Speed - will it be fast enough?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by zamzmith, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. zamzmith macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2010
    LAN = Ten new fast Macs and one Xserve.

    Graphics. In house graphic art department for large company producing advertising, labels, boxes, brochures etc. by the ton all year. A graphics factory.

    Proposed new (untested) workflow is for all files to remain on the server, that is, production on client machines will work on files across the network. Mostly Adobe CS5 working on large files: gigabyte Photoshop files, complex Illustrator files.

    Q. Is everything going to bog down if all 10 clients are moving and saving files at the same time?

    I assume network cableage will be the bottleneck. I assume the next bottleneck would be the RAID.

    What's the fastest physical config? Out of the box with standard cabling will it run a 100 base T? Do I need more hardware for Gigabit speed. Fiber Optic?

    Q. What networking hardware do I need to go the fastest?

    Thank you all
  2. Matty-p macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2010
    all you need for the best speed hard ware wise apart from the xserve and cabeling (cat5e or cat 6 ) is a gigabit switch that supports a nic teaming and of course full duplex and enough ports for now and the future . dont forget extra printers,scanners at least 2 for the server and 10 for the macs . all told you should get a 24 port switch.

    also what are you doing for storage how much do you need? you talk about raid do you mean that youll use internal bays or a sas?

    may i suggest if your storage needs are less than 4tb that the most cost effective way is to fill the front 3 drive bays with 2 tb drives in each bay and put them into raid 5 then a ssd in tyhe 2.5 bay for the boot drive . then youll have 4tb storage , fast seperate boot drive and redundancy. this will cost far far less than a sas like the promise and takes up less power and space.

    so the fastest you could get for resonable cost (without 10 gig ethernet) is what ive suggestedand that is the server has 4tb actual storage space (raid 5 and seperate boot drive) witch should be plenty remember this will just be for files the aplications and os will be stored on the indavidul mac. conected using adaptor teanming and the two built in gigabit ethernet ports conected to the switch in full duplex so in theory 4 gigabits of bandwith to the server wich should be plenty.and then each mac connected via gigabit ethernet to switch so each mac would be able top get 1 gigabits of bandwith so 100 megabytes a second so a gigabyte file would take ten seconds to load. youd have to have 4 macs to get less than 1 gigabit of bandwith all at the same time ie all loading or saving in the same 6-7 seconds witch is never really going to happen.

    also this setup would have some nice redundace bouth for the drives 1:3 redundanxcy ratio and the network adaptors . this setup would have not bottlenecks

    to go the absouloute fastest it would cost quite alot more but say if you want me to tell you what to get it would be a few thousand but i recoment the above cost wise
  3. logandzwon macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2007
    Q. Is everything going to bog down if all 10 clients are moving and saving files at the same time?

    Yes. But that is an impractical requirement for what you outlined.

    I assume network cableage will be the bottleneck. I assume the next bottleneck would be the RAID.

    Gig-E will be fine. If you pair-bond the Xserve NICs you'll be better. (Aka teaming). As for the RAID, with one server, yes. You could RAID 0 then for decent speed, but if one drive failed you'd lose ALL you data. Again though your requirements are very strange.

    What's the fastest physical config? Out of the box with standard cabling will it run a 100 base T? Do I need more hardware for Gigabit speed. Fiber Optic?

    All macs, even the Mac mini have gig-E. Fiber is a whole different animal.

    Q. What networking hardware do I need to go the fastest?

    For a practical setup i agree with Matty. I highly doubt you actually need this, but to answer your question...

    The fastest set-up for 10 Macs dealing with huge data...
    You need the promise RAID with SAS disks.. Check apple's business store... You get all 10 Mac Pros and the two xserve dual fiber cards. A fiber switch with 28 ports, or better yet, two fiber switched stacked with 14 ports each. You need one dumb gigabit switch with 12 ports used only for metadata. You'll still need another switch for networking them to your office and the Internet. Then you get Apple XSAN for all 12 machines. You set the two Xserves are the XSAN metadata controllers, you have two because some times you might need to update or patch one and you don't want to force all 10 work stations off-line first. You'll have 4GB fiber attached 16 bay RAID shared across all workstations.

