Mac Mini OwnCloud?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by RabidSnail, Aug 31, 2015.

  1. RabidSnail macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2015
    #1
    So im about to pull the trigger on a new Mac Pro. I have just about every apple device except a powerful workstation and an Airport Time Capsule. Currently I use a Windows machine and a NAS with four 4TB HDD in it for file storage and backup. So Im looking to go completely into the apple ecosystem. The Mac Pro I have all figured out on what i want, but im also looking at replacing my NAS. I find my current NAS limiting and am looking for a better solution. After a little bit of research, Its looking like buying a Mac Mini and installing OwnCloud on it might be a viable replacement to my NAS. So that leads me to my next series of questions.

    1) What sort of power am I to be looking for in a Mac Mini to act as a host server to OwnCloud? Do i need power or can I keep it cheap and buy a $499 model?

    2) I would need to buy some sort of external enclosure for my four 4TB HDD. I would like to start using a RAID setup which means I would probably need a multi-bay enclosure. The Mac Mini has Thunderbolt ports, as well as USB3. From my understanding, no matter what interface I chose to use, the bottleneck will be the mechanical Drive, then the Gigabit ethernet, and last the interface that I Choose. Is this correct?

    3) I have never used Time Machine before. I should be able to set my MacBook Pro to backup to the networked Mac Mini whenever it is on the same network, correct? And then when I am on-the-go, It wouldnt back up until I got home. Unless I used a VPN to connect to my home network.

    4) Has anyone used GoodSync as a dropbox-like client to access a NAS? I currently use it, and like it fairly well. But I wanted to also see if anyone has any experience with using Goodsync with OwnCloud?

    Any insight before I make this final jump into the apple ecosystem would be appreciated!
     
  2. hobowankenobi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    Location:
    on the land line mr. smith.
    #2
    Howdy -

    ownCloud seems to be very light on resources from what I can tell. Have a test machine setup on an xserve, but it barely touches resources so far. Oh and check out the ownCloud installer over at BitNami. Works slick.

    Yes, you want external storage, and thunderbolt should be your first choice. USB3 is usually OK, though Apple has had some flaky USB3 issues on earlier machines. Think that is sorted out now.

    Two mirrored HDs would get you some HD failure protection, but you still need at least one backup too (beside the RAID). Something like this is nice. Consider if you will need room to grow too.


    Time Machine works, but really only locally. If you are backing up multiple Macs to a single server, you might consider OS X Server too. It is pretty slick as a TM server for multiple clients. Or at least it was in previous versions, have not used TM on 10.10 Server....this looks like it is better than ever. Pretty sweet for 29 bucks.

    For backup from anywhere, you want something like CrashPlan. Their tool is free, and you can use it all you like. The paid option is mostly about cloud storage. Cross platform, local, network, remote, and cloud backups.....pretty much cover it. There are other similar choices too.
     
  3. RabidSnail thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2015
    #3
    Thanks for the Reply! Very helpful! Here is my current plan based on further research and the post above...

    I think Im going to end up getting a Refurbished Mac Mini (2014 min-specs) and use it to host OwnCloud. My main concern is that I think Im going to get a Akitio Thunder2 Quad, which doesnt natively support RAID. So the Mac Mini would be running both OwnCloud, and the RAID setup. Hope its powerful enough!

    I'm planning on setting up four 4TB drives in RAID 5, giving me something like 10TB of storage and a failsafe if a drive fails. OwnCloud claims to keep versioned copies of all the data, so this would basically work as the backup? On top of that, Im going to use GoodSync as a client on each computer that connects to OwnCloud, resulting in the data stored in the cloud to also be stored on whatever the local machine is. From there it is up to the specific user to keep their backup of their files.

    Im still curious on the benefits of OSX Server. It seems like OwnCloud does a lot of the same stuff, only is free and can be accessed anywhere, where OSX Server can only be accessed locally (for things like time machine, contact backup, ect) Basically, what would be best for me to used OSX Server for, and what should I use OwnCloud for?

    Also, forgot I had two Like-New 2TB hard drives laying around. Thinking of getting another Akitio Thunder2 Duo set up in RAID 0 to connect to my Mac Pro as my data storage. then use the PCI SSD in the Mac Pro for the OS and software. thie RAID 0 would then sync via GoodSync to OwnCloud.

    Any Thoughts or suggestions?
     
  4. pdxrevolution macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2015
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #4
    1) What sort of power am I to be looking for in a Mac Mini to act as a host server to OwnCloud? Do i need power or can I keep it cheap and buy a $499 model?

