Simple data sharing server

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by skerfoot, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2010
    Sorry for the clearly noob question. I’ve read through other recent threads on Lion server and the xserve etc., and I’m not really sure that I know much more than I started.

    I have been managing a very simple OSX Server in a research lab, and I’m looking to set up a new one in the near future. The current setup is a Mac Pro running OSX Server, with several rack-mounted large RAID drives (both eSATA and FW800) and a backup-UPS battery powersource. The primary function is to have a central storage space for large amounts of imaging and other data available to multiple machines both locally and off-site. Perhaps it’s working as our own mini cloud for 20 or so users. We also manage a common iCal and Address Book on the server, but its primary function is data storage and network sharing of the data.

    As I’m in a position to start over again to put together a new system, I’ve been looking at options. xServe is gone, and from reading the thread on the Active SAN metadata controller I don’t think that it is what I’m looking for (right?). If I understand correctly, Lion will have some relatively simple server features (likely) built in.

    These are my questions:
    1) Since data sharing it the primary function, is a server really what I want? I know I could do something with a simpler networked storage device, but it seems to me that a server does a better job of controlling access and managing multiple RAID drives.
    2) I have some experience with OSX Server, but no experience with any other sort. Should I be looking outside the Mac-verse for a simple data-sharing server that will work for both Macs and PCs.
    3) Is a Mac Mini running server a viable option? One advantage is that I could mount this to a rack. Still have to find some sort of power backup solution. My main concern is the speed by which the data can be shared over the network with other machines. I suspect that the real bottleneck is the network connection, not the mini, but I’m a noob and guessing here. It seems to me that the method used to connect a mini to the RAID drives would also impact this seriously. I don’t see any eSATA ports on the mini, and that should be the fastest, right?

    I know that there are a lot of serious server administrators here, and these sorts of noob questions are likely very naïve. I appreciate any advice.


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