Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a network of Mac laptops and Mac Minis. I also have an old G4 running HornWare SharePoints that allows me to use my Drobo as a network share (AFS).

Time Machine does not appear to support backup to a network share and hacks to enable this appear to be fraught with unknown danger as message boards suggest Apple disabled this for a reason.

What is the best way to back-up up Macs over a network?

share|improve this question
Can you post links to message boards that describe the hack being fraught with unknown danger? People seem to have good success with process described here:… Cheers – HTTP500 Nov 4 '09 at 2:11
Non-Apple AFP can be dangerous with time machine "Everyone should be aware that using Time Machine on a Non-Apple AFP volume via these hints may put their backup data at risk. Here's why: The technical reason why Apple limits Time Machine to 10.5+ AFP volumes appears to be to prevent disk image corruption. There were additional features added to AFP in 10.5 to support Time Machine. These presumably allow the disk image engine to force disk image journal data to write out..." I'll try upgrading my AFP share to 10.5 – Michael Glenn Nov 7 '09 at 2:27
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Time Machine doesn't notify you if it doesn't backup or have any sort of centralized overview mode on the server to see all of your backups at a glance. It is great for a personal machine, but for backing up a bunch of machines you are better off with Retrospect which will let you backup over network, email you on errors, etc.

share|improve this answer
I've used Retrospect in the past and it kept crashing and generally had a rather poor interface. Perhaps I'll look into the latest version or try to upgrade my AFP share to 10.5 based on the reference above I added. – Michael Glenn Nov 7 '09 at 2:28
The interface is pretty poor and it can be crashy, but any other enterprise level Mac backup app is either super expensive or just terrible. It is the best option by a long shot in my opinion. – ridogi Nov 7 '09 at 16:46

A few cron-jobbed shell scripts using the built-in copy of rsync might be your best bet, though it's certainly more work than a turnkey option.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.