to swap to another Mac or a NAS.

CCC is designed to back up to a disk image on a network-drive. It's a refined feature.



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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: December 27, 2020 11:22AM
Ok thanks that’s helpful info

I guess using disk images also mitigates the need to partition the drive for each person’s backup
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: December 27, 2020 12:05PM
Quote
pinkoos
Ok thanks that’s helpful info

I guess using disk images also mitigates the need to partition the drive for each person’s backup

Yep. Quick and easy to set up. SOURCE: Macintosh HD, DESTINATION: New disk image... and save the image on your shared folder.

BUT Time Machine to a drive connected to your router is a good option as well.



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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: jdc
Date: December 27, 2020 01:15PM
Not a direct answer, but other observations on CCC.

A few months ago, decided that I wanted a bootable backup as well hourly, which seemed easy enough since I had a nice SSD to use. So bought CCC, went thru the semi complicated steps to get it running.

Now that Its been going for a while, few annoyances...
The ability to find a previous file like TMs interface doesn't exist = very cumbersome file restoring. It totally bogs down my entire system when running. I had it set to backup everything every hour, and it was taking 15+ minutes to do a full compare/backup cycle. With only a few TB of data. Maybe TM did this same thing... but my system never came to a crawl. Ended up going into CCC and excluding a ton of folders that I havent used in years. Not really ideal... If I do ever go back to those folders and make additions... no backup. I just found CCC overly complicated for simple backups. Im 110% sure some people *love* the oodles of customization it offers. And 110% sure people hate the non options TM has. But in the end, much like backup software of old, its seems too complicated for normal users to use... which means it doesn't get used. =(.

Im going to keep CCC running for another 2 weeks or so after I wrap up a project. But then I've decided I'm deleting my CCC backup and starting over with TM. I will prob keep using CCC for the bootable backup function, which is something I might need.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/2020 01:28PM by jdc.
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: December 27, 2020 01:24PM
I get what you're saying about CCC and agree that it *can* be complicated, but also think that it can be setup as a 'set it and forget it' option and works well for me that way

Maybe I've just gotten used it for so long now that I've gotten used to some of the intricacies and learned how to work with it

Not to mention that their support (in my experience) has been top notch - every time I contact them via their built in interface, I get a reply in less than a day and always from one of the Bombich's themselves (the last name of the developer)

In fact, I had to contact them with a question about my wife's new M1 Air a few days ago and heard back in less than 24 hours from Ms. Bombich



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/2020 01:26PM by pinkoos.
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: December 27, 2020 02:22PM
Jdc, if CCC seems to slow down your whole Mac when running, there’s something wrong with your Mac. Either you have a failing drive or something is messing with your backup operation, like maybe antivirus software is scanning every file read and written.



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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: December 27, 2020 02:43PM
Trying to figure out if the USB port on the back of the Araknis router is available to plug a USB hard drive into to share across my network

I've plugged it in and it lights up, but I can't find it showing up as available on my Mac

Do I need to go into the router's web-based setup page and 'activate' the port or something like that? If so, I can't find any such setting in the router's setup page

And/or do I need to somehow 'connect' to it on my Mac?

I've tried the 'Connect to Server' option in the macOS Finder and typed smb://192.168.1.1 but get an error message:

"There was a problem connecting to the server 192.168.1.1. The server may not exist or it is unavailable at this time. Check the server name or IP address, check your network connection, and then try again."

If I'm able to eventually get it connected, will it stay connected and be available for CCC backups across the network from all the Macs?

Thanks
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: December 27, 2020 03:20PM
Araknis is not a popular brand, so I was not familiar with the spec's.

I downloaded the 310-Series guide to see what it said about the USB port and all that it had USB port was this:

"1 (USB3.0) - Not in use."

...It looks like they didn't activate that port for this purpose at the time of release.

I checked the firmware-revision history and found no indication that the port was ever enabled. There's some talk of support for APC UPS devices, so it's possible that the only purpose for an end-user is to connect an APC UPS for auto-shutdown during a power-outage.

