G4 Home Server Guide or Help

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by mscriv, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #1
    Hi All,

    Well, I bought some G4 towers, one 733 quicksilver and one FW800 MDD and I want to set up a home server. I've quickly realized that what I thought would be simple is not and I feel like I'm in the deep end of the pool without floaties. :eek: I don't need complicated email, printer sharing, or remote internet access. I just want to load one or both of them up with big drives that are dedicated for storage and backup. My initial thought is a drive for music, one for video, one for photos, and one for time machine back up. Here's the problem. I don't know how to make this happen. Can I do it all with Leopard or Tiger? I've heard about headless access or screen sharing, but I don't know how to accomplish this? My research has found all kinds of options like Free NAS or Ubuntu/Linux, but I don't know anything about these platforms and I have no clue how to work with Terminal commands. Any help would be appreciated. The goal is to simply connect the server by wired ethernet and have access to the media on our main Imac and our G4 Ibook which both use Leopard. At this point I'm not looking at Raid or anything like that, but I'm sure I will eventually after I know how this will basically work. (one step at a time) I do already know that if I want to use large drives I will probably have to get a PCI SATA controller card. Any and all advice is appreciated. I've looked for a simple walkthrough or guide to doing this and can't find anything. Thanks in advance for all replies. :)
     
  2. Sayer macrumors 6502a

    Sayer

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #2
    You can just pop in the drives to one or both Macs, turn them on with a screen, log in and change some settings:

    Turn on File Sharing for each Mac - in the "Sharing" control panel and "Security-Firewall" control panel for newer OSes.

    In the Energy Saver preferences find and set the option "Automatically restart after power failure" and set the drives to never sleep, Mac to never sleep.

    If you put Leopard on them you can use the built-in screen sharing features with no extra software, just make sure its turned on also.

    Otherwise you need a VNC Server app installed. You can google for one. ChickenOfTheVNC is a client, not the server, FYI. You can use Leopard screen sharing and connect to VNC servers, but some features don't work.

    That's really all you need to do. Once its setup you can get access via VNC/screen sharing over the network.

    There are extra steps you can do such as logging out of the "Mac" window system by enabling "Other" logins in the Users/Accounts system preference, logging out, and selecting "Other..." and logging in with an empty password as (exactly): >console

    This quits all of the graphical interfaces of Mac OS X freeing up RAM and CPU resources. I did this for my old G4 running my website, CVS, email (outgoing) and file sharing years ago.

    You can also tweak some settings to increase the max number of open files, but I don't have that at hand (its buried in the Mac my wife is using ATM). For file sharing and related it helps a bit as Mac OS X client is not meant to be a full server out of the box.
     
  3. Yoursh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    MN
    #3
    I currently use a G4 Xserve as home server with 10.5 Server. A little overkill for your setup but I can help get you started.

    -Stick with one system. It can get confusing with multiple systems when your trying to find out where you have a specific file. Go with the FW800 MDD(same generation as my Xserve), I'll explain below.
    -Like you quessed, there is a limit in how many drives you can fit into each system. The motherboards will only support 2 hard drives(3 if you willing to swap out your optical drive). Also the 733's motherboard most likely only supports drives 120GB and smaller. They only upgraded the motherboards in the later systems of that generation. The MDD doesn't have this issue. You can support more/larger drives than 2 with a PCI ATA/SATA card. Most G4 Powermac's can hold 4 drives but you have to make sure your not overloading the powersupply.
    -Another option with the MDD model is to hook up external firewire 800 drives and just use the internal drives to run the OS off of. They would be plenty fast enough for storage and you wouldn't have to worry about upgrading the tower too much. Also you could hookup something like Drobo via the firewire if you want redundant backup. You can also use firewire 400 drives and usb 2.0 drives if you install a usb 2.0 PCI card in either of the systems. You have several options. You just need to figure out which works best for you.
    -I would recomend using 10.5 leopard on your system. The MDD should run it fine without any issues. The 733 technically isn't supported but you can get it on there via some work arounds(I've had 10.5 running on 466MHz G4's). Depending on what type of video card you have in the systems, you may not get all of leopards graphical features. Though you don't need them since the system will be headless. The network features are much improved in 10.5 and it works really nice on a home server.
    -Running 10.5 is easy since screen sharing is easier to setup than 10.4. All you need to do is turning the feature on in the G4 via the previous post's instructions. Then the G4 should appear under network systems on the left side of your finder window on your other Mac's. All you need to do is select it then click screen sharing. Enter the G4's admin name and password, and your good to go. You can also do screen sharing with 10.4, but you will need aditional software to get it up and running. 10.5 is much more user freindly out of the box.
    -File sharing is also setup via the sharing icon in the System Prefernaces. You first turn the service on then add which ever folders you want to share over the network and who you want to have access. For example if you only give the G4's admin access, you will have to enter the admin's user name and password if you want to access those folders. If you give 'Everyone' read access, anyone can view the files but can't edit them. Under options you can pick what sharing protocol you want ot use. AFP will only work with Apple systems while also selecting SMB will allow windows computers to see the folders and files. 10.4 file sharing works in the same way but the setup is a little different. You should be able to figure it out. After it's setup you would just select the system in Finder and you should then see the folders and files that you setup to be available.
    -Best advice is to find out where you want to set it up. Out of the way so it can't be accidentally turned off. Install your drives and such, then hookup a monitor and keyboard/mouse. Get the OS installed and the settings how you want. Then unplug the monitor and keyboard/mouse. You should be good to go.

