I have six Macs in my house, all running the latest, greatest version of Snow Leopard. I also have an eMac (PPC) running Leopard 10.5.8. I use the eMac as a file and print server. The eMac has two external FireWire drives, 1 TB each. I partitioned each one so that there is a separate partition for each. I've shared each of the partitions.

On each of the six Snow Leopard Macs, I set up Time Machine to use the individual shared volume from the eMac. This seems to work fine, but when several clients try to back up at the same time I get the following error:

The backup was not performed because an error occurred while copying files to the backup disk. The problem may be temporary. Try again later to back up. If the problem persists, use Disk Utility to repair your backup disk.

What can I do to troubleshoot this further and make the system more reliable?

  • It could be about file integrity when copying, see eMacs are considerably lower-end computer that doesn't even run Snow Leopard, and it may hit a performance or read/write issue somewhere along the way. – Shane Hsu May 18 '13 at 2:14

This question requires additional troubleshooting to pinpoint the problem. But there is probably a bottleneck somewhere.

There are a few things you don't tell us in your question. How are the different computers connected?

  • WiFi or Ethernet?
  • What speed is the link to the eMac 11/54/100/360/1000 Mbps
  • what are the network devices used to interconnect the devices (hubs, switches, routers...)

Make sure all devices have their own sparse bundles on the hard drives.

You should then try to test the different features used during the time-machine backups.

  • Test the speed of your hard drives and then during backup monitor the disk usage
  • monitor the memory and processor usage on your eMac
  • monitor the connection usage (bandwidth)

During the monitoring process try to add more and more macs until you get the errors.

If you see any of these components saturating during the backup you will pinpoint the bottleneck(s).

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