Mac FTP / File server

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by digitaldean, May 8, 2007.

  1. digitaldean macrumors member

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    Feb 13, 2006
    #1
    Doing initial network planning for a small publications company. There would be 3 publications (1 quarterly, 1 semi-annually, 1 semi-monthly) as well as other print / web design work.

    There would be 4 users initially on the network. 3 designers and 1 accounting Mac using Quick Books. Network would also include a large format HP inkjet, a Xerox color laser printer and a low end HP laser printer for the accounting dept.

    Main goal is to have all graphics / layouts on file server. Would like to double this machine as an FTP server considering all the hi-rez scans involved.

    Looked at XServes, but can't get hardware based RAID without a huge investment. My thought would be to get a used G5 or newer G4 with a RAID card plus 2 or 3 internal 500 GB HDs. Software planned to use: Crush FTP for the file transfer and FreeNAS for the internal file server.

    For backup was planning on getting a DAT tape drive and using Retrospect. Any cost effective backup alternatives like Carbon Copy Cloner? Looking to daily incremental backups of updated work and complete weekly backups to save then store off site.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  2. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

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    #2
    You could always get a G4 and a RocketRAID card or the like, and use that as the server, and then just buy a multi-drive external enclosure to take off-site. The dual-drive ones are small enough, and can be up to 1.5TB nowadays.

    Just a note, though - I used a rather slow (500Mhz) G4 as my file server, and it was pretty bad about accessing things quickly. My new server is much faster. So you might should keep the speed of the computer itself in mind, and you might find that building a cheap PC with built-in RAID capabilities running Linux may be more cost-effective than a used Mac.
     
  3. digitaldean thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 13, 2006
    #3
    Wow, thanks for the quick reply. As for the PC running Linux option... what you recommend for the software? I've heard of Ubuntu and a few others, but don't know much about them.

    As for the RAID, was planning using SATA drives with RAID-1.
     
  4. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

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    #4
    Ubuntu is ridiculously easy to set up and get going, though I haven't tried running a RAID on it. There's lots of good advice here, though: http://www.linuxforums.org/

    I currently am running 4x320GB SATA drives in my PC, and it's a hardware RAID 5 setup through the motherboard utility. Most PC mobos will have RAID 0/1/1+0 available as hardware options, though if you're going to build one, I recommend newegg.com since they have a good search feature to find exactly what you're going to need.

    If it's setup through the motherboard like that in a hardware RAID, pretty much any OS should see it. I use XP, but you'll get recommendations for things like Ubuntu and FreeNAS (limited Mac compatibility on that, though) here.

    Uh... yeah. That was a lot, and I don't know if it helped any. Good luck!
     
  5. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

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    #5
  6. digitaldean thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    You helped out immensely, thanks!
     
  7. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 24, 2006
    #7
    If you are all using Macs on your internal network, don't use FTP. Use AFP instead.

    If you are using a mix of Macs and PCs, use AFP for the Macs to connect to the server and SMB for the PCs to connect to the server.

    My vote is to keep it all on the same platform if you can... 4 Mac workstations and a Mac server (a used G4 will be plenty for the server... even a Mac Mini could work if you need a computer with a warranty, which I think is a good idea for your server) and you'll be all set.

    Buy a copy of OSX Server. It makes setting up user permissions a snap, and the print sharing is more robust. The 10 user license isn't too expensive either.
     
  8. digitaldean thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    The FTP server will be for outside agencies and clients to send hi-res images in and for us to send files out to our prepress vendor.

    Would a Mac mini be overtaxed doing both the file server and FTP server? The G4 sounds like a good option.

    I am looking into both your suggestions as well as livingfortoday's recommendations. Thank you for your quick reply, I appreciate it!
     
  9. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

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    #9
    Well, a Mini is either a high-end G4, or a Core Solo/Duo, so it should be able to handle whatever you throw at it. You'll want a faster hard drive, or an external FW one if it's going to be accessed a lot, I'd think.
     
  10. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

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    #10
    Use a dedicated NAS distro - FreeNAS

    OK, it's not Linux (it's FreeBSD based) but it supports "CIFS (samba), FTP, NFS, AFP, RSYNC, iSCSI protocols" so you can configure it for easy Windows, *nix and OS X access.