If it were a Netgear or an Asus or a DLink it would probably support SMB and Time Machine.

Sorry.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/2020 03:23PM by Sarcany.
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: December 27, 2020 03:27PM
Thanks for finding that info @Sarcany!

I looked all over and couldn't find what you seemed to find so easily

Yeah, I have a Control4 home automation system (hate it) and it requires certain 'compatible hardware' so I can't just walk into Best Buy or Costco and buy a router unfortunately - has to be this expensive, not user friendly hardware

Well, that really sucks - I guess if I want to back up all the Macs over the network, my only option is to plug the external drive into my always on mini and have that serve as the destination drive

Quote
Sarcany
Araknis is not a popular brand, so I was not familiar with the spec's.

I downloaded the 310-Series guide to see what it said about the USB port and all that it had USB port was this:

"1 (USB3.0) - Not in use."

...It looks like they didn't activate that port for this purpose at the time of release.

I checked the firmware-revision history and found no indication that the port was ever enabled. There's some talk of support for APC UPS devices, so it's possible that the only purpose for an end-user is to connect an APC UPS for auto-shutdown during a power-outage.

If it were a Netgear or an Asus or a DLink it would probably support SMB and Time Machine.

Sorry.
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: jdc
Date: December 27, 2020 03:42PM
Quote
Sarcany
Jdc, if CCC seems to slow down your whole Mac when running, there’s something wrong with your Mac. Either you have a failing drive or something is messing with your backup operation, like maybe antivirus software is scanning every file read and written.

Wish I knew.

6TB RAID 0 to an 8 TB USB 3 drive. so shouldn't be a throughput issue.

Will stop firefox in it tracks. Or opening files. Current backup, with no work done today: 10 minutes to compare and copy 4.3 MB of files



AV software, never, its useless.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/2020 03:43PM by jdc.
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: December 27, 2020 04:26PM
Quote
jdc
6TB RAID 0 to an 8 TB USB 3 drive. so shouldn't be a throughput issue.

Will stop firefox in it tracks. Or opening files. Current backup, with no work done today: 10 minutes to compare and copy 4.3 MB of files

AV software, never, its useless.

Activity Monitor shows CCC eating CPU cycles?



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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: jdc
Date: December 27, 2020 05:02PM
Nope, seems pretty low on the list.

Probably going to do a nuke and pave... but takes more work than usual these days -- tons of FF settings. mail. some passwords that cant be saved, etc







Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: December 27, 2020 05:07PM
The rsync processes are almost certainly CCC at work, and they are taking more CPU than I usually see. Still nothing much short of 80% CPU is likely to make for a detectable slowdown like you're describing.

Done SMART checks on your drives?

Are you reading from or caching to the target drive at the same time that the backup is going?



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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: jdc
Date: December 27, 2020 05:12PM
Well I might access files on the source drive, but not the target drive, its backup only.

TM never seem to have this issue.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: December 27, 2020 05:15PM
Short of buying a NAS to attach to my router I guess my only other option for network backups are via a drive directly connected to my mini as linked in my original post

[bombich.com]

I wonder if I can create a dedicated user account on my Mac just for the sharing so that the other Macs don’t have to access/login to my primary administrator account
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: December 27, 2020 05:33PM
Quote
pinkoos
I wonder if I can create a dedicated user account on my Mac just for the sharing so that the other Macs don’t have to access/login to my primary administrator account

Use the Public folder in your Home folder and allow Guest access.

No worries so long as your home is protected by a firewall.



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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: December 28, 2020 12:24PM
My Control4 dealer/installer confirmed that the USB port on my router is currently non-functional
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: deckeda
Date: January 03, 2021 10:19PM
A few folks mentioned partitioning a network drive for each user's backup.

What I used to do was create sparsebundles. These are .dmg files placed onto the backup drive (itself just left as one regular, single volume). I haven't kept up with these to know if they're still applicable to today's macOS and the APFS file system.

