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Old Oct 27, 2011, 06:24 AM   #1
fastforwardtech
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Join Date: Oct 2011
dual Mac mini server suggestions

Hello! We have purchased two mac mini's with Lion server and a raid5 Thunderbolt storage system, this is going to be our new fileserver.

The reason we bought two mac mini's is for redundancy, so that if the main one fails we can switch it out for the other (the company directors felt more comfortable this way).

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to what we can do with the second mac mini rather than leaving it in the box (potentially forever).
Is there a way you can either load balance or failover Lion? So that we can hook them both up at once?

Kind Regards,
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Old Oct 27, 2011, 10:00 AM   #2
pismobrat
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Hi

This is kinda of a fun one.

I have almost the same setup as you. I've mounted my secondary mac mini as a Firewire drive (Target Mode) and am using CCC (Carbon Copy Cloner) to duplicate the contents of the running Mac Mini to the backup.

This is a solution that I've deployed for a couple of clients and two of them had failed mini's over the last five years. One Reboot and in 10 minutes they were back in business.

I've tested the clone and it boots up just peachy. Fun and novel configuration if you have the spare money.

Hope this helps. Hit back if you need more information
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Old Oct 27, 2011, 10:07 AM   #3
Alrescha
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My favorite solution (for amusement value, if nothing else):

Put mini #2 in Target Disk mode
Set up a RAID mirror with mini #1
(mini #1 disk 0 with mini#2 disk 0)

When mini #1 fails, reboot mini #2 and you're on the air.

alas, setting up RAID in Lion is nowhere near as easy as it was with Leopard.

A.
(who did not invent this idea, but thinks it's great)
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Old Oct 30, 2011, 03:56 AM   #4
Mattie Num Nums
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It won't matter though because the whole idea of redundancy in a DR sense is not being down. No matter what happens if something fails some sort of intervention will need to take place.
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Old Aug 7, 2013, 08:56 AM   #5
Kaptenrodskagg
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Mac mini Raid (cluster)

Is it possible to use Raid5 or something and has anyone tried that?

Well if you have 5 or more Mac minis..
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Old Aug 8, 2013, 12:35 PM   #6
alexrmc92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastforwardtech View Post
Hello! We have purchased two mac mini's with Lion server and a raid5 Thunderbolt storage system, this is going to be our new fileserver.

The reason we bought two mac mini's is for redundancy, so that if the main one fails we can switch it out for the other (the company directors felt more comfortable this way).

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to what we can do with the second mac mini rather than leaving it in the box (potentially forever).
Is there a way you can either load balance or failover Lion? So that we can hook them both up at once?

Kind Regards,
This purely depends on how complicated you want to make this. With just two mac servers you cannot do failover or load balancing. OS X server is not that advanced, in fact they have simplified even more since 10.6.

Thunderbolt cannot be shared between at a hardware level, only over the network which is pointless for two macs as they will depend an each other to be fully operational. What you need is Thunderbolt to FiberChannel adapters, then you need a FiberChannel RAID storage system, and finally you need to setup XSan from the OS X server app.

Now you would have two Mac Mini's with physical shared storage. At this point you have two main options.

Option 1: You can create a NFS/SMB/AFP share on each mac, both pointing to the shared RAID storage. In the event that the first server goes down, the users can connect to server 2 and get all of their data as normal.

Option 2: If you don't want to have any user intervention and a seamless experience you will need a third server acting as a DNS server. If you already have one on you network then great! You would need to setup this DNS server to have an entry for the file share (macserver.yournetwork.internal for example) and have the IP address's of both servers be pointed to that name. You will also need to setup round robin DNS with a very low TTL so it will quickly switch to the other server if one goes down.
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Old Aug 13, 2013, 08:41 AM   #7
unplugme71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexrmc92 View Post
This purely depends on how complicated you want to make this. With just two mac servers you cannot do failover or load balancing. OS X server is not that advanced, in fact they have simplified even more since 10.6.

Thunderbolt cannot be shared between at a hardware level, only over the network which is pointless for two macs as they will depend an each other to be fully operational. What you need is Thunderbolt to FiberChannel adapters, then you need a FiberChannel RAID storage system, and finally you need to setup XSan from the OS X server app.

Now you would have two Mac Mini's with physical shared storage. At this point you have two main options.

Option 1: You can create a NFS/SMB/AFP share on each mac, both pointing to the shared RAID storage. In the event that the first server goes down, the users can connect to server 2 and get all of their data as normal.

Option 2: If you don't want to have any user intervention and a seamless experience you will need a third server acting as a DNS server. If you already have one on you network then great! You would need to setup this DNS server to have an entry for the file share (macserver.yournetwork.internal for example) and have the IP address's of both servers be pointed to that name. You will also need to setup round robin DNS with a very low TTL so it will quickly switch to the other server if one goes down.
That's the reason why I gave up Mac's at one of the company I consulted for. They wanted too much redudancy, so it was better to implement MS Server.

Originally they had 5 Mac Mini's -

2 ran DNS/DHCP/Open Directory/Profile Manager/Software Update/VPN
1 ran File Sharing
1 ran Messaging, Time Machine, Cache
1 spare

This was the best I could do. Any services that can be duplicated for redundancy were put on the first two servers. Any services that couldn't, ran on their own servers. Since there's no DFS equivalent for Mac, I decided not to have 2 Mac Mini's act as file servers. This way if one server went down, and they wanted to go to the redudant server, they wouldn't get old data that hasn't synced. Instead, the file server copies new files generated to a backup server. Then we would have restored from there.
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Old Aug 13, 2013, 08:50 AM   #8
alexrmc92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unplugme71 View Post
That's the reason why I gave up Mac's at one of the company I consulted for. They wanted too much redudancy, so it was better to implement MS Server.

Originally they had 5 Mac Mini's -

2 ran DNS/DHCP/Open Directory/Profile Manager/Software Update/VPN
1 ran File Sharing
1 ran Messaging, Time Machine, Cache
1 spare

This was the best I could do. Any services that can be duplicated for redundancy were put on the first two servers. Any services that couldn't, ran on their own servers. Since there's no DFS equivalent for Mac, I decided not to have 2 Mac Mini's act as file servers. This way if one server went down, and they wanted to go to the redudant server, they wouldn't get old data that hasn't synced. Instead, the file server copies new files generated to a backup server. Then we would have restored from there.
Well technically there is a DFS equivalent (it's actually considered a CFS but it can function the same). XSan can share a single drive across multiple macs, but it requires fiber channel storage which can get pricey.

I setup a similar setup to what the OP was wanting, but i used and older XServe RAID (with new drives it's more than fast enough for a small business, nearly 4Gbps if you RAID 50 everything) and two mac minis.

The only other thing i needed was a small linux DNS server to handle round robin.
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