Need Help with Mac Networking.

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by A.Christopher, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie


    Feb 7, 2013
    I've recently picked up a rMBP for me and an iMac for my wife. If all goes well, eventually I'd like to replace the rest of my windows machines with Macs including a Windows Home Server I built for file sharing and 13tb of storage space. The WHS works perfectly in a Windows network with 5 Windows PCs and does exactly what I need it to do while on a Windows PC. All of our data is located on and accessed from the WHS which works perfectly for us. It also backups daily and it automatically manages backups for whatever time period I decide to keep them, which I understand time machine will do the exact same thing.

    Here's is where I'm stuck, on a Windows PC I map the network folders that we commonly use in so they are always in My Computer for easy access. I also point the Photos, Music, Videos, and Documents folders to the WHS directories so when you open the Photos folder, you're actually looking at all the photos that both of us have taken that are stored on the server, same thing with music, etc. When we open Lightroom to edit photos, it connects to the Photos folder on the WHS and we can see all the pictures in every subdirectory. Everything is stored on the WHS, nothing on our local Windows PCs.

    The plan was to replace the WHS with a Mac Mini with a Thunderbolt Multi-Bay Disk Enclosure attached to it to serve the same purpose. Can this be configured as one big 13tb storage pool like the WHS does rather than mount each drive on the desktop in which I would have to keep track of which files are located on what drive? And as for the Photos, Music, and Videos folders on the Macs that are listed on the left hand side bar in the finder window , is there a way to have them pointed to the folders located on the Mac Mini like I am able to do on the Windows PCs and WHS? I've tested this between my rMBP and the iMac with a 500gb USB drive attached to it, and while I couldn't figure out a way to point the native Photos folder to the folder that I created on the external USB drive, I was able to drag the folder to the side bar and it created an alias. If I opened finder and clicked the new Photos folder I was looking at the files on the external drive attached to the iMac. I opened Lightroom and imported some photos from that drive and everything seemed like it was going good, until I rebooted. After a reboot for some reason the files in Lightroom are 'Offline or Missing' until I go into finder and click the Photos alias in the side bar, then it reconnects and they show in Lightroom again. Why wouldn't it just automatically reconnect after a reboot? Did I just do it wrong, and there is a right way to map a network drive/folder? Or is it just not going to work the way that I am wanting it to? Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Sorry for the lengthy post, but I'm new to all of this and still trying to learn OS X. Also, I have 2 days left in the return period on my rMBP and a little while longer on the iMac and need to figure out if this is going to work the way I need it to before I commit to it. I started to research a NAS solution such as a DroBo or Synology system, but with them being proprietary, if the unit fails, I am at the mercy of them to fix it to be able to recover my files, rather than just being able to connect the drive to a different Mac and read/recover my files. And I've read the fact that it doesn't use an HFS+ file system impacts the file transfers and indexing a crossed the network. The WHS won’t really work to it's full potential in the Mac environment and if I cannot configure a Mac Mini (w/ external enclosure) as a replacement to the WHS then this would be a huge brick wall that would prevent me from switching over.
  2. macrumors 603


    Not sure if this works but I think it will.

    Lets say you have 5 Macs and the Mini as the server.

    On the Mini you need to switch on File Sharing in System Preferences, in that same Pane on the right you can add all the 5 (Mac) Users which have access.
    You also have to add the Folders to share, if you choose a strong Password for the wireless network you could add the whole disk.
    All of the Macs should then have the Mini in the SideBar and all it's shares.
    For iTunes it's simple, you can choose the Library to be on the Mac Mini, it's simple to do.
    For Video's and Photo's it's more of a problem, you need to make symlinks inside of the users Home folder which points towards the folder on the Mini, after you created the symlinks you can delete the original folder but make sure the Data inside is on the mini or backed up, you could for instance just put the folder somewhere else before deleting.

    If you do it the above way all the files like Music, Photo's and video are on the Mini and shared.

    But, I think there is also another way, like homesharing, I know you can switch this one on in iTunes but I am not familiar with iPhoto too much, right now I can check this for you, Apple decided it's a good idea to leave an App broken while it is downloaded and installed from the App store, completely unacceptable if you ask me.(I am on a slow capped internet and, this is just stupid)

    Edit: Read more about symlinks here:

    Symbolic link
  3. macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2011
    Dear Adam, I have a similar need like yours but for different reasons. I have a Mac Mini Server. As you may know, Mac Mini Server has 2 internal drives. I replaced one of them with a 128 Gb SSD for the OS and programs, and I prefer not to use the Fusion Drive method to merge the two drives into one. Obviously 120Gb is not meant to hold all my media files. I store my music files on the other drive (500 Gb conventional drive) and since my movies and pictures are too large, I store them on an external USB drive connected to the Mini. I map my music and media files using aliases so that everything appears where they should be. In other words, music files under the music folder in my home folder and movie files under the movies and pictures under the pictures. When I open iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes etc, they all find the files as if they reside in the home folder. The trick is to use Aliases and mapping. I'll explain both. First of all, you can map any external drive like you do in Windows and have it automatically connect. Just add the drive to your startup items in your user account, under the Login Items. (System Preferences/Users & Groups/Your Account/Login Items) Just add the drive you want to map by dragging the drive to the items list. The only unpleasant side effect of this is when you login, the drives will be opened on the Finder. There is no way to connect them quietly, at least I couldn't find a way to do it. Now we come to pointing to the media folders on these external drives. The critical folders are: Music, Moves, Pictures and Downloads. As OS X will not allow these folders to be deleted. No problem, because we will place aliases under these folders. There is a way to delete and replace these folders with the aliases as well but I want to keep things simple for now. Under the Movies, there are a few sub folders like iMovie Events, iMovie Original Movies and iMovie Projects. I delete these folders (please move or copy the contents before doing so) and replace them with the aliases. For example my iMovie Events are in my external USB drive. I make an alias for this, copy it under the Movies folder in my Home folder and rename it as "iMovie Events". If you follow this example for the rest of your files and folders, your programs will think that the media files are in your Home folder. It takes a bit of experimenting but in the end, you should have no trouble locating your media files on any external drive and point them correctly using aliases so that your programs will find them where they expect. I hope this will help you to use your Mac the way you envision. I abandoned Windows 4 years ago and never look back.:D
  4. macrumors 603


    bingeciren, you can delete those folders but you need root to do so, one can do so in terminal or enable the root user and delete them from there.
  5. macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2011
    Yes I know I can, but I wanted to keep things simple for Adam. For examle, I deleted my Downloads folder and I keep it in an external drive with an alias pointing to it in my Home folder. My Downloads folder holds many of my .dmg files. In fact I share my downloads folder using Dropbox so that all my Macs (5 in total) have the same files in their Downloads folder. However, I still haven't found a way to auto connect to an external drive quietly by placing the drive to the startup list. Every time I login, the Finder opens the drive in a new Finder window. The "hide" checkbox does nothing. :confused:
  6. macrumors 603


    Of course it won't do anything, reason is that if this would be hidden the Finder does not run, can you do anything when login without the Finder running?:p

    By external disk, do you mean an attached or network disk?
    If it's a network disk why don't you try to do the following, in Finder click on Go, then connect to server and add it there, I did it this way and my shares always show up in the sideBar , I don't want them on the desktop but you can do so in Finder's Preferences.
    It will stick.

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