Mac Backups: Retrospect or ???
March 12, 2012 9:18 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a reliable way to backup 100 OSX client computers across the network.

Currently these client computers are being backed up to a super old Retrospect server (running Retrospect 6 + OSX Server 10.2). There are obvious problems with this setup, and I'm trying to figure out the best system to transition to.

I don't have any experience doing client backups on the Mac - typically we have users store their files on a server, and then we back up the server. That's not an option in this area just yet.

Is Retrospect still the gold standard for Mac backups across a network? Is there other software or an appliance that does a better job? If you're in a similar situation, what solution are you using?
posted by wearyaswater to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm running Retrospect 6.whatever on a modern 10.6.8 Mac Pro, it gets the job done for the most part (30 laptops + 5 servers) but it does occasionally crash, and we had a pretty frightening situation last week where a user that had been backed up "successfully" was completely missing the Desktop folder out of their user profile.

I investigated Retrospect 8 last yeah, and it had an enormous problem with client discovery, with a lot of remote/work from home users, I can't be updating client IPs every week.

I'm considering moving to server-hosted Time Machine
for a rolling 30-day backup of the laptops, while keeping the servers on permanent Tape for now.

I am eager to see what others post here though.
posted by Oktober at 9:22 AM on March 12, 2012

I just started using Crashplan. It is primarily billed as a cloud-backup service but it also has the ability to back up to a local host or even to a (large) file on the same standalone machine.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 10:06 AM on March 12, 2012

+1 to Crashplan
posted by schmod at 10:07 AM on March 12, 2012

We're using BackupPC to great success here -- it backs up over rsync to a server and does deduplication (so you only have to store one copy of a file that 50 people have).

One of my favorite of its features is that it learns when mobile users tend to be in the office and backs them up when they're around -- and if it hasn't succeeded in a long time because they're too mobile or their timing has changed, it'll email you and/or them to let you know.

It has the advantage of being able to back up any platform, should Windows or Linux boxes find their way into your place later on, too.
posted by mendel at 10:57 AM on March 12, 2012

I currently have Retrospect at 3 clients. Version 6 with Mac clients, version 8 with Mac clients, and version 9 with Mac and Windows clients—all three hosted on a Mac. Version 6 is by far the best of the bunch. 9 is a little flakey with the PC clients (the Macs are fine), and 8 is pretty much a disaster (scripts "lose" clients or destinations for example). Email reporting is also best on version 6 as you can get a summary email, while 8 and 9 email you every little thing as a separate email, although the custom views are helpful where you can for example do "clients not backed up in 2 days."

Crashplan is great but restores are slower than from local drives and you would be using a lot of upstream bandwidth. I use it to complement Retrospect.

I think Retrospect is still the best choice, and running it on dedicated hardware lets you reboot it without taking down other services (assuming your 10.2 server is serving up something). I'd stick with 6 but move it onto a newer machine with 10.6.
posted by ridogi at 11:32 AM on March 12, 2012

Oh, and 6 is on 10.4, 8 is on 10.6, and 9 is on 10.7.
posted by ridogi at 11:34 AM on March 12, 2012

In November, longtime Retrospect team members spun Retrospect out from its previous parent company (Rovi, which had acquired Sonic/Roxio last year) and took it private as Retrospect, Inc. If you want to take a look at v9, we are happy to help however we can. Feel free to contact me directly at eric at retrospect dot com. Cheers, -Eric
posted by eullman at 2:07 PM on March 12, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for your answers, everyone. I'll definitely check out Crashplan & Retrospect 9.
posted by wearyaswater at 5:08 PM on March 12, 2012

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