First Mac Mini server - various questions

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by strm, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. strm, Jul 21, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016

    strm macrumors newbie


    Jul 19, 2016
    The ol' Time Capsule has parted from me, and I like to interpret this as an opportunity to step up my game slightly. I looked at ready-made NAS options, but decided against those, so now I'm looking at a Mac Mini server.

    What I want to achieve:
    a) Time Machine backups for 2-3 Macs
    b) Take over the AirPort job that the TC used to do too (only as a WiFi AP though, router is separate)
    c) Torrenting machine
    d) iTunes server for music and film
    e) Photos server.

    My questions:
    1. For the WiFi AP (b), what are the disadvantages of sharing the Mini's ethernet connection over WiFi with Internet Sharing, compared to using a proper AirPort station? Is there anything that you cannot do via Internet Sharing?

    2. For torrents (c) I'd like to send Transmission traffic through a VPN and implement a killswitch too. Any (permanent) interference with the other use cases this might cause? What if, in the future, I want the server to also be an internet cloud, any problems with it there?

    3. For iTunes media (d), I'd like to store the library on an external RAID1. Thunderbolt is too expensive. Would USB 3.0 (like the WD My Book Duo for example) do the job? How 4K-ready would this be for streaming without transcoding? And any limitations to transcoding for iOS devices here? Are there any likely scenarios where I would run into bandwidth issues on USB 3.0? It seems either Ethernet or HDD would bottleneck first.
    As is probably obvious, I have very little experience with these storage things, so if you have any other remarks, go for it.

    4. For the Photos app (e), is there an equivalent of iTunes' Homesharing? (No means of trying it out right now for myself.) Can two clients browse the library simultaneously? Can the clients edit it? Simultaneously? Just tried it, can't access the library from two Macs simultaneously. Is there a solution for this?

    I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts.
  2. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    If you are sharing your Wi Fi the performance will be poor. Your computer will act as a repeater, it will have to repeat everything. Plus range will be smaller.
    Don't do it.
    It's made to be used in a pinch, not a solution.
  3. jasnw macrumors 6502a


    Nov 15, 2013
    Seattle Area (NOT! Microsoft)
    I second adam9c1's view on using the Mini as an AP - just get an AirPort or something similar.

    I'm also biased against TM in general, based on many years of problems with reliability. I use a Mini as my server as you're planning, but I use CCC to make scheduled backups. While CCC isn't as set-and-forget (and -lose) as TM, it provides a lot more flexibility in setting up a good backup plan. I've also never EVER had a CCC-built backup fail me in any way.
  4. strm thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 19, 2016
    Thanks both of you. That would have been a nightmare. Will make sure to sort out a separate AP.

    Just had a cursory look at CCC, thanks for the tip, looks pretty decent, but I think for now it'll have to go on the future upgrades list due to budget.

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