Server to Ethernet Switch Speed Bottleneck Concerns

McGizzle

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 19, 2007
13
0
Va
We’re a small team of 8 (but growing soon) moving into a new space and I’ve been put in charge of upgrading our antiquated server setup.

We’re all on newer macs running Mavericks, and I was leaning towards this:

Mac Mini (hopefully they release a spec update soon) with a Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB connected via Thunderbolt 1 (or 2 if updated mac mini).

My only concern is the connection from the mini to the Ethernet switch, and the bottleneck that can create.

I have read about LAG and know the slight performance increase that can create, but still feel like that won’t be enough … we are a media centric company and it is highly probable for multiple people to be accessing 500MB+ files at once.

I haven’t decided on a switch yet, and likely there will be CAT6a running from the switch to the employee’s computer, so that shouldn’t be the limitation.

I’m looking for best-case recommendations on the mini to switch connection. Also, if you have any recommendations on a 24 or greater port switch, I’d also appreciate those!
 

mvmanolov

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2013
857
3
We’re a small team of 8 (but growing soon) moving into a new space and I’ve been put in charge of upgrading our antiquated server setup.

We’re all on newer macs running Mavericks, and I was leaning towards this:

Mac Mini (hopefully they release a spec update soon) with a Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB connected via Thunderbolt 1 (or 2 if updated mac mini).

My only concern is the connection from the mini to the Ethernet switch, and the bottleneck that can create.

I have read about LAG and know the slight performance increase that can create, but still feel like that won’t be enough … we are a media centric company and it is highly probable for multiple people to be accessing 500MB+ files at once.

I haven’t decided on a switch yet, and likely there will be CAT6a running from the switch to the employee’s computer, so that shouldn’t be the limitation.

I’m looking for best-case recommendations on the mini to switch connection. Also, if you have any recommendations on a 24 or greater port switch, I’d also appreciate those!
well there are some options for faster connections but that will cost.. you can buy 10GBe switches but they are rather expensive (netgear has some that are relatively reasonable) but then you'll need a TB adapter that can make us elf 10GBe and i'm not sure that such exist... though i'm sure you can google that).

LAG is good and i use it at home, speeds things up...

but to be quite honest 500MB files over gigabit ethernet won't be any problem at all. if 4 employees access file simultaneously they can pull at 50MB/s not bad...

i personally like net gear and have a GS716T at home you can get a GS724T for around 250 which isn't bad at all...
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
9,218
1,584
Do you need/want the mini in the loop? You could just go with a decent nas straight to a managed switch???
 

McGizzle

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 19, 2007
13
0
Va
Thanks for the replies guys!

Everything that I have researched has pointed to NAS setups typically being slower. Also, we need VPN and other user based authentications, so just going with a NAS won't be enough.

Like I said, we are a team of 8 now, but will be increasing to 11 within the next few months, and likely up to 20 over the next year or more ... so, this setup needs to be able to handle the increased team size.

For thunderbolt adapters, I have seen two:
ATTO Thunderlink
Promise SANLink

But both are pretty expensive solutions, though.

Any other ideas?
 

mvmanolov

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2013
857
3
Thanks for the replies guys!

Everything that I have researched has pointed to NAS setups typically being slower. Also, we need VPN and other user based authentications, so just going with a NAS won't be enough.

Like I said, we are a team of 8 now, but will be increasing to 11 within the next few months, and likely up to 20 over the next year or more ... so, this setup needs to be able to handle the increased team size.

For thunderbolt adapters, I have seen two:
ATTO Thunderlink
Promise SANLink

But both are pretty expensive solutions, though.

Any other ideas?
well, 1 the TB adaptors won't do you much good as you will have to also spend loads on building 10GBe network with will cost considerably more then the adaptors, so if you think this is expensive then.... well you get the point.

Also most new NAS's now come with a number of user authentication services including VPN.

So unless you already have the R2 then perhaps a NAS would be a good option but you still have to spend quite a bit...

Alternatively you only solution left would be link aggregations... instead of buying a mini perhaps get a used OMP and put a couple of more NICs in it and aggregate all of them to achieve higher max throughput...

----------

Really depends on the setup.
perhaps you could elaborate on this a bit? i'm curious (as i have never used a NAS) and i'm sure the OP would want the info?
 

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,703
266
Oregon
I was reading here in another thread about a guy thats using a nMP as a server (and a workstation at the same time) for video. TB2 and dual Ethernet that could be aggregated. I'd think an oMP would be a reasonable alternative but for the TB ports.
 

