Mac vs. Windows Server?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by fraggot, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. fraggot macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Location:
    Cox's Creek, KY
    #1
    Okay so here's the scenario of why I'm asking which one.

    So I work for a publication and we have put out around 3 magazines/newspapers and we're still pretty small. Sadly I am the only one who has pretty advanced knowledge of most things Macs and PCs but my knowledge ends when it comes to servers. I've never really used them that I've personally setup and I don't know advantages between the two(excluding Linux).

    In our production department we have 5 Macs(ranging from a very old eMac running 10.3.9 to a very newly purchased iMac with Snow Leopard).

    So here comes my reason for making this post seeking advice, although I know this is strictly an Apple "fansite", I figured someone out there may have the knowledge I need.

    My company stupidly hired someone not knowing what they were doing and set us up 3 WD MyBook network drives to work from. Granted they're great for large storage and such but are NOT good when 5 people are working off them constantly saving, opening and closing files. Basically this lead to the drives dying beyond a quick and cheap recovery(this is also not the first time it's happened).

    I've basically been asked or put in charge of finding an alternative solution that i've been telling them to get for years now. We need a server, something that can handle the workload and will be much more reliable. Since we work on Macs primarily I was thinking that maybe a Mac(Mac Mini Server since we're a small business) until I researched and found out a cheaper option would still be beneficial to us. That being a Windows server, which is a cheaper thing to build.

    BUT which would be more beneficial to us? A Mac or Windows server?

    We'll mainly be using it for files and storage. If I wasn't clear on some things please feel free to ask me some questions.
     
  2. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #2
    Q. Is there a budget in place and if so how much? I know you mentioned a Mac Mini, just wanted to make sure that was the price range.
    Q. How much storage are you looking for and or want?
    Q. Are you also looking for the files to backed up along with access and storage?

    Just a few questions that might come up.
     
  3. fraggot thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Cox's Creek, KY
    #3
    I'm not really sure on the budget actually, I'd say not much more then the Mac Mini Server.

    Storage I'd say to be on the safe side, around 3TB of space.

    Backups is probably going to be something that'll be decided afterwards, I think. We'll mainly need it to be backed up nightly and weekly and maybe some monthly backups.
     
  4. prostuff1 macrumors 65816

    prostuff1

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
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    Don't step into the kawoosh...
    #4
    I run an unRAID server on my home network. Granted I am not a small business but I do my fair share of moving files back and forth because of the computer work I do for my church and the other odd jobs I take on.

    Anyway, if you are comfortable putting the pieces and part together yourself you can build a server for fairly cheap with a lot of storage.

    If you have any questions feel free to ask here or visit the unRAID forum. There is also a unRAID wiki with a lot of FAQ's that you can read through.
     
  5. fraggot thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Cox's Creek, KY
    #5
    That's a very nice find, I'm glad you can upgrade from the Celeron CPUs on the 1510 model servers. Those might actually be exactly what we would need. Is the OS a lot like Linux or is it a more easier to use type deal?
     
  6. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #6
    If you're only managing Mac clients, then go with OSX Server. If you're mixed but majority is Mac, go with OSX.

    However, if you're majority PC or all PC clients, don't waste time on setting up a OSX server for PC use.

    Personally, I feel Windows Server to be better, as a server product, then OS X server, but that's probably because I'm certified in Windows Server so I think its easier to set up and manage lol
     
  7. fraggot thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Well since you're certified, can a group of Macs benefit from a Windows server? Will they work together in a way?
     
  8. prostuff1 macrumors 65816

    prostuff1

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    #8
    It is based on Slackware Linux, but it is much easier to use. It is not a full Linux install and the setup of the server, once you have the drives and stuff installed is controlled via a webGUI. You point your web browser to it and you can configure your basic stuff you need from there. There are extras you can add, and some are harder than others but everything you need to get up and running is in the webGUI.
     
  9. fraggot thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cox's Creek, KY
    #9
    Yeah after I asked you I did a tiny bit of research on it. It looks like it might be exactly what we'll need, won't really need to even get a monitor for it since it's all based on a WebGUI.

    Now my other question on it, does it setup a raid automatically or is all that configured in the webGUI?

    Are there any backup features just for extra safe measures? Or is that something that would just have to be done by a simple copy and paste to an external drive?

    You've actually almost sold me on this, I was looking at the model with the locking case and would probably most likely get that one. I may be asking a lot of questions but there are just some areas where my knowledge ends as far as Servers and RAID goes.


    Edit:

    Also, I noticed that most of them hold 12-15 drives but the PSU only has 8 power connectors. How does that work? Or is there an extra power source on it somewhere?
     
  10. prostuff1 macrumors 65816

    prostuff1

    Joined:
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    #10
    The FAQ i linked to earlier will answer a lot of the basic questions so be sure to read up on that page. The "raid" is not set up automagically. It is not really a true raid... it is unRAID. Essentially what is does is create a file system on each disk and then you can use a disk (has to be at least as large as the largest in your array) to calculate parity. you do not need this parity disk but it is a good thing to have. The parity disk is used to protect you against a single drive failure. If a drive fails, pop a new one in and rebuild the data. If 2 drives fail you will lose the info on those two disks but not on the rest of the disk. This last part is unlike other raid setups. RAID5 will survive a single failure but if more than one disks goes down you are completely out of luck.

    Assigning a parity drive (has to be at least as large as the largest in your array) will protect you from a single failure.

    RAID and unraid are not meant to be your only backup solution. If you are overly worried about loosing some files there are thing that can be set up to protect against that kind of thing. I have CrashPlan installed on my unRAID server so that my Mac's can backup to it and then the unRAID server backs up some files to the cloud.

    They are probably using molex splitters. I have 2 installed in my unRAID server at home. The PSU only has 6 SATA power connectors so i bought some of these from monoprice to allow me to hook up more drives. I currently have 10 SATA drives running off a 550W PSU.
     
  11. fraggot thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Cox's Creek, KY
    #11
    Thank you very much for the info and clearly up things. I'm really thinking of getting one of these, or well telling my company about them and letting them decide. I probably could build a nice server and just put the unRAID OS onto it, but this would save me time and money in the long run most likely.
     
  12. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #12
    They will work together. However, there won't be any benefit from running a Windows Server with Mac Clients or vise versa. They all can perform the same functions.

    Go with the OS that you're serving most for your clients. It'll be less of a hassle.
     
  13. prostuff1 macrumors 65816

    prostuff1

    Joined:
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    Don't step into the kawoosh...
    #13
    Some of the limetech systems are on backorder so getting the one you want may be a little hard. The only way to find out is to email LimeTech.

    There are a lot of Hero members on the unRAID forum that would be more than willing to build a system for you, if you do not want to build one yourself.

    If your in the Ohio area I would be willing to put one together for you.
     
  14. VPrime macrumors 68000

    VPrime

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Location:
    London Ontario
    #14
    I really don't see why you need a server. A NAS hard drive like a DROBO (or the drives you already had) may be all you need.
    Why.how are the current drives dying? the WD network drives just use standard hard drives. The same thing that is in a mac mini or any other computer.

    If all this is needed for is file serving for a small amount of users then a stand alone computer/server isn't needed.

    It sounds like you are just over complicating things when they don't need to be. But this is just going by your posts and not knowing any more details on what else you plan to do with the server.
     

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