    Ofcourse none of that deals with data security if somehow your whole array fails or a virus or malicious user deletes everything, so you need to thunk about how to back up all that data...
  4. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    Forget the SSD. You're not going to be rebooting the server every day, so bootup time is a non-issue. Even if you rebooted once a month, the 10 seconds you save on boot time isn't worth the cost.

    If you want fast access to the disks, you don't want RAID 5. Go with an external array that has a hardware controller and a larger amount of cache. You could use iSCSI to attach the device, but it could have an impact on your network, unless you put the storage on a separate physical switch. Then you can RAID 1 the boot drive for redundancy.

    I'd also agree with teaming the adapters, but you'll want a managed network switch so that you can team the ports on the switch as well.

    If it were me, I would use the server storage as a final resting place. In other words, the clients should work on the files locally and then save them on the server. If your clients have done a lot of work and either the server or switch fails, you could lose some data. Additionally, it relieves a lot of the network load and it will be faster to work locally than over the network.
  5. Matty-p macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2010
    ssd's are the only build to order option apple offer for a boot drive. besides they usually have a lower failrate than mechanical drives and wont randomly fail rather after a certian number opf uses
    that will cost many many thousands more and wont increase speed to the end users on the network anyway.
    yep forgot to say that
    yes but it has both advantages and disadvantages for example 10 clients at 5 aclock would all be going oh its 5 time for me to save up and ill cary on tomartow or two or more 1gb plus files so 2*10 20gb / 100mb/s so over 3 mins and theyd all be waiting that time
  6. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    It depends on how long this device is kept in service. If leased for 3 years and swapped out, little value can be found in going BTO just for an SSD.

    Incorrect, if you go with 3 spindles in a software RAID 5, you'll get nowhere near the throughput compared to a hardware unit.

    If you're wanting speed, you won't be deploying 100Mb to the end user. Go gigabit the entire run. Also, what about in the morning when all 10 users open up those 1GB files? That's an issue too, but it's either one or the other for the OP to choose.

    It might be wise to consider keeping the copies local and backing it up to the server with something like Time Machine, so that only incremental updates are sent to the server.
  7. Matty-p macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2010
    he implys he will be buying the xserve. also you only get warenty if you get the apple configered xserve apple onlky allows ssd and its not massivly more expensive than a good 2.5" server drive.
    no it will be three drives (spindles) in hardware raid 5 using the hardware raid in apples cionfig options the one that dosent take up an pci slot . the troughput on 3 server drives in raid 5 will be considerably over the 2 gigabit bottleneck (4 gigabit full duplex in therory) of the nics thus a sas will provide no extra speed alll it will do is take up thousands of pounds and lots of spacc and money for power too.

    i actually wrote in the calculations 100mb/s short for 100 megabytes per second witch is gigabit.yes i agree the morning is also a problem too. i just gave a single example of why that souloution might noit work.
    no because time machine is cr*p for that sort of thing but mainly beacause the op specifically says that he wants the files to stay on the server to be worked off
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Loots of BS advice here. Worth what you paid I think. The real answer is

    1) If you have a gigabit ethernet switch then the speed on the network cable will be very fast and will not be the main bottle neck

    2) Hopefully few people will ever actually move a file. That defeats the whole purpose of a central file server. They will read and write to the remove disk

    3) The remove disk needs to be fast. The best way to get that is with RAID and a large number of smaller, faster drives. The exact technology is just a detail, the big thing is to use a good number of disk drives so the total bandwidth is high.

