Whats the best way to set up 4 HDD in a mac pro server

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by alhumphrey, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. alhumphrey macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2010
    I have got an old mac pro which I am going to use for hosting a few websites and email domains. i don't really want to spend a lot of money on getting a RAID card for it to run the 4 drives on a RAID 5 so what I was think was to get 2X 500gb drives on a RAID 1 as the boot drive then 2x 2TB HDD on a RAID 1 for anything else ie storing the mailboxes, websites icals and address books.

    What do you all think if you can think of a better way please let me know.
  2. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
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    It will work, but RAID is not backup !
  3. alhumphrey thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2010
    I understand that, its just the machine will be kept off site so I will need some reduncey.
  4. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
  5. fluffels macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2011
    Software RAID is no match for hardware RAID. If you're not willing to spend the money you have to be aware of the possible consequences.

    Choose a mirror for the boot disk, using two small fast drives, and mirrored larger, slower disks for storing the content.

    More importantly, plan and execute a backup plan that'll allow you to recover the machine easily and quickly. A Mac Pro isn't great as a server in a remote environment. Plan for potential problems - PSU failure, OS freezes (charges can apply in colocation facilities for reboots etc) and the suchlike.

    Primarily it's useful as a failover. If one drive fails due to a mechanical issue, you can use the other (assuming no data corruption has occurred - as that'd be mirrored on to both drives).

    Assuming you can sell this old machine, it may be easier, cheaper *and* safer in terms of potential data loss to choose a dedicated server with a hosting company. ;)
  6. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Yes this will work well enough for what you're going to be using the system for. But as mentioned, you need a backup system in place (Line Interactive UPS that uses a pure sine wave inverter as well - refurbished can save you funds and work just as well).

    If the OS goes down, the system is done for until it's repaired (sites and mail will be down). This is standard practice for a server due to high availability (24/7 operational requirement), and even more important as the OP stated it will be off-site (no one immediately on-site to fix it if a problem occurs).

    No, it's not quite as good as a proper hardware RAID card, but will be sufficient for what the OP's going to use it for (shame that Apple doesn't use the ICHxR versions, as that would be perfect for this - hardware RAID on the cheap).

    Assuming the OP has sufficient bandwidth for this location and usage, it's cheaper to go ahead and keep it vs. going with a dedicated server from a hosting company.

    There's trade offs of course, such as a staff that can fix a failure, sufficient bandwidth (so long as the account holder doesn't cut it short), and redundant power systems (includes generators, ideally configured for fail over as well).

    That said, shared hosting would be sufficient for this (decent company that's not cutting corners on staff, redundant power, and equipment).

    The real question to me is, how critical are these sites and mail servers that the intended system will host (i.e. personal or commercial)?

    That will determine if a home-grown system would work, or if a hosting company is the better way to go.
  7. alhumphrey thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2010
    The site and email accounts will included my own photographic portfolio site and the website and email accounts for a small by high end in door lighting company. The machine will be based in there office but the tech level of the people that work there can only turn thing off and on again for me if I really need it any thing more than that and I have a 45 min drive.

    Yes the reason for mirroring the boot drive is just to buy myself some time if something did go wrong with a boot disk like having to replacing one of the drives or such like. The reason for doing this is its an old machine from the lighting company and we both are looking for ways to cut down cost of hosting email and exchange accounts. The lighting company has 2 websites and 6 email accounts which are then all outsourcer to a hosted exchange they will be saving about £150 per month and I get free hosting on it if I look after the server. Win win all round
  8. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    I'd recommend you make sure there's sufficient ISP bandwidth at the physical location for the system before proceeding.

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