14 Replies Latest reply on Jan 12, 2015 8:03 AM by techt

    2012 MacMini Options

    JFWX5

      Hi All,

       

       

      I have a 2012 Mac Mini 2.3 I7 Quad-Core, Thunderbolt 1  thats running FMS13 and I'm running out of disk space.  I don't feel comfortable replacing the SSD myself and can't take the Mini offline for a extended time to update by way sending it out for service.

       

      So which of these options would be best for me? I want a Balance of Speed and Safety

       

       

      OWC ThunderBay 4 Raid 5 with 4TB

       

      Mercury Helios 2 PCIe Thunderbolt 2 with a a Mercury Accesior E2 SSD Card

       

      OWC Elite Pro Dual Raid 1 with SSDs

       

      Or Any other solutions / vendors that you would recommend?

       

       

      Thank you,

       

      John

        • 1. Re: 2012 MacMini Options
          taylorsharpe

          If your not a hardware guy and don't want to open one up, then expand your storage externally with an External RAID like the Pegasus RAID and a couple you mentioned.  Make sure to use the Thunderbolt port since it is much faster than a USB port.  But the Thunderbolt RAIDs cost more and just because it is Thunderbolt does not mean the RAID hardware is able to keep up.  So watch out for bargain Thunderbolt 2 RAIDs unless you know the performance is what you need (the worst offender I've experienced being Drobo, with a Thunderbolt connection, but slow performance).  The best one in my opinion are the Promise Pegasus RAIDS (R4, R6, R8).  But I've been looking at a new one, the Ereca ARC-8050-T2 that is less expensive and fully Thunderbolt 2 compatible.  But your Mac Mini still will only be using Thunderbolt 1.  Thunderbolt RAIDs are faster than SSDs in terms of volume copied per second.  I'm not sure they are faster in latency, but still, very fast. Remember that databases work best using RAID 10.

          • 2. Re: 2012 MacMini Options
            wimdecorte

            And I would still go for a hardware RAID and not a software RAID

            • 3. Re: 2012 MacMini Options
              taylorsharpe

              One thing that got my interest was your mention of the OWC ThunderBay 4 RAID 5.  So I looked it up.  It does show fast RAID connections (914 read/ 680 write on RAID 5), but the one thing I would be concerned is that it is a software RAID.  I'm sure that is how they kept the price down.  Traditionally, hardware RAID has been faster and more reliable.  Maybe the SoftRAID 5 has improved, but I would be really cautious about software RAID. 

              • 4. Re: 2012 MacMini Options
                JFWX5

                Hi,

                 

                Most of what I have found is running on a soft RAID

                 

                Other that disk space would I get much more performance out of new Mac Mini 3.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz with 16 GB ram with PCIe Flash storage? vs my old mini?

                 

                Thank you

                • 5. Re: 2012 MacMini Options
                  wimdecorte

                  Hard to say without knowing your solution and your user load and checking the performance baseline to see where your bottleneck(s) are.  Some deployments are starved for disk i/o, some for processing power.  Some for network bandwidth, fewer for RAM.

                   

                  Generally: faster processors with more core is better, faster disk i/o is better.

                  • 6. Re: 2012 MacMini Options
                    JFWX5
                    • Seeing I'm in a bind what would you recommend.  My Current 2012 Mac Mini 2.3 I7 Quad-Core with SSD vs Mac Mini 3.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz with 16 GB ram with PCIe Flash storage?
                    • 7. Re: 2012 MacMini Options
                      taylorsharpe

                      It could be that if you have lots of people connected, the more cores of the quad core is faster, but for small numbers or individual processes, the dual-core works faster.  But you are right that there isn't a clear choice of one over the other.  Then again, make the choice easier and get a Mac Pro!  <grin> 

                      • 8. Re: 2012 MacMini Options

                        Hi John

                        am a short term FM person but long time in hardware etc. Software RAID is usually a nice sounding but ultimately unattractive solution, as the RAID support is done by your CPU, not a RAID controller - so if you are concerned in the slightest about performance then hardware is pretty much mandatory...
                        The "Core" issue can be a furphy, as it is entirely dependent on how well written OS10/FM is in terms of utilising the various cores - often you see one core "maxed out" while other 1/3 are idling.