    I haven't actually built a NAS but I played about with this in Parallels when I was considering converting an old PC to a NAS (and I wanted to practice) and it's pretty easy to set up e.g. a networked RAID server.

    Edit: Missed this:
    What do you mean? FreeNAS supports AFP. Did I miss something? (I'm asking seriously ... I was able to easily mount the FreeNAS install I'd built in Parallels when I was testing it, but I didn't go as far as hardware testing)
     
  11. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

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    #11
    When I originally looked at it, the manual said "AFP permits Apple OSX users to access the storage resources of FreeNAS.", but it has no more info on that, past a request for Mac users to submit more info. And not knowing how experienced the OP is with things like that, I figured that I should put in a the caveat that there's little support for Macs right now. I don't know if that's changed since I last looked at it, though.
     
  12. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #12
    There's also the Netatalk package, available for various Linux and BSD distributions. A Webmin module is also available. Check your favorite distro for availability of the Netatalk package or you can d/l the source from the previous link, etc.

    "Netatalk is a freely-available, kernel level implementation of the AppleTalk Protocol Suite, originally for BSD-derived systems. A *NIX/*BSD system running netatalk is capable of serving many macintosh clients simultaneously as an AppleTalk router, AppleShare file server (AFP), *NIX/*BSD print server, and for accessing AppleTalk printers via Printer Access Protocol (PAP)."

    Gentoo has a brief how to on the subject of sharing via AFP using Netatalk and Avahi (a Bonjour-like service)...
     
  13. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    A Mac mini (even the original G4 version) is more than up to the tasks you're talking about. Give it a gig or so of RAM and use a fast external hard drive if you go this route. You can use the internal OSX FTP server, the OSX Server FTP server, or a third party one... whatever works for you.

    In any event, the slow connection here is going to be your office connection to the internet (not the speed of the processor). I doubt you'll have thousands of simultaneous requests for your files, so you won't need the punch of a "real" server.
     
  14. tuartboy macrumors 6502a

    tuartboy

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    #14
    I would definitely go the PC/FreeNAS route if you want a dedicated server. A file server and FTP server would take so little resources you could easily run it on last-millenium hardware.

    I personally would get an old computer (or build a low-end system) that is reliable and has gigabit ethernet and get a CF to IDE adapter. FreeNas can install on a tiny CF card (32MB I think) and it will be extremely reliable. You will need to research compatible RAID cards, but get one that supports RAID 5 and has external multilane sata ports. I know the RocketRaid 2322 supports up to 8 drives. I would then get an external drive bay with multilane inputs. Enhance makes a good one that supports up to 8 drives as well.

    In a RAID 5 config with 8 x 1TB drives you would get a full 7TB of online storage with FTP/AFP/SMB access in a reliable and comparatively cheap setup.

    I'm not sure if FreeNAS is smart enough to use multiple interfaces, but if you had a server with 2 ethernet ports, you could configure one to work locally and have the other segmented on to the external-facing WAN to reduce network surface area.

    As for the mac mini: It would be complete overkill in processing power, but has nowhere near the setup to handle large amounts of redundant storage. At best you could raid up some drives over FW400, but that would just be painful...

    P.S. Don't forget battery backups. Nothing can take down a disk array like a sudden surge or outage.
     
  15. digitaldean thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 13, 2006
    #15
    I concur about the UPS issue. The prepress facility I currently work for had that issue come up with our fileservers. (thankfully only a couple hours of downtime rebuilding volumes instead of :eek: what could have happened).

    I am a bit of a newbie when it comes to FreeNAS and working with FreeNAS or Netatalk in general.

    The Mini idea to me does sound OK initially, but I don't see it as a longterm solution.

    I was batting the idea around of getting an Infrant ReadyNAS NV+ and plugging in 4 - 500GB Seagate Barracuda SATA II drives. The reviews I've seen on the ReadyNAS seem pretty decent plus I can config it through my router so I can have part of as my FTP server. Also, the user interfacHere is one of them.

    I would like to be able to learn more about OSX Server. So if I did go with an alternative with the ReadyNAS NV+, I'd go with an older G4 or G5 with a RAID 5 set up built in.

    Again, any feedback on this is greatly appreciated!
     

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