mac servers

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ScKaSx, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. ScKaSx macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    #1
    Hi All,

    I am new to the mac world and I wanted advice on building/buying server for mac. Firstly, I have converted older PC's to media servers before and now I wanted to do one for a mac (although this time considering buying a new computer just for the purpose). What I want to use the server for is a home media center that is the network center for my household, BUT CAN ALSO be accessed from outside while I'm traveling. The media I plan to store and access is video, music, photos, and documents. Plus I am willing to buy Leopard Server.

    - What are your thoughts on getting a server running OSX with (1) Old mac (2) New Mac, not dedicated as server such as mac mini (3) New Mac, such as Xserve. Obvious Xserve is the best, but what are pros and cons of using (1) or (2)?

    - Is the Mac good on power consumption, or are there ways to make it better (i.e. software solns, etc)? An obvious concern since it will be running 24/7.

    - Are Macs easy to add hard drives to, I am planning 2 TB but want it expandable to 4TB (for future purposes)? Also with Leopard server am I restricted to Journaled formatting as I would like the hard drives to be NTFS since I might try to access them from outside my home and network with a PC.

    Please let me know your thoughts on these matters.

    Cheers,
    ScKaSx
     
  2. bigrell486 macrumors 6502

    bigrell486

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
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    Home
    #2
    The only Mac that offers true expandability is the Mac Pro.

    You will not be able to use NTFS with any Mac as the Operating System can not write to the drive (It can read however).

    If you want an older but expandable Mac, look at the Power Mac G4 or G5.

    I feel that an Xserver may be a bit over kill for a home media server.

    For a cheap solution you can buy a Mac Mini (Any Model) and connect a storage rack via USB / Firewire.

    All Macs can run Mac OS X Server.

    I hope I was of some help.
     
  3. ScKaSx thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    #3
    Thanks for the reply.

    Just afew addition questions:

    If I go the mac mini route can I piggyback HD's? Also, with the mac mini, do you recommend firewire connection or USB2.0? Are you sure the drives can't be formated for NTFS, what about NTFS 3G?

    What is your opinion on Mac mini versus the Mac Pro? Or G4,5 versus Intel for that matter (when used as server)? Also, what about power consumption for Mac servers? I know that PCs can be as low as 4W/hr on sleep, how do mac minis or mac pros perform?

    Frankly, I'm surprised no one else has anything to add. I would like to hear from anyone that has tried this or has suggestions.

    Cheers,
    ScKaSx
     
  4. nplima macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #4


    hi,

    probably you'll be better off getting an iMac for general purpose computing and using a Western Digital MyBook World Edition to solve your file serving needs. If you can buy a Mac Pro instead of the iMac, it's much better and that shows on the price.

    For your purposes, using the server version of the OS is overkill. Just investigate a bit what you can do with the MyBook World Edition and with Microsoft Foldershare and you'll find out that this is simpler than you imagined.


    good luck
     
  5. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Britain
    #5
    A Mac Mini is ideal for this situation. Just buy some Firewire caddy's and a couple of terabyte drives. Although there's only a single Firewire port, Firewire can be daisy chained.

    It's low power consumption, its by far the fastest mac for power per unit of space, and best of all it comes with Front Row and the Apple remote (Intel only). It's also the most stable and problem free Mac available.

    Leopard server is unnecessary for this. Leopard comes with a web server installed, just check one box in system preferences and your away, same for file sharing. Not sure about FTP, although I'm sure theres a free or cheap FTP server for OS X, perhaps it is built in, I haven't checked.
     
  6. bigrell486 macrumors 6502

    bigrell486

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    #6
    You will get the best performance using firewire.
    You can piggy back drives; either through individual USB/Firewire drives or Storage rack connected via USB/Firewire.

    You cannot use NTFS at all if you plan to write to the drives. NTFS is a proprietary format created by Microsoft. The control the implementation. There are programs available for the Mac that allow access to NTFS but I'm assuming that you will take a performance hit as this is not a feature of the OS but a 3rd party work around.

    A Mac Pro is very power hunger, you can get the same results using a Mini which is light and efficient.
    The Power PC vs Intel is much of an issue in your case as you just need the computer to pass data to other computers; anything recent will do.
     
  7. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #7
    I use a Dual Processor PowerMac G4 as a server. One of the processors runs folding at near 100%, while the other processor handles the server.

    My model has enough room for 6 harddrives (if optical drive is removed). It comes with 4 IDE connectors so you need a SATA card for more drives.
     
  8. ScKaSx thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    #8
    Thats more like it! Thanks for all the responses.

    Since I am planning something light,efficient and streamlined I think I will go the mac mini route and add several hard drives.

    Considering this direction, does anyone know of a good place to buy racks that are made for the mac mini (I figured someone may have done something like this already, otherwise I will build my own)?

    Also, how much heat does the mac mini generate, will it be necessary to cool it? Just so you know I am planning to install the server in a cupboard.

    And one more thing concerning HD formatting. What is the best way to format the hard drive so I can store files larger than 4GB, such as movie?

    Thanks again,
    ScKaSx
     
  9. bigrell486 macrumors 6502

    bigrell486

    Joined:
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    #9
    http://www.satagear.com/SATA_Multi_Drive_Cases.html
    This site has multiple options.

    I would format the Hard Drives as HFS+. The windows computers on your network will be able to access the drives with Windows Sharing(SMB) enabled on your Mac.

    As for cooling, I depends on the conditions of the environment. I don't think its a good idea to lock a computer up in a cabinet with little to no ventilation.

    Edit: You Might Also want to check this out
    http://www.sataadapter.com/sata-adapter-page.html
     

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