Time Machine and Networks (solved!)

Time Machine may have its critics, but for me it is great: set it and forget it, it generally Just Works! For many years used Time Machine to backup a couple of MacBooks to a Synology NAS. This was a very easy and satisfactory solution - backups could happen any time, just so long as the laptop was connected to my LAN, so one never had to think about Time Machine, and the laptops were well backed up so long as they were at home. In short, it Just Worked!

However, over time and later MacOS versions, I found an increasing problem with backups failing through lost network connections, until eventually the NAS became unviable as a Time Machine backup drive because no backup ever ran to completion.

My solution to this was to move the backups from the NAS to a drive attached to a MacMini running OSX Server - which had a facility to share disk space as Time Machine archives. Since setting this up, the problem of lost connections has completely gone away, and Time Machine has gone back to being something one never notices or thinks about - fit and forget, it Just Works!

So far so wonderful!

My problem is that the MacMini is running El Capitan, and is now overdue for upgrade to a later release (probably Mojave). However, I understand that OSX Server won’t work on Mojave, but the latest MacOS Server is a mere shadow of its former self. Specifically, It no longer supports space-sharing to Time Machine clients. So what is now the approved way to use Time Machine to backup to a networked drive?

This is built into vanilla macOS now.
Here’s how to share a folder as a Time Machine backup destination in Catalina. I think this started with High Sierra when OS X Server was deprecated (hamstrung, etc.).

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That’s perfect - thanks very much! :grinning:

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See also @ismh’s How to Set up Time Machine Server – 512 Pixels

Interesting (continuing) post from the well-regarded Eclectic Light Co blog:

Hi baldbeardie
I’m in the same boat. Years of time machine to a time capsule without so much as a second thought. Until this past week. Suffering from multiple “time machine cannot backup to time capsule right now. Try again when time capsule is available.” warnings.
Multiple reboots don’t fix the issue. Then it randomly works, then it doesn’t. The time capsule is working well with other computers on the network so it is not the problem. I’m starting to wonder if my M1 MBA with the latest security update this week is to blame for networking glitches?
Anyone else had any intermittent networking or Time Machine issues of late?