Viable? OS X Server + QNAP NAS -> Crashplan

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Curselayne, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. Curselayne macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2013
    Hi there, I'm a relatively new mac user fallen into a position to bring a fast-growing company up to speed.

    We have 40 staff on a mixed Mac and PC environment on a gigabit network with a QNAP (~4 TB of data) and a fast internet connection (60/20 Mbps), and are transitioning to use Google Apps.

    I'm thinking that a Mac OS X server might be the ticket to:
    - manage authorization/access to the QNAP
    - allow us to use Crashplan to backup the QNAP to the cloud
    - (later on) allow VPN access to the network

    Is this viable? Not having any experience in this environment, could someone point me to some resources as to how to somehow bind the QNAP to OS X Server Open Directory for access and availability for the Crashplan client?

    Or is this all just wishful thinking?


  2. jomobco macrumors newbie

    Mar 21, 2013
    Is your firmware up to date?

    I would think the Qnap would allow you to create user accounts and group accounts to regulate access. Also doesn't it have an application to cloud back up? And a cloud service for access while away? If not I would sell the Qnap and buy a Synology and skip the Mac. It does all of these things and more.
  3. Kasalic macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2011
    +1 for this idea.

    Unless you need to manage the client Mac's and lock them down, you have no other need for a Mac Server.

    I have used Synology NAS drives for storage/backup for Mac clients on a mixed Mac/Windows AD domain, and it works well.\\
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I have a Qnap, and you can create user accounts, and administer shares via those user accounts. I don't see a need for OSX server in this situation
  5. Thelazer macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2013
    Crash Plan?... NOT for hardcore corporate work.. for home users maybe, but I would not use it for anything SRS.
  6. alexrmc92 macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2013
    A mixed windows / mac enviormnment is a tricky thing to work with. Here are some issues i see you running into.

    1. Backing up 40 computers is going to be more than 4TB of space if done individually. Not to mention crashplan is not a business solution. if you have a 20 megabit upload connection your only looking at 2.5 megabytes per second which would take almost 20 days to backup 4TB of data. And that is considering that no user is changing any of that data during that 20 day period.

    2. The QNAP is a standalone NAS solution, it already has a built in server to handle UAC, adding a mac server in the way would only slow it down. The QNAP cannot bind to open directory, but it can bind to active directory. It can also connect via LDAP, but then you will learn quite about about open directories LDAP schema.

    If i were you this is how i would go about everything.

    1. Get a mac server with at least a quad core processor and 8GB of ram, this could be a newer mac mini, an older early 2009 XServe, or a mac pro. You could even use an imac if you wished (but it's rather pointless).

    2. Install the free version of VMware's ESXi on the mac, then virtualize a copy of Windows SBS and OS X Server. Either use the QNAP as a ISCSI datastore (only if you have a decent raid setup) or as a backup solution. Possible get an esata RAID system as a datastore if there is not raid on the qnap.

    3. Create and AD domain on the windows VM and join the mac VM to it. Afterwards create a mac OD domain and use the windows server for kerberos. (These are the first basic steps of the magic triangle)

    4. Setup roaming profiles in the AD and store mac home folders in the OD. Have this data be constantly backed up to either a second QNAP or your existing QNAP if you change storage solutions.

    5. Setup VPN access and the AD users will easily be able to log into the mac.

    Alternatively you could run the windows server in VMware fusion and back the mac up using time machine. Fusion is not intended to be used for servers but would be a bit easier to set up if you are not familiar with ESX.
  7. Curselayne thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2013
    Thanks for the response guys. The main purpose for the Mac OS X server is primarily for backup.

    Incidentally, we have a huge pipe at work (60/20 Mbps). The 4 TB is data that's been accumulated over the past 2 years, so once the initial amount is transferred, the amounts will be much more manageable.

    My concern is costs -- and maybe it shouldn't be that much of a concern if reliability is an issue. Crashplan = $30/month on their corporate plan, forever. The options available for cloud backup for 4 TB start at around $130/month at elephant drive. Even Amazon's S3 options aren't significantly less. These amounts go up based on the amount of storage.

