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NAS or Mac Mini as a Server?

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Shawn Marshall
NAS or Mac Mini as a Server?
on Dec 4, 2009 at 1:10:57 am

Hello:

My wife and I run our two-person company out of a home office, and we're looking for a reliable, cost efficient way to back up our files and have shared storage that we both can access for projects. I'm wondering whether a small NAS storage system would be sufficient, or whether we'd be better off setting up a Mac Mini with attached external storage to act as a file server.

We currently have two Mac Pros as workstations. If we're both working on the same project what we'd usually do is keep the project files on one workstation and share that drive on the other. Unfortunately, there have been times when I've restarted, forgetting that my wife has my drives mounted, and it screws up her AE project. You used to get a warning before doing that, but Leopard dropped that warning for no apparent reason.

I also want to have a place to back up all of our project files on a regular basis. I currently use a LaCie utility to back up my project files to an external Firewire drive connected to my MacPro.

If I go NAS, I want something that's easy to set up and use, since I'm not exactly a networking whiz. A Mac Mini would be more expensive, I'd have to work out screen sharing since I can't devote a monitor to it, and it would have to stay on pretty much all the time. It would probably be simple to set up, and I could use it as a render node for our 3D animations.

Any thoughts, suggestions or recommendations?

Thank you.

Shawn Marshall
Marshall Arts Motion Graphics


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Margus Voll
Re: NAS or Mac Mini as a Server?
on Dec 4, 2009 at 11:50:53 am

Hi.

It really depends on you budget how to go and the options are also from one side to other.

Mini server is good if you need mail, iCal, web server, simple text documents etc.

AE and rendering needs bit different approach and different platform and
is more costly.
Yes you could use separate MacPro lets say for storage and AE rendering but
those two tasks might get you issues combined like this as array sharing and rendering are
different in nature.

http://maxxdigital.com/shop/index.php?cPath=117

This is good way to share material on workstations. Not ment for AE rendering but probably doable
if you wish so.



--

Margus

http://iconstudios.eu


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Bob Zelin
Re: NAS or Mac Mini as a Server?
on Dec 5, 2009 at 5:14:51 am

Hi -
your post belongs on the SAN networks forum, but I will be happy to abuse you on the Business forum.

you write -

My wife and I run our two-person company out of a home office, and we're looking for a reliable, cost efficient way to back up our files and have shared storage that we both can access for projects. I'm wondering whether a small NAS storage system would be sufficient, or whether we'd be better off setting up a Mac Mini with attached external storage to act as a file server.

REPLY - so you want SHARED STORAGE for your video media files that you can share between two systems, and you want to use a MAC Mini? Ain't gonna happen.


We currently have two Mac Pros as workstations. If we're both working on the same project what we'd usually do is keep the project files on one workstation and share that drive on the other. Unfortunately, there have been times when I've restarted, forgetting that my wife has my drives mounted, and it screws up her AE project. You used to get a warning before doing that, but Leopard dropped that warning for no apparent reason.

REPLY - you need a hi speed file server, the cheapest way to do this is with ANOTHER MAC PRO, which will cost you $2749, plus the storage that you need to hold all this media.


I also want to have a place to back up all of our project files on a regular basis. I currently use a LaCie utility to back up my project files to an external Firewire drive connected to my MacPro.

If I go NAS, I want something that's easy to set up and use, since I'm not exactly a networking whiz. A Mac Mini would be more expensive,

REPLY - WHAT DID YOU SAY ? A $599 Mac Mini is TOO EXPENSIVE for a shared storage system ? Are you nuts ? Do you know how much an apple XSAN system costs ? Do you know how much AVID Unity costs ? Even our system - the cheapest shared storage system costs DRAMATICALLY more than $599. Why do you think that you can have a shared storage server for your media files (for your two expensive MAC Pro computers) for under $600 ?


I'd have to work out screen sharing since I can't devote a monitor to it, and it would have to stay on pretty much all the time.

REPLY - you can't devote a monitor to a MAC Mini ? How much does a monitor cost ? $129 ? Are things that tight, or do you volunteer your production and post production and graphics services for free ?


It would probably be simple to set up, and I could use it as a render node for our 3D animations

REPLY - cheap shared storage will start around $10,000. This includes a MAC Pro server, hi speed ethernet equipment, and a drive array. When you see cheaper numbers for this, it does not include the MAC server that you need to run this equipment. You aint' doing nothing for $600 bucks. Now, you CAN setup a makeshift crappy system with another MAC Pro ($2749), and you CAN setup a real makeshift system, just using some etherent cables between your two computers, but you said that "you shut off your computer, and your wife lost her files" - well you don't get antyhing for free. You want a real file server for video - you SPEND MONEY.

the SAN Networks forum is the right place for this post, not here.

Bob Zelin




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