I recently got myself a Mac Mini (mid-2011) to act as a Media Center, and as a server for my home environment. I will admit, things were not as smooth as I anticipated.. Apart from not having control of DHCP and DNS from the default Server.app (not that I'm bitter), having to download the remote server admin tools to control open directory.. The Time Machine server function never "just worked" for me.
On the server.app, setup is plainly simple. Choose your Disk, and turn it on:
So the setup is practically seamless. How does another Mac backup to the time machine server? The server uses bonjour to broadcast the backup service. What's presented to your Mac is a share on the server called "Backups":
What SHOULD happen is backups over Wifi, pretty cool! One problem, troubleshooting this thing is not user friendly AT ALL, as in my case:
What does "NAConnectToServerSync failed with error: 80" mean?
Of course, Lion is brand spanking new, so googling for help was useless (especially for lion server), Turns out, my password that I was using was the culprit.
In my password, I had a special character "$". This messes with the mount_AFP command that is issued to backup. The Solution? Create a Backup user without special characters for its password.
Now, with this considered, I find this HORRIBLE! How, in this day and age, not allow special characters for passwords in order for stuff to work? It's beyond me. A lot of my server experience has been a big mess. In windows when I DCPROMO a server, it installs DNS, why is DNS and DHCP so buried in the settings.. I don't get it..
Hopefully Apple can get on this and put the same Quality Control it does like its consumer products.. Hell, 50$ Server License for all your Macs, you can pretty much call it a consumer product.