NAS or OSX Server

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by tobylee703, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. tobylee703 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #1
    Hi All!

    I am struggling on adding a NAS or OSX Server to my current setup. My network is based on an Airport Extreme, 2 macbook air, 2 imac and 2 apple TV. I would like to have a central storage for photos, files, and everything that I want to keep for a long time. The simplest solution is to have a Synology NAS but will a OSX Server benefits more? One of the function I like about having a server is that I can have a network profile and be able to login to any system in my network and have the same desktop and files ready.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #2
    Either will work, though I think a NAS will be easier to configure and setup. Most multi-bay units also provide RAID which helps with data integrity. Depending on the Mac model, you may not have that as an option.
     
  3. ColdCase, Dec 26, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #3
    The OS server will perform better and provide more function, especially if you like typical server functions (e.g. profile management, remote login, and TimeMachine backups). The down side is some $$$ because folks have a tendency to load up the mini with options. Perhaps about the same apples to apples.

    I have a synology NAS, and if I had it to do over again, I'd bite the $$ bullet and buy the mini. Unless you want dual drives built in from the factory, the low end $500 mini with $30 server app will do just fine for your app. By the way, any recent mac will run the OSX server OS, nothing special needed.

    Connect 4 4TB USB3 drives (about $500) to the $500 mini and software RAID the 16TB as you'd like. If you want higher capacity storage, there are several DAS boxes out there. 16TB in a synology box is not that inexpensive, $500 for a 4bay plus $500 in drives, the price is about the same as the mini with four external drives. Now if you only need a two bay synology, that can be a bit less money and less capacity, but the difference may be in the noise for you.

    Bottom line is the mini will provide better performance and features but will cost a little more.

    Adding options to the mini like internal SSDs or dual HDs and higher performance processors can push the $$ up, but now you are talking a very capable computer vs a nicely featured NAS.
     
  4. tobylee703 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    If I go with a OSX Server, I will make one of my iMac a server. It does have more function and I like the fact that I can run the server and use it as my daily iMac, although I use my Macbook Air most of the time.

    One thing I have in mind is the software raid. Unfortunately I had external drives die on my 3 times. I have lost alot of data and would like to have hardware raid. How about using iMac server with NAS? Is that possible?
     
  5. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    Estonia
    #5
    Just swap that NAS thing for a decent RAID DAS and you're set!
     
  6. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #6
    I would steer you to something like the Synology DiskStation 2-Bay and put to Red drives of equal size into it. It will be a iTunes server, files server that can run across the Internet if you know what you are doing.
     
  7. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

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    Pa
    #7
    That's what I have, and I love it. It's a great little device.
     
  8. ColdCase, Dec 26, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2013

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #8
    Yes but limited to two drives and the processor is so slow in comparison to something like the mini. If you are looking cheap storage with a few nice features, perhaps. I have the Synology SYDS212JK2 NAS and although it has a nice feature set, it is quite limiting... unless you upgrade to faster and better models.... and then you are in the same price range as a mini and DAS. So why even bother? There is little scalability or expansion path beside replacement. You need to know what you are doing to get the most out of any of these devices... The synology NAS is Unix like... means you need to understand a second language to get anything out of it. Now a second similar language is no big deal to most, its a PITA to others.

    There are many here that use something like a Synology NAS to save lots of cash, and to do over again, a server would have been a better choice. As the cash difference is small and, how much is your time worth....

    There is no doubt that Synology does make a good product.
     
  9. ctyrider macrumors 6502a

    ctyrider

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    #9
    I had a Synology for a while, ended up getting rid of it and building my own Mac OS based NAS server. Too many advantages of "real" Mac OS box over Synology to list here. But main one being able to run a full blown iTunes server with Home Sharing.

    My Mac OS NAS cost me a little over $300 to build, which is comparable to the cost of Synology (and other similar NAS boxes with junky ARM processors and almost no RAM). It takes some up front research and a bit of tech savvy, but the end result is well worth it.
     
  10. tobylee703 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Can you tell me more about the Mac OS box and how come it is so cheap? I am thinking if I should setup my daily iMac as the server
     
  11. neilmacd macrumors 6502

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    Apr 18, 2010
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    UK
    #11
    Yup, being able to run an iTunes server/Home Sharing is, I'd say, a massive advantage, otherwise with a NAS, you'll still need a Mac/PC running iTunes to serve media to your Apple TVs
     
  12. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #12
    What you really need is a solid backup solution. Any device (RAID or not) can lose data. RAID protects you from some failure mechanisms... but it also introduces new failure mechanisms not present in single spindle drives.

    RAID is not backup. Backup is always required for any data you care to keep.

    /Jim
     
  13. ctyrider macrumors 6502a

    ctyrider

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    Jul 15, 2012
    #13
    I am not sure I am allowed to directly link to Hackintosh sites here, but google "CustoMac Mini 2013" and you will find what you need.
     
  14. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

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    Feb 28, 2009
    #14
    Another OSX Server person chiming in.

    I have 2 Mac minis serving 12TB via software RAID 1.

    Love the ability to stream iTunes to my other macs and i-devices.

    You don't have to spend a lot on a Mac server, a small mini is still only ~600 USD, if you take a look around I'm sure a decent second-hand model can be found for much less.

