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After partitioning external drive network Time Machine instance can't back up

942 Views 27 Replies Latest reply: Jun 2, 2012 3:25 PM by Pondini RSS
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    etresoft wrote:

    . . .

    Apparently you cannot use an external drive as a Time Machine repository. People who use Snow Leopard and Lion Server to provide Time Machine services have already discovered this.

    Those refer to Lion Server, not Lion Client. 

     

    SMS5572 is running LION CLIENT, not Lion Server.

     

    External HDs are by far the most common destination for Time Machine backups on OSX client Macs.

     

    And the LOCAL backups work just fine.  It's the network backups (of the iMac to the Pro) that don't.

     

    Message was edited by: Pondini

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,880 points)

    Pondini wrote:

     

    Those refer to Lion Server, not Lion Client.

     

    SMS5572 is running LION CLIENT, not Lion Server.

     

    External HDs are by far the most common destination for Time Machine backups on OSX client Macs.

     

    And the LOCAL backups work just fine.  It's the network backups (of the iMac to the Pro) that don't.

    SMS5572 is running Lion Client as if it were a Lion Server, by providing a network share for use by Time Machine clients. It stands to reason that if such a configuration did not work on Lion Server using an external drive, then it wouldn't work on a hacked-up Lion Client either.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    Please.  He's running Lion Client.  There's nothing "hacked-up" about it. 

     

    Folks have been doing this, without anything like this issue, from one client to another, since Leopard.

     

    It is supported by Apple, per the Help and the various KB articles with the same wording.

     

    Thanks, anyway.

     

    Message was edited by: Pondini

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,880 points)

    Yes, He is running Lion Client. Lion Client includes many of the same services as Lion Server. You can enable them if you want with just a little bit of hacking, and there is nothing wrong with that. I have written a number of User Tips on how to enable these Lion Server capabilities in Lion Client. The thing is that sometimes those hacks just don't work for one reason or another. If there is a known limitation in a service that is included with Lion Server, then it stands to reason that said limitation is also present in Lion Client. It also seems logical that Lion Client may have even more limitations than Lion Server.

     

    Time Machine is file system Black Magic - useful and powerful but hard to control. I don't think you would disagree on that point. From what I have learned, Lion Server has known problems providing networked Time Machine services via externallly connected hard drives. Apple knows about this and apparently displays a warning message when you try to do it. Lion Server is also optimized for server processes as opposed to desktop processes. Therefore, I conclude that providing networked Time Machine services via externally connected hard drives using Lion Client is also not supported. The strange failure encountered by the original poster seems to support that hypothesis.

     

    I hope the eSATA card fixes it. You are more than welcome to continue researching it. I am satisfied that I have identified the problem and learned a little something along the way. That's why I'm here. I don't see anything else I can do to help.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    etresoft wrote:

    . . .

    Time Machine is file system Black Magic - useful and powerful but hard to control. I don't think you would disagree on that point.

    The lack of clear, easily found documentation can make it difficult, until you find out how to do what you want.  And yes, there are some things you can't do, like alter the "thinning" schedule or shorten the 10-days-without-a-backup warning. 

     

    And I do agree, of course, with your earlier point about making secondary backups, but that's true no matter what backup app you use -- all eggs in one basket is risky, no matter how the basket is made.

     

     

    From what I have learned, Lion Server has known problems providing networked Time Machine services via externallly connected hard drives. Apple knows about this and apparently displays a warning message when you try to do it.

    All I see there is "(Lion Server complains when using a USB drive, but will let you do it)," with no explanation of what "complains" means.  And it did work

     

    Then it goes on to try using an NFS share and a CIFS share, and the "unsupported" command, none of which applies here.

     

    Lion Server is also optimized for server processes as opposed to desktop processes. Therefore, I conclude that providing networked Time Machine services via externally connected hard drives using Lion Client is also not supported.

    I don't see that conclusion as warranted. 

     

    The strange failure encountered by the original poster seems to support that hypothesis.

    If others were having the same problem, perhaps. But several of us have advised any number of folks who were trying to back up to a USB drive on an Airport Extreme to back up to a shared drive on another (client) Mac instead, without any such problems.  One instance of a bizarre problem does not a pattern make.

     

    I haven't had a chance yet to test it on 10.7.4, but will.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    etresoft wrote:

    . . .

    It may work better when your eSATA card comes in. My theory is that a Thunderbolt RAID would show up as an internal drive and would be useable as a Time Machine repository.

    eSATA drives are seen as internals (in most instances, anyway; there may be exceptions depending on the card used), and will be backed-up by default, instead of excluded by default.

     

    Thunderbolt drives are seen as externals (at least if connected to the Thunderbolt port on a laptop or desktop Mac).

