Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Time Machine backups in a Microsoft & VMWare World.


We’ve been faced with the challenge of supporting a couple of iMacs on our corporate network due to the requirement of delivering iPhone apps internally and to the Apple App Store via Xcode.  Lately, the demise of the Time Capsule had us scratching our heads about where Apple’s direction is going. My local “business” Apple guy keeps asking me why we don’t add more macs to our network and the answer is really simple – Apple doesn’t support the environment. He had zero thoughts or recommendations expect to buy some one-off NAS.

Our corporate network is very typical: Microsoft servers virtualized with VMWare and a bunch of PCs running windows. Very simple. Add in some Rapid Recovery backup / snapshot / replication software and we’ve got a great solution for day-to-day as well as disaster recovery (which was implemented successfully during hurricane Irma in 2017.)

I came across this post link and used it as a starting point.  

Here’s what we did:
1)    Follow the post to setup a 1 TB sparse bundle (virtual drive) on my local mac.  It was timing out due to the size, so I made it local first.
2)    Spool up a new Windows 2016 Server VM (SMB 3 support by default) with a shared folder. We started with a 1 TB capacity just to handle the new sparse bundle.
3)    Once #1 was complete, we copied the SMB file to the windows share.
4)    Following the post, I added the new SMB -on-the-share to the Time Machine list of drives
5)    Start using it.

As a test, after a couple of backups we booted a mac into recovery mode and successfully attached to the windows share from the recovery tool using the "other server" button. 

Success
1)    No cost
2)    Cradle to grave integration – works from backup to recovery
3)    Solution is based in VMWare so all of the inherent redundancy and performance is built in
4)    Since the server is in VMWare, the backup, snapshot and replication offsite is already built in. This means that if our building burns down, I can recover a new mac 1000 miles away just like it was in my old office.


Note: Apple business dude had ZERO participation in this. The path was blazed by Anthony Casella

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