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I manage several Macs in an office which run a mixture of 10.10 - 10.13 (all latest sub versions).

I'm looking for a backup solution / workflow so I can set automated backups for each machine to a Synology NAS on the LAN.

I've heard using Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner with the backup destination as a NAS can cause issues. The following quote is from a MacWorld article:

When you use a network drive for your Time Machine backups, you can have problems. (I’ve heard of this occurring on an external, connected drive, but only rarely.) You may see an ominous dialog saying “Time Machine completed a verification of your backups on diskname. To improve reliability, Time Machine must create a new backup for you.” When this happens, you lose all your existing backups. You may have years of backups on your drive, and they’ll all disappear.

Source: When backups go bad: The problem with using network drives with Time Machine

Carbon Copy Cloner have also advised that backing up to a NAS is not the best option as instead of a bootable backup the backup is a diskimage, which isn't bootable and can become corrupted.

I'm not so fussed about the backup being bootable, as long as I can copy my /documents folder from the NAS I'd be alright. But obviously if the whole backup is corrupted that would be a problem.

Is there another piece of backup software or workflow which is better suited?

One of the things to consider is some of the devices are laptops so they may be taken off site at any time including mid backup, under those circumstances we wouldnt want the backups to become corrupted.

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    You've "heard" that it causes issues? As a general rule, I avoid hearsay reports of issues. Synology works great in my instance but to accurately address what's going on, we need to know what the issues were and why they failed. As for interrupting a backup mid-stream, I don't know of any that won't be corrupted – Allan Jul 1 '18 at 14:34
  • @Allan question has ben updated. – sam Jul 1 '18 at 17:13
  • When you say that Carbon Copy Cloner have also advised... are you referring to some sort of direct communication between you and them? I checked the article you've linked to and there's no mention of CCC there? – Monomeeth Jul 1 '18 at 21:27
  • @Monomeeth correct this was from CCC's tech support – sam Jul 2 '18 at 13:37
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There is no general „best backup method“, it always depends on your setup and on the assets you want to protect (whole disk or only user data, snapshot or history etc). This also means that issues with a specific method may or may not be an issue in your context. The problem described in the article does occur, but I‘ve seen this both with NAS and with USB drives.

Having said that I just want to point out that TimeMachine works well in combination with a Synology NAS, and also handles disconnects during a backup gracefully (you just need to make sure that the backup can run through from time to time). It gives you a backup of the whole directory tree so it also covers any applications installed etc.

  • I too have had no problems backing up multiple Macs to a Synology with Time Machine. – Graham Miln Jul 2 '18 at 6:26
  • I agree. I think Time Machine is the ideal choice, especially if you're concerned that a backup may be interrupted. – Monomeeth Jul 2 '18 at 6:27
  • @nohillside - when the corruption occurs do we lose the full backup. Eg. if the corruption occurred and my laptop was lost the same day would i lose all my data ? As a safety net i suppose i could backup the NAS to AWS or Backblaze B2, but if i didnt that would the corruption also be backed up to the cloud rendering the cloud backup useless also ? – sam Jul 2 '18 at 13:41
  • @sam There is always a risk. If AWS/Backblaze is an option, why not use Arq or Backblaze to backup to a cloud storage directly? Having said that, please be aware that we can‘t define your backup strategy (nor verify it). Identify the risks you want to protect against, and then pick a solution which mitigates them – nohillside Jul 2 '18 at 15:52

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