8 Replies Latest reply: Jan 19, 2014 2:07 PM by rccharles
ey3ball Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hey Guys,

 

I am in need of some help. We currently have about six macs in our prepress department all accsessing 1 mac mini with three external drives that store all our files. We also work out of those drives, not on our local machines.

 

So far this has worked out well for us. However, in the next few weeks we will be opening a new shop about 20 miles away, that will need access to all these same exact files. We are not sure of what the best way to do this is.

 

Currently the mac mini we are on does not have osx server just osx. Also we have about 4-5 TB of customer files, and any given file that we are working on or would need access to could be up to 2 GB's.

 

We are open to all and any ideas. Obviously the cheaper the better, but please give me any and all ideas so that we can evaluate every option and decide what is best for our company.

 

We know that our current state of using external drives on a mac mini in not a realistic solution for ever as eventually our drives will fill up and I think we are out of usb ports to add new ones on.

 

Also this cannot be a one time type of fix as once we get this new location set up and established, we plan to replicate it and open up a couple more in the comming years. Also seeing as we already have 4-5 TB of data we need something that is future proof so that as we continue to expand and grow we end up needing a new solution in 5 years.

 

Thank you for any and all help you can provided.

 

-ey3ball

  • twtwtw Level 5 Level 5 (4,900 points)

    Data transfer between remote sites is going to be limited by the speed of your internet connections. If you need centralized distribution your best bet will be to invest in high speed connections. If the mini is not giving you trouble as is you can avoid replacing it for a while (remember that you can daisy chain drives or buy usb expanders to give yourself extra ports), but if you're going to be transferring data over the net you may want to invest in a server just for the added security and control.

     

    Personally I'd think about decentralizing. If you can set up your shops so that they are not working on the same projects at the same time, you can go easy on the bandwidth and hardware and transfer big files overnight, or on weekends, or even by courier. That way you could set up relatively inexpensive clusters like you have now without suffering a performance loss.

  • rccharles Level 5 Level 5 (6,265 points)

    I'd think you would want to duplicate the server on your second site.  Use some syncing software to keep the two servers uptodate.  The Mac OS X servers sotware is only $20.  Don't forget security of your data.  There is a whole other bug of worms when you open up you server to internet traffic. 

     

    Perhaps you could rent a private fiber link between the two sites.

     

    Might be best to go with the pros.  They have looked at all the angles.  The best solution might be a commercial hosting site.  Check out Dropbox, sugarsync, and google doc.  You need to pay for more data space. This will get you out of the IT mess you might run into doing it yourself. 

     

    I'd still get a server for both sites. sync the folders you want to share off the server.

     

    For what is worth you get better performance out of firewire vs. usb 2.

     

    Robert

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (158,350 points)

    Router-to-router VPN.

  • Neville Hillyer Level 4 Level 4 (1,855 points)

    I have no experience of such things but my thoughts are:

     

    Get simple version control software which uses a central real-time database to control file edit permissions so that when a file has been allocated for edit by one person it is only available as read only by others. Do this fast and large data transfers slowly - mainly overnight - VPN is good.

     

    As an ex OS X Server user I am not much in favour of it as opposed to the same facilities on standard OS X but I would start looking at version control solutions and let that dictate the most compatible OS. Try looking for existing installations with similar file sizes and other limitations.

     

    I assume there is some reason for using OS X as opposed to Linux.

  • ey3ball Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hey Guys,

     

    Thanks for all the ideas so far.

     

    @rccharles// Do you know of any software that would duplicate or mirror a sever?

     

    also would we just talk to our internet provider about a private fiber channel?

     

    @Neville Hillyer// Do you have any examples of a version control software?

     

    also what do you mean by this "Try looking for existing installations with similar file sizes and other limitations."

     

    and no there is not necesarily a good reason for using OS X as opposed Linux, that it how it was set up before me and my current manager were put in charge. We are not opposed the idea of Linux as long as it would communicae fine with our existing macs and pcs.

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (25,715 points)

    My first thought is to host the files off site on the web either on your own web server or something like Amazon's web services  or Google Drive.

  • Neville Hillyer Level 4 Level 4 (1,855 points)

    ey3ball wrote:

     

    @Neville Hillyer// Do you have any examples of a version control software?

     

    also what do you mean by this "Try looking for existing installations with similar file sizes and other limitations."

     

    and no there is not necesarily a good reason for using OS X as opposed Linux, that it how it was set up before me and my current manager were put in charge. We are not opposed the idea of Linux as long as it would communicae fine with our existing macs and pcs.

     

    I don't have experience of version control software but there is quite a lot about it on Google. Some office and design applications do this themselves but they may not cope well with multiple sites.

     

    Without giving away trade secrets perhaps you could consult others in your industry to see how they organise their IT rather than trying to invent the wheel.

     

    It may be best to stick with Macs as they generally communicate better with other OSs but Linux solutions may be cheaper and faster.

     

    Good luck.

  • rccharles Level 5 Level 5 (6,265 points)

    @rccharles// Do you know of any software that would duplicate or mirror a sever?

     

    I do not have personal experience beyond dropbox.

     

    sync

    SyncTwoFolders simply synchronizes two folders. might be more for client.

    https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/22644/synctwofolders/

     

    Unix rsync

      whether it copies mac metadata may depend on what version of X you have.  May depend transfer app you use AFS, NFS, Samba.

     

    dropbox

    Well, if you want with Dropbox, you could use Dropbox to do the syncing. I think this is the way to go because you would get offsite backup. Not sure i'd try to sync the two servers. Duplicate each server to Dropbox.  Provide read-only access to the other site.

     

    You could experiment around with two computers and a dropbox account.  See how it works for you.  It's free upto two gigs.

     

    versioning

    dropbox has versioning build in.  using sometype of version system while necessary was viewed as a PITA by most programmers.  The best system would be an automated on where you didn't have to do anything beyond what you were doing before.  Timemachine, etc.

     

    dropbox

     

    dropbox.png

     

     

     

    also would we just talk to our internet provider about a private fiber channel?

    I think Linc Davis has the idea.

    Router-to-router VPN.

     

    I was putting the concept out there.