    Crashplan supports OS X Server, but not Windows Server -- I've been told that this is due to the way that Windows deals with permissions for data stores.

    Thank you for your comprehensive answer Alex: However, I don't understand the point of virtualizing Windows Server on OS X Server. Why don't I just purchase and install a Windows Server on the network? I'll go read up on this 'Magic Triangle' in the meantime.

    Maybe I'm looking for too complex a solution. Will I be able to treat the QNAP as a local drive on the server if I implement iSCSI? How can I mount the QNAP on an OS X server so that it acts as a local drive (for the purposes of backup) and still allow the QNAP to manage file access?
  8. alexrmc92 macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2013
    Certainly but also consider how long it will take to restore that data in the event of a crash.

    If costs are a major concern the grab two 4tb USB hard drives and back up to those. You keep one at the office and one at home and swap them once a day. It would be a quicker solution as well.

    crashplan pro does support windows. For this purpose windows server and desktop are the same. There are not data stores involved other than the qnap which handles it's own permissions.

    Because you wont use anywhere near all four cores of a mac minis server doing simple file transfers. If you virtualize windows you don't have to buy another physical server which saves on costs.

    No, OS X does not support iSCSI and will not see NFS shares as a physical drive. You can try to use globalSAN to mount iSCSI disks on your mac, but it can be buggy. This is another reason to use ESXi and virtualize OSX and Windows.

    The qnap is not really made to be a backup drive attached to a server. It is made to be a standalone NAS server.
  9. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Another alternative would be to purchase a second QNAP and store it offsite. Since the QNAP supports backing up over the internet to another QNAP device. Then the Op would have the cloud backup.

    That said I too think the OS X server is a needless expense. As there are other options available without bringing another server and layer of complexity into the mix.

    I definitely would not get Windows Server. That'll make a huge mess of having to reorganize the network and a massive expense in licensing fees for 40 users.
  10. alexrmc92 macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2013
    That would be a much better solution than using online cloud backups. Still not as fast as a physical backup, but a better option.

    If the OP wants to backup a mix of 40 macs and pc's easily then he will need both servers (preferably both virtualized on the same hardware to keep costs down).

    Unless the OP wants to backup each desktop individually, but that would be a networking nightmare when 40 pc's push all of their data to the qnap.
  11. Curselayne thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2013
    Thank you all for the responses guys. It appears that an OS X server at this point is not really necessary for this purpose. As mentioned before, the offsite QNAP idea may be the best avenue.

    All your input is much appreciated!
  12. macilles macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2013
    NAS to NAS

    I would agree completely. We use a lot of QNAPS and the dual QNAP solution works wonders.

    It has a built in feature for Remote replication to another NAS. It can even do it on the fly. If you go with this, it would also be a good idea to replicate all the user settings and permissions (manually) so when the main nas goes down, you can just bring the remote on into the office for a quick swap out.

    Further to that, the new firmware for the QNAPS (4.0.1 etc) has the online cloud backup feature ready if you were to decide on them (Google etc).

    Drop the idea of the MAC osx.

    I would actually look at windows server as a long term solution. If you are already running 40 staff and increasing, windows server with exchange or sbs would be a much easier option to maintain. It would also eliminate email costs as that would be done on your own server. Obviously there will be a one off cost with the hardware (server needs to be beafy to future proof it (sbs 2011 prefers 12Gb an up ram for instance) and the licensing. Though I believe SBS comes bundled with 50 licenses (standard or enterprise).

    And you can add the domain to the qnap and sharing will be a breeze. Also, Mac can happily run on a Windows Domain if configured correctly on the Mac (bind the domain on the user account - unlike the windows option where it binds to the machine).

    Good luck
  13. freejazz-man macrumors regular

    May 12, 2010
    Yup, running your email from a single server with no failover is brilliant idea.
  14. alexrmc92 macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2013
    On OS X server there is no failover option, not a supported one anyways.
  15. freejazz-man macrumors regular

    May 12, 2010
    It might shock you to know that you don't have to run your email off of OSX server
  16. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    There is such a thing as Crashplan Enterprise
  17. JohnDCCIU, Jan 27, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014

    JohnDCCIU macrumors newbie


    Sep 5, 2009

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