Mac Pro for file/media/vm server

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Lastmboy, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. Lastmboy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    #1
    This is a dumb time to ask this, as I already made the purchase. However...

    I have an older quad-core pc that I use as a file and media server. I also have a web site running in a Linux vm. It is connect by eSata to two large RAID arrays. The machine has been nothing but problems. It's up, it's down, it won't boot, it can't find any hard drives. However, most annoying of all is that I have all sorts of problems trying to connect to it with my iMac. It will connect one day, then not the next, even though other PCs can still connect to it. Sometimes re-booting both machines helps. Sometimes rebooting the routers helps.

    I came across a reasonably priced used Mac Pro quad-core (2009) with 8gb of RAM. I can do upgrades to it, but I'm assuming it should pretty much be able to handle the task the way it is.

    Here are my questions:
    1. Will the Mac Pro work well as a file/media server? i.e. will PC's, media boxes, iMac be able to connect to it on the network, either to access shared files, or to remotely operate it?
    2. Will I be able to install pci cards in it for storage expansion -- either an eSata card or a USB3.0 card?
    3. Are there any tricks to set it up for network access? Do I just make Samba shares?
    4. I'm hoping this is a silly question, but as configured, should it be "lots" of machine to handle file/media (two large RAID boxes) serving and simultaneously run a Linux vm website?
    5. Will I have less trouble trying to connect to it from my iMac than when I was connecting to the pc?

    I love my iMac so much, and hate that pc so much, that it seemed to make sense to just swap in another Mac and see if the issues decrease.

    Thanks.
     
  2. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #2
    1) Your iMac should be able to control it through the screen sharing feature, the others should be able to access through file sharing.

    2) PCI-e cards there are no PCI slots in that model. Be careful with the USB 3.0 card if you plan to use a hub with it some like mine do not do 3.0 for hubs and for some strange reason the e-SATA (I have combo card) likes to not work if you have connected USB 3.0 drive to it recently.

    3) No tricks just set the sharing you want and it should share.

    4) That machine is more than powerful enough to do what you want and you can eliminate the linux vm by running the web site on the default installed Apache already on the Mac.

    5) Definitely less.
     
  3. Lastmboy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    #3

    Awesome!!! Thanks so much for the reply. Don't need a USB 3.0 hub. Just need one port to connect an external RAID. However, if a mixture of eSata and USB 3.0 is going to cause a problem, I can go all eSata. Just trying to avoid having to use USB2 for external drives. Good point about the pci-e. I hadn't thought to check that.

    ----------

    This is a bit off topic, but would it make sense to swap out my D-Link router for an Airport Extreme? Would that provide any additional stability. Sounds stupid to ask, but if it's anything like my iMac, the quality will be vastly better than any competition.
     
  4. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #4
    Makes no difference in the speeds I see on transfer so either will work well for you the main limitation is the speed of the drive in the enclosures/the network connection at the time of transfer you want gigabit connections on everything. Hopefully your enclosures are doing hardware RAID if it is some kind of software controlled by OS then you may have problems.

    ----------

    Must have edited while I last replied, it can if that dlink is only a megabit router then that will slow down your network transfers you want as I have mentioned all gigabit connection in the machines themselves and any router or hub that is connected to the network.
     
  5. Lastmboy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    #5
    You got me thinking...
    I just checked the network settings in my iMac. It was set to automatic, but was defaulting to 100BaseTX. I switched to manual and tried 1000BaseTX and it wouldn't connect. Would that imply that the switch it's connected to can't handle gigabit?
     
  6. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #6
    Check your cables. The cable and switch should support CAT 6.
     
  7. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000

    MacUser2525

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #7
    Can be the switch or the cable connecting to it as has been mentioned. When you check the cable it only has to be cat 5e written on it for it to support the gigabit. For your router/switch look up its specifications on the web if it does not support the gigabit then you would need new one that does to get the faster speeds.
     
  8. Lastmboy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    #8
    Actually, the cable is my fear. My entire house is wired with cat6, with the only exception being from my iMac (upstairs) to the switch (downstairs). It's a tough one to switch over to cat6 as everything is closed off, now. My experience has been that I can usually get gigabit on cat5, so thought I would try it. However, maybe that's the problem. Might have to bite the bullet and re-wire. It can't be the switch, as both PC's are connected to it and they transfer to each other at gigabit speeds, and are both connecting as gigabit. The only one that won't seem to connect with gigabit is the iMac.

    The reason I was wondering about the Airport Extreme is because I originally had everything running through the 2Wire router. Back then, the speed between the iMac and PCs was absolutely brutal. I was told to stick a different router in front of the 2Wire box. With that one change, the transfer speed from pc to Mac improved 100 fold. Just wondering if a "better" router would improve it even further :)
     

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