Best practices: Networking for Mac Groups in a mixed environment

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by popovich, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. popovich macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2011

    I am here to ask for an advice on a subject. I am considering upgrading my internal infrastructure on a limited budget and would like to research the options.

    Here is our actual setup.
    • 2 workstations – iMacs, running Mac OS X 10.6.7 (there will be more soon);
    • 1 file server – Windows 7 Pro, 64 bit, separate physical hard drive, NTFS partition, no system files, different shares for different users;
    • 1 web server – same Windows machine, Apache/mySQL/PHP; htdocs on the same partition, AMP on a different hard drive;
    • 1 NAS – Synology DS-410, RAID 1, used as a backup box;

    Everything within one workgroup (not domain), wired through a switch.
    The user/password combinations on iMacs correspond to the Windows user/pass combinations, used for shared folders.
    It all works.

    However, sometimes, quite abruptly, it works not. I cannot pin down the problem, but it seems, that as soon as I start working with a shared folder (containing a plethora of subfolders) and another user works within the same folder, our iMacs freeze (Finder and the application, which needs to read/write, normally a part of Creative Suite 5). Also, I would never think, that I will have to restart (or shut down) my iMac by pressing and holding The Button, and it seems to have the problem of releasing the network connection(? or whatever it does there).

    So my first step is to isolate the web server from the file server, and for that I am buying a low-cost box, which will run a Debian setup and AMP bundle. I would like to also be able to edit files locally (Samba/Bonjour?), however the guy who will setup the box, doesn't like the idea of file sharing for Linux/Mac pair and proposes to edit files through ftp. I haven't really understood the reasons behind this decision, but maybe you can.

    I have also to deal with the file server and here I have three options:
    1. Leave the Windows box as is, see what happens, deal with problems as they come (been doing this for months now).
    2. Dump Windows 7 altogether, install Mac OS X (Server?) on the box and ... see what happens (utopia).
    3. Buy a Mac Mini, install a Mac OS X Server on it, transfer all data from Windows machine to it (I cannot afford a Mac Pro).
    4. Buy a box, install another Debian/Ubuntu there, copy all data from Windows HD (risky, might have the same problems as Windows).
    The file server should be a robust one, as we are working with 100Mb files, constantly reading/writing. Total data volume today: 500Gb. I would hate to lose the data there, really. And also, not to forget, the file server should copy itself to the Synology NAS, daily. I don't know how it goes with a Mac or Linux.

    So tell me, how bad it all is and what would you consider doing here.

    Thanks a lot in advance!
  2. popovich thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2011
    I see people reading this thread, but nobody seems to actually have anything to say.
    After researching a bit more, I see that small groups working on Mac workstations prefer all-Mac setups: Mac Mini as a server with an attached storage, like Drobo (or Promise products, offered by Apple when shopping for a Mac Mini). Does that mean, that Macs are not sooo friendly with other OSes? How about scalability? XServe is not there anymore (so one should consider third-party products, like Promise), whereas Win rack servers are not a problem at all. And that makes the question of mixed vs all-mac environments even more interesting.
  3. matspekkie macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2010

    As i read it the whole Windows machine could be replaced by à Mac mini running SL server it allready has apache php and mysql so it can run the webserver and the fileserver part. as Mac uses afp shares this should be more robust than smb Windows mac

    By my knowledge the symology can act as an timemachine Backup destination.
    As far as scaleability THE 1 TB discspace might be expanded by adding external drives or DAS like promise or so. Also SL server has some nice unique addons
    Like ical server wiki groups etc etc.

  4. popovich thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2011
    So you are basically saying, that the idea of running Mac workstations in a mixed environment is not good and one should switch to Mac infrastructure completely? Hm...
  5. menlotechnical macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    Actually, if you drop the Windows box, then you can consider the network file system NFS... I am not sure how this will apply to your mobile considerations - are they out of your network a lot or do these machines stay inside the network?
    NFS is a great idea, and Linux will make a great server platform if you want - Ubuntu server, OpenSuse, or even RedHat's free repository version CentOS.
    All of these can run NFS. You will have to adjust a few port settings...
  6. Matty-p macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2010
    id' tear off windows and stick a *nix on it
  7. hakuryuu macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2007
    Lomita, CA
    Go all Mac and/or Linux for servers. And there is little reason you can't use AMP on OS X. If you can wait for Lion the server functionality is still there and is stupid easy to setup.

Share This Page