Request for server advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by harveypooka, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. harveypooka macrumors 65816

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    Feb 24, 2004
    #1
    I want to get a server that'll allow five users (in my house) to post large files and get large files....what would be the best way to do this? I can do this on my iMac at the mo but was wondering what people recommend? A mac mini hooked up to a few hard drives? Speed is quite important at there could be five people on at once, uploading and downloading. Just like a big file server really.
     
  2. Blackheart macrumors 6502a

    Blackheart

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    Seattle
    #2
    1st of all, what's your budget constraint?

    2nd, given the amount of file transfer and speed necessity that you need, I wouldn't opt for a Mac Mini. At the very least, I would recommend a used PowerMac G4.
     
  3. harveypooka thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Well, I'd be buying all this myself...but to be honest it's a bit of a project I've got so I'm open to spending a decent amount. A used G4 is a good idea as all it has to do is...host I suppose. I'll have to look into what type of drives the old G4's can handle...I'd say 500GB would be enough for a while and I've got a 250GB external drive...then another 250GB on top, later if needed would be ace...
     
  4. Laser47 macrumors 6502a

    Laser47

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    #4
    I would reccomend a G4 tower too, some can hold up to 5 hd's in them and they are really good for that purpose.
    Be careful when choosing old G4's though, as the IDE controller in some dont support partitions bigger than ~147gbs.
     
  5. Blackheart macrumors 6502a

    Blackheart

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    #5
    You might also look into getting a gigabit PowerMac G4 if you have a network that supports it.
     
  6. harveypooka thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #6
    Hmmm. Any models to stay away from then or any models to look at? Ideally a wireless network would be best as people have laptops and our house is very oddly laid out (three floors etc etc)...cabling would be out of the question. I know I'm not going to get mega fast speeds on wireless, but 54mbps is going to be adequate.
     
  7. risc macrumors 68030

    risc

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    #7
    If all you want is a file server why not just buy network storage instead? You really don't need a computer to do this, unless you are interested in using the machine for something else at the same time.
     
  8. harveypooka thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #8
    Network storage? Do you mean just attatched to my machine? If this is what I think you mean, my main machine will be on and off all the time. I'm guessing this isn't what you mean...

    The ability to also use the machine that hosts (putting files on physically from a DVD or USB key) is a plus...

    Using Remote Access can I bring up my server's Desktop and adminster it from there? I did VNC to my Father's new Mac to help him set it up 100 miles away. Very very useful!
     
  9. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #9
    Network storage is just a drive with it's own drive controller and ethernet jack. It'll show up on your network like any other machine and you can store files on it.
     
  10. harveypooka thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Ah, that also sounds useful. However I think that a PowerMac G4 would be ideal in this case as I have a computer that can actually be used....but I'll have a definate look at some Network Storage and see the price balanced against a second hand system. Thanks.
     
  11. Laser47 macrumors 6502a

    Laser47

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    #11
    It would be better, performance wise if the server was connected directly to your router even if you have all wired clients since it will reduce network bottlenecks considerably. Also bear in mind that 802.11g will give you about half of the 54Mbps.
     
  12. harveypooka thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #12
    Just out of interest why would it cause a bottleneck or be subject to one? Because the router can deal with requests better than just essentially a computer with a wireless card?
     
  13. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

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    #13
    I think the MDD G4s were the first models to have an ATA-6 IDE controller in them that will let you see more space on the drive than 137GB (no matter how you partition them). There are PCI card options tho for ATA-6 IDE, SATA, RAID etc (i have one in a B&W G3 running two 200GBs as a RAID).

    Gigabit ethernet might also be a consideration - but only if the rest of your network has it.

    If it's an "always on" solution i'd be more inclined to go the LAN drive enclosure route, if just for the noise factor (G3/4 towers are not nicknamed "wind tunnels" for nothing)
     
  14. harveypooka thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #14
    I found this (http://www.buffalotech.com/products/product-detail.php?productid=72&categoryid=10) which seems quite good. But then a machine would be great...I could buy a MDD G4, would be a nice bit of kit and it'd run MacOSX would could be useful to stream music too, through iTunes. What sort of speed should I be looking at and does this have any impact massively on my requirements? I've seen some in the range of 500 or 600mhz for relatively cheap. Best to go higher?
     
