OS on homebuilt "NAS"-server

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by andogrando, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. andogrando macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2009
    I hope this is the right forum category, or else, please move the thread! :)

    Well, I have just built a server-computer out of "old" hardware laying around. My idea is to use this computer as a Torrent-server, a NAS, and possibly a Time Machine server. The server must be able to connect to a PPTP-VPN, and share files to Macs.

    Now to my problem, which operating system would you guys use? As I read around the net, I guess I will need to use either SMB or AFP. (To share files to a Mac.) Will Windows (XP/7) be able to share files with decent speed to a Mac?
    (And is it even possible to use the server for TimeMachine storage?)

    I have tried Ubuntu, which seemed pretty decent. It is however very hard for me to configure it, as I have very little knowledge of Linux.

    I appreciate your help.
  2. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    You should be able to use Windows without issue. Time Machine and such will work on it without any problem.

    Speed could be an issue depending on disk and network.
  3. steviem macrumors 68020


    May 26, 2006
    New York, Baby!
    Freenas or Openfiler could be better.

    Whilst they are Linux/BSD based, they aren't that hard to set up and can be left to be completely headless with a web based management page.

    Also, Time Machine won't be able to use an SMB share, it needs to be AFP to at least fool it to think the drive it is saving into is HFS+. That's why with a little reading about something like freenas or openfiler (I'd lean towards openfiler only because the web management looks nicer) would benefit you far more than putting windows onto it.
  4. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    It's a network volume, so clients have no clue what filesystem is on the end device. This is not Time Machine specific; this applies to any client/server technology.

    You can get SMB to work. In Terminal:

    defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1
  5. SidBala macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2010
    Windows Home Server. I am running my own custom built NAS on this. It serves as a torrent box, NAS and live/transcoding server.
  6. andogrando thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2009
    Hi guys, and thanks so much for your help. This definitely cleared up some questions of mine. :)

    I actually tried FreeNAS, and I liked it really much. The caveat was the limited torrent-capabilities, as well as no VPN-support. (Which is a no-go.)
    Otherwise the web-interface was really nice.

    Ah, thats great! I guess that isn't very hard to set up? (SMB in Windows.)
    My other question though, will it be as easy to restore from the TimeMachine volume? (If I have to format one computer, will I just have to reinstall OSX, run the terminal command, and restore?)

    WHS is a bit tempting, but which advantages will it give me over XP/7?

    And some final questions, should I format the drives NTFS in Windows?
    An idea might to run the server headless, and just put it somewhere it has got an network-cord, so it wont bother anyone with noise. Is the best way to remote control it to use VNC? Will I be able to remove it's video card this way? (To eliminate even more noise, heat and power consumption.)

    Once again, I thank you all very much! :):apple:
  7. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    SMB = Server Message Block. It is Windows file sharing so there's really no configuration at all. Simply share the folder and make sure the Windows Firewall is not blocking it.

    Normally, you can just boot the OS X CD and restore from Time Machine. I imagine that, since a Terminal setting needs to be set for SMB to work, that you will need to install OS X, setup the parameter again and then restore.

    None that I can think of.

    Yes, use NTFS. It is far superior to FAT32.

    You should be able to run headless, but I am not sure if it will like it without a video card. You can always install some cheap card that doesn't require a lot of power.

    I normally use Remote Desktop Client for connecting to Windows machines. It is much faster than VNC, but of course, VNC is always an option.
  8. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    I use a 10 year old PowerMac G4 for that. Been running 24/7 for many years with a few TB of storage.
  9. andogrando thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2009
    Thanks again,
    Nearly everything went smooth! :)
    I do however have major troubles with getting TimeMachine to work.
    I select the shared disk in the Time Machine preference pane, and it starts connecting. Some seconds after, it stops, and gives me error code 45. (Couldn't create the sparsebundle blah blah.)

    What am I supposed to do now? xD
  10. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Getting Time Machine to work with a NAS is possible, but it's not the easiest thing in the world, and it will break from time to time. I've been doing it for several years. Try to follow the instructions here http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=184462 as long as you are on Snow Leopard. If not, you'll have to do some more searching.

    Benefits of WHS is that you can pool your various hard disks, while choosing some of the folders to be duplicated. This is an advantage over standard RAID configurations, because you can still get some duplication of important files, while not being constrained to only using identical disks, so you can get more space in the storage pool up front, and can easily add additional space in the future.

    If you go the route of a pre-built WHS box, you will get a box that has been optimized for power consumption as well. Most home built servers end up using much more power than necessary, although even commercial WHS boxes are power hungry compared to the competition today.

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