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A Synology can act as a local file server that is used to share a folder from a cloud account. You can use accounts with from Backblaze, Google Drive, Amazon, Alibaba, Dropbox, Azure, and others. This means you can use a Synology to provide LAN access to cloud solutions. Before you do, make sure you understand that if changes are made in the cloud and on a client computer at the same time, that you will end up not knowing which is right and so file-locking issues will come up. It’s best to use this strategy for home environments or come up with another mechanism for locking files. 

If you choose to use the sync option, open Package Center and search for Cloud Sync.

Click Install to install the package.

Once installed, choose the cloud you’d like to sync to your local network.

For this example, we’ll use Google Drive. Click on that option and then  when prompted, select the account to use (if you have multiple accounts you access).
 
Once you’ve selected an account, you need to give an entitlement to the Synology to sync with that api.

When prompted, click Agree.
 
Next, configure how the data will be stored on the Synology. Do so by providing a name to the connection and choosing a path on your local storage. 
 

You can also create a folder on the Synology to then share. We’ll do so here and then click OK.

Then select .which folder on your cloud volume (in this case, my Google Drive) that you want to sync and click Select. 

Select when the sync will run. In this example, every hour.

Click OK and then Next. You’ll be shown an overview of the options you selected. Click Apply.
 
And then the first sync will start.

While the sync is running, let’s click Settings and review the options for throttling speeds (so as not to destroy slower WAN links).

Click History to see logs. And viola, you now have a local copy of cloud accounts!

April 15th, 2018

Posted In: Synology

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Backblaze is a great cloud and on-prem backup tool for Mac and Windows. You can download Backblaze at 
https://secure.backblaze.com/download.htm. Once downloaded, extract the DMG and open the Backblaze Installer. 

At the Installer screen, enter your existing credentials or create a new account and click Install Now.

The drive will then be analyzed for backup.

By default, once the analysis is complete, the computer will immediately start backing up to the Backblaze cloud. Let’s click on the Settings button to configure how the Backblaze app will work.

This opens the Backblaze System Preference pane. At the Settings tab, you’ll see a list of drives to back up and an option to set when to receive warnings when the computer hasn’t completed a backup recently.

By default, performance is throttled so as not to cause your computer to run poorly. Click on the Performance tab. Here, you can disable that option, 

By default, backups run continuously, as files are altered. You can use the schedule screen to move backups to a specific time (e.g. at 1am every night). I personally like having continuous backups if you have enough bandwidth to account for them. 

By default, the whole system is not going to get backed up. Click Exclusions and you can see what will be skipped and disable some of the skips.

By default, backups are encrypted using public keys. I inherently trust the people at Backblaze. But I still use an encryption key to add an extra layer of security to my backups.

To set that, click on the Security tab.

At the Security screen, click on Enter Your Private Encryption Key.

Once you’ve got a good backup policy set. Click on the Reports screen to see what’s getting backed up!

April 10th, 2018

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac Security

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The past couple of years has forced me to rethink many of my recommendations for how you backup computers in small office and home environments. Previously, I would have said that you could use a disk attached to an Apple AirPort. But the AirPort Base Station is no longer being made. Previously, I would have said you could use Time Machine Server, a service built into macOS Server in 5.4 and below. But that service is no longer being made in macOS Server by Apple and is now found in the Sharing System Preference pane . Previously, I might have even said to use the home edition of CrashPlan, which could have backed up to their cloud and/or a home server. But that plan is no longer being offered by Code 42.

So what are we to do? Well, luckily now the offerings out there are just endless. One of those offerings is so easy, you can run out to Best Buy, return home with a WD (Western Digital) MyCloud.com drive, and be up and running in about 5 minutes. I’ll cover other options when I cover file services and Synology. But in the meantime, let’s look at setting up a WD MyCloud.com drive, account, and configuring both to work with Time Machine. 

Setup Your WD Hard Drive
First, we’ll setup the drive. This is pretty straight forward. Plug the ethernet cable into your network, wait for the drive to boot up, and then go to the MyHome setup page.

Here, you’ll be prompted to setup a My Cloud Home account. Enter a name, email address, and password. Then click on Create Account.

 
You’ll then be prompted for the device you plugged in, which is discovered on the network. Click Connect.


Choose whether you want to share product improvement data. Ever since my team as a product manager I’m a huge fan of doing so, so I clicked Share.

Once that’s done, you’ll be prompted to get the desktop app. While not absolutely necessary, it’s not a bad idea. If you want the app, click Download.

Once the app is done downloading, open the directory and open the installer.

