View Full Version : Using a PowerMac G4 as a RAID Server

11-03-2007, 02:20 PM
I have a spare PowerMac G4 that I would like to put as many drives in as I can and set it up as a RAID backup storage for my image files, linked to my current PowerMac G4 via ethernet. Is this possible? If so, is it easy enough for an intelligent but complete neophyte to accomplish? Seems pretty straightforward.
Thank you

11-03-2007, 02:49 PM

1. for that purpose you don't need OSX Server the normal ios is good enough.

2. The G4 should have at least 512MB (better 1 GB) of RAM and should be a G4 450MHz or faster (older dual 450MHz or dual 500MHz are great for this purpose).

3. The G4 is a desktop system so I would add an external enclosure and add an SATA card for the drives. buy eg. 3 500GB drives and set 2 of those drives up as RAID1. the third 500GB HD (single enclosure) is to backup the RAID1 and disconnect the drive if your backup is done. Yeah, RAID arrays can also die so it is good having an offline backup ;
You can easily upgrade such a setup with 3 drives more if you need more storage or you can also use bigger drives such a 3 1GB Monsters instead of 3 500GB drives.

4. As long as you are the only user (client) just set up a clean install and create an user account, the same name and psw as you are using on your G4 workstation so you can easily connect to the server with your name and psw.

If you want more shares or lets say only a folder which should appear as a drive then I would suggest installing SharePoints a simple shareware software which is making it easy to set up shares on OSX non server OSes.

5. The most important point comes last, buy an UPS (Uninteruptable Power Supply) this is a very important point.

If you go that way you can also easily setup another Mac as server if your existing server dies. Another G3 (B&W) G4 or a G5 put the SATA card in fire it up and you are back in business.



11-03-2007, 03:32 PM
Thanks Nicolas.
What do you mean by "...add an external enclosure..."?
I have a 500gb external HD that I am currently using to back up my files on the workstation G4. I will use that as my 2nd BU once I get this other G4 set-up and just use my workstation as a place where I keep "working files" (I am a photographer). My archives will be kept on the G4 server and the external HD. A backup of my working files will be kept on one or two (depending on if I need both of them) external SATA drives hooked up to Wiebetechs.
I think, with future storage needs in mind, I will put the 3 500gb drives in the G4 server - I probably can't afford 1tb drives yet. I need to purchase a SATA PCM-I card (is that right) in order to add more drives, correct?
I will then hook up both computers with an ethernet cable?
I am a real novice.
Will I be able to use this as an ftp server too?

11-03-2007, 04:57 PM
Your Welcome!

I ment not putting the drives into the G4s case I would use an external enclosure like the burly because the more drives your add the more heat will be generated in the G4s case and I am not a friend of heat and of power supplies running at the limit ;)

Yes you can connect the two Macs by using an ethernet cable but I guess you want to have FTP access from external sources (internet etc) so you should use a switch or a router if you only have a DSL or cable modem yet.
Best if you try to find a router with VPN (Virtual Private Network) so your clients can access the server over a safe connection if this is somewhat over your head you can just setup an SFTP server on the server box as well. But I would not open the entre server to anybody just open a directory for that purpose. FTP, VPN is a bit tricky so if you really in the need of that OSX server has the tools onboard. The single user version of OSX can be extended to do such things but this is nothing for "rookies" because you have to do most of the stuff in the commandline, pure Unix.

FTP VPN etc If you want to have everything easy to setup then you need OSX server.

If you can spend some time on learning then you can use the normal OSX and add everything you need.



11-05-2007, 07:58 AM
Great Help. Thx again.
I will look into OS X server.
I connect to internet from the bldg's wi-fi (set-up with a password), so I don't have a physical cable/modem connection. Wireless router then?

11-05-2007, 11:28 AM
Ahh ok, if this is a flatrate internet connection I guess you'll want to share that connection with your other Macs.

OSX has everything needed on board for sharing an internet connection also the tools (mostly firewall) for securing those connections. So you can setup the Mac with the WiFi card installed as router without the need for a dedicated router.

Don't take me wrong you can save alot $ by using OSX and as you know the core system is the same, so if I were you I would go with the normal OSX, leran a bit about basic unix stuff (you can find howtos on everything on the web, not that kind of easy but also not so hard to learn) and add the stuff that I need.

BTW also in OSX server you have to do some configuring the Unix way not everything you want to setup is doable with the mouse ;)



11-09-2007, 10:06 AM
Thank you for all of your help. After your insight I think I am going to leave this up to someone else to set up for me. I don't want to learn any more than I have to about what goes on under the hood. This is sounding too involved. Being self-employed, I would probably save money in the long run to pay someone else instead of spending the time. It has been instructive, though.
Thx again

11-09-2007, 11:47 AM
Starting to do some testing with 10.5 Server, and it is a big improvement overall to 10.4 and earlier versions. More user friendly, less command line, easier access to Server help.

Truly easy for being a server OS on any platform. Still early yet, and there will be bugs to work out, but it is looking good. For a small office of SOHO setup, the 10 user license for $499 is a pretty good deal. I am running 10.5 Server on an old G4 with a aftermarket CPU and 1.25 GB of RAM with no issues.