Mac Mini File Server questions

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by n4j, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. n4j macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2016
    #1
    Hello everyone at MacRumors, this is my first post!

    I've been looking around for a file server that would suit my needs.

    I plan on using OS X Server for my file server, here's what I would like to do.

    A mac mini connected to 2 external hard drives, one storage and one backup(i plan on expanding in the future)
    I want to be able to share media on the file server with PC, iOS and android. both inside the network and outside the network.
    I also want to be able to use the server as a backup for all of the iOS devices my family use. so that they can put all of their photos and videos on the server and access them whenever they want. (I'm the only one without an iOS device but I'm ready to switch to iOS)

    So my questions,

    - How would i be able to make the storage devices automatically backup itself. would i need to put them in a raid configuration or is there another way?

    - How would i create shares that can be accessed by PC, iOS and android and would stream media directly to the devices? SMB?

    - Is it possible to backup iOS device media onto OS X server? similar to the way iCloud backups are made

    - How would I access the server from outside the network?


    Thank you, I would appreciate all comments and please do post links that would help me
     
  2. DJLC macrumors 6502a

    DJLC

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    Mooresville, NC
    #2
    1) You could do a RAID or Time Machine or a Carbon Copy Cloner schedule.

    2) This is what makes OS X Server necessary. For an iOS device to access a share, it must be running iOS 9.3 and be enrolled in Mobile Device Management (Profile Manager with OS X Server). With your MDM, you can map a share on the server to the enrolled iOS devices, and I believe it functions very similarly to iCloud Drive.

    3) No.

    4) Put it in the DMZ of your network OR forward the appropriate ports for the services you wish to access from outside. You may also need a static IP or dynamic DNS service.

    And welcome to MR! I'm mostly a lurker, but it's a pretty neat place. :)
     
  3. n4j thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2016
    #3
    Thank you for the reply.

    Could i have an album on my iOS device that stores the photos/videos on the server instead of the device memory?
     
  4. joshjohnson macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    #4
    the only equivalent is to use apple's Photos and have it sync via iCloud across your OS X 10.11.4 and iOS 9.3. there may be some app i'm not aware of that will share photos but iCloud Photos is what you want to minimize used space and have all your photos backed up locally. Use "Optimize iPhone Storage" on the iPhone and "Download and Keep Originals" on the mac server.
    If you don't want to use iCloud Photos then you must connect a cable and synchronize with iTunes once, after that you can synchronize the iPhone(s) wirelessly to iTunes for photo backup by checking the option "sync with this iPhone over wifi"
    --- Post Merged, Mar 24, 2016 ---
    oh! you will need a wifi connection anytime you want your iPhone to upload new photos taken.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    - How would i be able to make the storage devices automatically backup itself. would i need to put them in a raid configuration or is there another way?

    RAID is NOT a backup solution. Do not even think about it. You use RAID because you need a large file system and you can't buy a disk drive that large. For backup on a Mac your first option should be Time Machine,

    - How would i create shares that can be accessed by PC, iOS and android and would stream media directly to the devices? SMB?

    You run multiple services on the server. Each of these is a process that runs on the Mac.

    - Is it possible to backup iOS device media onto OS X server? similar to the way iCloud backups are made

    IOS devices can be backed up using either (or both) iCloud or iTunes. If you want a local backup then you'd have the iTunes backup data physically live on your new file server.

    - How would I access the server from outside the network?

    You log in via SSH. Just like you would from almost any other server.

    You really should look at FreeNAS. It does exactly what you are asking and mor and is MUCH easier to set up and use than a Mac mini Server.
    http://www.freenas.org
    FreeNAS run BSD UNIX, the same UNIX that Mac OS X is based on. But it is set up for you to do just one thing, be a file server with the exact list of features you listed. The software is free but you will need hardware. It could run on a Mac Mini but that is not cost effective
     
  6. n4j thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2016
    #6
    thank you both for the reply's

    with freenas, would i be able to share media on iOS devices. i've tried sharing media with iOS and it's rather tricky, i tried using samba and it wasn't very easy with iOS
     
  7. dimme macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #7
    A few years ago I was on the hunt for a home server. I wanted to share itunes with a few macs, iphones and ipads and a home theater. I also needed a central file server, media server for roku and apple TV. Torrent download/upload, and a platform to run crashplan for backup. It became a hobby putting together different systems. I started with a old desktop running Linux (Ubuntu) It worked OK but sucked alot of power running 24/7, then I went to a atom power PC for a while also running Ubuntu. After a few months I got another Atom machine and ran Windows home server 2011, that lasted about 4 weeks. I sold off all the previous equipment and got a used 2009 mini and bought OSX Server. I have been running OS X server ever since. Last year I upgraded to a 2012 Mini with usb3, I have 4 drives connected with a total of 14 TB of storage plus off line backups. For me this is the perfect system, I run it headless and use Apple remote access and I can connect with any computer in the house and also with OSX server VPN I can connect to my home network from work. Time machine works great with the server software also.
     
  8. Truffy macrumors 6502a

    Truffy

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Location:
    somewhere outside your window...
    #8
    Sorry to rain on your parade, but I had nothing but heartache and lost life trying to get OS X Server to do half what a decent NAS will do.
     
