Table of Contents

: Installation of Active Backup for Business (DSM 7)
: Installation of Active Backup for Business macOS agent
: Active Backup for Business macOS task configuration
: Migrating Active Backup backup archive to a new volume

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UPDATE: 29/11/2022 - Added section about volume migration to test if there are any problems with the backup archive in that case as well as the backup tasks and data.

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UPDATE: 28/11/2022 - After correcting Full disk permissions for the ABB agent, the backup started without any issues and was completed successfully.

Mark your calendars, the day has arrived! Active Backup for Business 2.5 supports Apple macOS!

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WARNING: For evaluation only! This beta software is intended for testing and evaluation purposes only. If you choose to take part in the beta testing program, you can manually upgrade your package to the beta version in DSM.
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LIMITATIONS: Please note that Active Backup for Business 2.5.0 beta currently supports backing up entire devices for macOS devices. Users will be unable to perform bare-metal restoration in this version of the platform. However, file-level restoration is available. Also, beta users will not be able to downgrade to previous versions of Active Backup for Business after installing this beta package.

After years of waiting the day has finally arrived. ABB platform has finally got support for the macOS, following Windows and Linux distribution support for years.

Downloading the ABB 2.5 beta package from this URL will allow for the installation of a macOS agent needed to connect to the 2.5 ABB instance.

Active Backup for Business 2.5 for DSM needs to be installed first. Get them using the following two links, depending on your current DSM version:

ABB 2.5 for DSM 7

ABB 2.5 for DSM 6



: Installation of Active Backup for Business (DSM 7)

After downloading the package, the install process is run from inside Package Center > Manual install.

One-step install process
Once installed the ABB will be accessible via the main menu.

Following the installation process, ABB needs to be activated. For this, we need an active internet connection but there is also a "manual" process if the NAS is unable to establish one.

Start the activation process
Enter the given code
and done!
Active Backup for Business is ready



: Installation of Active Backup for Business macOS agent

Once ABB is up and running, we will be able to use the macOS agent and get it connected to the ABB instance for a complete Mac-machine backup.

macOS tab visible inside ABB
macOS template inside the Settings section
macOS template settings

The default macOS template has the same settings configured as the one for Windows machines, and it also supports data transfer compression and encryption.

The installation of the macOS agent starts using the downloaded Active Backup for Business PKG file.

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NOTE: If you are using an Apple Silicon Mac, with either an M1 or M2 CPU, you will need to reboot the Mac mid-install to complete some system extension activation using recovery mode!

Step one, mount the installer and start it.

Once the process has been completed, we need to allow for the system extensions. This can be activated inside System Preferences.

In 2019, Apple informed developers that macOS Catalina will be the last macOS to fully support legacy system extensions, and we've been working with developers to transition their software.

About system extensions and macOS
Some system extensions aren’t compatible with current versions of macOS or won’t be compatible with a future version of macOS. Learn what to do if you see an alert about system extensions or kernel extensions.
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NOTE: System extensions are something that Apple has started to slowly transition towards their complete elimination. This is not a good sign for Active Backup, and let's hope that Synology will customize the platform to be more compliant with the recent and future versions of macOS.

Under Privacy & Security simply allow the Synology Inc extension.

In order for the extension to be used, the macOS needs to reboot.

One final thing that needs to be done is to give Active Backup for Business agent full disk access permissions in order to execute the backup and not fail.

Go to System Preferences > Privacy & Security, and under Full disk access enable the setting.

Full Disk Access setting for the ABB agent needs to be enabled



: Active Backup for Business macOS task configuration

Now that the ABB server and client have both been installed, it is time to connect and back up the Mac.

Enter the ABB server parameters

Just like with a Windows machine, the ABB agent will ask for three input parameters. The NAS address (FQDN or LAN IP), username, and password.

Wait for the agent to connect to the server
Review that backup task summary
ABB console is registering the Mac device
The Mac device is registered and ready to be backed up

So far, there were no issues adding the Mac to connect to the ABB server side. Manual backup can be initiated using the ABB Task List view and progress can be followed from either the client or server (NAS) side.

Backup in progress...

In my initial testing, the first backup failed with the following error:

Error,"Error code -1: Failed to run asr (Apple Software Restore) on Macintosh HD - Data, Macintosh HD.",2022-11-25 00:14:52
Error,"Failed to read and upload the volume content of Macintosh HD - Data, Macintosh HD.",2022-11-25 00:14:52
Error,The backup task rusty-Default failed.,2022-11-25 00:14:54
Warning,Backups of Luka’s 5K iMac will not be backed up. (Reason: Unsupported disk bus type.),2022-11-25 00:10:35
Warning,Backups of Luka’s 5K iMac will not be backed up. (Reason: Unsupported disk bus type.),2022-11-25 00:10:41
Error code -1

The following error will happen in case you have missed giving Full Disk Access permission for the ABB agent. Enable it and rerun the process.

If all was set as stated before, the backup will be complete without any issues.

Backup task completed
Backup status from the Active Backup console

The initial backup of 110GB was completed in 15 min, over 1G ethernet connection maxing its speed most of the time.

Final size calculation after deduplication

Considering that ABB uses deduplication it saved nearly 20GB of space after that initial backup.

Accessing the data using the Active Backup Portal will allow for file/folder restoration or download.

Overview of backed-up data using the ABB Portal

The Portal can be accessed as a separate icon inside DSM or via the ABB console using the Restore button. At the moment, only the file/folder option is possible, as there is no way to do a bare metal recovery. This will likely change in the future.

Initiate ABB Portal via the ABB console

Any subsequent backup was fast and was completed much faster as expected. The second backup after the initial one was just under 3 min in duration.

Initial and second backups are presented in the log
Both versions are visible and presented in the ABB Portal

The data can be restored from any backup version using the ABB Portal, and deduplication has again managed to save space as well as shorten the actual backup time.

State of the particular Mac machine backup usage after multiple backups

As we can see, the process works really well with no error once configured correctly. The backup speed was maxed out depending on the network connection and the speed of the drives on both ends.

Restoring tests have revealed that data is readable and any additional backups are indeed incremental and much faster than Time Machine I have to say. More tests will continue with multiple concurrent backups from multiple Mac machines to stress the system some more.



: Migrating Active Backup backup archive to a new volume

If for any reason there is a need to migrate the ABB backup archive from one volume to the next, this is a short process on how to do it. This method will work even if migration will be on a separate NAS unit, but just for the sake of simplicity, this particular archive will be moved locally.

The idea is to see if the backup will continue forward and if there are any special steps on the client side that need to be considered.

The same steps apply regardless of the device that is being backed up inside a particular archive, and it involves only a single task if this operation is being performed on the same NAS.

As can be seen in the images above, the single archive is being used and it is currently on volume 1.

By going to the Control Panel > Shared Folders and editing the settings of the ActiveBackupforBusiness shared folder, we have the option to change its location to a new volume on the same NAS. In this case, volume 2.

This process will only work if the archive is currently not in use (backing up some devices), and the speed will depend on its size and array speed.

Final point before the actual migration of the shared folder
Wait for the transfer to complete

There is no need to stop the Active Backup package prior to the migration, but it won't hurt either way.

ABB archive on a secondary volume

Once the archive has moved, resume the backup using the Active Backup console. In this particular test case, there were no problems whatsoever, and while it took a good 5 min before the actual data transfer started, the delta backup was completed in 1 min.

Last backup (on the 29th) after volume migration

So far I am very pleased with the way this system works and I do hope it will prove to be a valuable and reliable backup for the macOS platform.