Backing Up an OSX Server

Just started to read over some of the administrative docs for OSX Server — since, after all, I recently deployed some at work. Deploy first, learn later, right?

At any rate, the servers are up and stable. There are some rough edges to clean up, but they’re working.

So, one of the big things we need to get sorted out is backups. All this time, I thought that we’d be able to take advantage of Time Machine for the server stuff, but it turns out that it doesn’t back up server content. No, really:

From Apple’s Advanced Server Admin v10.6, p. 19:

Service: Backup your data (websites, databases, calendar files, etc.)

Set in initial server setup: No

Server Preferences: No, use command-line tools and third-party backup solutions

Server Admin: No, use command-line tools and third-party backup solutions

Wow, not only did they say “No” but “No, figure it out on your own”… twice.
There’s also this little gem later on on page 36:

Time Machine is a limited tool for data backup and restoration of Mac OS X Server v10.6. It can back up some server configuration settings and the service state. Time Machine does not back up service data.

So, Time Machine will readily back up user profiles for desktop users — I use it for that all the time and have had computers totally pooched easily restored from a Time Machine backup. But it won’t back up the important stuff on a server. You know — all of the stuff that a server needs to actually have backed up.

Well, I’m not a Linux Engineer for nothing — guess I’ll have to break out the old-school Unix rsync and tar commands.

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