Griggi

macrumors newbie
Dec 27, 2012
22
2
Your concerns are right, however even though Thunderbold provides speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s (or 20 Gbit/s with TB2) that doesn't neccessarily mean that your Ethernet port would create a bottleneck.

Basically it depends on the harddrives that are used in the Promise Pegasus2. If you think about this:

The Mac mini provides a 1 Gbit/s ethernet port. That means that you could transfer files at 1000 Mbit per second which equals about 128 MB per second (1000 divided by 8 because 8 bits are one byte). So the question is: is the Promise Pegasus2 device really capable of providing speeds of 128 MB/s on the hard drives?

If not I would just go ahead and buy a Mac mini with external Thunderbold storage. Otherwise I would indeed buy a seperate NAS device and a Mac mini as a server.

Creating LAGs doesn't neccessarily increase the speed by the way (that's a little more complex to explain) however for creating a LAG you would need two Ethernet ports anyway which the current Mac mini doesn't even provide...

Hope that helps ;)
 

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,703
266
Oregon
So the question is: is the Promise Pegasus2 device really capable of providing speeds of 128 MB/s on the hard drives?
Not quite so simple if you consider future expansion. Two devices would easily max out the Ethernet connection even if a single one didn't quite make it.
 

McGizzle

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 19, 2007
13
0
Va
Thanks guys!

You may also want to consider this Mac Mini rack mount:
http://sonnettech.com/product/xmacminiserver.html

It also has 2 PCIe slots which you can add 10Gb ethernet, and maybe a fiber channel card or something if you want to go higher-end storage.
I have not seen this before, do you have any experience with it?

Griggi said:
you would need two Ethernet ports anyway which the current Mac mini doesn't even provide
I was planning on using the apple thunderbolt ethernet adapter off the 2nd "daisy chaining" port on the Promise Pegasus ... will that not work?


talmy said:
Not quite so simple if you consider future expansion.
Right ... like I said, we are a team of 8 now, but expanding quickly, and this needs to be able to scale. One ethernet @ 128 MB/s max isn't enough. Two might not be enough either, but with the current team size, could be sufficient.

We could always update the server to switch connection as we expand...
 

McGizzle

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 19, 2007
13
0
Va
is the Promise Pegasus2 device really capable of providing speeds of 128 MB/s on the hard drives?
Based on reviews I have seen, the Pegasus R6 is more than capable of speeds well beyond 128MB/s ...

One of many recent reviews, but MacWorld results show:

Using AJA’s Disk Test with a 16GB file and video frame size set to 3840 x 2160 10-bit, the Pegasus2 posted a very impressive 902 MBps in AJA Disk Test’s Write tests and 913 MBps in the Read test.

Black Magic Disk Test Write results were similar to the AJA results, with the Pegasus2 moving data at a rate of 851 MBps ... Blackmagic’s read result for the Pegasus2 was 698 MBps.
These results were based on the standard RAID 5 configuration and six 2TB Toshiba 7200 RPM DT01ACA200 drives.
 

Griggi

macrumors newbie
Dec 27, 2012
22
2
Not quite so simple if you consider future expansion. Two devices would easily max out the Ethernet connection even if a single one didn't quite make it.
Yes that's right.

That is why actually larger companies seperate their storage devices from the conventional server devices. However that would requre to spend a little bit more than just the Mac mini + Thunderbold storage...

-
-------- edit ----------
Based on reviews I have seen, the Pegasus R6 is more than capable of speeds well beyond 128MB/s ...

One of many recent reviews, but MacWorld results show:



These results were based on the standard RAID 5 configuration and six 2TB Toshiba 7200 RPM DT01ACA200 drives.
Oh okay, thanks for that information. So the one gigabit Ethernet port really creates a bottleneck.

May I ask if you have any network infrastructure existing in the company/building you are working at?
 

mvmanolov

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2013
857
3
How do you plan to network Thunderbolt to 20+ Macs?
well, you could use a whole bunch of TB modules and daisy chain the crap out of it...?

Just joke of course, but surely TB switching devices must be in development...
 

drsox

macrumors 65816
Apr 29, 2011
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NASes that are not crazy $$$ will offer mush slower throughput than a mini... no?
No, not if you get a decent NAS with a reasonable CPU. Don't get one with an Atom or a Marvell CPU. With LAG and multiple drives it's easy to get >100MBps Read and Write rates.
 

