Since the untimely demise of Crashplan earlier this year, it was necessary to revisit my backup strategy. Previously backups were configured on my LAN directly to a TimeMachine capable host paired with Crashplan backing up simultaneously to both a local server and over the Internet to Crashplan Central.

My hope was to maintain this kind of structure, in most cases the TimeMachine backup works well if a file needs to be quickly recovered. Having an additional backup onsite/offsite in a supported format makes recovery possible if the TimeMachine sparsebundle is unreadable (which does occasionally happen).

Selecting a capable backup client seemed like the first step, and after some research ARQ Backup was my choice. This client provides the ability for backups to target multiple destinations, which may include locally available filesystems as well as remote storage such as AWS S3, Backblaze, Google Drive and OneDrive.

For my remote backups AWS Glacier was chosen and this has been extremely cost effective at only a few dollars per month. Using the same ARQ client, a local backup is also running to an NFS mount on each of my Mac workstations.

To configure NFS access on the Mac clients:

  1. Create /etc/fstab with the NFS mount. In this example, the server is {hostname} and the NFS share is /export/backup:
    {hostname}:/export/backup - nfs net 0 0
  2. Verify auto_master includes /Network/Servers. The contents of /etc/auto_master should include:
    /Network/Servers -fstab
    Note this path is designated in the fstab entry using the net flag.
  3. Restart auto mount. This forces the autmountd on the client to re-read fstab along with auto_master:
    sudo automount -vc

Step #2 is critical, this confirms that the Macintosh designated /Network/Servers net path is using fstab to determine how it should mount. Once automount restarts, the backup directory in this example would be available here:

/Network/Servers/{hostname}/export/backup

At this point, use the ARQ client to select the backup directory and start your first backup.

You may need to adjust file permissions if you need the NFS share to be accessible to a user directly on the server. This is accomplished by verifying your local Mac user id and configuring a user on your NFS server to match.

My original intent was to configure a new automount via auto_nfs, and have this automount as needed. Unfortunately, the outcome was that automountd would frequently re-mount without releasing prior mounts and caused ARQ backups to be extremely sluggish. Switching to the approved net mount via fstab has proven extremely reliable.


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