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Old Jun 7, 2012, 08:51 AM   #1
will waters
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Server for a business

Hi

I am currently helping out a friend who trying to set up a server for his business and another at his home

At his business he has: 4 iMac's, 2 MBP's, 2 iPads, 3 iPhones one PC running W7, he has realised after starting to have some problems has asked me for help (assuming i know about these things, which i don't)

He wants a way to:
- Backup all these machines
- Run a web server
- Run a mail server
- File server
- File maker server

I have been trying to work out what the best route to go down, whether it would be:
- New base MP when they come out
- Current mini server
- Refurbished current MP server

And then at his home a server which will backup the one at work, and run an iTunes server

Have you got any better ideas??? Or am i going slightly overkill? And there will be a lot of data, how should i store this?

Thanks
Will
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Old Jun 7, 2012, 04:39 PM   #2
aarond12
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If this is for a business, get a business-class machine for reliability. A Mac Mini server with its dual 500GB hard drives can be mirrored for a bit of protection. It gives you 500GB of total space to work with.

A Mac Pro will give you the ability to add much more storage space. Four 2TB drives aren't that expensive, but will give you up to 4TB of redundant storage.

A high-end NAS might be a good choice, too.

As far as backing up the machines, TimeMachine is the way to go with the Macs. You can backup to Mac OS X Server, the NAS, or even a properly-formatted AFP share.

Backing up the PC will require third-party software, but as long as you have Windows file sharing on the Mac (it will likely be available on the NAS), you will have a network target for these files.

As for a mail and web server, OS X Server is great for both. You will have to stick with the Snow Leopard version of server for the FileMaker server though. There are problems with it and Lion AFAIK.

If it were me, I would go with a Mac Pro running OS X Server, a NAS for the brainless backup duties, and get some sort of a tape backup unit for off-site backups. You cannot risk keeping your backups at the same physical site as your computers.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 09:00 AM   #3
cbott
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aarond12's post is dead on.

Look in to the cost of the refurb'ed Mac Pro. The server grade equipment in the Pro is designed to be running non-stop where as the Mac Mini's usually aren't. The NAS is a perfect solution for office backups. Partition it into two pieces using the largest for Time Machine and the other for the single Windows 7 box. Just make sure to get a four drive NAS (I use QNAP) and set it up in a Raid 5 Array.

I think the house is a little overkill if you were to replicate the office setup. Using a tape backup device at the office to replicate the NAS and keeping the tapes in a fireproof safe at the house should be enough (and save a lot of money... ROI).

If he needs an iTunes server at the house have him sign up for iTunes Match ($25 per year) and leave his computer turned on for streaming movies to his Apple TV through Home Sharing.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 12:03 PM   #4
belvdr
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The server grade equipment in the Pro is designed to be running non-stop where as the Mac Mini's usually aren't.
While I agree with using a Mac Pro over a Mini for expandability, I don't think I'd go as far as saying it is server grade equipment. It's definitely above the Mini, but not quite server grade. It's missing a huge amount of features to get to that level.

If it were me, I'd just use the internal drives for the primary backup and copy to tape for off-site storage. The initial backup will cause more performance degradation on the drives than future backups. You coulduse a NAS device, but I just don't see the need for it in this situation.

For the windows box, create a share and use Windows 7's Backup and Restore Center to backup to the share.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 01:39 PM   #5
cbott
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While I agree with using a Mac Pro over a Mini for expandability, I don't think I'd go as far as saying it is server grade equipment. It's definitely above the Mini, but not quite server grade. It's missing a huge amount of features to get to that level.
While it may not be a FULL server grade system, it is using Intel Xeon (aka server) processors and a far better than standard grade motherboard. Mac Pro's are designed to be used in a much more demanding capacity than a Mac Mini.

The reason to run a NAS, in this situation, is to keep the backup data off the server that's already running web, mail, and file sharing services. The other advantage is that a NAS set up with Raid 5 can be used to back up the other computers AND the server with data redundancy as well as free up space on the server's hard drives for use as the web, mail, and file server.

If you were to run Time Machine on the internal drives (and it was the same drive that one of the other services was using) you would quickly run out of space. Keep in mind that Time Machine keeps backups until it runs out of space and then delete the oldest backups to make room for the new ones.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 02:56 PM   #6
will waters
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I forgot to say there is a budget limit, of around 2500 ($3866)

I was thinking of going down the route of MAC PRO with 4 HDD (all 2TB) and dedicating 2 of these for backup of the machines, 1 for mail/web and the other for filemaker/file server? Would this be an ok configuration??

Should we wait until next week for the New Pro, or buy refurbished?

I am still considering the backup option at the moment. Do you have any idea how much it costs to use tapes to backup a mac pro??

Thanks for your help though, has been really useful

Will
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 03:54 PM   #7
Ap0ks
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Originally Posted by will waters
I am still considering the backup option at the moment. Do you have any idea how much it costs to use tapes to backup a mac pro??
Tape drives aren't going to be within your budget I'm afraid. You'll need the tape drive itself, a scsi/sas card for the Mac Pro, backup software that supports LTO and LTO tapes to backup to.

How much data are you looking to backup per tape? An LTO4 tape will hold 800GB native (upto 1.6TB of compressed data) but the drive itself is in the 1000 and above range.

In terms of your Mac Pro HDD plan, you'll want them in a RAID setup for redundancy, should a disk fail. You could put all four 2TB drives in a RAID 5 array to give you 5.5TB of usable space or a RAID 0+1 array to get 3.7TB of usable space with better performance.