    (I really only have 2 minis at this point as I've been remiss in packing up the old one - once I do I'll be down to 6TB served. The old one still runs just fine, no real reason for getting rid of it other than space reasons, 8 external disks take up a lot of space.)
     
  15. ctyrider macrumors 6502a

    ctyrider

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    #15
    My main gripe about Mac Mini as a NAS server - its case isn't suited for internal storage (beyond a couple of 2.5" drives). So you have to string together USB/FW external enclosures for any reasonably sizable NAS capacity. I don't find this solution particularly elegant - you have to supply power to multiple boxes.. and USB/FW attached storage is a lot slower, as compared to 6Gb/s SATA3.

    That's why I went the route of building my own custom OSX NAS system. All my storage is internal, so I only have one box to deal with. The case I have can hold 4x 3.5" drives, which gives me up to 16TB of internal storage (with current disk sizes). ;)
     
  16. tobylee703 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Own Hachintosh, I had play with that for a while before.
     
  17. mankymanning macrumors regular

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    Jul 18, 2008
    #17
    I have a mac mini and a Synology NAS :) The mac mini sits under my TV acting as a media server for plex. The synology sits under the stairs and is connected to my mini and other machines via gigabit ethernet. The Synology is nice as a low power file server, it also runs a few programs like OpenVPN, sabnzbd and so on that don't require a lot of processor power. It consumes less power than the Mac mini would too if on all the time.
     
  18. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    NH
    #18
    Or use a single DAS enclosure. Thunderbolt gives you the same data rates and latency as internal drives if thats an issue, USB3 is less money. A 4 bay USB3 DAS enclosure plus four 4TB drives gives you 16TB of storage for ~$600. High speed high performance eight drive DAS RAIDs are over $1000, however, just for the enclosure. YMMV But there's 48TB of high performance storage there in one box ~ $3000
     
  19. robgendreau macrumors 68030

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #19
    I think you already hinted that you could rotate an older Mac into the server role, and then have an excuse to get a newer Mac.

    I used an old Mac Pro for the server; added lots of drives. Only downside was power usage. But there's a 2TB Mac Mini with server refurb at the Apple Store for $850; I don't see how you could get more bang for your buck than going that way. And it has TB external connections, so although they are pricier it's certainly gonna be fast enough. It didn't sound like you were planning on running multiuser databases 24/7 or anything. And it's gonna be useful on it's own as a computer for quite a while to come. And if you need TB or USB 3 and don't have that on your current computers, adding one to the mix that does is great.

    But I also agree the hackintosh route is a very efficient one too.
     
  20. ctyrider macrumors 6502a

    ctyrider

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    Jul 15, 2012
    #20
    Sure, there are a lot of possibilities. But I think the goal should also be to not spend a small fortune on a home NAS. A Mini with TB/USB3 ports would have to be a recent model, so that alone puts you in ~$800 territory.. before you even added the storage enclosure/disks.

    I guarantee that my Hackintosh NAS will run circles around any NAS centered around Mini, both price and performance wise. And it's a neat all-in-one-box setup.
     
  21. luigi408 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    #21
    I think I've decided to run make a Hackintosh for a server instead of a NAS. I've never used an Apple OSX Server, does it work well with PC? As a file server that is. Thanks.
     
  22. lexvo macrumors 65816

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    Nov 11, 2009
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #22
    From what I've read, OS-X server supports both WebDav and SMB shares. So connecting a (Windows) PC should be no problem.

    I guess a Mini server needs a monitor to configure it? Or can this be done remote?
     
  23. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #23
    I've been running a Mac mini server for over three years. It came with Snow Leopard Server but now runs Mavericks + Server.app. 11 Mac OS and iOS devices as well as a ROKU are fed by it. Besides the 1TB of internal drives it has 8TB of external drives connected via FW800, FW400, and USB2 (USB2 is perfectly suitable for backup drives). There is also a drive "toaster" where I clone the drives for offsite backups. The system idles at 40 watts.

    No RAID of any type. It isn't needed for performance (JBOD is fast when load is distributed across the drives and multiple interfaces are used) and RAID is not a backup method. Using a server gives lots more capabilities (as well as faster performance) to a consumer NAS, and if you are familiar with a Mac already, using a Mac server isn't that much different. There are several websites that have lots of details about how to set it up.

    Beyond the initial installation, all maintenance can be done remotely.

    My server does the following:

    1. File Sharing (of course!)
    2. Time Machine for three other systems
    3. Plex Server plus runs iTunes and iPhoto for music and photo organization.(Plex ties into iTunes and iPhoto databases).
    4. Quicken running under Windows XP in a Parallels VM. By using Microsoft Remote Desktop we can access our financial information from any of our computers.
    5. VPN to remotely access everything on the server. Also allows tunneling so I can get secure Internet access from "questionable" public Wifi hotspots.
    6. Calendar/Reminders/Contacts server.(No iCloud when I started out, and I still don't use it).
    7. DNS and DHCP services. I shouldn't need them but the router supplied by my ISP does this rather poorly. Now I don't have to reset it every couple of days. DynDNS to find home address from the outside.
    8. FileVault2 used on all but boot drive for physical security.
    9. For backups, the main drives are automatically cloned to backups every night. Other drives are cloned weekly. There are two sets of backup drives, one is kept offsite. I also use CrashPlan.

    [​IMG]
     

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