Time Machine backups with Rockstor

With Rockstor’s recent addition of support for AFP, its quite easy to use it for Time Machine backups from Mac

I’ve been using it for my Time Machine backups from my Macbooks, and things have been running fairly smoothly.

To setup Time Machine backups to Rockstor, you have to configure a Rockstor share for Time Machine backups, and then set that share as the Time Machine disk in the TIme Machine preferences. Here are the steps to do that.

Rockstor setup for Time Machine backup (Steps to follow on Rockstor Web-UI)

  • Start the AFP service. Login to the Rockstor Web-UI and make sure the AFP service is started (System -> Services).
  • Create a share for Time Machine backups. From the Rockstor webui, create a share that you will use as your Time Machine backup disk. (Name the share with an easily identifiable name since Time Machine will see that name in the list of available disks when you configure Time Machine). Make sure that the share is large enough to hold your entire Time Machine backup.
  • Create a user for Time Machine to connect as. Create a Rockstor user that Time Machine will be accessing the share as, and change the ownership of your share to that user.  time_machine_share_perms
  • Export the share through AFP. Navigate to the AFP menu section and export your destination share through AFP. Select ‘yes’ for the ‘Time Machine’ option. The image below shows how I export my share, called ‘TimeMachineDisk’ through AFP.afp_export_share


Time Machine setup (Steps to follow on your mac)

  • Enable Network Volume support for Time Machine. On your Mac machine, you will first have to enable Time Machine to support network volumes. In your terminal, enter the following command
defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1
  • Set the Time Machine disk. Next, set the Rockstor share as the Time Machine disk. To do this, open the Time Machine preferences, and click ‘Select disk’. You should be able to see the Rockstor share that you created above, in the list of available disks. Select it as your Time Machine disk. In the image below, you can see that Time Machine shows the ‘TimeMachineDisk’ share that I created above as one of the available disks.


  • Connect as the Rockstor user. When you select the disk above, Time Machine will popup an authentication dialog asking for a username and password. Enter the username and password of the Rockstor user that your created above(Don’t forget that in addition to creating the user, you need to change the Share’s ownership to that user). Time Machine should be able to connect to the disk. If not, go back and check your username and password, and the Rockstor configuration steps above.


The setup is now complete. On the next backup, Time machine will prepare and then use your Rockstor share as its backup disk.

The following tips are not specific to Rockstor, but general information that I’ve found useful while using Time Machine:

  • First time backups: The first time you backup data using Time Machine, it has to copy all the data to the disk, so it is preferable to do it over a wired connection. I’ve experienced much better speeds using a wired connection than WiFi.
  • Incremental backups: Once Time Machine has made its first backup, it only copies the differences since the last backup on subsequent backups, so these should be much faster, assuming you’re backing up fairly frequently.

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