    Good luck
     
  4. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #4
    Actually 4 IDE drives are supported on PowerMac G4.

    In my dual 800 PM g4 there are actually slots for 6 drives without modding (if you take out the optical drive)
    I also have a SATA pci card.
     
  5. Yoursh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    MN
    #5
    Your right about the motherboards being able to support 4 drives. Misspelling on my part. Just need an extra IDE ribbon cable.

    Yeah, you can fit 6 drives if you have 3 of the dual drive caddies. Though, most G4's I have worked with only came with one dual caddie and then 2 single caddies. It depends on what his 2 G4's came with. He could always track down some extra dual sleds fairly easy.
     
  6. mscriv thread starter macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #6
    I do seem to be missing some of the hard drive caddies. The MDD is missing the back one that mounts vertically and the Quicksilver only has one caddy in it. Where could I find these parts? Also, is it better to get the SATA PCI card or do the SATA to IDE converters work just as well? My only concern in using a converter is would I lose any speed?
     
  7. Yoursh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    MN
    #7
    ebay is always a good place to find misc. parts at a decent price. Third party vendors also offer replacement parts but they tend to mark up the price quite a bit.

    Also go with a pci SATA card if you want equal speed with all your drives. Just make sure you get one that is fully mac compatible. I've had good luck with OWC myself.
     
  8. mscriv thread starter macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #8
    Update - still some questions

    Allright, I did some tinkering this weekend. I'm working mainly with the MDD although I did get both systems set up with 20gb main drives running Leopard. The screen sharing works beautifully, just like you guys said it would. Right now, just for testing purposes, I've got two 40gb drives in the MDD. I'm thinking about moving the main system/boot drive into the second optical bay to free up space. Are there draw backs to this? It would now be working off of the same cable as the DVD Rom drive which I believe is an ATA 66. Would this be a big slow down in performance? I've also been looking at PCI cards online and I found this one: http://www.macconnection.com/IPA/Shop/Product/Detail.htm?sku=5544402&br=176 I'm not familiar with CP technologies and I'm assuming it's compatible since it's on Macconnection. Somone else told me I could get an eSata PCI card and then route cables internally through an open PCI slot. I'm not sure about this either. If I plan on putting 3-4 drives inside the machine do I need to worry about heat issues or is the standard fan set up enough? Oh yeah, I did find a second hard drive carriage on Ebay as suggested and will be ordering one in the next few days. You guys have already been so helpful. Thanks. :)
     
  9. Yoursh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    MN
    #9
    Unfortunately it looks like the card you posted is only for PC. Macconnection also sells pc parts under PCconnection. Fully Mac compatible ones tend to be more expensive. Here is one for example.

    An eSATA card should technically work, but I would be worried about the cables becoming unplugged by accident. As for the heat, I'm not overly sure. I've never filled up a G4 myself. My Xserve has 4 drive bays that are designed to move air as much as possible. The result is it sounds like an air conditioner. The speed of the drives you plan to use would also be a factor. Faster drives generate more heat. You will probably just have to monitor the heat levels of the system when it's all set up and change things if necessary.
     
