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Thread: Fast Mac File Server ..

  1. #1
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    Aug 2001
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    Hi >> What speeds can you expect from a file server running on a mac 100 ethernet? Does anyone have any suggestions for good file server
    options or am I getting ok speeds ?

    Specs:
    Mac G3 400 Mhz 512Mb Ram
    Apple IP 6.3
    Miles2 SCSI card with Softraid
    1 Seagate 36gb Ultra 160
    10/100 Ethernet with about 10 Macs(all 100 speed) > 16 port Switch

    speeds: timed a 115Mb folder copied to a standard issue G4 on the network to 14 seconds. (about 8 Mbps transfer)

    thanks for your input.

  2. #2
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    Hi...

    It's hard to figure out transfer speeds since it depends a lot on how your network is configured - i.e. i.e network HUB or network SWITCH. Local network gurus here indicated that if you use a hub, you might get a best 20% of full throughput whereas 100 % of the bandwidth is used for each connection if you use a switch. Not sure I totally understand it but I did notice that when we went to a dedicated HP 24 port switch vs 3COM OfficeConnect hubs, our transfer rates, esp in network back-ups went up significantly. The actual make of the switch can also affect the network performance - a lot of our people use HP or Cisco or even Foundary Network switches.

    Is the only link between the machines the switch? or are there other hubs in the way ,etc... Are the other machines also talking to the server at the same time?

    Chris

  3. #3
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    Aug 2001
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    Hi Chris, >> thanks for your reply >> we have a D-link 16 port 10/100 switch as the only link between the machines. It improved much going from a hub to a switch, I did noticed that. At the time of the test, only one mac was connected to the server.

    another question I have with the file server is if using Appleshare IP 6.3 is just dumb now that there is Mac OS X >> is not the speed of a UNIX based file server faster than even the Appleshare IP server..??

    thanks again for the input.

  4. #4
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    Might become a moot point since I read that ASIP won't be supported under OS X...Sort of makes sense as they start pushing Mac OS X server - I'm cogitating over getting that for my lab and using it in addition to ASIP. ASIP is working well for us right now w/ 18 machines (Mac/PC) and a plethora of students banging away on it and grabbing files..

    Chris

  5. #5
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    Hi there,
    I would like to bring up the original topic of this thread again - ethernet throughput. I have a network of 5 macs running on a 10/100 switch. Every night, I am backing up to a 9600 backup server running retrospect. The 9600 has a 500M G3, 300+M RAM, Miles 2 SCSI card, 50G Baracuda Drive, a 100M Ethernet card, and a 400GByte Exabyte external Ultra 2 SCSI Tape Library. The transfer rate from SCSI to tape is about 12 MByte/S, so this is not a bottleneck.

    So, heres my question: I figure that with a pure switched network, I should be getting about 12Mbyte/S performance from 100BaseT ethernet (100Mbit/s divided by 8 bits per byte). What I typically see though is no more than one-fifth of this performance. Am I misunderstanding something about ethernet?? I am backing up G4s with 10/100/1000 interfaces and iMacs with 10/100.

    Pretty soon, I am going to be really using the tape library properly and expect to be backing up very large capacity each night. I am thinking of moving everything (except iMACs) over to 1000BaseT. Question is though - what sort of performance improvement should I expect to see?? Theoretically 10X I guess, but perhaps there are other factors which will limit this.

    Any thoughts on the above much appreciated...

    taffy.c

  6. #6
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    no networking gurus out there???

  7. #7
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    Not really a networking guru but I suspect that there are a number of factors which influence that apparent back-up rate

    (1) what other traffic is running at the time
    (2) what the computers are doing at the time of back-up.

    My Retrospect server is also on a 10/100 switch, is using a 10/100 card and it still takes forever to back up to our LVD VXA tapes - and we're all on the same segment (behind a single HP Procurve switch)... A full network backup, of all machines, can take our lab about 18 hrs onto new tapes. If we run incremental - that's only a few hours.

    What I have noticed is that if you are backing up Windows machines on Retrospect to a Mac Retrospect server, then they are DOG slow. Mac -> Mac server is faster.

    I'm sure there are tweaks that can be run - i.e. NICs vs switch type and how they are set to negotiate can cause problems (at least that's what I've read).

    There are some informatics folks here who run Gigabit and can apparently saturate their lines with disk access to their servers...

    Chris

  8. #8
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    Just looking at my backup now...

    Equipment

    7300 w /a G3/400 card in it, Farallon 10/100 card through a 10/100 switch connected to a 7300 w/ a G3/333 in it, using the stock 10BaseT connection. It's pulling data from a RAID 1 array connected to a Miles2 card and is transferring data back to a Miles2 driven VXA tape drives.

    I'm getting about 75 MB / min according to Retrospect...Locally I can get around 150 - 200 MB / min but then that's straight from the LVD drives to the VXA.

    The Retrospect server is also running FileMaker Pro. Both machines are running 9.1 or 9.0.4 - I think that there are some OT tweaks that can be run as well.

    That's the first pass rate - the verification step is usually much faster.

    Does this help?.

    Chris

  9. #9
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    When you build a server, you need to figure out what kind of bandwith you will need. Will all the users be using files and coping at the same time, or at different times? Are the file sizes large?

    The first step is to get a good switch. They are cheap enough now.

    Make sure your server is at full duplex with the port on the switch.

    I have a Beige G3 450MHz 384MB ram with dual 9GB Cheetahs / Atto SCSI-3 running FileMaker Pro server with 25 users connected. The machine is at full duplex with the Cisco switch and it handles what we do fine. I will eventually replace it with a newer G4 when I go full Gigabit ethernet here.

    The G3 you have listed should be fine for a 15 user network.

    I don't know exactly what the throughput on a 10/100/1000 networks are.

    j

  10. #10
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    Wow - thanks for the flurry of responses!

    I still have a fundamental misunderstanding though - even on a fully switched network with no other traffic running AT ALL a file copy between 2 G4 macs running 10/100/1000 Ethernet interfaces through a 10/100 switch runs at about 2.5MB/S - about a fifth of the theoretical rate of 12 MB/s (100Mbit/s divided by 8 Bits/byte)

    This is about the same rate running between any of my macs with 10/100 interfaces.

    taffy.c

  11. #11
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    I changed my network last night to a switched (Netgear) 100 from a 10base hub. Transfering a 500 mb photo file(1 picture) took almost two minutes over the appletalk network. This was between the 10/100/1000 Quicksilver and a 10/100 B&W G3. Around 4mb per second.

    Rick

  12. #12
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    Did you give each Mac a unique TCP/IP address and enable filesharing over TCP/IP?

  13. #13
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    ricks,
    Small point - mb normally means megabits - as in Mbps. MB or MB/s normally means byte - megabytes per second.

    4mbps is fairly slow, but 4MB/s is about 32Mbps.

    I did a file transfer the other night. 2GB - about 50 minutes or so... over 10baseT I need an upgraded network.

    ------------------
    One Nation, under God; with liberty and justice for all.

  14. #14
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    I just upgraded w/ Farallon cards all of my older PTP and 7300's and whew - what a difference...

    Chris

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