    Unless you have many users of your ownCloud server (say, more than 10), you're not going to use many resources. If you have many users ownCloud will prefer that you use mariaDB/mySQL over its default implementation of SQLite, and you'd have to install mariaDB to make that happen, as it's no longer part of OS X Server by default (though you could use PostgreSQL). You need to be comfortable setting up an Apache web server with specific htaccess rules as well as configuring a database to make this work. OS X Server is not an officially supported platform of ownCloud, mostly because of the way OS X handles some Unicode support vs the way ownCloud does. But I've mostly had success with it. The desktop sync client doesn't like my git repositories, but most files sync just fine.

    Your other bottleneck is the fact that you're doing WebDAV over Ethernet. Who cares how fast you can transfer data to your Mac mini when it will be spitting it back out over Ethernet/Wifi much more slowly?


    2) I would need to buy some sort of external enclosure for my four 4TB HDD. I would like to start using a RAID setup which means I would probably need a multi-bay enclosure. The Mac Mini has Thunderbolt ports, as well as USB3. From my understanding, no matter what interface I chose to use, the bottleneck will be the mechanical Drive, then the Gigabit ethernet, and last the interface that I Choose. Is this correct?

    I'd say the first bottleneck is WebDAV/ownCloud. Good luck getting more than 125Mbit/sec out of that kind of connection. The second bottleneck is your Ethernet connection. Theoretically, a single spinning hard disk hooked up by USB3 is going to have similar data transfer rates as a best-case scenario rate of gigE, but in practice, the USB3 hard drive will be faster, and in most RAID applications, it will be much faster. The I/O penalty with small files is greater over Ethernet than over USB3.


    3) I have never used Time Machine before. I should be able to set my MacBook Pro to backup to the networked Mac Mini whenever it is on the same network, correct? And then when I am on-the-go, It wouldnt back up until I got home. Unless I used a VPN to connect to my home network.

    This is true. I would recommend not trying to back up over VPN, simply because your MacBook Pro has to read and write a lot of data to a sparse disk bundle, and that can cause a lot of corruption if the transfer fails. It can also trigger a "deep traversal," where the MacBook Pro scans the entire sparse bundle before backing up. Good luck having that occur over a VPN where you have 1-5 Mbps upload speed from your home network. If you have Gigabit up and down, your luck might be better.


    4) Has anyone used GoodSync as a dropbox-like client to access a NAS? I currently use it, and like it fairly well. But I wanted to also see if anyone has any experience with using Goodsync with OwnCloud?

    I've never tried using Goodsync with ownCloud, but I have used ownCloud's official sync client. Its interface isn't pretty, and I don't like the amount of CPU power it uses, but it's pretty unobtrusive and effective.


    Any insight before I make this final jump into the apple ecosystem would be appreciated![/QUOTE]

    I don't know what your set up was like before, but if you are used to accessing a NAS with an SMB or AFP connection, I highly recommend you configure your Mac mini to allow you to do this with your new setup. SMB2 on the Mac mini should yield faster data transfer rates, although your mileage may vary. Using ownCloud like Dropbox is reasonable. Using ownCloud as a replacement for SMB or AFP will be painful. Good luck.
     
  5. hobowankenobi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    Location:
    on the land line mr. smith.
    #5
    RAID: There is a software RAID 5 solution: SoftRAID. But it does add complexity. RAID 5 is for drive failure protection, but does not count as a backup.

    WHY?

    Should you have any problem at all, either a corrupt file, you delete the wrong thing, a raid controller fails, you lose two drives at once.....anything.....your data is virtually unrecoverable. Ironically, a RAID 5 or 6 needs a backup even more than a simpler volume, because though usually fairly robust, when they go bad, you are done. over. gone.

    As for a simple mirror (RAID 1), you can do that via the OS, no load on the box. Still need a backup.

    As for a RAID 0, you are at least twice as likely to lose data, as their is no redundancy. Lose one drive, lose all data. Very much need backup, not recommended for any important/long term storage.


    Say, with all this storage, redundancy, and want of web/remote access, have you looked as a Synology NAS?
     
  6. hobowankenobi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    Location:
    on the land line mr. smith.
    #6
    As much fun as this project would be, ultimately, I would consider something like this instead. I think it ticks every box (and more).

    And yes.....you will still need a backup. An unlimited cloud based solution would be the lowest cost, and the least worry, but you can do it locally too.
     

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