Mac Pro as file server and rendering machine

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by donkeytra, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. donkeytra macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2009
    What do you think? My design company is all PC-based, but recently our file server has been spreading viruses, so I'm looking into switching our server to Mac Mini running OSX. But, on a second thought, I was wondering if I'm better off just to get the new Mac Pro, so my staffs can use it for the occasional AE and Maya rendering; that way they can go on with other business while rendering stuff.

    A little background about us:
    - we do mainly web stuff, so our hardware usually don't require top notch machines
    - 9 staffs for file sharing
    - only 2-3 of us that need the occasional rendering machine
    - our current PC file server backs up to an external RAID HD via eSATA port. (Can I use that with the Mini or Mac pro?)

    Oh, and lastly, if you do recommend Mac Pro over Mini, would you recommend the Quad or 8 core? Or should I look into the xServe?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Dmac77 macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2008
    The low end quad Mac Pro should be fine. If you want to use that RAID backup, you'll have to buy and install a eSATA PCIe card in the Mac Pro. You can't put an expansion card in a Mini, so a Mac Pro is your best bet. IMO, a Xserve is too much for your needs.

    Here's a PCIe card that you could use in the Mac Pro.

  3. donkeytra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2009
    Thanks for pointing out the eSATA PCIe card, Dmac77,

    I failed to mention that I use a PC only software called Vegas. Is it possible for the Mac pro to run both osx and win XP at the same time, so we keep the file server running while I do my video rendering?

    Thanks again,
  4. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Isn't a Mac Pro somewhat wasted in this situation... Part of the premium you pay for a Mac is in the OS, the user experience, and the design. If it's relegated to server duty, isn't that money better spent on something else? Honestly, in your shoes, I would build a Windows based server for a lot less.
  5. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    Wait until everyone else comes out with Nehalem products and then decide. I've really no idea why you wan't a Mac though, it doesn't seem to make much business sense.
  6. rylin macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2006
    A mac as a corporate fileserver will not prevent viruses from spreading.
  7. donkeytra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2009
    If this is true, then I really agree everyone above, there is no need for me to get a mac.

    Can someone confirm on this? Cuz I thought I read an article somewhere stating that many businesses are switching their servers to Macs for this reason. Maybe they were talking about web instead of file servers?

  8. jmpage2 macrumors 68040


    Sep 14, 2007
    This is absolutely 100% true. The Mac itself probably won't get infected, but that has nothing to do with all the Windows Boxen that are reading and writing files to it on a daily basis. They will get infected and spread infection just as fast.

    The reason Macs themselves are less susceptible to viruses is because of the UNIX underpinnings and stronger native security in OS X. When using the machine yourself you would have to actively go out and try to get yourself infected.

    This, however, will not do squat for you if other Windows boxes are connecting to the machine.
  9. rylin macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2006
    Bingo :)
    Adding to this..

    Basically, the most common way of sharing files is with SMB/CIFS, a.k.a. "Windows Filesharing".
    Windows filesharing is what allows you to connect remote drives, or browse around on \\computername\directory\file etc.
    All it takes is for one windows computer to get infected, and it'll most likely start propagating through any network shares it can find.

    In other words, a Mac as a server makes diddly squat sense unless you're looking for OS X specific features.
    For your specific needs, I'm guessing a dell PE 840 with 4+GB of RAM and a few TB of disk should last a long time.

    As always though, backups are important, and RAID isn't a backup, so you might want to look into backup options as well.
    For the cost of a Mac Pro, you can get your hands on some terrific storage hardware and a backup system.. fyi ;)
  10. donkeytra thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2009
    Thanks for the clarification, guys. It all makes perfect sense now. So, I guess going Mac wouldn't do me much good except the server itself alone will be virus-proof.

    to rylin, I am no hardware expert, but my understanding was that a RAID (5, I think our guys had it setup) backs itself up to 3 separate HDs)

    Thanks for all of your inputs.

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