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New FreeNAS setup, unable to keep Time Machine working. + Sophos

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WMWAz

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I am new to FreeNAS. I have set up a HP Gen8 Microserver with an IBM compatible LSI 1015 SAS/SAN card. 4 3T drives in one RAIDZ volume with 2 datasets to eventually be used to back up two different Macs. FreeNAS-9.10.1-U2.

The initial system I want to back up is an iMac running Sierra 10.12.1.

I was using a different Time Machine solution prior to the upgrade to Sierra (Drobo). Since the upgrade to Sierra and integration with the FreeNAS server, I have been unable to keep Time Machine running.

I followed the afp setup instructions found and set up a user account matching the iMac, the afp service, sharing, etc.

Using Finder, I do the Connect to Server and select the afp:<ip> service and provide the username/password that matches both the account I am logged into on the Mac as well as the user account I created on the FreeNAS server.

Using Time Machine preferences I Select Disk to the served dataset.

I see the initial backup kick off and run (hours as I would expect for my configuration). The backup appears to complete successfully. Reporting Partition shows space being used in the dataset I expect.

Once that initial backup has completed, Time Machine won't do another unattended backup. I will look at the Mac in the morning and it appears to be "stuck" on Preparing Backup. I kill that backup and allow Time Machine on its own time, initiate another backup. If I am still using the Mac, the backup is usually successful. However, once I leave the Mac, the next backup appears to get stuck again on Preparing Backup until eventually it won't back up at all even when I kill the backups, reboot the file server and reconnect from the Mac.

I look at the Disk graphs in Reporting and there is steady write activity across all 4 disks but I have no idea doing what as I, at this point, have stopped automatic backups and there does not appear to be a backup in progress.

I have changed Energy Saver settings to uncheck Put hard disks to sleep when possible as well as unchecked Wake for network access with no change in backup behavior. Enable Power Nap is checked.

There are no messages on the FreeNAS server console.

The network connection to the FreeNAS box is LAN with the Mac in one room and the file server in a different room.

I am stumped and frustrated at where to look or what to try next to understand why Time Machine won't keep running.
 

Kevin Horton

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Joined
Dec 2, 2015
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Time Machine worked well for me, until recently. I'm not sure if it was the update to Sierra that borked it, or a recent FreeNAS update. Now I see frequent problems with Time Machine not being able to find the FreeNAS Time Machine share.

I note an upcoming recent bug fix that may be relevant (the fix will supposedly be in FN 9.10.2). With the bug, Time Machine would fail, and not work again until the AFP service was restarted. In the past, I noted from the logs that the AFP service on my FreeNAS server was crashing and restarting several times a day, and I was not having any problems with Time Machine not working - perhaps the frequent restarting of AFP was keeping Time Machine happy. Recently, AFP has not been crashing and Time Machine has been failing.

Bottom Line - keep your fingers crossed - perhaps your problems will be resolved with FreeNAS 9.10.2.
 

WMWAz

Neophyte
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Nov 14, 2016
Messages
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Anybody have any suggestions or thoughts on where I should look next?

I have upgraded to U4 and ensured firmware version and driver version are compatible.

When I Connect To Server from Finder, I can see the what appears to be successful login to AFP in the daemon.log file.

I stopped the AFP server, waited about 10 minutes and re-started it. After I stopped it, I could still hear disk activity in the Microserver and confirmed the same in the web GUI in Reporting -> Disk.

I re-started a backup (checked Back Up Automatically) and Backup Now. It appears to be stuck yet again, in Preparing backup. Nothing is appearing in the daemon.log

Help.
 

WMWAz

Neophyte
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
Messages
9
I did just restart the AFP service with no joy. I really don't like not having backups...

Which logs are you looking in to confirm that AFP is having issues? The daemon.log or is there another one I haven't stumbled over.

I assume (which, I know, can be a bad thing) that if Time Machine is saying Preparing backup that it has found the AFP dataset to use?

I haven't been able to find the .inProgress file that I've seen mentioned in some of the Google searches I've done.

Is this worth talking to Apple? What is Time Machine doing in the Preparing backup phase?

I was successfully using a different Time Machine backup device, upgraded to Sierra and that solution broke so I decided it was time to set up my FreeNAS server since many other people said that it worked well. I've never gotten more than the initial full backup plus maybe one or two more incrementals before it stopped working... getting stuck at Preparing backup.
 

WMWAz

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Nov 14, 2016
Messages
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Are you using Sophos?
 

Kevin Horton

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Dec 2, 2015
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690
I was seeing one or more per day of events like "pid 55740 (afpd), uid 1001: exited on signal 6 (core dumped)" in the daily freenas.local daily security run output email. I believe, if I recall correctly, that those messages were logged in /var/log/messages, but I haven't had any for the last several weeks, so I no longer can see them in the archived messages files on my server.
 

scwst

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Sep 23, 2016
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59
So what I'm taking away from this is not to upgrade my wife's MacBook to Sierra for now?
 

Kevin Horton

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Joined
Dec 2, 2015
Messages
690

WMWAz

Neophyte
Joined
Nov 14, 2016
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9
After some additional searching via Google, I stumbled over a topic in Apple's support forums regarding problems with Time Machine getting stuck on Preparing backup on network devices.

There appears to be a known problem with Sophos and time capsule devices. The overall recommended suggestion was to deinstall Sophos (which I run). Not just disable virus detection but actually deinstall.

I deinstalled Sophos on my iMac and backups have been running reliably every hour for the last day. This is much longer than any other period since I tried to get Time Machine to work with FreeNAS.

The thread is quite long and also takes side discussions on using non-Apple supported network file servers for backups as well as if Mac's do or don't get viruses :)

Ref is anyone is interested... https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7678610?start=0&tstart=0
 
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