Home network backup solutions?

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Wed Feb 20 19:13:36 UTC 2008

Reid Rivenburgh wrote:

>>> Hi.  I have a small network at home consisting of one wired, always-on
>>> F8 desktop (mine), a roving Mac laptop running OS X, and a rarely-on
>>> Windows XP laptop.  The laptops are wireless.  I also have a new 500
>>> GB external hard drive that some of you may remember.  The Mac user
>>> was thinking about getting a drive for herself to do backups using
>>> Time Machine or whatever Apple's backup app is.  But we figured there
>>> ought to be a way to backup to my desktop/hard drive.  I looked around
>>> and found BackupPC.  It sounds like it'd do the job, if I could figure
>>> it out.  (I'm having trouble discovering the Mac on the network
>>> [doesn't respond to nmblookup], and I have a feeling if I can get past
>>> that, I will have additional trouble getting rsync or tar to work
>>> there....)  I thought I'd check here to see if there's anything else
>>> out there that would work.  Ideally, it would be transparent to the
>>> clients, automatic when they're on the network, incremental....  You
>>> know, um, everything BackupPC does!  Free and open source would be
>>> best....
>> If it is your network you shouldn't have to 'discover' it. The simple
>> fix is to configure your dhcp server to always give the same IP
>> addresses to the same MAC addresses and then either put the addresses
>> and names in the backuppc's hosts file or set up local DNS service.
>> There shouldn't be any problem running ssh, rsync, or tar on a Mac.
>> Many people on the backuppc mail list are backing up macs, so ask there
>> if you run into any problems.
> Thanks for the advice.  I have a wired/wireless Netgear router that's
> configured to dole out IP addresses to the laptops (and tivos) via
> DHCP.  It's always worked that way, and I never saw any reason to do
> it differently before.  Hopefully it can be configured as you describe
> or I may need to rethink the whole thing.  (I'm a networking novice,
> really.)

The device should have a web interface where you can see the current 
DHCP assignments and configure it to give fixed IP's to known MAC 
addresses (which you'll see in the current status) among other things.

> While researching the Mac discovery issue, I saw some references to
> various issues with handling Mac clients.  Things like Apple rsync
> extensions, resource forks (?)... nothing insurmountable, I'm sure.

You can probably make the mac 'discoverable' by telling it to share 
something (even an empty directory) to windows clients so nmblookup will 
find it, but I prefer known IP addresses where possible.

The resource fork business may or may not matter to you.  It is an 
extension of the mac filesystem but not too many programs use it any more.

  Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com

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