It sounds like Time Machine doesn't backup everything on Mac Server: http://derflounder.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/restoring-mac-os-x-server-from-time-machine/

So what options do I have? Ideally I'd like a backup that I can restore on another Mac Mini and have it up and running instantly. Carbon Copy Cloner sounds like it should work, but I didn't see anything on their site that said it would definitely backup Mac Server (or I missed it).

Does anyone have a recommendation on what to do?

  • It does not surprise me, yet another reason to not trust time machine with all your data, yes TM and other full disk backup is the best way to go.
    – MrDaniel
    Feb 29, 2012 at 20:16
  • No one needs a "backup solution" - everyone needs a tested "restore procedure". Server's no different than normal OS in that respect.
    – bmike
    Feb 29, 2012 at 20:20
  • I agree, but in this case I'm having trouble getting the cart going, much less ahead of the horse.
    – zippy
    Mar 3, 2012 at 3:30
  • Check this answer. The "tested restore procedure" everyone should be using. apple.stackexchange.com/a/74686/3620
    – unom
    Dec 12, 2012 at 20:19

3 Answers 3


Yes pretty much anything that can do a boot-able backup of Mac OS X, should be able to do a back up of Mac OS X server. There are very few differences between Mac OS X, and Mac OS X Server, as demonstrated by how apple does Lion Server.

  1. Download and install Lion

  2. Download and install Lion Server Apps

So in this case and as always with OS X server Apple just adds some more Applications that the client version lacks. Additionally, Carbon Copy Cloner support discussion confirms it works with Server.


Your primary option is to test your restore with live data so you can see all the things your server setup does that isn't covered by a Time Machine.

You'll also want to get a tool like Bender to handle exporting and importing settings on the server.app itself.

Ideally, you have a setup document where you recorded each and every thing you configured since that will be your checklist that everything is covered.

  • Did you set up alternate data location for some of the services?
  • Did you "correct" any dot files for users and run any terminal commands?
  • Do you have any launchd tasks that are not packaged (I often make routing and other changes that run to set static routes, roll over application log files, etc...)

Server is a different beast and you can and will set up many large databases - some of which need to be archived and then restored later like mail, web, LDAP. As your server grows, you will come to think of each data as separate since backing them all up with the same frequency or mechanism isn't a good solution technically. Time Machine is a starting point, not an end point and using mirror technology like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! isn't usually the answer since it often takes a day or two to restore terabytes of data when you can instead have that data on a storage appliance and just use your OS and configuration backups to save the glue and code and tools - not the product.

  • I agree with everything you wrote here (and luckily my data is separate from the OS so I don't have to restore both). I need a backup though before I can test a restore.
    – zippy
    Mar 3, 2012 at 3:33

You can go for mirroring your entire Mac's hard drive to an external FireWire drive.

You can even boot from that disk using any other Mac and have your entire system at your fingertips, no tedious software installations, System Preference setting or desktop wallpaper hunting required.

You need:

  1. External firewire enclosure (usb might work just as well on newer macs)
  2. The free version of SuperDuper.

    Step 1. Partition Your External Drive (Optional)

    Step 2. Confirm Your New Disk Partitions

    Step 3. Start Up and Configure SuperDuper

    Step 4. Confirm the Target Disk Erasing

    Step 5. Grab a Sandwich

    Step 6. In case of emergency => Boot Your Mac from the Clone in Target Disk Mode

DONE.... Do this twice a week and you get REGULAR, BOOTABLE perfect COPIES OF YOUR OS X SERVER. Did i mention you can schedule the backups... wow!

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