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,880 points)

    Pondini wrote:

     

    All I see there is "(Lion Server complains when using a USB drive, but will let you do it)," with no explanation of what "complains" means.  And it did work.

     

    I have tried Lion Server, but didn't like it. I don't know what "complains" means either. I couldn't find any definitive statement from Apple. I did see a number of people imply that there was some negative feedback from Lion Server about external drives. Perhaps the problem lies in the different power management of an external drive. It may be OK to lock up the Finder while external drives spin up, but file sharing + Time Machine just can't handle that.

     

    Lion Server is also optimized for server processes as opposed to desktop processes. Therefore, I conclude that providing networked Time Machine services via externally connected hard drives using Lion Client is also not supported.

    I don't see that conclusion as warranted.

     

     

    Here is what I mean by "supported". Suppose a company on Apple's scale develops and tests some new feature. It works flawlessly 99 times out of a 100 attempts. The test engineers conclude, "Bummer. That would have been a cool feature. Too bad we can't support it." Just because something isn't "supported" doesn't mean you can't use it. It just means it isn't guaranteed to work in all circumstances. There may be rare, mysterious failures. If there were an easy solution to said failures, it would usually already be solved and supported.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    etresoft wrote:

    . . .

    Here is what I mean by "supported". Suppose a company on Apple's scale develops and tests some new feature. It works flawlessly 99 times out of a 100 attempts. The test engineers conclude, "Bummer. That would have been a cool feature. Too bad we can't support it." Just because something isn't "supported" doesn't mean you can't use it. It just means it isn't guaranteed to work in all circumstances. There may be rare, mysterious failures. If there were an easy solution to said failures, it would usually already be solved and supported.

     

    Yes, I know that very, very well.  I'll bet I've answered hundreds of questions / responded to problem reports about backing-up to a USB drive connected to an Airport Extreme.  While Apple doesn't make it clear either on the online Apple Store page (in spite of repeated requests), or the packaging, they do state very clearly that it's not supported, both in the Help and various technical artilcles. 

     

    I've never seen even a hint of such a statment about backing-up to a shared drive on another Mac, as long as it's running 10.5.6 or greater.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    Finally got around to dragging my old G5 iMac out and connecting, etc.

     

    Works fine (well, except I'd forgotten how slooooow the elderly G5 is!):

     

    G5 iMac 10.5.8 backs up to shared F/W drive on Intel iMac 10.7.4 (and also 10.6.8, just for kicks)

     

    Intel iMac 10.7.4 backs up to shared USB drive on G5 iMac 10.5.8.

     

    That's not an exact duplication of your 10.7.4 to 10.7.4 setup, of course, but as close as I can get.  And since I've seen no other reports of this problem, I can only conclude it's one of:

     

    Something we haven't thought of in your setup.

     

    Something to do with your router (seems unlikely, but you never know).  Did you try connecting the Macs directly to each other with a single Ethernet cable?  Might be worth a try.

     

    Something damaged in one of your Mac's installation of OSX (could be either one, I suppose).

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    SMS5572 wrote:

     

    Just to clarify, in your test setup, are you backing up to a drive with a single partition (which does work for me also), or did you create a second partition on the drive, share it and then try to use time machine to get to one of the partitions?

    Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention that. 

     

    In both cases, they were drives with multiple partitions.

     

    One was the 5th of 8 partitions (the FireWire 800 drive on the Intel iMac).

     

    The other was the 5th of 7 (the USB drive on the G5).

     

    All set up per #22.  I didn't let the backups complete; that would have taken quite a while, even with the very small OSX volumes I often use for testing.  But the setup worked as expected; the backups did connect, create the sparse bundle, do the preparation, and had started copying data.  Since your backups fail almost immediately, I figured that was enough.

     

     

    BTW, I want to thank you again for the time and effort you've put into trying to help me.

    You're quite welcome -- I'm still trying to figure out what the #%&$## is going on.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)

    SMS5572 wrote:

    . . .

    In System Preferences, Sharing I highlighted the partition on the external array and then went to Options.  I noticed that "Share files and folders using AFP" was not checked.

    I always thought that was the default. 

     

    I am deducing that "normal" file sharing between all the machines has been using the Windows SMB protocol but that Time Machine cannot.

    Exactly -- Time Machine must use AFP (per the Help and technical articles:

     

    Disks you can use with Time Machine copy.png

     

     

    Very sorry this isn't something I was able to figure out sooner and for all the time and effort you put into helping me.  At the end of the day, I've learned a lot through the process, so not all is lost.

    I'm just glad it's sorted out. 

     

    And I learned something, too -- I'll add that to my page, so nobody else has to go through this!

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