Click Install Now.

Once complete, you’ll see the menu bar. Click it and then add your device if you don’t see it by clicking on “I don’t see my device” 

When prompted, enter your email address and password that you created earlier and then click on Sign In.

Click Skip.

Next, in the notifications area for updating the software make sure to run that. There was a pretty bad vulnerability awhile back and that will make sure you’re good. Then click on the name of your WD MyCloud Home.


Add IFTTT Alerts

I want to see when new updates, channels or options are added, so I’m going to enable that. To do so, click on Services in the sidebar. and then click on Enable for IFTTT.

Assuming the terms of service are acceptable, click “I Agree”

When prompted, choose to connect to IFTTT.

From the IFTTT site, click Connect.

Choose which options to give IFTTT for the MyCloud API.

Browse the channels and enable each that you’d like and then click “Turn on.”

Mount the MyCloud Drive
Next, open a “Connect to Server” dialog box (Command-K from the Finder) and click on Browse.

Click on the MyCloud-XXX where XXX is the identifier for your MyCloud account.

Click on the timemachinebackup folder.

The folder should initially be empty. Now let’s open the Time Machine System Preference pane.

Click on “Select Backup Disk…”

Choose Your MyDisk From Time Machine

Choose the TimeMachineBackup directory for the MyCloud Device and click on “Use Disk.”

You’ll then want to create a user for backing up. To do so, go back to the mycloud.com site and click on settings. Then click on “Add user…” and enter an email address.

The email address will get an email to setup an account. Do so and then once you’ve configured the user, enter the email address and password when prompted.

Now wait for the first backup to finish. If you ever see any errors, check them; otherwise, you should backup to the device as with a locally attached drive, but you won’t need to plug directly into the drive to run backups.

Conclusion
This doesn’t solve for a lot of use cases that Time Machine Server would have been better for. But it’s a simple task that should cost you a little over a hundred bucks and get you backing up. I’m still a fan of cloud services. Backblaze, Carbonite, and others will backup your data for an annual fee of a little less than what a MyDrive costs. I’ll cover those in later articles, but for now, you’ve got a backup on your network, which even if you use one of those services is a great option in the event of hardware failure, as you can quickly get back up and running with a full system restore!

March 12th, 2018

Posted In: Mac OS X, Network Infrastructure

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In past versions of this guide, I covered Time Machine Server. Here, we’re going to look at backing up the settings of a macOS Server using Bender. To do so, we’re going to install a little app called Bender from the great folks at Robot Cloud. You can download that from http://robotcloud.screenstepslive.com/s/2459/m/5322/l/94467-bender-automated-backup-of-os-x-server-settings.
Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.51.00 PM
Once downloaded, run the package installer.
Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.49.32 PM
At the Welcome to Bender screen, click Continue.
Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.52.03 PM
Agree to the licensing agreement by clicking the Continue button. Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.52.22 PM
Click Agree again (assuming of course that you agree to the license). Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.52.57 PM
Choose who you wish to install the software for and click Continue. Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.53.52 PM
I’d go ahead and install Bender at the default location, so click Install. Once the installer is complete, you can view the installed LaunchDaemon at /Library/LaunchDaemons/net.robotcloud.bender.plist. Note that it calls the /usr/local/robotcloud/bin/bender binary when run at 22:00 every day. If you edit this file, the following settings are available:

host=$(hostname) macOS=$(sw_vers | awk ‘/ProductVersion/{print substr($2,1,5)}’ | tr -d “.”) macSN=$(system_profiler SPHardwareDataType | awk ‘/Serial Number/{print $4}’) date=$(date +%Y-%m-%d-%H%M) pass=$(system_profiler SPHardwareDataType | awk ‘/Hardware UUID/{print $3}’) logPath=”/usr/local/robotcloud/logs/bender.log” pipPath=”/usr/local/robotcloud/bin/scroobiuspip” pipTitle=”Bender Backup Error on: $macSN” backupDestination=”/Backups/$date” keepUntil=”14″ version=”2.3″ versionCheck=”$1″

The most important of these is the backupDestination. You can set this to be the /Backups folder as it is above, or set it to be an external drive. Either should be backed up using your standard backup software.

September 28th, 2017

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

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The latest version of macOS Server (5.4) is now available to be installed. To do so, first backup your server. Then, backup your server again, making sure you have a functional, bootable clone. Once you’re sure you have a solid backup of your server, open the App Store and search for Server. When you find the Server app, click on it.  

Once downloaded, you’ll be prompted that the Server app has been replaced.

Go into Applications and open the Server app. When prompted, click on Install (or Open if the server is already installed).

