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I'd like to store some of my time machine backups on AWS Glacier Deep Archive so I can have an off-site backup in addition to my external hard drive.

However, I know that time machine uses hard links to save on storage space. Is there some way I can upload my time machine backups to Amazon Glacier (or any other cloud service) while still using the same amount of space?

Ideally, I'd be able to download only part of the time machine backup at a time (e.g. one version when I need it), but if not, some way to create a backup of the entire backups.backupdb would also suffice.

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You will not be able to backup/copy all or part of your Time Machine (TM) backup to the cloud in a form that would allow recovery from the cloud to recreate a TM 'backup'.

But, I have a few suggestions on how to proceed.

For an 'archive' (a point-in-time copy which will remain untouched for a long time) you can copy folders from your Mac to a cloud service like an AWS bucket. The folders you copy could be directly from your active documents, photos, etc. or could be from a chosen TM date. If you should need to recover files/folders from this archive you would just copy them back to your computer (TM would not be involved).

In my view a better way to proceed is to use a cloud backup service which will maintain a daily (or more frequent) backup of your files maintaining versions of files from all times in the past in a storage efficient way - just like TM.

You should not expect a cloud backup to provide complete system restoration. Rather to recover documents, photos, etc. in the event of a disaster which might just be mistaken deletion of a single file all the way up to complete loss of your computer system and its external disks.

I suggest you explore Backblaze and Arq.

Backblaze is frequently recommended though I have reservations regarding its failure to backup some file metadata. It provides both a backup application and cloud storage in a single plan. It is intended to be be simple to use and by default does backups of nearly everything.

Arq (my favourite) is most commonly used as a backup application with whatever storage you choose to use - e.g. AWS, Google, etc. I use Arq with cloud storage from both OneDrive (part of Microsoft Office subscription) and Backblaze's B2, though is unnecessary to use 2 storage providers. Arq is similar to Time Machine in that it does scheduled backups and thins old backups to one a day and then to once a week. Compared with Backblaze it requires a little more configuration.

Please note that cloud backup does not replace the need for Time Machine (or some other local backup).

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  • Thanks for the suggestions. I am already storing my important documents in google drive, but I was hoping that it would be possible to store the time machine backups too. – jeffkmeng Mar 9 at 4:55

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