Hopes of an Apple-friendly server fade a little…


The repeated and random disconnects I’ve been getting between my Mac Pro and my Windows 2003 Server shares prompted me to look at alternatives. My Kalyway project ended as abruptly as it started. I managed to install it on an old Asus A7N8X-Delux based machine but not long after I was experiencing kernel panics and had to give it up as a bad bet.

The next plan was to use FreeNAS which would let me access disks on the ‘server’ as AFP shares. The fact that FreeNAS only truly supports it’s own proprietary file system, and warns of dire consequences when using FAT or EXT did put me off a little, but I was prepared to stick it out. Unfortunately the next problem was a little more severe. I was testing backups from my Mac to the FreeNAS box by repeatedly copying 100Gb or so of data to it, then copying it back to the Mac and comparing it to make sure it was the same. Then deleting it off the NAS box and starting over again. All of a sudden I was getting messages that the backup job was unable to create folders on the target drive. I checked all the usual suspects but found the only way to get things going again was to reformat the FreeNAS data drives and start over. Third time round the loop I decided to give up. I’m sure with more investigation I might get to the bottom of this, but not being a Linux guru makes me nervous about entrusting my precious data to something I understand even less that Mac OS X or Windows 2003 Server.

So it’s looking more likely that I’ll invest in a basic Mac Mini, hang two 500Gb USB drives off it and use that as my backup server. That of course leaves me with two 500Gb SATA drives ‘spare’ from my Windows server box. Now I have seen a PowerMac G5 up for sale that’s got space for two internal SATA drives, has lots more memory than the Mac Mini, and is cheaper by about £100. It’s a PowerPC model dating back a couple of years but it’s good enough to run Leopard and it’ll let me use all my spare internal and external drives.

I could of course buy another D-Link DNS323 NAS box. Despite it getting mixed reviews, my one has been incredibly reliable (famous last words), then I’d have to hang the two external drives off the Mac Pro.

Decisions, decisions…

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