  15. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

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    #15
    Faster is always better, but i'm running an iTunes/file/backup/web server off a 350 G3. It's sometimes a bit slow doing database/image crunching for my dynamic sites, and a bit hesitant on occasions running my (ridiculously large) iTunes library, but otherwise perfect.
    I'm sure i read somewhere that pure file serving for a web site would be adequately handled by a Quadra700 (remember them!) unless you were getting over 1000000 hits a day.

    The only reasons i'm thinking about upgrading it to a G4 Quicksilver are that it would boot off a backup firewire drive in emergencies and (more importantly) i think they look really nice.
     
  16. harveypooka thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #16
  17. Blackheart macrumors 6502a

    Blackheart

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    #17
    If you have 5 computers attempting to connect to a server at a rate of 54mbps (theoretical) then you would need at least a 270mbps connection (at this rate, not even 10/100 could keep up with this, you'd need 10/100/1000) from the point of convergence (the router) to the server. If you only have a 54mbps connection from the router to the server, then all of the other computers have to share this. Thus, you are left with 10.8mbps transfer from any given computer, to the server.
     
  18. harveypooka thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #18
    Ok. Well, unless everyone wants to shell out for Gigabit ethernet then we'll have to put up with up to 54mbps!
     
  19. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
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    Redondo Beach, California
    #19
    You don't need a high end CPU for this job. Serving files at the full Ethernet wire speed would not tax even a 500Mhz G4. But you should be looking at gigabit Ethernet and possably a RAID system. The mini would work but it only has 100BaseT. An older Power Mac would be perfect because the disk would fit inside and you could buy a fast Ethernet card.

    If you want to be more cost effective look into running one of the UNIXes (BSD, Linux, Solaris, Darwin) on PC hardware. and run "headless" (that is with no keyboard/mouse or CRT) I found an Antec PC case that is nearly silent and has 6 internal drive bays THis could cot nearly nothing

    The other idea is not to set up a server at all. Just put a big disk on one of the desktop machines and share it. Five users is NOT a big load on a server.

    But once you DO have a server then you can do some interrstinmg stuff for example put the user's home directories on the server so when they log in they see the SAME desktop on any Mac. The same goes for the applications folders. Do that and then you'll be thingking about raid and 1000BaseT and a backup plan
     
  20. harveypooka thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Feb 24, 2004
    #20
    These sound the best options and also, geek cool. I think I'll go for the server option. However, if I decide to put my user account on my Server and say play WoW, that'll be dependent on the speed of the server right? Not my terminal? Or have I got that the wrong way around?!
     
  21. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

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    #21
    The G4 400s are not ATA-6 enabled - the MDD versions that are started at (i think) around 1.25 GHz - for mac specs for every model you can't go past EveryMac, invaluable for this kind of thing.
     
  22. harveypooka thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #22
    UK only! There are a few, like Clearance Macs or Mac18 that do similar things....so I'm looking for MDD....ok....
     
  23. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #23
    One reason is that buying a computter and adding disks to it is cheaper than the network stoarge system. Also a PC case can hold a "ton" of drives. Having a half dozen empty drive bays means you can expand "forever" You can buy a PC mainboard with AMD CPU and builtin Ethernet for $125. the case costs about $60 and then you add basre ATA drives as required. If you are a true "aple gek" you can run Darwin on it. Darwin is free and runs on generic PC hardware. You can also run Apache and other services. Next you can put in a few diffetn network interfaces. My file server is sending out data over 1000BaseT, Firewire and "wireless" and it all fits in a silent PC case
     
  24. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

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    #24
    absolutely. you're going way beyond mere file serving with this kind of use - you'll need speed and bandwidth (and backup!).
    Unless you do synching between the two, don't forget also that with this approach you won't have a home folder when you take the laptop away from the network.
     
  25. harveypooka thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Feb 24, 2004
    #25
    This sounds like a very good idea. What implications does this have for actual usage of the server? I can administer it through the terminal (I use UNIX at work for file management and really Vi and some customer billing applications) but what would my housemates see if they wanted to upload or download data? To get data to and from our UNIX servers I just use an FTP client or use FTP within UNIX....
     

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