Mini as a server for file sharing - what do I loose?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by skerfoot, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. skerfoot macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2010
    If the main function of a server is to work as a networked "mini cloud" for several users, is there s significant performance difference between running server on a mini vs a Mac Pro? The mini doesn't have eSata as an option, but is there another performance bottleneck that would limit the mini?

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
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    Accessing the mini via wifi or Ethernet won't exceed the speed of a usb2 drive so don't worry about that bottleneck.

    Tbh there isn't a downside the mini is perfectly suited to the task
  3. sampdoria macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2010
    I've been grappling with this too...

    I currently run a Time Capsule as a NAS for Macs and PCs, and wifi access point for all my wifi devices (ATV2, iPhones, printer, blu-ray player, wii, etc). in my home, which I back up with an external My Book periodically. I can even access the Time Capsule remotely from my MacBook Pro using afp and a pre-assigned host name (via I also use the Time Capsule to store our multiple iTunes libraries that we share via Home Sharing.

    I am a happy customer with all of this, but I have two gripes with the Time Capsule:
    1. No remote ftp access i.e. no remote access from a windows computer.
    2. No iTunes server. I cannot run iTunes from the Time Capsule. Therefore, ATV2 has to go through a computer running iTunes, in order to access media stored in the Time Capsule.​

    I've been contemplating replacing my Time Capsule as a NAS with a Mac Mini and external drive attached via Firewire 800. Will this resolve those two issues, if I do? Please explain. Thanks in advance!
  4. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
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    Yes it will what do you need explained?
  5. sampdoria macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2010
    Sure, where to begin...

    1. Currently, in my home network, the Time Capsule reads like a "network drive" on the PC's (e.g. letter drive "Z:"). Can the external drive attached to the Mac Mini do the same? Is this done through the Airport Admin Utility or File Sharing settings? How can this drive be accessible within the home network from both Macs and PCs?

    2. Remote FTP access the Mac Mini. How?

    3. Will there be any speed compromises when comparing these two set-ups?

    4. I understand a Mac can screen share with the Mac Mini in order to service it, which is pretty neat. Can it screen share remotely?
  6. menlotechnical, Apr 19, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2011

    menlotechnical macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2008
    Note - external drive issues

    While it is my experience that using an external drive designed for Mac - like a consumer grade external drive - is a nice idea in concept, but I find that there are unreliable hardware issues with these levels of consumer devices.
    Sometimes it may make sense to simply use something like a Blacx box to rotate internal 2TB drives and be comfortable with cloning and swapping them out, using superduper or carboncopy cloner. Alternatively you can use a drive enclosure from Macsales that seem to have better hardware for single drives with power supplies, fans and so on. They also have excellent support over there and their mirror preconfigured enclosures - like the GuardianMax ships with drive configurations - is also a consideration for you. Still you are missing certain redundancy when that mirror fails
    Alternatively, you can go with something even more robust like the Drobo FS so you can easily swap dying drives, which in general is way more hardware stable than the WD MyBook and Seagate GoFlex drives.
    Just wanted to suggest alternatives because if that MyBook dies on you, then you have an entirely different problem of redundancy.
    If you want to move away from the Drobo into something that has even more reliability consider the QNap devices - they seem to get mostly great reviews.
  7. sampdoria macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2010
    Currently, with my TC as a NAS and a MyBook as back-up, I feel I've got enough redundancy. If the MyBook dies, I just swap it with a new one and back-up the TC to that one. If my TC dies, then I swap it with a new one, and restore it from the MyBook back-up. Both would have to die at the exact same time for me to loose everything. So far I've had this setup since 2009 and no issues, but when one of them dies, I'll be ready. Also, this is for home use not business, so daily back-ups are not critical to me.

    More importantly (this is what lets me sleep at night), I completely detach the back-up drive from power and store it in a secure place. I'm not comfortable with keeping both NAS and back-up running constantly and in the same physical location (such as a Drobo or RAID).

    My only gripes with the TC are that I wish it was capable of running iTunes and allow remote access from a Windows PC. If I want to upgrade my TC to a Mac Mini Server. I'd still consider attaching an external HD to it (via firewire or wait for thunderbolt). And then have a 2nd external HD to back up the first one.

    I am intrigued about cloning drives via superduper or carboncopy cloner though. I'll look into that. Currenlty, I just manually copy folders from one drive to the other.

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