Mac Backup software, rsync, not Time Machine

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Mac Backup software, rsync, not Time Machine

Postby occamsrazor » Tue May 18, 2010 9:58 pm


I'm wondering what software for Mac people are using to backup/copy files to the NAS. I'm using a TS-239 Pro II configured as 2 x 2TB separate drives. One drive is used as a Time Machine backup for my three computers - a Mac mini, Macbook Pro, and Macbook. That is all working fine.

That aside...... I have a 2TB firewire drive, which is not being backed up by TM, and is connected to the Mac Mini, that I would like to mirror to the other 2TB drive on the NAS.

I've been playing with the usual Mac backup software - Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper (great btw for local backups, but neither of which seem to offer backup to a network share). I also tried Chronosync which does. It worked fine, and after the initial backup was reasonably quick, although even on the initial full backup it only achieved 22MB/sec via AFP, whereas a simple copy via AFP I can get 45-50MB/sec write.

Which brings me to rsync. I just don't get it. I see some of the Mac backup software is based on rsync, but it seems to be orientated to local disks.
The rsync server in the NAS seems to indicate a connection port 873 is used, which implies that it's a client > server-agent relationship. So is it just a way of one computer comparing files from two locations and copying if needed? Or is it a rsync client on one computer communicates with an rsync agent on another, and between them decide what to copy?

I have both these options checked:

Enable backup from a remote server to the local host
Allow remote Rsync server to back up data to NAS

But none of the rsync-based mac software mentions a port at all.

Can anyone share their non-TM successful backup strategies from Mac to NAS please? I realise there's probably a simple-ish way to do it via terminal rsync commands, and I'm somewhat familiar with basic terminal use, but I DO NOT want to do that. I want a GUI/software based solution...

TS-451 [4 x 4TB WD Reds in Raid-5]
TS-239 Pro II [2 x 3TB in non-RAID]
Asus RT-N66U and Linksys E3000 running Tomato firmware
Netgear GS110TP and GS108Tv2 switches
Mac Minis, MacBook Pro, iPhone

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Re: Mac Backup software, rsync, not Time Machine

Postby moschops » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:41 am

Not a QNAP user yet but seriously considering a rack mount pro version. My experience with TimeMachine backups for a small business with around 10 Macs has been very poor, basically Apple's product just can't handle this configuration, its made for one or two machines on a home network. Any more and it is continuously hanging up or bogging down the network to the point where no one is getting backed up ever. I've seen that there are procedures to create a limited size sparse bundle for each machine but that doesn't stop them all trying to hammer the TimeMachine at the same time. I have tried a Netgear NAS with TimeMachine support turned on - works, but same problem. Ditto for a Windows Home Server (HP) with TimeMachine support - well actually slightly different since I couldn't get more than one client to connect to it.

Another problem with TimeMachine is if you a business that believe in security and has your users encrypt the home folders then TimeMachine only backs up when they are logged out - which in a typical office environment is almost never. It basically requires your users to leave their laptops at work, on and over night. Great.

So far other than custom roll your own rsync the only real solutions I know of are:

Bacula - open source backup that has a Mac client but requires some work to install since you have to build the Mac client from source, not what your typical IT person will want to do
BackupPC and Zamanda can also backup your Mac if they have ssh access to your machine, I've used BackupPC for Linux systems and it works okay but was a little bit high maintenance to set up
EMC Retrospect - originally a Mac only product from Dantz who was bought by EMC a few years back. I used it successfully with a network of 3 PCs and it was reliable so long as all the clients had static IPs. Not the most intuitive system to set up but if you're looking for a commercial supported solution this is probably the one but could be rather expensive.

I was thinking of going with a QNAP device and setting up individual iSCSI drives with a quota for each client, but that doesn't solve the "backup storm" we get every morning when every Mac in the office tries to backup simultaneously. Maybe some kind of bandwidth limit on each iSCSI port is possible - or there is a product that can beat TimeMachine into shape and have it do schedule backups with a staggered start time???

As far as I know not even Macs server product handles this stuff well and backup is a big deal for businesses so I'm really disappointed there isn't a better product out there. Please let me know if you find one!

Hope this helps and good luck!

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Re: Mac Backup software, rsync, not Time Machine

Postby jonahan » Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:14 am

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Re: Mac Backup software, rsync, not Time Machine

Postby macnap » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:30 am

SilverKeeper (free from LaCie) works for networked NAS. It creates a sparse image on the NAS and back up to that.