    Just set up to users auto-mount their $HOME directories at log in. If you do this them all the workstatins are interchangable and users can use whichever computer they like. Thi si well proven, I've set up networks like that way back in the late 1980's using 10Mb co-ax based Ethernet with "vampire taps" (remember those?) Always the speed of the network has increased to keep pase with the speed of disk drives
  9. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR

    If multiple people are accessing multiple large files, it could easily saturate a single gigabit link on the server. Hence, it was recommended to bond the two NICs to get a cheap form of load blancing.

    The throughput will not be that great for RAID 5, even with Apple's card. As ChrisA stated above, for a given array size, lowering the size and increasing the number of spindles is the way to increase pverall speed. RAID 5 is a very slow write array and should only be considered when you aren't concerned with performance and need something a bit fault tolerant. A RAID10 will give you better rates, but of course requires more spindles. This is a common configuration for databases.

    I've read, but never tested personally, that Apple's RAID card is a complete waste in terms of performance.

    Then you should use MB/s as mb/s implies megabits per second. 125MB/s equates to gigabit, in theory. I've been able to push as high as 110MB/sec over gigabit.

    TM isn't crap at all. It's like rsync on steroids, so I'm not sure why you'd say that. However, the OP's requirements are a bit strange. I believe either way you go, you're going to hit a bottleneck somewhere.

    Additionally, and you even quoted it, the OP said proposed not required.
  10. Matty-p macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2010
    i agree more disks in princaple but i just think that for the op it will just be a massive waste of space,money (thousands) and power ect when he could get very nearly the same speed from just the xserve and three fast drives in hardware r5 i have personally seen a similar setup (all 15k rpm 1tb) and ive seen a imac and a mac pro both pull 92 MB/s or therabouts each
    i dunno ive never tested it personally but it can be any pci raid card though there are two pci slots going free afterall

    yea i probably should have but i didn't . yea i know the theory 8 bits in a byte but real life day to day it eqivilent to about 100 MB/s the highest ive ever seen was 107 MB/s and that was sustained for about 30 seconds on a .zip transfur

    yea in my opinion it is i know some people think its the best thing since sliced bread but i am not one of them! ive just has so many problems examples are
    After 10 GB or more of data is backed up, Time Machine just stops backing up., A Time Machine back up performed while Aperture is running leads to inconsistencies in the Aperture database, Time Machine doesn't back up to AirPort DisksTime Machine properly ,displays "Preparing" for ages sometimes.:mad:
    yea i know he said preosed- i said that he wants that not that he required we all know what we want is very different to what we require! ie i want a new 30" nec display for my desktop but i certianlly dont reqire one:);)
  11. JTR7 macrumors member

    Mar 10, 2010
    If we're all debating storage, what if he went with a Mac Pro with OS X Server preinstalled? It'll have 2 Gig-E ports on it. He could install PCI-E cards if he wanted. It'll give him another drive bay. Thus he could alleviate some of the read/write times based on RAID configuration (I don't claim to be an expert in RAID, not sure which type would be best for 4 drives for redundancy and speed).

    If physical space is an issue, you could contend that a Mac Pro is a better shape for taking up little space.
  12. Matty-p macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2010
    not a bad idea but it will cost more and it is bigger and it isnt rack mountable and the xserve also has 4 drive bays but one is hidden so thered be no real advantage . unless he uses one of the dvd drievs as a hard drive bay with an adaptor . also i dont thing mac pro drives a re hot swapable or have warning lights and there harder to get to
  13. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    Note you said "pull". Reading from RAID 5 is fast, but writing is slow, slow, slow. As for money, it's up to the OP to determine affordability.

    Don't know about Aperture, but I backup my MBP (~200GB) and my Mini (~40GB) to a single external LaCie (connected to an AEBS) used without issue. I'm wondering if it could be how your device is connected or the device itself.

    One instance of issues shouldn't qualify it as junk.

    Proposed equates to "the funding is there for a configuration and now we need to optimize the configuration for the given budget" not "Boy I'd like to have this setup, but I don't have the money."

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