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We are currently in the process of upgrading our office server. Our current setup is a Snap Server 410 but we are looking to take a massive step forward in terms of speed.

We are a design studio and all our computers are Macs (about 20 of them) which brings me to my question, what advantages would we get switching to an OS X server, SNAP offer a high grade server 'Snap Server 650' http://www.overlandstorage.com/US/products/ss650.html which is a far cheaper option but would it compare to the OS X server?

Thanks Tom

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2 Answers 2

Take a read of this article if you want to find out a bit more why the Snap Server is so cheap. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/18/adaptec_story/

I certainly wouldn't advise you to buy one, it's very much a case of you get what you pay for. We were not happy with the Snap Servers we bought.

Ultimately if all you want is a NAS then I'd advise buying a NetApp. A FAS2020 model would probably be adequate for your needs. If all your clients are OS X then using NFS on the NetApp will get you a solid shared NAS with unbeatable file protection (You do value your data, right? ;-) and the ability to grow with you. Think of NetApp as the Apple of storage, they have very similar philosophies.

If you want to go the OSS route then I'd recommend Nexenta, it's got great file protection via ZFS and is very Linux like due to it's hybrid OS construction. Think of it as an OSS NetApp.

It's a pity that Apple decided to take ZFS out of Snow Leopard but I can understand how the uncertainty of the outcome of the Sun/NetApp patent dispute would play into that. Read http://blogs.zdnet.com/storage/?p=663&tag=col1;post-663 for more info.

If people only knew how worthless most file systems are at protecting your precious data there would be a revolt!

If you want to do more than just share files then I think a OS X Server would be ideal for your stated environment, something as small as the new Mac Mini server might even be adequate if you retained the NAS for file sharing. You could host a web server, wiki, email server, iCal server etc. on the Mini. At only $1000 it's a cheap buy in, even if you need to expand to a bigger faster box in 6 months you can always keep it around for DR purposes.

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I love macs, I love OSX Server - but it has few real benefits over W2K8 on a decent manufacturer's (HP/Dell/IBM) mid-line x86 server in terms of speed, reliability or ease of setup/use for a small setup like yours.

Basically OSX Server benefits from only running on known hardware, so it doesn't need drivers or tweaks to make it run fast and reliable straight out of the box. Also most configuration jobs can be done through the GUI without having to wrestle with complex command lines. It's also licence-free, one server can handle hundreds of users for a set cost.

But as I started, W2K8 on a HP DL380 G6 or similar IBM/Dell will be almost, in not just as easy, to setup, manage etc. Of course you'll end up buying client licences but then OSX Server isn't the cheapest to start with.

It all depends on who's going to support this box, what their skills are like, if they have other jobs to do and the budget available. They're all pretty much functionally the same.

edit - by the way I only just looked at that machine you linked to, their site is full of inappropriate/out-of-date superlatives - that machine is neither particularly quick nor special when compared to lots of manufacturer's kit - it looks like an old'ish machine that they've just not updated or updated their site to reflect - thought you should know why it's so cheap.

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