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Ideal Mac configuration for FMS: to RAID or not to RAID..?

Question asked by abinning on Oct 6, 2015
Latest reply on Jan 1, 2016 by bigtom

I'm currently re-writing our Filemaker solution and am trying to work out the best new Mac hardware to host it, looking for a boost in performance now and as much 'future-proofing' as is realistic, as well as some advice on the ideal Server configuration to ensure everything runs as efficiently as possible...

 

Historically I wrote the original solution ~9 years ago and for the past couple of years it's been hosted on a Mac Mini (quad-core i7 + SSD). There are currently less than 10 users, although the new solution needs to provide access for our mobile team of 5/6 iOS users plus I'm toying with leveraging the potential of Webdirect and/or CWP...

 

The database file is currently ~2GB although only 200MB or so of that is that actual database with the rest being stored images, however the plan is to store more content in the new solution (as externalised Containers).

 

So as not to disturb the existing solution I'm using my creative workstation as a test server – this is a 12-core 2.7GHz Mac Pro (with 64GB RAM and the dual D700 6GB graphics cards) and I'm finding it's very snappy despite also being my graphics and video workstation. I do have a Pegasus R6 RAID, but the testing database is just stored in the default location within the System folder.

 

My question really is, given the relatively small database size (although this will grow with increased container storage) what is the best hardware solution, database configuration and backup strategy..? From a hardware perspective I'm leaning towards an 8-core Mac Pro with 64GB RAM and 1TB internal flash-drive, rather than the 12-core rather or an iMac. Sensible? I also wondered what the best server setup would be: should I partition the internal storage into 2x 512GB volumes and either (a) put the database on the non-system volume; (b) put just the external container data on the second volume; or (c) just leave the drive as a single volume and store the database (and externalised container data) in the default location...? There is of course (d) which is use an external drive...

 

I'm also thinking about backups. I'm familiar with the Pegasus 2 R6 Thunderbolt RAID so was considering a smaller R4 (RAID 10 configuration) for externally-stored daily backups, but perhaps a standard Thunderbolt SSD drive would suffice..? We do also want to have a cloud based backup, ideally stored in Dropbox... can FMS reliably write a backup to the locally synced Dropbox folder, or is the best strategy here to use a system script of some sort to copy the locally stored backup (that FMS creates daily) to the cloud..?

 

Sorry for all the questions in one post, and thanks in advance for any recommendations and advice!

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