  10. mscriv thread starter macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #10
  11. Yoursh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    Location:
    MN
    #11
  12. mscriv thread starter macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #12
    Okay, here's another PCI Sata card question. If a card has a maximum drive load is that divided across all of the ports or is that just a general max? For example, I've found a used Sonnet Tempo-X eSata 4+4 card for a good price. The card is listed with a 4 TB max. Well it has 4 internal SATA ports and 4 external eSATA ports. Does that mean I can only use 500gb hard drives per port, i.e. 500gb x 8 ports = 4tb or can I use four 1tb drives whether internal or external and still be okay? I looked around for some time and can't seem to find an answer on this one. I'd really like to have the options that a card like this provides even though it is three years old, but I don't want to be constrained to 500gb hard drives. :confused:
     
  13. mscriv thread starter macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #13
    CP Technologies definitive answer

    I emailed CP Technologies directly and here's the answer, "Unfortunately, we do not have MAC drivers for the CP-SP-01. I apologize for the inconvenience."

    Thank you, Ly Seang

    So there you have it. Not Mac compatible despite the vendors who are advertising that it is. :(
     
  14. Yoursh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    MN
    #14
    I did some checking myself and was unable to find a definite answer. Mostly due to the fact that the card was out way before there were 1TB drives. Sonnet doesn't seem to go back and check discontinued cards to see how high they can go. I would say your safe as long as you keep the total storage to 4TB. I also think the 4TB number comes from the fact that you would max out at that number with the largest drives at the time. There probably is a limit, but someone would have to test it out.

    One thing I do want to point out is that the card doesn't support booting. This means you would have to keep the drive running OSX on the motherboard while running the others off of the PCI card. Not really a drawback in your situation but something to keep in mind.
     
  15. mscriv thread starter macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #15
    Another update

    I can't believe it. I picked up four 1tb SATA Seagate ES.2 drives from a guy off Craigslist for an amazing price, less than two would cost at retail. I've ordered my SATA cables and some molex to SATA power adaptors. My initial thought is to put all four drives inside and keep the small 20gb ATA IDE drive for boot/OSX. That's a total of five drives and means I need to use the 2nd optical bay. CONSULTANT, you mentioned something about this in your post. Is it hard to put a HD in the 2nd optical slot? Do you have any suggestions on which drive to put there, my boot drive or one of the SATA drives? I'm still looking for a SATA PCI controller card. A guy on another forum said that there is no individual port max on SATA cards so I think I will be okay there. However, I missed out on an amazing Sonnet card I was watching on ebay. I'm now looking at this one: http://www.datoptic.com/cgi-bin/web.cgi?product=SATA4-PCI&detail=yes. Does anybody know anything about this company. They show :apple: compatibility in various spots on their website. I've sent their tech support an email just to be sure but haven't heard back yet. Is there anything I'm forgetting or missing? Learning all of this stuff is really exciting.
     
  16. mscriv thread starter macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #16
    Working so far, but still some ???'s

    I pulled the trigger on a SATA card. I got two Macsense PCI cards that have two internal ports, one external port, and one ATA133 port. This gives me a total of four internal SATA ports for my four 1TB drives. The cards installed easily and did not need any drivers or firmware. Like a mac should, it just worked. I've put Leopard on a small 20GB boot drive and mounted that in the 2nd optical slot. Two of the four storage drives are connected and working. I will connect the other two when my SATA cables arrive from monoprice. So, at this point I'm feeling pretty good about things, but I still have some questions. As it stands now I am accessing the server through file sharing. However, I don't want to leave the server on all the time, but power it up when I need access and save the power and noise when I don't need it. Is there a way to make the server "plug & play" or set it up to auto connect where the drives/folders will show up on my main system's desktop or sidebar when the machine is turned on? I know I can make an alias for each drive, but the alias still requires an administrator password when you double click it. I'm trying to make the system as user friendly and simple as possible for other family members. It would be great if all they had to do was power on the server computer and the drives would simply mount, just like an external drive does. Is this possible?
     

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