Network storage for Mac office? Mac Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by JamesSykes, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. JamesSykes macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    #1
    A friend of mine has got a bit of a problem with his network storage.

    They are running on a Terastation with 15+ people in a print/design shop, it's creaking to say the least.

    Looking at the options it's been recommended to go with a Mac Pro and get a SAS card and external enclosure. Is that the way forward?

    What can people recommend to me for someone who needs 3-4TB of usable space?

    Any specific raid cards + external enclosures?
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    Finland
    #2
    What exactly would be the purpose of the Mac Pro? What's wrong with the current setup? Mac Pro sounds a bit overkill is all he needs is 3-4TB. That can be achieved with an external HD or NAS.
     
  3. JamesSykes thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 28, 2005
    #3
    Well there are 15 ish people constantly accessing it, browsing huge directories, moving very large files. It's the central store for all their print/edit work so you can imagine.

    The Terastation cannot handle this, performance is horrible.

    The whole reason for a mac pro is to get the performance.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    I doubt Mac Pro would help much because the main issue is the cables they are using between the computers which are Gigabit LAN I think. One cable can only provide 1GB/s which is 125MB/s, around 100MB/s in real life. Mac Pro has two of those ports so in real life, it can push data at ~200MB/s. Divide that by 15 and you get ~13MB/s per computer. That's still very slow as a single mechanical drive can have speeds of over 100MB/s. Even if you added more LAN ports with PCIe cards, it wouldn't help that much as the next bottleneck is the HDs unless you get several smaller HDs and RAID them.

    Is it really necessary that all data has to be in one computer? Couldn't every workstation have its own external HD for example? That would be much faster. At least I can't recommend the Mac Pro as it wouldn't provide much better performance. Maybe someone else has better suggestions
     
  5. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    Oregon
    #5
    I concur with Hellhammer here. I was once in a similar situation where the IT department wanted everyone to be using a central server farm and basically keep no files on our workstations (these were high performance Linux and Solaris machines). Problem was that even with gigabit Ethernet everything ran like slugs. Solved the problem, no thanks to IT department, by copying everything I needed locally in the morning and copied back to the server at end of day.

    So one solution is to develop a design flow that minimizes server access. And as Hellhammer stated, don't centralize any files that don't need to be. Also consider, if all 14 people aren't doing the same work, go to a departmental organization with each functional group having their own server on a subnet. Cross access only when work is handed off.
     
  6. mBox macrumors 68020

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    Jun 26, 2002
    #6
    What about a SAN system? Were using a San Box and it seems to handle a few Motion designers here. But if you want to really get into speed itll cost big time. Apples XSan system is costly :(
     
  7. Matty-p macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2010
    #7
    why not upgrade to a 10 gigabit switch . with all the existant gigabit ethernet cableing plugged in to it then in the mac pro (base quad core) have 4*2tb drives in raid 5 config (giving you 6tb actual storage space) and a 64gb ssd to run the os and programs. and a 10gigabit pci ethernet card that way

    10 gigabit /14 = 0.71 gigabites so about 70 mb/s real world each if all using full bandwith all the time . but in real world everyone will have their gigabyte line full when pulling stuff from the server

    or if you cant afford the 10 gigabit switch use the current 1 gigabit switch buy 2 gigabit pci ethernet adapters (dirt cheap) then do adaptor teaming and full duplex on both conections and then youll have 4 gigabits bandwith and no big cost
     
  8. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #8
    You can see that hardware solutions are costly! That's why I'm suggesting analysis of use first before throwing big bucks at the problem.

    The big question is "does everyone have to be hitting up the same server for big files at the same time?" If you can find a "No" answer, you'll be better off!
     
  9. kd_rome macrumors member

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    Apr 6, 2004
    #9
    I have a similar situation with a RAID 5+1 (4x 320GB SATA II + spare drive) and I'm connected to a D-Link Gigabit Switch DGS-2208 (Green) and all the computers that connect have Gigabit Ethernet. The Server has 2 Ethernet ports, but I'm only using the first port, is it possible to use the second one? Also, I read on a lot of forums but i haven't figured out if it's true or not that the max transfer speed is based on the lowest device plugged to the switch, so if one of the computers or even the network printer are 10/100 they take the whole system down to 10/100?
     
  10. Matty-p macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2010
    #10
    no it dosent take the hole system done to 10/100 it just takes the transfur to the printer down to 10/100 but computer to server will still be gigabit
    yes sort of
     
  11. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #11
    Not true from my experience. This would be the case with an Ethernet *hub* though (but does anyone even make those?)
     
  12. Adam0306 macrumors regular

    Adam0306

    #12
    Not that I know of but I do know that we are having to use them in the office. Although we are getting recabled right now.
     
  13. kd_rome macrumors member

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    Apr 6, 2004
    #13
    thanks! I still have to figure out how to use the second ethernet from the server, do i need to plug it to a separate switch?
     
  14. Matty-p macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2010
    #14
    what server?
    if you built it yor self what network card?
    what os dose it run?
    how many computers are pluged into it ?
    how many ports free?
    how reguarly do you experiance slow down and what to?
    do you know if your server is running on full duplex or not
     
  15. kd_rome macrumors member

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    Apr 6, 2004
    #15
    It's a Dell PowerEdge 2900 III Server with 2x Broadcom BCM5708C NetXreme II running Windows Server 2003, I connect the server to the switch (D-Link Gigabit Switch DGS-2208) using the first Broadcom. All the others computers connected to the switch have a gigabit card. They all have static ip, the server doesn't assign ip (no DHCP)
     
  16. Matty-p macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2010
    #16
    please could you answer:)
     
  17. Matty-p macrumors regular

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    #17
    dont worry about above post that info wasent strickly nesesary for me to sort this out all i needed was in your reply above (though the full duplex info would have saved me time) i was just curios thats all

    ok on your nic manafactures website it says that it will run full duplex gigabit eternet so 2000 mbits (2gigabits) if the switch is IEEE auto nogotiation compliant. your switch is IEEE 802.3 Nway Auto-negotiation compliant meaning the server sould be conected at full duplex (2000mbits)

    sources:
    nic suport website
    switch spec website

    so server bandwith is 2gigabits atm

    your nics support adaptor teaaming so that with full duplex on both you could get bandwith of 4000mbits (4gb/s) this is comonly called link arragation or as i call it adaptor teaming it enables multiple links between devices ie the two nics on your server to act as a single link at performance levels at or near the sum of the individual links with the additional benefit of greater network redundancy (meaning if one card fails then the outher card wil auto matically take over on it owen so theres no network downtime. but unfortnately for that to hapen you would need to buy a switch that supported on e of the adaptor teaming protocols such as IEEE 802.3ad.

    so you will be abke to team them and get a bandwith of 4gigabits and redundancy but you will need a new switch that supports IEEE 802.3ad. but you currenly have 2 gigabits bandwith to/from your server and for <5 pcs i think thats enough but anyway thats how to speed it up 2x

    when and if you do that to set up teaming in Microsoft Windows, click on the Team Management icon in BACS (Broadcom Advanced Control Suite), select Teams from the menu, and select "Create a Team". A teaming wizard will display. Follow the instructions to the end, and click finish to create the desired teaming configuration.

    any more questions please feel free to ask :) sorry for spelling im on my iphone and its late :rolleyes:
     
  18. kd_rome macrumors member

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    Apr 6, 2004
    #18
    Wow thanks Matty-P I really appreciate it! I'll try next week and let you know how it goes!!! Is there a good app for Windows Server 2003 that monitors the network activity like on Mac?
     

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