The download will begin. Once complete, you’ll see a notice that the “Server app replacement detected.” Click OK. Then, open the Server app. When the Server app opens, you’ll be prompted to update the server. Click Continue.  

At the Licensing Agreement screen, click Agree. At the screen to confirm your administrative access, provide a name and password for an account with administrative access and then click on Allow. Services are then upgraded. Once complete, the Server app will open and should have settings consistent with the settings prior to the upgrade. 

September 26th, 2017

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

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We covered using Time Machine Server previously. Here, we’re going to look at backing up the settings of an OS X Server. To do so, we’re going to install a little app called Bender from the great folks at Robot Cloud. You can download that from http://robotcloud.screenstepslive.com/s/2459/m/5322/l/94467-bender-automated-backup-of-os-x-server-settings. Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.51.00 PM Once downloaded, run the package installer. Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.49.32 PM At the Welcome to Bender screen, click Continue. Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.52.03 PM Agree to the licensing agreement by clicking the Continue button. Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.52.22 PM Click Agree again (assuming of course that you agree to the license). Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.52.57 PM Choose who you wish to install the software for and click Continue. Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.53.52 PM I’d go ahead and install Bender at the default location, so click Install. Once the installer is complete, you can view the installed LaunchDaemon at /Library/LaunchDaemons/net.robotcloud.bender.plist. Note that it calls the /usr/local/robotcloud/bin/bender binary when run at 22:00 every day. If you edit this file, the following settings are available: host=$(hostname) macOS=$(sw_vers | awk ‘/ProductVersion/{print substr($2,1,5)}’ | tr -d “.”) macSN=$(system_profiler SPHardwareDataType | awk ‘/Serial Number/{print $4}’) date=$(date +%Y-%m-%d-%H%M) pass=$(system_profiler SPHardwareDataType | awk ‘/Hardware UUID/{print $3}’) logPath=”/usr/local/robotcloud/logs/bender.log” pipPath=”/usr/local/robotcloud/bin/scroobiuspip” pipTitle=”Bender Backup Error on: $macSN” backupDestination=”/Backups/$date” keepUntil=”14″ version=”2.3″ versionCheck=”$1″ The most important of these is the backupDestination. You can set this to be the /Backups folder as it is above, or set it to be an external drive. Either should be backed up using your standard backup software.

September 15th, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

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When I’m working on a little bash script, I’ll often make a backup, each time I save and test. Then I can revert back, if I need to. The syntax I’ll use is to cp and then curly-bracket the output into .bak files (that’s a 90s era file extension I use for such nonsense): cp filename.sh{,.bak} So if I’m writing a script called MYSCRIPT.sh: cp MYSCRIPT.sh{,.bak} The resultant backup of the script is MYSCRIPT.sh.bak.

March 22nd, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X, Unix

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You can use the SELECT INTO statement finds data and then copies that data between tables or databases. To do so, use the following syntax: SELECT * INTO newtablename FROM tablename; So to copy that Customers table to a new table called Customers2: SELECT * INTO Customers2 FROM Customers; Or to copy only certain columns into Customers2, we’d use the following: SELECT ID,Site INTO Customers2 FROM Customers;

February 16th, 2016

Posted In: SQL

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One of the more common tasks performed in Apple Configurator is to create a backup of a device and restore that backup to multiple devices. This backs up the icon placement on screens, the settings on the device and anything not stored in the operating system or secure enclave of a device. Once you’ve created a backup, you can assign that backup to a blueprint or deploy the backup to individual devices. To create a backup, first open Apple Configurator 2 and tether a device to the computer running Apple Configurator. Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 8.14.35 AM Next, right-click on a device and then choose the Back Up option. Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 8.14.23 AM Once you unlock the device (if locked) the backup process will start. Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 8.14.58 AM That’s it. Nice and easy. You can now use the backup to restore devices or assign the backup to a blueprint so it will be used to restore devices that the blueprint is applied to.

