Ubuntu Server vs. Mac Server

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Ok I must admit, I used to be the person who would mock all the mac fans who would rattle on about how many teraflops the G5 processor could crunch or how macs don’t need to be defragmented. I have now crossed over to the dark side, (or the light, depending on how you look at it). Lately I have been looking into making a NAS / Server where I can keep all my precious movies, photos and documents but I am having a seriously hard time making up my mind. On the one hand I have parts laying around that I could easily slap together to make a server or FreeNAS, but I hesitate because I really don’t like waisting away a saturday tinkering in the command line banging my head against the monitor every time something goes wrong. This phobia of tinkering has steered me towards just buying a drobo or preconfigured NAS box, but there are 2 things preventing me. I am a student, and on a good month make $500. Small college towns are over saturated with people willing to work for next to free. Great for employers, not employees like me. Anyway, throwing down a whole months salary for a NAS is out of the question. I need to find a better alternative.

Apple has a server operating system. While it is less known and used, it brings some serious guns to the table. Don’t believe me? Read a little about it here. It has everything that I want most importantly an interface that is easy enough that my dog could figure it out, AFP, FTP, Mail, iCal, VPN, MySQL and Web server built into one super sexy little box. If only the mac server could connect to a SAN or at least a drobo via eSata, I would be in geek home server heaven. Just imagine 20 Terabytes in an XSAN array hooked up via fiber optics to an Xserve in my basement. Ohh… I get all worked up just thinking about it.

I suppose it is like when you were a kid in the 80’s and you dreamed and drooled over the thought of someday having a red convertible ferrari like this.
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Flash forward 20 years and that $100K car now can be yours for $3000. It kind of looses its appeal. I figure that is how I will be with my pitiful fiber SAN array someday.

I digress, While I cant afford my dream Ferrari right now, I can at least make ferrari-like fenders out of card board and duct tape and attach them to my mom’s Subaru. Right? Right?

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Here is my plan for making my dream NAS out of cardboard and tape.

 

 

Hardware

Snow Leopard Server 10.6 >                    Ubuntu 10.10 (Ensuing Server Edition for now, since I still like GUI’s)
Xserve >                     2.0 ghz core duo with 2 gb ram
20 TB XSAN Array >                     2.5 TB btrfs pool hard drives 1.5tb, 500gb, 250gb, 320gb hard drives laying around

 

 

Features

AFP      –                  AFP Enable hack (Avahi)
Apache     –                apache built in
SQL      –               SQL
iTunes     –            Firefly media server
FTP         –               FTP built in
uPnP       –                  Media Tomb (audio) , minidlna (video)
Time Machine           –              iTimeMachine
CrashPlan +            –              (The only online backup I can find that works with Mac Linux and Windows, $5 month), Also has a free version

This project is on hold until I return home after the holidays. Have any tips or suggestions? Please post it in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Resources

Media Tomb vs minidlna

Ubuntu as a NAS

Ubuntu as a perfect mac file server and time machine volume

Testing Btrfs in Ubuntu 10.10

Ubuntu 8 NAS config (pdf)

Ubuntu AFP & Firefly install

 

 

Image Credits

1 – http://www.apple.com/server/macosx/

2 – besttechie.net

3 – seriouswheels.com

4 – funnyfailads.wordpress.com.

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About spuder
spuder is a "super computer" support engineer by day, and tinkerer / hobbyist by night.

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