  9. komatsu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #9
    So what was your solution in the end Truffy?
     
  10. n4j thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2016
    #10
    pretty much everyone in my family uses iOS, i want to be able to share files to all of the devices on my own which is why i think using mac os server software will work best for us.

    a NAS would work but it won't be easy to share files onto iOS, if i do get a NAS, could someone recommend good software or app that would let me share files across the network?

    thank you everyone for the reply's :)
     
  11. mildocjr, Mar 28, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2016

    mildocjr macrumors 65816

    #11
    - How would i be able to make the storage devices automatically backup itself. would i need to put them in a raid configuration or is there another way?

    You can use RAID, just know that RAID get's expensive especially when you start looking at RAID 5+ solutions I'd probably go with a RAID 1 (2 drives mirrored) it's fault tolerant and allows you to replace a drive on the fly without spending a fortune on the initial setup. Not sure how versed you are in RAID but remember whatever storage you put in a RAID you'll get a portion of the overall space. [Insert Favorite web search] for RAID calculator to determine how much storage you will need.

    - How would i create shares that can be accessed by PC, iOS and android and would stream media directly to the devices? SMB?

    SMB would probably be the way to go about this, unless you are hosting a domain you'll have a really fun time limiting what devices and users can see what, but since this sounds like a home setup, you should be fine leaving it open (but password protected from guests and uninvited guests).

    - Is it possible to backup iOS device media onto OS X server? similar to the way iCloud backups are made

    You can use Time Machine backups for all of your Macs, but I never looked into backing up mobile devices to a server, backing up to your Mac is enough which will then be captured by your Mac's backup to the server. I just shell out a dollar for more storage and have all my mobile devices backup to my iCloud account, makes it much nicer when moving to a new device.

    - How would I access the server from outside the network?

    This would require port forwarding through your router (you'll need to read the router manual for this one) and setting up either a static IP address with your ISP or setting up a dynamic DNS solution that allows you to type in a hostname (fileserver.com) to route to your IP address.



    There are many solutions to this but in my experience as a Net/Server admin who manages a domain I'd highly recommend using existing services for things you do not have an immediate need for(such as iCloud for device backups). Look over the OS X Server page and go over all the features that can realize your expectations for your network. Once you've got those down, go over the documentation and decide if it was really what you were looking for. I might suggest looking at the caching server, especially if you have a lot of computers or similar devices (multiple Android/iOS phones/tablets). Short of the long - caching server caches downloads for re-use so it takes the strain off of your outside network. (One device downloads Angry Birds from Apple server and the rest download it from your caching server.)

    Keep in mind that as it is Unix-based you might be looking into manipulation of .conf files, and I'm not trying to scare you away by saying this, I'm just wanting to make sure that you are fully aware and prepared.

    As for your iTunes media, someone else suggested it and I'm going to point it out again, point all of your iTunes libraries to the same network share. As long as the share is there iTunes won't default to C:\Users\<username>\Music\iTunes\ or ~/Music/iTunes. The downside to this is if you get disconnected from your network share, you'll have to re-point it to the location from iTunes Preferences.

    As for me, I hacked this on the cheap, I picked up a Lenovo XP machine my old company tossed away for $50 back then that hosts a file share and runs an xcopy script to copy new files from the share to a second external hard drive. I keep my backups in iCloud and run a Time Machine backup from all of my MacBooks to my AirPort Time Capsule, since I have a 3 TB fusion on my iMac I have it going to a dedicated 4 TB usb external drive. My Windows PC is new but doesn't contain anything critical so I let it go. I stream everything from cloud services. The only thing I have been debating on is a caching and email server.
     
  12. Truffy macrumors 6502a

    Truffy

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Location:
    somewhere outside your window...
    #12
    Hi komatsu, sorry I didn't reply sooner, I don't get on to MR much these days. I ended up getting a decent NAS. Currently using Sinology DS1515+, holds 5 drives in up to RAID 6 configuration.
     
  13. markfrautschi, Sep 6, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016

    markfrautschi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Rockville, MD
    #13
    I'd like to make a general comment about MacOS Server and TimeMachine since TimeMachine has been mentioned as a backup solution for MacOS Server.

    In 2012 I discovered, the hard way, of a major gap that showed up when Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard was replaced by Mac OS X Server Lion. The upgrade included a lot of behind the scenes changes, including, if my memory is right, a change from the MySQL database to the progreSQL database for the wiki and all other services. Before, each service had its own data store. After, all services were kept in a single data store. This data store presented as a single file as far as Time Capsule was concerned. Thus, correcting a comma to a period in a wiki entry caused the entire data store to present as an out of date file and would require a new copy for TimeMachine to back up. This was prohibitively inefficient.

    The "solution" was for Apple to have TimeMachine skip the data store for all services completely.

    Unfortunately, Apple did not document this change. For what it was worth, Apple's tech support made a heroic communication effort (they would not place their hands on the server or its backup) to help me make the restoration myself, but the simple fact was there was nothing to restore from, so, I lost the wiki and the project I was managing it on.

    Perhaps Apple has found a way around the problems caused by the switch from mySQL to progreSQL, since 2012. However, I have not found it.
     
  14. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #14

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