Advanced home backup
Protect your family’s precious files by using a spare Mac as a Time Machine server
Time Machine is simple and effective to use, but if you have more than one Mac, you’ll want to keep them all secure. However, buying an external drive to host each Time Machine archive can quickly get expensive.
The solution is to use OS X Server’s built-in Time Machine Server to share a single drive across your whole network. Granted, you’ll need to devote at least one Mac to run the server application, but as this is a background process that takes up few resources, you can simply pick the most powerful Mac in your home to act as the server and make sure it’s left switched on 24/7.
Server costs £14.99 from the Mac App Store and requires that the host machine is running the latest version of OS X. Once installed, it will make your Mac visible on your local network. It’s up to you how many of the Server services it opens up to other users, but you can also use it as a Software Update repository that downloads updates once and makes them available across the local network, a shared calendar service, messaging server and so on.
Once the Time Machine server is running you need to tell your local Macs to use it as the back-up destination. Open the Time Machine pane in System Preferences, click the switch to turn it on and select the server machine from the list of destinations in the roll-down window. Click Use Disk to confirm and Time Machine will set about creating your first backup. Subsequent backups will then happen automatically.
OS X Server lets you centralise all of your computers’Time Machine backups across your network.