I want to connect an external Hard-drive (1TB) to my Raspberry Pi. However I want to do the following:

1) Partition 500GB for backing-up using "Time Machine"

2) Partition 250GB for general use for the Raspberry Pi

3) Partition 256GB for back-up of the Raspberry Pi and it's contents

I know how to partition the Hard-Drive but my question is this: Is it possible to have Time-Machine backing up to the External Hard-drive that is connected to the Raspberry Pi through SSH? I.e. The Pi has an IP address, both internal and external. What I want to end up doing is for my main desktop, it will use the internal IP because it is always connected to the network, however, my laptop will use the external IP to back-up. Is this possible? Thank you

2 Answers 2


why not Samba with security? Such as, http://elinux.org/R-Pi_NAS

btw I think you meant SFTP not SSH (SSH is for sending commands to a remote shell).

As far as time machine goes I can't promiss it will work however, I don't see why not. Samba acts as a remote networked HD that your mac will see. Is this just intended for local backup's (over your lan) or for anywhere (internet)? I don't suggest being able to access from anywhere as that opens you up more for attack. Anyways thats my two cents worth.

  • SSH is not only for sending commands, it is also used as an encryption layer by many other protocols (like rsync). Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 2:07

Many guides explain how to setup a Raspberry as a Time Capsule. Time Machine needs a different protocol, so you need to install netatalk (see below). To support the two IPs, you should be able to add the share twice using the different IPs—Time Machine supports multiple backup destinations; but making this share a public service doesn't sound a good idea. I would consider setting up a VPN instead and backing up over the VPN.

Finally, to add a Time Capsule by IP (instead of relying on Bonjour), you just need to mount the partition read/write to make it visible. To mount it, use Apple+K in Finder and type as address afp://Your_Raspberry_IP. For instance, if the IP of the Raspberry is, then type afp:// Connect to the server and mount the volume with the Time Capsule share.

To install netatalk, I've followed this guide on Raspbian:


I've used netatalk 3.0.2, and things worked mostly quite well. However, I would suggest a few changes:

  • Don't use HFS as the file system, as it's not extremely well supported by Linux (no journaling support for instance, not the most stable code out there). Netatalk can share any filesystem, so probably using, say, ext4 would be better. But I didn't try this. If you do use HFS, ensure you're using at least Linux 3.4.

  • To speedup the initial sync, you can connect the Raspberry Pi to your system using an Ethernet cable - that'll be faster than using, say, 802.11g (standard 54Mbps wireless).

  • Before compiling netatalk, to install needed dependencies the guide suggests:

    # apt-get install avahi-daemon libavahi-client-dev libdb5.3-dev db-util db5.3-util libgcrypt11 libgcrypt11-dev

    but one should also install

    # apt-get install libevent-dev

    A copy of that library is included in netatalk, but is older than the one available in Debian. The call to configure becomes then:

    $ ./configure --with-init-style=debian --with-zeroconf --without-libevent

    after which one can invoke make as in the guide.

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