McGizzle

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 19, 2007
13
0
Va
How do you plan to network Thunderbolt to 20+ Macs?
I don't ... through the office network ... not via thunderbolt cables.

Basically:

  • Pegasus R6 to Mac Mini via thunderbolt
  • Mac Mini to ethernet switch via ? (point of this thread).
  • 24 point switch connects to 24 ethernets cat lines that run to ports throughout the office and create the inner office network

Possibly the only way to make this work is simply using LAG from the switch to the Mini, but I really don't know. That is why I opened this topic, I was hoping that someone could point me to the best possible setup.
 

Griggi

macrumors newbie
Dec 27, 2012
22
2
I don't ... through the office network ... not via thunderbolt cables.

Basically:

  • Pegasus R6 to Mac Mini via thunderbolt
  • Mac Mini to ethernet switch via ? (point of this thread).
  • 24 point switch connects to 24 ethernets cat lines that run to ports throughout the office and create the inner office network

Possibly the only way to make this work is simply using LAG from the switch to the Mini, but I really don't know. That is why I opened this topic, I was hoping that someone could point me to the best possible setup.
What are you actually planning to do with the storage? Just use it as SMB/AFP shares to give everyone some storage in the network?
 

drsox

macrumors 65816
Apr 29, 2011
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Thanks for the replies guys!

Everything that I have researched has pointed to NAS setups typically being slower.
No, not if you get a decent NAS with a reasonable CPU. Don't get one with an Atom or a Marvell CPU. With LAG and multiple drives it's easy to get >100MBps Read and Write rates.
 

McGizzle

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 19, 2007
13
0
Va
What are you actually planning to do with the storage? Just use it as SMB/AFP shares to give everyone some storage in the network?
Yes.

I realize the R6 may be a bit overkill for that application, but since this will likely be the least easily replaceable element of the new setup, I want to ensure it's longevity and future-proof-ness.

But if you have better recommendations, please let me know!
 

Griggi

macrumors newbie
Dec 27, 2012
22
2
Yes.

I realize the R6 may be a bit overkill for that application, but since this will likely be the least easily replaceable element of the new setup, I want to ensure it's longevity and future-proof-ness.

But if you have better recommendations, please let me know!
What bothers me a little with the Thunderbolt-Solution is the following: Should the Mac mini fail you will not be able to access the files on the Pegasus2, because you would need a thunderbolt device in between your LAN and the Pegasus.

If you really just need some AFP/SMB shares and nothing else I would recommend using a NAS (Synology or QNAP are pretty good in my opinion) and using the Mac mini as VPN-Server.

A decent NAS should (like drsox said) get equal or comparable performance.
 

blueroom

macrumors 603
Feb 15, 2009
6,374
25
Toronto, Canada
Nothing wrong with Atom based NAS's, they're more than capable of saturating a linked GigE.

Some high end NAS's offer four GigE ports and or 10GbE as an option. Synology makes among the best when using Macs. Any way you cut it a working solution isn't going to be cheap. A 24port GigE + 10GbE managed switch + DS3612xs would be something I'd consider. Also an offsite backup solution is something you probably should consider too.

Add to that the new Mac Pros and GigE won't be so bad (they have dual GigE adapters)
 

drsox

macrumors 65816
Apr 29, 2011
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Nothing wrong with Atom based NAS's, they're more than capable of saturating a linked GigE.
Yes, but are they capable of managing multiple simultaneous I/O serving multiple users.

UPDATE :

A check of the rankings on SmallNetBuilder indicates that the Atom D2700 based NASs are pretty good.
So my comments re Atom (at least the Cedarview version) are hereby modified !
 
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Griggi

macrumors newbie
Dec 27, 2012
22
2
Nothing wrong with Atom based NAS's, they're more than capable of saturating a linked GigE.

Some high end NAS's offer four GigE ports and or 10GbE as an option. Synology makes among the best when using Macs. Any way you cut it a working solution isn't going to be cheap. A 24port GigE + 10GbE managed switch + DS3612xs would be something I'd consider. Also an offsite backup solution is something you probably should consider too.

Add to that the new Mac Pros and GigE won't be so bad (they have dual GigE adapters)
That's exactly the way I would go.

OP could also go ahead and buy the Synology DS3612xs, connect it through 1G (or even 4x 1G LAG if the current switch supports it) into the current existing infrastructure and buy a 10G switch later on (and connect the DS3612xs with 10G once he has 10G switches). That would be a future proof solution.