In this usage it's sorta like partitioning in that you specify at creation how large the disk image can be. However, before it fills up, the disk image remains small, only the size of what's in it. It "grows" to the size you specified as data gets added.

For Time Machine, this represents a backup set that's copyable elsewhere. A backup for your TM backup becomes possible. And yes, after the disk image is associated with Time Machine it'll auto mount and auto dismount, even when networked from a compatible router/USB drive. In this way, each user would not see or have any regular network volumes just sitting there on their desktop doing nothing. This has been possible since Leopard.
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: January 04, 2021 05:34AM
@deckeda thanks for that additional info re: sparse bundles

@sarcany I've finally attached an additional drive to my Mac mini; I decided to just partition it into 3 partitions (one each for wife and 2 kids) and tried cloning my wife's Air to her partition

I went ahead and first just tried a regular clone (ie, not a disk image) and it seems it worked well over the network

I may try the disk image as well just to see how that works

Since I've already partitioned the drive, is there really any other advantage to the disk image method rather than the usual method?

By the way, I made sure that I picked my wife's 'data' drive as the source and not 'Macintosh HD'

Thanks
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: January 04, 2021 05:45AM
Quote
pinkoos
Since I've already partitioned the drive, is there really any other advantage to the disk image method rather than the usual method?

By the way, I made sure that I picked my wife's 'data' drive as the source and not 'Macintosh HD'

Not especially.

The main benefit is negated by Catalina and Big Sur: That you can clone an entire bootable drive to a disk image on a network volume and then restore from it to a new bootable drive. There are still some advantages, for example, the ability to encrypt the sparse bundle images, but in a home environment they probably aren't a big deal.

One feature that's nice about backing up to a disk image is that it can have its own file-system which means that it supports Mac file names with special-characters so if you want to move your backups to a NAS you don't have to worry about Linux and SMB problems with the file-names in your backup. But you can deal with that later when/if you ever decide to use a NAS.



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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: January 04, 2021 05:51AM
Ok thanks

What would be involved in making the backup ‘NAS compatible’?
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: January 04, 2021 06:48PM
Quote
pinkoos
Ok thanks

What would be involved in making the backup ‘NAS compatible’?

You mean without copying to a disk image?

Make the file-names SMB/WinNT -legal. None of the following:

\ / [ ] : | < > + = ; , * ? "

...And no option-characters.

SMB legal file names will transfer correctly and are also safe under most of the oddball file systems you may find on a NAS.

If you have these characters used in file-folder names, what may happen is that you safely copy the files to the NAS via AFP, but later try to read or modify or delete the file when you're connected via SMB and you'll get an error. Or when the file is copied via SMB to the NAS, the special characters are "escaped" by the Mac OS to convert them to something legal, but later you list the directory and find that all of the file names appear truncated. Or the files just won't copy over in the first place.

A Better Finder Rename is a nice quick approach to resolving that problem. It has a simple preset for this job, and additional transforms can be stacked to clean up other naming problems in the same operation. I usually have it convert those problem-characters to underscores.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/2021 08:23PM by Sarcany.
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: January 04, 2021 07:23PM
Thanks for that detailed reply!
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Re: Family of four backup strategy revisited
Posted by: pinkoos
Date: January 06, 2021 12:22PM
So, network backups are the bomb

Got my wife and kids' Airs all backing up via Carbon Copy Cloner to a partitioned drive connected to my mini

Not a single hiccup so far

The backup even runs if the Air is closed which was a pleasant surprise

Now I think I need to just figure out a way to consolidate all the hard drives hanging off my mini before I finally relegate it to my equipment rack and let it be our full time server

I'm at work but I think I've got the following attached:

-Plex media drive
-Plex media backup drive
-Macintosh HD backup drive
-Surveillance camera capture drive
-Surveillance camera backup drive
-Wife/kids backup drive

Any thoughts/wisdom on the best way to consolidate this?

I think my Plex media backup drive is too small to be able to back up all my Plex media, so I had to exclude some stuff
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