a server question

Timothy Borgeaud tim.borgeaud at csc.mrc.ac.uk
Fri Jan 21 15:32:26 GMT 2005

On Thu, 20 Jan 2005, Martin Smith wrote:

>One of my clients has a small network of Macs, mostly running OSX, the time has come for them to have a file server, and as OSX Server is over 400 quid and the hardware to run it on will cost a fair bit I was contemplating setting up a FreeBSD nfs server for them, ( I noticed the other day when running top on an OSX machine that it has several instances of nfsiod running.)
>Does this sound like a practical solution, has anyone done this and have any comments?

I can't comment on the Mac side of things. I assume that there is no 
reason why OSX Macs
wouldn't be happy with a FreeBSD NFS server.

In my opinion FreeBSD would be a good choice for such an NFS server 
system. Myself and
some colleagues have supplied a remotely managed file server, which, so 
far, has proved to
be very reliable. The system is, perhaps, a little more sophisticated 
than a plain NFS server,
the important features of it are:

    It also acts as a NAT/router/firewall.
    It is remotely managed. You are very likely to require this 
    An APC Smart UPS is connected, protecting against any power outages. 
This is important.
    It uses software disk mirroring for data security.
    On site backups are automatically made to a small NAS device.

If you mainly want NFS then FreeBSD would make a fine simple server. 
However, I would
have reservations about choosing this option on the basis of price alone.

FreeBSD is indeed free, and reliable PC compatible hardware is pretty 
cheap. But, if OSX (or similar) is only going to cost £400 and your 
hardware demands are modest, then I imagine
that your total savings would be small compared to the value of the 
data, or the value of
a reliable service.

If I could get away with supplying a simple NAS device, that is the way 
that I would go.
If a "proper" server is required, I would choose FreeBSD. Mainly because 
I am most
comfortable and familiar with FreeBSD. Of course, the reason that I am 
most comfortable
with FreeBSD is that it has always given me good service in the past. 
security, flexibility etc etc etc.


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