November 10th, 2015

Posted In: iPhone

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The Time Machine service in OS X Server 5 hasn’t changed much from the service in previous operating systems. To enable the Time Machine service, open the Server app, click on Time Machine in the SERVICES sidebar. If the service hasn’t been enabled to date, the ON/OFF switch will be in the OFF position and no “Backup destination” will be shown in the Settings pane. Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.55.26 PM Click on the ON button to see the New Destination screen, used to configure a list of volumes as a destinations for Time Machine backups. The selection volume should be large enough to have space for all of the users that can potentially use the Time Machine service hosted on the server. When you click the Choose button, a list of volumes appears in a standard Finder selection screen. Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.56.28 PM Here, click on the volume to save your backups to in the sidebar. In most cases the Backup destination will be a mass storage device and not the boot volume of the computer. Once selected, click Choose and then if desired, limit the amount of storage on the volume to be used for backups. Click Create and a share called Backups is created and the service will start. Don’t touch anything until the service starts. Once started, add a backup destination at any time using the plus sign button (“+”) and defining another destination. Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 11.03.43 PM Time Machine Server works via Bonjour. Open the Time Machine System Preference pane and then click on the Select Backup Disk button from a client to see the server in the list of available targets, much as you would do with an Apple Time Capsule. Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 10.59.23 PM Under the hood, a backup share is creating in the file sharing service. To see the attributes of this share, use the serveradmin command followed by the settings option and then the sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:, so for a path of /Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups use: sudo serveradmin settings sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups The output indicates the options configured for the share, including how locking is handled, guest access disabled, generated identifiers and the protocols the backups share listens as:
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:name = "Backups"
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:smbName = "Backups"
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:nfsExportRecord = _empty_array
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:afpIsGuestAccessEnabled = no
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:isTimeMachineBackup = yes
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:dsAttrTypeNative\:sharepoint_group_id = "F4610C2C-70CD-47CF-A75B-3BAFB26D9EF3"
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:isIndexingEnabled = yes
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:mountedOnPath = "/Volumes/New Volume 1"
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:dsAttrTypeStandard\:GeneratedUID = "FAB13586-2A2A-4DB2-97C7-FDD2D747A0CD"
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:path = "/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups"
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:smbIsShared = no
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:smbIsGuestAccessEnabled = no
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:afpName = "Backups"
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:smbDirectoryMask = "755"
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:afpIsShared = yes
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:smbCreateMask = "644"
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:ftpName = "Backups"
sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:timeMachineBackupUUID = "844A1C43-61C9-4F99-91DE-C105EA95BD45"
Once the service is running, administrators frequently fill up the target volume. To move data to another location, first stop the service and then move the folder (e.g. using mv). Once moved, use the serveradmin command to send settings to the new backup path. For example, to change the target to /Volumes/bighonkindisk, use the following command: sudo serveradmin settings sharing:sharePointList:_array_id:/Shared Items/Backups:path = "/Volumes/bighonkindisk" Another way to see the share and attributes of the share is through the sharing command: sharing -l Which should show output similar to the following: List of Share Points
name: Backups
path: /Shared Items/Backups
afp: {
name: Backups
shared: 1
guest access: 0
inherit perms: 0
}
ftp: {
name: Backups
shared: 0
guest access: 0
}
smb: {
name: Backups
shared: 0
guest access: 0
} There’s also a Bonjour service published that announces to other clients on the same subnet that the server can be used as a backup destination (the same technology used in a Time Capsule). One major update from back in Mavericks Server is the addition of the timemachine service in the severadmin command line interface. To see the command line settings for Time Machine: sudo serveradmin settings timemachine The output shows that share info is displayed as with the sharing service, but you can also see the GUID assigned to each share that is a part of the backup pool of storage:
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:dsAttrTypeStandard\:GeneratedUID = "FAB13586-2A2A-4DB2-97C7-FDD2D747A0CD"
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:smbName = "Backups"
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:afpIsGuestAccessEnabled = no
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:smbDirectoryMask = "755"
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:afpName = "Backups"
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:smbCreateMask = "644"
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:nfsExportRecord = _empty_array
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:path = "/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups"
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:smbIsGuestAccessEnabled = no
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:name = "Backups"
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:ftpName = "Backups"
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:smbIsShared = no
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:afpIsShared = yes
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:timeMachineBackupUUID = "844A1C43-61C9-4F99-91DE-C105EA95BD45"
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:isTimeMachineBackup = yes
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:backupQuota = 0
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:dsAttrTypeNative\:sharepoint_group_id = "F4610C2C-70CD-47CF-A75B-3BAFB26D9EF3"
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:isIndexingEnabled = yes
timemachine:sharePointList:_array_id:/Volumes/New Volume 1/Shared Items/Backups:mountedOnPath = "/Volumes/New Volume 1" Additionally you can also query for the service to verify it’s running using full status: sudo serveradmin fullstatus timemachine Which outputs something similar to the following: timemachine:command = "getState"
timemachine:state = "RUNNING"
While I found plenty to ramble on about in this article, Mass deployment is still the same, as is client side configuration.

September 23rd, 2015

Posted In: Mac OS X Server, Time Machine

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