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Re: Mac Backup software, rsync, not Time Machine

Postby Melba2010 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:11 pm

The backups software can be archived to local or remote tape or disk.Most bare metal restore products for Linux create disk images that limit your ability to flexibly restore the system.SBAdmin records your system and storage configuration with each system backup. This information can then be used to rebuild the system from the ground up. Since we are rebuilding the system and not copying the system, within our System Installation Menus, you can easily make changes to that configuration to restore onto completely different hardware.

esxibackups like that

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Re: Mac Backup software, rsync, not Time Machine

Postby Ecn » Thu Dec 30, 2010 1:31 am

Doc on above page suggests it works OSX 10.2, 3 and 4. I have it working on 10.4 PPC Imac to propagate my itunes and iphoto data to the QNAP media folders for backup and access by my windows machines.

Synopsis from above site: It does an update copy by comparing source and target directory, erases items on target that no longer exist on source and copies everything from source to target that does not have same modification date and data fork size.

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Re: Mac Backup software, rsync, not Time Machine

Postby ptrbee » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:55 pm

Hi, I'm new here just got a TS-219P II And I would just like to backup one maybe 2x folders on my imac. Is there a way to monitor a folder for changes on the mac & just apply any new files to the Qnap device? Mines is set up as Raid 1 & I've created a user & folder on the qnap then copied my files over but would love to automate the process.

I played around with automator & set up an ical event to back up my photos folder to the qnap but this overwrites each folder found.

There's got to be a simpler way.

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Re: Mac Backup software, rsync, not Time Machine

Postby » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:15 pm

Hello PB

There are several ways that I have in mind - but "the" best solution for you is pending on your personal requirements:
1) Work and store your files on the NAS only
2) TimeMachine
3) Use a Backup SW on your Mac to sync your Mac Folders with your NAS

I personally use this approach, because the NAS could be used as a "single point of data store" for several PC's/Mac's.
The today NAS devices like QNAP delivers a lot of services and the stored data could easily backup'ed to an additional external USB HD, cloud storage service or second NAS in case of a hardware issue. Also the NAS has low power consumption.

Enable the TimeMachine service on your NAS and on your Mac and exclude all folders except the two you want to backup.

I tried "GoodSync" as a SW solution, if you want to sync some local folders to an external drive (for example, your local folders on your Mac to a NAS).
The Software is for free and you could download and test it from


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Re: Mac Backup software, rsync, not Time Machine

Postby PharCyder » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:27 am

I'll throw in Chronosync too as as affordable, highly configurable Sync solution.

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Re: Mac Backup software, rsync, not Time Machine

Postby Perlbo76 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:10 pm

i use chronosync too... very good support and fantastic sync options

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Re: Mac Backup software, rsync, not Time Machine

Postby technowar » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:19 pm

What other applications you can suggest aside from ChronoSync that can backup and/or make a clone of my Mac and send it to my TS-212?

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Re: Mac Backup software, rsync, not Time Machine

Postby herksen » Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:54 pm

Question about Backing up a QNAP itself:

I posted it earlier in this area:


Any idea's

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Re: Mac Backup software, rsync, not Time Machine

Postby John96 » Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:28 pm

Hi All

This is a really good topic. I am not on this forum so much because I am not really a power user. I have been usuing several Macs, Chronosync and QNAPs for the last 10 years though. I do not use PCs and do everything using AFP, because I am still running 10.4.11 and 10.6.8.

Here my comments on the set up:
1.) I have a Mac Pro and do all work on the NAS actually.
2.) The Mac laptops Sync to the NAS so that I have access to the data while traveling and can work, make changes, etc.
3.) I have this set up like this because working on the NAS forces me to always have the right data on the NAS and not to forget to Sync the desktop to the laptops.

The downfall to this set-up seems to lie in two areas:
1.) QNAPs implemetation of AFP seems to change quite a bit. Every release seems to bring and solve different bugs. I stuck with firmware 3.8.2 for a long time and worked very well. Now that I am switching to a new NAS and 4.0.7, I am finding similar and new problems with the QNAP firmware that had seemingly been solved.
2.) The biggest problem was trying to find the right options to use with Chronosync under the options tab.

Also, I have the suspicion that Apple is not 100% clean with its own implementation of AFP...

What I will try to do is to make a summary of the Chronsync options in the next month or so and post it under a new thread.


TS-219 Pro
TS-459 Pro
TS-470 Pro

Mostly using AFP with 10.4.11 and 10.6.8 operating systems

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