Is a Mac mini iTunes server as flexible as a NAS?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Gjwilly, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #1
    Right now I've got my iTunes library on a NAS and I access it with my rMBP.
    If I move my Library from the NAS to a Mac Mini with an external Thunderbolt drive will I still be able to access that same library or will that library be "owned" by the Mac Mini?
    I don't want to "share" the library or have read only access because I still want to have full control of the metadata and to be able to sync those items to my iDevices via my rMBP.
    Of course if "sharing" will still let me do what I want then that's ok too.
     
  2. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #2
    I believe a Mac mini can make an excellent NAS. You can even run plex on it if you want certain smart tvs to see content on your Mac mini. I use a synology ds112j. Why? Because it uses 6w standby and 18w active. I like the dsm software. It's Linux running on the ds112's ARM processor. Still, if power consumption was no object, I'd consider a Mac mini as NAS any day.
     
  3. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    Virginia
    #3
    If you wanted exactly the same functionality, you could just share a folder for your media files and mount it on your rMBP just as you do the share on your NAS. Any MAC or PC has the same file sharing functionality as a dedicated NAS.

    In addition, with a Mac Mini, you can run iTunes in an always on mode that allows Home Sharing, which will let you play that media on any of your iDevices (or an AppleTV which is usually the target device in this particular forum area).

    You don't HAVE TO run iTunes on the Mac Mini, but you can. If you don't, there is really no reason to switch from the NAS at least in terms of your iTunes library.

    You CAN use exactly the same media files on both the Mini and the rMBP while using a separate Library file on each - you will just have to manage the files manually in that case - meaning turn of the auto organization options in iTunes Preferences and manually add the files to each library.

    Personally, I would set the mini up as my media server and let iTunes manage it's library, then just connect to the library from my rMBP, iPhone, etc...
     
  4. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #4
    It is more flexible because with OS X Server you can Spotlight it, and if you format the drives as HFS+ you can use DiskWarrior.

    This is why I have not bought a NAS.
     
  5. Gjwilly thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #5

    Yep, that's my goal.

    So share the Thunderbolt folder, and then direct both the Mac Mini iTunes and the rMBP iTunes to that same folder?
    Why would auto organization be a problem?
    Won't they both be organizing things identically?

    Thanks
     
  6. Lord Hamsa macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2013
    #6
    Under any organization system, if multiple iTunes instances are using the exact same files, you want to turn auto-organize off. You'll need to manually tell iTunes to scan for new files from each instance whenever you add new media.

    Alternatively, just share the Mini's library with Home Sharing, and you won't have to deal with the sync issues (drawback: if syncing iOS devices, you'd need to do that direct from the Mini as iOS sync doesn't work with files from Home Sharing).
     
  7. waw74 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #7
    thunderbolt for just a media library is WAY overkill.

    USB2 (yes 2) can easily handle multiple (3 to 5 simultaneous) raw blu-ray rips.
    Movies from the iTunes store are even lower bandwidth, and it should be able to handle 6 to 8 simultaneous 1080 streams.

    Also for a single hard drive (not RAID, not SSD), USB3 and thunderbolt will give you very similar performance.
    ThrowRAID or SSD into the mix, and you might start to see an increase with thunderbolt over USB3

    not trying to talk you out of anything, but if it was me, I'd go USB3, and use the price difference to get larger storage.
     
  8. Gjwilly thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #8
    I've already got it though.
    :D
    Right now I use it as extra storage for my rMBP and it's kind of a pain to connect it and disconnect it so I thought I'd just use it with the Mini and always keep it connected.
     
  9. jljue macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    Brandon, MS
    #9
    I use a Mac mini for iTunes Server, CrashPlan backup, TimeMachine backup, and a few other uses. I originally used external FW800 drivers to store the data and different backup volumes, but my backup volumes now go to a Synology DS1512+ as several iSCSI targets because I had an issue with physical space and need to move some of the volumes to a remote location in the house. It is a little expensive to do it this way, but I decided that it was the best way for me, since Cat5e 350 is in abundance from leftover projects and can be run through walls without special provisions. I still plan to move the last FW800 drive for my media storage to a second Synology NAS (probably DS412+ or DS414) as an iSCSI target as money becomes available and the need to expand arises, since I really don't have the space to set a 4-bay RAID enclosure next to my mini anymore.
     
  10. westrock2000 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    #10
    Which software are you using as an iSCSI initiator? I looked into doing that with OSX, but there wasn't many choices (2) and both had good and bad. Also what kind of bandwidth are you getting with iSCSI (If you know)?
     
  11. jljue macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Location:
    Brandon, MS
    #11
    I use globalSAN iSCSI Initiator. It has a trial period, so definitely feel free to give it a try to see if it works for you. With the drives that I have installed (WD Red) and the iSCSI setup going through a Thunderbolt-Ethernet adapter and a separate switch (D-Link Green), my calculations are peaking near the limit of the Gigabit Ethernet. I don't remember the exact numbers of my speed tests off the top of my head, but I think that some transfers are around 100 MB/s depending on the file size. Since the usage for this NAS is pretty much backup purposes, the transfer rates are really dependent on the client and backup software anyway--no noticeable difference between this setup and the FW800 setup, in this case.
     

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