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View Full Version : I have a dream.... to build a cheap server




tronic72
May 17, 2008, 09:51 AM
Ok, what I want to do is build a cheap, reliable Mac server.

I have 10.5 (reseller privilege) but I just can't bring myself to spend $4000 on a new Mac Pro for hardware (without drives and RAM). It's just crazy. I know, I could buy a single processor unit for about $3250 AU but it's still too much $$$ for a computer that is really just a big hard drive.

Here's my idea.

I have a Mac Mini. I have a P4. I'm going to try and turn the P4 into a NAS using NASLite and use the mini to as the server. NASLite is meant to serve "SMB/CIFS, NFS, AFP, FTP, HTTP and RSYNC" so it "should" work.

Has anyone done this? With the high price of pre-built NAS and the increasing data use on Macs these days we are screaming out for cheap NAS.

Thanks in advance.

PS. I tried using SBS 2003 on the PC, but there were constant issues with the shares not loading and other nasty issues, such as file name length so I gave up.



VideoFreek
May 17, 2008, 06:17 PM
I'm not clear on why you'd need the Mac mini. If all you want is simple file sharing, the DIY NAS you'd build would mount shared folders on your network, accessible to all machines, and would allow you to control access as you wish. If you truly need the more advanced services that Leopard Server would provide, then the scheme you've proposed would work.

However, I think you need to think about reliability. "Cheap" and "reliable" don't necessarily go together, and while throwing some big drives in an old PC box has a certain appeal, ask yourself what happens when the terabyte or more of data you have on the machine goes "poof" when the hard drive dies without warning. Do you have a bulletproof backup procedure? If so, then you don't have so much to fear, but most people are not so diligent.

I believe strongly in RAID when massive amounts of data are concentrated on a single device. Here's (http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/content/view/27840/77/) an article describing a DIY RAID 5 NAS that a guy built with Ubuntu as the OS. Interesting read, but at the end of the day he spent about $900 to build a 1TB NAS...not much savings compared to something like the excellent ReadyNAS NV+. You could do it cheaper, however, since all you'd need is the RAID controller and the drives.

Food for thought.

tronic72
May 17, 2008, 07:27 PM
I'm not clear on why you'd need the Mac mini. If all you want is simple file sharing, the DIY NAS you'd build would mount shared folders on your network, accessible to all machines, and would allow you to control access as you wish. If you truly need the more advanced services that Leopard Server would provide, then the scheme you've proposed would work.

However, I think you need to think about reliability. "Cheap" and "reliable" don't necessarily go together, and while throwing some big drives in an old PC box has a certain appeal, ask yourself what happens when the terabyte or more of data you have on the machine goes "poof" when the hard drive dies without warning. Do you have a bulletproof backup procedure? If so, then you don't have so much to fear, but most people are not so diligent.

I believe strongly in RAID when massive amounts of data are concentrated on a single device. Here's (http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/content/view/27840/77/) an article describing a DIY RAID 5 NAS that a guy built with Ubuntu as the OS. Interesting read, but at the end of the day he spent about $900 to build a 1TB NAS...not much savings compared to something like the excellent ReadyNAS NV+. You could do it cheaper, however, since all you'd need is the RAID controller and the drives.

Food for thought.


Thanks for your reply. I 100% with what you've said.

The PC in question actually has a Rocket RAID card (from the G4 server we have). So The idea is to put 4 x 750 GB SATA Drives. That's 1.5 Terabytes of mirrored storage. The Mac mini will be the "server" and the PC will be the "Storage".

I need more than a file server. I need Software update, ichat, mail, dns, open directory, AFP & SMB and web services. On top of that I need large amounts of storage for my itunes library. But none of this needs to be super fast.

I've taken the plunge and purchased NAS Lite HDD. We'll see how it goes.

VideoFreek
May 17, 2008, 07:48 PM
The PC in question actually has a Rocket RAID card (from the G4 server we have). So The idea is to put 4 x 750 GB SATA Drives. That's 1.5 Terabytes of mirrored storage. Nice. Of course, you could do about 2.2 TB with RAID 5 with this setup, at the expense of some performance. I assume you're going with RAID 10 (striped set of mirrors)? This should give you great performance with great redundancy (a 4-disk RAID 10 set can actually tolerate losing 2 disks, as long as one mirror doesn't lose both of its drives)!

Good luck. Just make sure you have enough fan in that case to keep those 4 bad boys nice and cool!

tronic72
May 18, 2008, 01:07 AM
Good luck. Just make sure you have enough fan in that case to keep those 4 bad boys nice and cool!


Good point RE cooling. Will check the case temp pre-build and monitor it after the NAS is built.