Any interest here in a Mac Mini server?

maxvamp

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 26, 2002
600
0
Somewhere out there
I was just wondering if it there would be interest in a Mac Mini Server for the small business class of folks.

The details would be:

Up to 2GB Memory ( One Slot )
FW800 - to be used with a RAID Mini unit housing several drives using software RAID.
USB2
Radeon 9200
G4 1.5/1.67
100 GB HD
SuperDrive
Gigabit
Tiger Server 15 client Special edition.


What would need to be tweaked for this market?

Max.
 

Les Kern

macrumors 68040
Apr 26, 2002
3,063
76
Alabama
maxvamp said:
What would need to be tweaked for this market?
Hard drive's too slow to be valuable as a server. 4200 ain't going to cut it. We already tried one out as a server, and it failed. A Super drive and the vid card are not needed.
 

maxvamp

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 26, 2002
600
0
Somewhere out there
Well,

What about using the FW800 port and an external FW800 enclosure that is mini-esk with higher performing drives. Would FW 400 be enough to solve the problem?

Also, What type of server were you running that a 4200 was unable to perform for? ( Print, File, Web, Database,...? ). Would a 5400 drive be a better solution? Howabout a 60 GB 7200 drive.

I guess I am trying to figure out what is needed for storage in both size and speed. I envision the internal drive being primarily boot, with light serving duties.

Thx.

Max.
 

maxvamp

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 26, 2002
600
0
Somewhere out there
Actually.....

You simply do not use 2.5" drives for servers. At any speed. End of story.
Actually, several companies, including Western Digital and Hitachi are making 2.5" drives optimized for Blade servers. Hitachi recently tested SAS/SATA 2.5" drives for servers. They are going to hold off for a while, but believe that the 2.5 market is coming.

See here and here.

Max.
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,169
3,435
Twin Cities Minnesota
Well to shed a little more light on the reasons why not, I can give you an example of a situation were it will work.

I work in a managed hosting company that has over 1000 customer servers, and about twice as many colo. We have a customer that has used one of his MINI computers for a stageed testing server on his network. He actually put it into a load balanced environment as a production server for a minor emergency. His advantage was, that his application would load into memory, and run from that. Since his X Serv box was the main headunit for his web application, the mini only addressed part of his application that was not hard disk intensive


Reasons why a Mini is considered a bad idea
1. Drives & speed.

The speed of drives in a server is much more important on a server then it is on a personal desktop. The slower drive speed of a Mini should be fine if you are serving 4 to 5 low demand workstations, and or customers. If the application you are serving is disk intensive, your Mini will not be able to keep up with demand as well.

The smaller the drive, the more fragile it becomes, and the more prone it is to failure in some cases. There are production small form factor drives in testing by many companies, but they are not out yet (from what I understand) and the drives in the Mini are not of this class. The small form factor of the mini does not offer you to run any type of RAID configuration, without using external drives.

I suppose you could run firewire RAID drives, but you would almost want FW 800 to give the server more of an edge and reduce slowness experienced by the workstations you are serving. If the Mini supported Firewire 800 (I have no idea if it does), you could have some verry fast external drives, however by the time you buy them, the cost of your mini is approaching the cost of a single processor Powermac

2. Memory

While 1gb sounds like a good number, most current day servers have and run atleast 2gb. The OS isn't the main reason for this, Serving workstations, or web users requires lots of memory. And in most cases, the apliccation being served takes up memory itself.


Those are the main reasons for not putting a Mini into production as a server. There are others that make it less attractive as a porduction server, but they are more trivial sounding, and it would have to depend on the indended use. I love and want a Mini, but with my experiences, i would seek out a used powoermac over a mini, for a Macintosh Hardware option as a production server.
 

edesignuk

Moderator emeritus
Mar 25, 2002
19,239
2
London, England
maxvamp said:
Actually, several companies, including Western Digital and Hitachi are making 2.5" drives optimized for Blade servers. Hitachi recently tested SAS/SATA 2.5" drives for servers. They are going to hold off for a while, but believe that the 2.5 market is coming.

See here and here.

Max.
When they are in a blade server config that's a different story. You can have one blade fail over to another. A budget Mac mini is a long way from a blade server,
 

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,168
354
The Cool Part of CA, USA
maxvamp said:
Actually, several companies, including Western Digital and Hitachi are making 2.5" drives optimized for Blade servers. Hitachi recently tested SAS/SATA 2.5" drives for servers.
And let's not forget Seagate's Savvio drive, which is a server-only 10,000RPM 2.5" Ultra320 SCSI drive. Seagate, in fact, appears to think that the 2.5" form factor is the future of the server market--more I/Os in less space with less power draw (proportionally smaller actuator and motor). Saying that 2.5" does not equal server is just plain wrong at this point.

But that doesn't directly relate to the original question about a "server-grade" mini. With one of Hitachi's beefier 7200RPM 2.5" drives that are designed for blade use, it could probably work, but I agree that it's not likely the best idea. For a home or very small office, a Mini with a better drive could make for a nice little server-type drive, but it's just not built to be reliable or beefy enough to handle any sort of "mission-critical" role, and to get it up to spec for that would raise its price considerably.

In either case, if all you wanted was online storage, a simple NAS drive would be a lot cheaper and probably more reliable--less to go wrong and a heftier drive.
 
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