View Full Version : Network Storage Question

05-16-2005, 09:38 AM
Not exactly sure where this post should go, but I think that it is semi-server related.

Heres the deal:

In the future I will hopefully be acquiring a G5. Right now I have a G4 533 DA, 1Ghz PB G4 Ti, and a 933 ibook. What I want to do is have the ability to connect them all to a NAS which will have at least 4 drives or 1.6tb. I am looking for speed but that is not the main concern. I don't think i need to raid, but am not sure. The NAS will just be backup of movies, audio, video, etc. I want the backup (from G5) to occur regularly with dantz or some other program.

My main problems are:

What case, preferably rackmounted, can host 4 drives and has ethernet connect?
Do I need a switch/router of some sort, if so which one?
Can i use any server case? or pc case?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. I am new to all of this so please be kind if am asking rudimentary questions. Any advice would help. At this point I am quite confused.

On last note. Basically, I was going to get a burly 4drive FW800 case and call it a day. Is that all I need? Will the FW800 be fast spread over 4 comps? How can I connect 4 comps? Anyway, that is all. Thank you in advance.


05-16-2005, 06:12 PM
I am going to let some others answer this. They work with these types of things daily. But a good 8 port Gig router and they should have faster ideas/options than firewire 400.

Hang in here. ;) - Randy

05-17-2005, 07:42 PM

Short on time, so a couple quick thoughts.

As far as a rack mount Mac with 4 drives, five ways to go:

1) A G4 Xserve: can hold 4 ATA drives, up to 400 Gigs each. Not in production, so have to hunt up a used one, and probably still not that cheap. The drive sleds are very pricey, so if you want one that only has say two live drive trays, and two blank comsetic covers, watch out on price.

2) G5 Xserve and an Xraid. This is of coarse the Cadillac, with great speed, but $$$. Probably out of the question.....

3) Any ol' Mac tower running OS 10, and an external RAID of some sort. I notice the Gurus now has a rack mountable Burly case for sale. Something like that would be great, even better with the NetCell RAID card I would think. a fraction of the cost of the Xserve/Xraid system, but the tower is pretty bulky to get in a rack, so you trade $$$ for space.

4) A similar third party RAID 5 box complete with controller, which would probably start in the $2000 - $2500 range, connected to the Mac tower of your choice.

5) OK, not a Mac solution, but you gould also set up a Linux box for pretty cheap, if you are so inclined. I have not, but others around here have, so may some words of wisdom, and an idea of how cheap.

And kind of a 6.....No Mac at all? There are getting to be more and more NAS appliances out there, from the likes of Iomega, Snap Server, etc. Many to choose from, and perhaps the cheapest $ per Gig storage out there? You give up a bit of flexability with them, so consider what else you want this setup to do.

As for what Mac to run, you don't need much horsepower if it is a stand alone file server, not being used as work station too. Even a lowly G4 500 will do. Better to spend the money on robust drives, enclosure, RAID controller, and make sure you have a speedy network: all CAT5e with switches not hubs (Gigabit if you are buying new) good termination, etc. And don't forget a decent UPS for power surges/sags/lightening stikes.

Be sure you can backup everything on the file server, so double the amount of space you need, PLUS room for growth.

What about off-site backups? What happens if the place burns down, there is flood, hurricane, or terrorists fly a plane into the building? Can you survive without this data?

Gotta run for now...others will be along too. Good luck, and ask away if you have more questions (although I won't be around much for a week or so...sorry).

05-17-2005, 07:52 PM
Oops forgot to mention....this gets kicked around once in a while, so I tried searching quickly, and here is something to get the wheels turning:





that oughta keep you busy until I get back to the office next week. ;)

05-23-2005, 04:46 PM
UncleMac figured it out perfectly :kickass:

1. There are some Linux dirstros wich are made/optimized for NAS use only.
Web interface (no GUI/X11/windowmanager on the Server).

But you have to deal with file system limitations (the MacOS uses a Data
and a Resource Fork) as long as you move the data to or from a Mac,
no problem.

But if you want to backup things right from the server,
you have to learn about HFS+ (Mac), Ext2/3 or RiserFS or you have to
"flatten"/compress (TGZ) the files first. Same thing on non HFS+ file systems like NTFS or FAT.

I am not sure what filesystem those snap servers use but AFAIK it is NTFS or FAT.

As long as you do your backup over Ethernet from a Mac, no problem.

2. Filenames, don't use ./&%$"!?()/=? or spaces in filenames on a non Mac system.

As long as you refer to this points a Linux box (Mac or PC) is a great, reliable and cheap server solution. We have a SUN Enterprise 450 running GenToo Linux and all I can say it is great!

BTW GenToo/Debian is nothing for Linux Rookies you have to compile some parts by yourself for the platform you choose. If you want to try a Linux Ditribution then go with YDL (YellowDogLinux) or Mandriva (fomerly Mandrake). YDL and MD have some Server (non NAS) setups/installations build in wich makes things easier.



05-24-2005, 11:10 AM
The Open-ENAS SOHO should be ok.





05-30-2005, 02:25 PM
It really depends on how much IO activity to expect.
You could certainly get by with a g4 tower, running 10.3 server.

I went from a dual 450 g4 to a g5 xserve and noticed a huge improvement.