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Time Machine

Testing and analysis by Craig Ellison

DSM 2.2 adds support to enable Apple's Time Machine to use Synology NASes as Time Machine storage. During testing, however, I round that the feature only works properly if you’ve updated to the latest Mac OS 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”).  Synology claims that with clients running Mac OS 10.5, Time Machine support will work only as long as the Mac doesn't sleep.

But with my Mac running 10.5.8, I also had the problem. Also note that the AFP protocol must be enabled on the Synology for Time Machine backup to work. I find this somewhat surprising, as NAS-based Time Machine support worked fine under Mac OS 10.5 on both the Buffalo LinkStation Quad and HP MediaSmart products.

There was fairly limited documentation on the Time Machine feature when I tested it. So I had to sift through Synology's forums, and speak with Synology tech support to get up and running. Here’s how to set it up.

First, log into the Disk Station Manager and create a new share named timemachine (or a name of your choice) and selecte hide this shared folder in my network places as shown in Figure 5.

Create a share and mark it as hidden

Figure 5: Create a share and mark it as hidden

Next you must enable AppleTalk under the File Sharing Win/OSX menu.  In the drop down box, select the name of the share you created in the previous step as shown in Figure 6.

Enable AppleTalk and select the share
Click to enlarge image

Figure 6: Enable AppleTalk and select the share

Optionally, you can create a timemachine user and assign rights to the timemachine folder you created.  With a separate user for Time Machine backups, you can limit how much disk space is allocated for backups as shown in Figure 7.

Time Machine user quota enabled

Figure 7: Time Machine user quota enabled

Next, on your Mac, open Time Machine under system preferences as shown in Figure 8.

Time Machine preferences

Figure 8: Time Machine preferences

Click on Change Disk and select the folder you created on your Synology NAS for your Time Machine backups as shown in Figure 9.

Select the Time Machine share on the Synology

Figure 9:  Select the Time Machine share on the Synology

Finally, your Mac will prompt you to log into the DiskStation. Here, I entered the login credentials for the timemachine user I created as shown in Figure 10.

Log into the DiskStation

Figure 10: Log into the DiskStation using the credentials you created

When you change the disk to the DiskStation, Time Machine will start a backup in 2 minutes.

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