Growing a small business network
Our business currently runs five Macs and we need a secure, shared network drive with a backup solution. We also need remote access to files and backing up with Time Machine. We also have a portable drive as an alternative for two Macs that contain critical data.
I’m thinking of replacing the old Time Capsule with the latest Airport Extreme. The local Apple business team hinted at the possibility of running OS X Server on one of our Macs and connecting that Mac with a USB or Thunderbolt external drive.
To add to the fun, we’d like a way to automatically archive emails from Outlook for Mac to the shared drive and be able to search these archived emails using Spotlight. Ken de Boer
You’re making this much more complicated than it needs to be, by treating the backup for your Macs and the backup for the shared network drive as conceptually the same thing. They are actually quite different.
A Time Capsule is the easiest way to back up all five Macs but its no good for networked drives. Network Attached Storage (NAS) drives are actually compact computers that share their hard disks on the network. Time Machine will back up to certain NAS drives but this is simply treating the NAS as an off-brand Time Capsule.
The only way to back up the NAS using Time Machine would be to periodically take the NAS off the network and mount it locally on one of your Macs. This would prevent others accessing the NAS until it is reconnected to the network. It’s better to let the NAS handle its own backup. Many NAS drives can back up to either a drive directly connected using USB, or over the network to another NAS. Seagate’s Business Storage range can do this, for example, and you can administer the backup process remotely through a web browser.
To archive your emails, you need a bit of lateral thinking. You can create a rule in Outlook for all incoming messages and set the action to ‘print it’. If you install the CUPSPDF driver (http://bit.ly/mf_cupsdriver), you can set the default printer to output PDF files, and put these on the NAS. Spotlight ought to search their contents for you.
The CUPS-PDF driver lets you default to saving PDF files instead of producing paper printouts.