Last edited by Ap0ks; Jun 8, 2012 at 04:02 PM.
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Old Jun 8, 2012, 10:53 PM   #8
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Experience with mini server

To be honest, our business uses a Mac mini server with upgraded ram 8gb. I mirror to an external drive for the server and I do my upgrade tests on this prior to running them live.
I backup everyone locally with a 1tb encrypted disk (they are so cheap now) and this saves network bandwidth also.
I have had the mini running for 3 years, and not a days problem with it. We run web server, caldav, OD master, file sharing and VPN. Works a treat!
Did have a problem upgrading from SL to Lion but that was an OD issue. That's why I mirror the drive and test the upgrades of a bootable external first.
I would also recommend Kerio connect if you are looking for a great mail server for a mixed client base of windows and Mac. The internal mail server is great also.
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Old Jun 9, 2012, 02:28 AM   #9
will waters
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New idea.... sought of

If i get a mac pro, 4x2TB HDD's: 2xHDD's for backup, the others for mail etc, I then get a western digital 4TB HDD (external) and mirror the 2xHDD's that have the mail, web etc on and leave the backup HDD's un-mirrored?? Will this work?

And then for the backup.... Well still thinking about that, anyone else got any amazing ideas, not involving Tape Drives??

Thanks

Will

Last edited by will waters; Jun 9, 2012 at 06:04 AM.
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Old Jun 9, 2012, 09:17 AM   #10
ctucci
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will waters View Post
Hi

I am currently helping out a friend who trying to set up a server for his business and another at his home
...
He wants a way to:
- Backup all these machines
- Run a web server
- Run a mail server
- File server
- File maker server
Time machine has never let me down, but I also use carbonite for offsite.

Managed web hosting is so cheap and powerful these days, < USD 20 gets you a professionally managed web server with email and more. And you're not dead in the water if hardware trouble occurs. Some hosts charge 20/mo for FileMaker hosting.

Mebbe offload the maintenance?
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Old Jun 9, 2012, 09:47 AM   #11
Les Kern
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Backup all these machines
Use a Mini with connected external Drive? Local Lacie 1TB drives? Retrospect 9 with clients on machines and running on a schedule from a Mini? More info needed I think. I back up 47 servers and 2,500 users in a number of different ways.
- Run a web server
Use a free hosting service like http://www.50webs.com. Cost: Free.
- Run a mail server
Set up the biz as a Google business. Ten users are free if i recall correctly. Great mail, no headaches managing, excellent spam control, collaborative docs. Cost: Free
- File server
Depends on how much room you need. Bet you need less than you think. Mini w/2 TB drives.
- File maker server
I have a FM server. It can run on a 10 year old machine, and needs little HD space. Put it on the Mini.

Take the remaining $3,000 and have an awesome party.
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Old Jun 9, 2012, 09:51 AM   #12
Ap0ks
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Originally Posted by ctucci View Post
Time machine has never let me down, but I also use carbonite for offsite.

Managed web hosting is so cheap and powerful these days, < USD 20 gets you a professionally managed web server with email and more. And you're not dead in the water if hardware trouble occurs. Some hosts charge 20/mo for FileMaker hosting.

Mebbe offload the maintenance?
This is what I'd suggest, if the company doesn't have an IT staff or contracted IT support then buy in the services such as hosted email and website hosting.

Does this friend need the clients backed up or is it just work related files that need backing up? If it's just files you could purchase a mini or pro and some sync application to run on each device and sync the files to the mini/pro, then have a second backup of the server drive via time machine, cloud backup or synced to a colo server.

edit - or what Les said
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Old Jun 10, 2012, 07:59 AM   #13
Les Kern
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edit - or what Les said
I am no genius but I have been in the biz for a damned long time and have come to realize that complicated technology only impresses other geeks and eventually, without exception, will bring heartache.
I steer clear of single points of massive failure, and a Mini doing all described is just that. Tape backup is a nightmare waiting to happen and even the best recovery rates without redundancy are 60%. Carbonite is an AWESOME solution and even offers unlimited space. Consider using it in conjunction with things like DropBox. Google Docs is free, so is a web site. PLUS the added benefit beyond complicated and incredibly time consuming solutions is that is saves a crap-load of money. I said crap-load.
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Old Jun 15, 2012, 10:05 PM   #14
mabaty
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While I agree with using a Mac Pro over a Mini for expandability, I don't think I'd go as far as saying it is server grade equipment. It's definitely above the Mini, but not quite server grade. It's missing a huge amount of features to get to that level.

If it were me, I'd just use the internal drives for the primary backup and copy to tape for off-site storage. The initial backup will cause more performance degradation on the drives than future backups. You coulduse a NAS device, but I just don't see the need for it in this situation.

For the windows box, create a share and use Windows 7's Backup and Restore Center to backup to the share.
Xeon processors, ECC ram, dual NICs? From a Mac standpoint how much more server can you get?

----------

My suggestion would be hosted web server (media temple maybe), box.com for business, NAS or crashplan for backup, and google apps or atmail for mail/calendar.
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 04:57 AM   #15
belvdr
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Xeon processors, ECC ram, dual NICs? From a Mac standpoint how much more server can you get?
From a Mac standpoint, it is the best you can get, but it's still not server grade. You consider dual NICs to be server class?
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 04:31 PM   #16
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From a Mac standpoint, it is the best you can get, but it's still not server grade. You consider dual NICs to be server class?
That's why I said "from a Mac standpoint", we are not discussing ProLiant's. So, no I don't consider dual NICs server grade, but it's certainly a feature one would want. I do however consider Xeons, ECC ram and easily swappable hard drives server grade as one will get "from a Mac standpoint"[sic].
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