2010 MacMini Server performance

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by eprepguy, May 12, 2011.

  1. eprepguy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    #1
    I have a photo studio that has an existing network that I call JBOM (Just a Bunch of Macs) in a star config around a gigabit switch. I tried some sub-$1000 NAS boxes but too slow and other issues like smb vs afp caused problems...so....I have purchased a 2010 MacMini Server with SLS and will be testing it out soon using the FW800 port to daisychain at least two 15TB R5 boxes for primary and archive storage needs. We have about 10 Macs of various vintages producing about 50-100GB's new data per day. (everything from shooting workstations to post-proc stations to admin...etc.)

    My question is what mods, if any, do you think will best improve the Mini in its role as a server? It will be a file server first and foremost and everything else a distant 2nd and 3rd priority. It will Host Retrospect for backups to on and offsite HD's but thats about the only non-server software that may sit on it. Could care less about running Photoslop or ID or DW or LR on it, I have MacPro's for that. File ServerFile ServerFile ServerFile Server! what will be best for that?

    With that in mind, will its abilities be improved most by:

    A. Increase RAM to 8GB from 4GB?

    B. Replace internal hard drive(s) with SSD drives?

    C. Install one or possibly two eSATA ports?

    D. Install one extra gigabit ethernet port for possible iSCSI?

    E. Anything else I didnt list here? :)
     
  2. discounteggroll macrumors 6502

    discounteggroll

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    Location:
    Greenwich, CT
    #2
    it looks like you have all your bases covered.
     
  3. eprepguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    #3
    Thanks, discounteggroll, but I will not be doing ALL of those things, just one or two to stay within budget. I think RAM is probably a no-brainer and always improves things, so I guess other than the RAM upgrade, if you had to choose, which of those options would give my server the most bang for the buck? For instance, I know that SSD's are awesome at random read write speeds, but I dont know if a server is mostly doing random read writes or is more a sustained read write kinda animal? Or will I find my worst bottleneck to be the FW800 port (I doubt FW800 will be bad as we are not doing video here just stills and read write to current Macs with FW attached drives is just fine)
     
  4. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #4
    Disk throughput will be the problem as everything will be going over that single FW800 port and single Ethernet port. I don't know how you are going to install esata ports on a mini and an extra Ethernet port will be limited to USB speeds:(

    10 Macs hitting this server at once for large files will be a disaster.

    Seems to me that a Mac Pro server would be a much better solution here.
     
  5. eprepguy, May 12, 2011
    Last edited: May 12, 2011

    eprepguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    #5
    Perhaps, talmy, perhaps...the funny thing is that I enjoy the constant battles between theory and practice with these sort of things. In theory, you would be correct, 10 Macs all hitting this little Mini seems like too much for the lil guy; but in real world application, i doubt more than two Macs will be making requests at any given moment. Also, I have had older DualG5 Macs and Dual P4 Windows machines in here doing this sort of thing and they were fine. I suspect that the 2.66Ghz C2D in this Mini is a faster more robust processor than those older ones, no?

    Also, I have seen where I can add eSATA port or addl ethernet port using either the extra SATA port for the 2nd HD or by using the WiFi slot or both. Why would those be limited to USB speeds?
     
  6. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #6
    Processor speed doesn't really matter here -- disk access will be the bottleneck. More RAM can help as it appears that free RAM is used for disk caching.

    I've got the 2009 mini with SLS, which probably has some hardware architecture differences. There are only 2 SATA channels, both are being used by the internal drives, so unless you get rid of one of the internal drives you couldn't add an ESATA port. Existing WiFi and Ethernet adapters are connected via PCI, not SATA. Bluetooth and IR connect via USB.

    The recommended way to add a second Ethernet is with the Ethernet-USB adapter. It's suitable for the WAN connection when using the mini as a router, but that's about it.
     
  7. eprepguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    #7
    Thanks, talmy, so sounds like a vote for opening up that second sata port and taking it external for primary storage. Archives can be on the FW port as well as backup. Since its a serious pia to open up the mini, whilst I am in there mucking around I might as well replace its boot drive with an SSD...or...hmmmm wait a minute...who really needs an internal boot drive...I mean, if my main bottleneck is gonna be thruput, maybe I should just bring two sata's outside and boot from a FW external SSD or the second external eSATA array? Ahh the permutations are endless arent they? But I still dont see a need to dedicate a $5k tower for file service when maybe a franken-mini will do
     

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