New iMac for family "data mart?"

Discussion in 'iMac' started by KellyC, Mar 16, 2015.

  1. KellyC macrumors member

    May 11, 2012
    I'm getting a new iMac to replace my MBA. My wife has a mid-2012 MBA and we are fully on the Apple platform with iPads, iPhones, Time Capsule, and Apple TV.

    I've done a very poor job at managing all of the photos and videos that are kept on our devices. Some have also found their way into iCloud which I need to reel in.

    With that in mind, I'm hoping that I can use the new iMac as a central "hub" to create some kind of photo/video data mart.

    I prefer to keep my family photos and videos out of the cloud. With that in mind, I'd like to keep everything local.

    My plan is to continue using the Time Capsule as the "end of the road" back up as well as a mix of periodic, ad hoc hard drive back ups that travel with me and sit at friends houses.

    However, where I get hung up is the desire my wife has to access the family iPhoto and iMovie library. She's used up all the space on her MBA and doesn't like the idea of me moving data from her machine to a hard drive. She gets that we need to free up space, but she doesn't like the not having photos of our kids from three years ago at her fingertips.

    With that in mind, my plan with the new iMac is to put the iPhoto and iMovie library into a folder and share it with her mac over our network. This would become the first point of upload as well as serve as a data mart. I would back this folder up to Time Capsule as well as pull periodic back ups to my hard drives.

    I could also share this folder out to the two apple TVs and I assume to our devices like iPhone and iPad.

    The only downside I see to this approach is that the iMac would have to remain "on" all the time, or at least in sleep mode... correct?

    So if I've got the machine in sleep mode, and my wife pulls out her MBA and hits the shared folder, will that wake the machine up?

    Is it 'ok' to keep a Mac running this way? What are the other alternatives?

    Basically I want to put all of our photos and movies in one folder and have it serve as the single point of entry and access.
  2. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    This might work, but I don't see a way to share this with an iPhone and an iPad. I think iCloud is the only solution that works for that (and I know you've already said you're opposed to that.) iPhones and iPads don't support reading iPhoto libraries directly.
  3. kepler20b macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2014
    very interesting question kelly.

    I am not very familiar with setting up these kinds of networks, but I would look into a mac mini. To me it looks like you can set that up as a defacto "htpc/server" that people can wirelessly connect to.
  4. roadkill401 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2015
    maybe not the solution that you are looking for.

    My wife it a bit of the same as she wants access to all the photo's and all the family have their own iPad that takes pictures.

    My solution was a Synology NAS that runs DS-Photo. there is a great app for the iPad that will allow you to easily sort and view all the photo's. it also allows for you to in the background auto upload any new photo's to the NAS.

    On the family mac mini, I just created a desktop shortcut to the web page for DS-Photo as there is no native mac app (or windows for that matter) but has a web interface. You can configure this to work out in the cloud if you want but I don't like doing that with opening up my firewall and the associated security.
  5. chogue23 macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2015
    Waco, TX, USA
    I agree with Kepler20b that a MacMini would be a better fit. The reason is because it does not need a monitor other than to be set up, and it uses less power. Once you set it up, all you need connected to the MacMini is a power cable and ethernet. I would suggest wired over wireless because this is going to be a server. You can set it to never go to sleep and never turn off the monitor and forget about it. If you get one of the server models of MacMini, it would come with two internal hard drives for double the space. You could then back up this machine with the time capsule, or even back up other macs to this machine.

    As for sharing, set up your iTunes on the server for home sharing. This will share your music, movies, and i think pictures also across all apple devices on your network. I have it on my Mac Pro, and I can view videos and music on my iPad as long as i am connected to the home network, but I have not tried with photos. Another thing that would solve the photo problem is using an application called TeamViewer on your iDevices or even on an Android or Windows platform. It is a free application that will allow you to remotely log in to the Server just like you were sitting at it, and it is all done over secure connections with encryption, so you don't have to worry about unauthorized access. It is free for non-commercial use, and I use it on all my computers and can email myself a forgotten file remotely.
  6. KellyC thread starter macrumors member

    May 11, 2012
    Thanks for the thoughtful replies.

    Here's my reply and more context.

    Regarding a NAS, I've looked into them but they seem beyond my needs.
    I'm also nervous about introducing a non-Apple UI to my wife, as I switched her from Windows three years ago and she's finally adjusted to the Mac interface.

    The requirement to stream the photos to our iOS devices is a "Nice to have" and not a need to have.

    Our primary "need to have" is the ability to consolidate our photos/videos into one place so I can:

    1. Securely back up the folder to Time Capsule and two external hard drives
    2. Provide access to the folder for my wife and her MBA
    3. Stream content to the two Apple TVs in our house

    I'm def. getting a new iMac regardless as I need to replace my MBA that I just sold. I've been watching the refurbs on the Apple store for the right one to come along.

    What I'm trying to sort out is whether or not I keep the iPhoto/iMovie library on the new iMac and "share" a folder with my wife and the two Apple TVs. The risk is do I put unneeded cycles on the iMac? Can it be put to sleep and "wake" when she wants to access the folder from her machine, or an Apple TV.

    Regarding the headless Mini suggestion, I've explored that option in the past and am willing to revisit.

    A couple of questions:
    1. Do I need the server version in order to acomplish what I want to do?
    2. Can I get away with using the cheapest Mac mini I can find either through retail or used?
    3. I assume I can control/configure the Mini with my iMac.

    Thanks for the help.
  7. goMac macrumors 604

    Apr 15, 2004
    One other thing to keep in mind is iPhoto is not meant to have multiple machines using the same iPhoto library at once. It could lead to data corruption. To make this work and not lose data you should probably put everyone on their own iPhoto library. So one share for each person, really each machine. Each with it's own iPhoto library.

    Shouldn't be strain for the iMac, but keeping it on all the time like that might mean an early death in since you are adding more hours onto the power supply.

    You're going to be best off with at least the Server software to do this. I would recommend against a Mac Mini unless you're going to be hooking an external drive up to it. The internal drives are small, and way too slow for a family. To make this work, you're going to need either an SSD with enough capacity or a RAID.

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6 March 16, 2015