Mac Mini as a NAS and more......

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by RienduPre, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. RienduPre macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2013
    #1
    Hi,

    I searched the forum and found lots of information on this, but I'm still undecided on this.

    So here is my question.

    First off all: I have a Mid 2011 Mac Mini (8 Gb mem), a TimeCapsule (2Tb) and a QNAP NAS TS-410 (Raid 5, 4x 2 Tb disks). All are in a closet serving my family needs -:)

    I'm not happy with the QNAP, because of the bad support of QNAP, especially when it comes to OSX/iOS/ The other issue, it's slow especially when I activate some QNAP apps on the devices.

    So I thought.....
    I already have a MAcMini running, why don't I add a DAS(using the 4 disks of the QNAP) to it and the MacMini can take over all the QNAP functionality, and much more. In search of a DAS/FW800 capable device which can hold 4 disks, I found a cheap DroBo 2nd gen, which perfectly fits my needs. At least I thought so.
    I have to pick it up next friday, so I have time to cancel it.....
    The problem is that there are many complaints about stability and slowness of the DroBo 2nd Gen. And I don't want to get in the same or more trouble than with the QNAP. But there are also people which are using it without any problem for years.

    So the big question is: What are your (performance and stability)experiences and advice in this ? OR alternatives ?

    The MacMini/DroBo combo has to server the following functions:
    - File sharing for the XBMC media players (RASPBMC etc..) around the house, of course without stuttering (this does work without a problem with my QNAP)
    - The MacMini runs a Windows virtual Machine with VMware Fusion (VM is on the local disk)
    - The MacMini runs security Spy and the camera recordings will be saved on the DroBo
    - The Mac Mini is running OSX server, So I Like to run it also as a Time Maichine server and get rit of my current Time Capsule too.
    - Download server using SABnzbd.
    - Iphoto 'server'
    - iTunes 'server'

    Many thanks in advance,

    Rien
     
  2. Osip, Nov 20, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013

    Osip macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    #2
    I currently use an Early 2009 mini as my file server with a Drobo Gen 2 attached to it. The main playback software I use is VLC on a Windows PC in my bedroom. Aside from the slow folder-loading due to the Drobo needing time to initially wake up, I haven't had any major problems. I did need to change the video buffer time in VLC on my Windows PC to 5 seconds, but after that I was pretty much problem-free in VLC.

    Home Sharing through iTunes, however, was not as simple. HD video playback was awful and I could not find an easy way to increase the buffering in the Windows iTunes client.

    As for the Drobo itself, I'm on my 3rd 2nd-Gen device. My first was DOA, but my second lasted for about 5 years of almost continuous up-time (the most time it was powered off was during a couple of moves lasting approximately 3 days each time). Unfortunately, my second Drobo did not survive my last move... Well it did, but it did not survive the fall from the back of my vehicle and onto the asphalt. :( The data was recoverable and I was able to reestablish my RAID in my eBay-purchased third model. If you don't mind the sluggish file copies, I'd definitely recommend it. If speed is more your concern, you may want to look into another solution OR grab a newer model with mSATA support (money-permitting).

    EDIT: I just reread your initial post. I wouldn't recommend a 2nd Gen Drobo for at least one of your intended usage scenarios (constantly storing security camera footage) because of the slower access speeds I mentioned previously. You'd probably be better off with either a more recent (and of course more expensive) Drobo model or going with another manufacturer.
     
  3. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #3
    I have similar needs and also run a 2011 mini. I have a Pegasus J4 connected which I'm very happy with. The J4 only runs 2.5" drives, so perhaps not so applicable in your case.

    I've had my eye on Drobo for a long time, but consistent poor reports of product failures and iffy service have kept me away.

    It's annoying how a lot of manufacturers insist on selling drives in their enclosures, but I guess that's where they can make some extra margins...

    I did at one point pick up some second hand WD My Book Studio drives, swapped out the (smaller capacity) drives for some big ones on hand. The dual drive models are pretty sweet.
     
  4. RienduPre thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2013
    #4
    Hi,

    I like to inform you on the current status of my move to my MAcMini in combination with the 2nd gen DroBo. See comments in RED

    I have most data from my old NAS the DroBo (1x 2Tb disk only in it) and after that I added a second 2Tb drive to achive redundancy in the Drobo volume.
    This process takes about 24 hours :( and is still running.

    • File sharing for the XBMC media players (RASPBMC etc..) around the house, of course without stuttering (this does work without a problem with my QNAP)
      This does work without any issues, even during the rebuild of the volume
    • The MacMini runs a Windows virtual Machine with VMware Fusion (VM is on the local disk)
      This VM was already running on the MacMini and is still running without a problem (the VM files are on the internal disk)
    • The MacMini runs security Spy and the camera recordings will be saved on the DroBo
      This is not implemented yet
    • The Mac Mini is running OSX server, So I Like to run it also as a Time Maichine server and get rit of my current Time Capsule too.
      This is not implemented yet and will be enabled as soon as the 3rd drive is in the DroBo
    • Download server using SABnzbd.
      This is not implemented yet and will be enabled as soon as the 3rd drive is in the DroBo
    • Iphoto 'server'
      Iphoto is running, but the library is still on the internal disk and will be moved in a later stadium to the DroBo volume
    • iTunes 'server'
      Itunes is running, but the library is still on the internal disk and will be moved in a later stadium to the DroBo volume

    I'l keep you posted on the progress, but so far so good:)

    Best regards,
    Rien
     
  5. OhHaiThere macrumors regular

    OhHaiThere

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    Save yourself some money and get the HP Micro Server, it sounds like it would work better for your needs. It's quiet, compact, has 4-drive bays (though you could put more HD's in the DVD drive slot) an so on.
     
  6. RienduPre thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2013
    #6
    All tough I even work for HP, this is not a good option for me. This is just because of the fact that in runs on Windows:mad:

    As said, everything is still running as expected..... And I will to one step at a time...

    /Rien
     
  7. OhHaiThere macrumors regular

    OhHaiThere

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    What's wrong with Windows? It'll do everything you want.

    Install VMWare ESXi (16gb license included as part of server purchase) and you can host a whole slew of OS's, including Windows, Linux, Solaris, *BSD, OS X, etc.
     
  8. RienduPre thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2013
    #8
    For starters, Windows is not the most stable OS in the world:eek:. iTunes on Windows is crap, No Time Machine support, no iPhoto etc...
    See my requirements, Windows is not capable of doing (all) the functions I need....

    /Rien
     
  9. OhHaiThere macrumors regular

    OhHaiThere

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    Windows is extremely stable, but sounds like it may not work for you anyway. Like I said earlier, you can run OS X in a VM.
     

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