                        I cannot see (as I have done it several times)why the swap out cannot be done on site assuming a full image of your existing drive is in place prior? You may need to search out a more honest/competent IT provider

                         

                         

                         

                        Your new i7 Mini only has 256GB in Flash storage - so the storage issue is still there.

                         

                        My 2 cents worth is a new hard drive of relevant size: current SSD's are way faster than your original unit and of course (apart from the "Apple Tax" LOL,) they are way cheaper - 512GB Samsung Pro unit with approx 550/550 MB/s read /write is sub $400 as a 3rd party buy

                         

                        Rob

                        • 9. Re: 2012 MacMini Options
                          wimdecorte

                          robtheailean wrote:

                           

                           

                          The "Core" issue can be a furphy, as it is entirely dependent on how well written OS10/FM is in terms of utilising the various cores - often you see one core "maxed out" while other 1/3 are idling.

                           

                           

                          Assuming that "furphy" means "it's not important": no,  no, no, no!

                          When evaluating an FMS deployment, the numbers you see in OSX activity monitor can be very misleading.  Your only friends are the FMS activity stats.

                           

                          Absolutely, unequivocally: go for more processors, more cores on your FMS box when you can.  It will do wonders for concurrent user load.  Once you solved the disk i/o, the next bottleneck is processing power.  And unlike a disk, it is very hard to upgrade processing power in non-server boxes like Mac Minis; so given the choice you have I would keep the quad core.

                           

                          90% under-performing deployments that I worked on the last few years were due to a lack of processing power for what was asked of FMS (complex mix of hardware specs, user load and solution design issues).

                          • 10. Re: 2012 MacMini Options
                            wimdecorte

                            Taylor Sharpe wrote:

                             

                            It could be that if you have lots of people connected, the more cores of the quad core is faster, but for small numbers or individual processes, the dual-core works faster.

                             

                            This is FMS, so it won't have a small number or individual processes.  FMS is multi-threaded in a specific way and it will absolutely perform faster with more cores.  There is no scenario where it will perform faster on a dual core vs a 4-core.

                            • 11. Re: 2012 MacMini Options
                              taylorsharpe

                              Note that the operating system can split processes across different cores, but it CANNOT split a single process across multiple cores.  That is really complicated to do and FileMaker is not written to work that way yet.  So you can have a single core running at 100% working on a single script for a user while the others are all idle.  Because that script is a single process, it cannot be load balanced across the other cores.  But since most databases with many users doing things simultaneously, the load does get balanced in that each process gets assigned a new core at least until they run out of cores, then the OS swaps processes in and out of a core.  It really is complicated at the OS level, but fortunately not something we have to figure out as FM developers.  But you clearly will get more performance overall with more cores. 

                              • 12. Re: 2012 MacMini Options
                                wimdecorte

                                Taylor Sharpe wrote:

                                 

                                Because that script is a single process, it cannot be load balanced across the other cores.

                                 

                                Agreed with the main thrust of what you are saying, but not this particular statement.  I don't think that is true.  A script breaks down in many "calls", and it is the calls that are being processed by different cores.  Those calls are what are represented in the FMS stats.

                                 

                                You can easily test that by running one semi complex script and check your user stats on FMS to see the number of calls it generates.

                                • 13. Re: 2012 MacMini Options
                                  GordonShewach

                                  Late to the conversation (just back from vacation). I am planning a post when I have a free couple hours to write it up about extensive testing I did using a Mac Pro, FMS, and a variety of hard drive/RAID configurations, including comparing a Pegasus2 R4 (hardware RAID) and an OWC Helios 2 with 2 PCIe Accelsior cards in a software RAID. The Pegasus with hardware RAID ran at about 70% the speed of the Helios 2 with software RAID. I'd love to see the same set up with Hardware RAID, but didn't find a solution at the time within my client's price range. I believe the speed differential was all about the drives (ATA vs PCIe SSD) rather than the RAID controller. Have 2 clients successfully running with this set up for months. Both experienced huge performance increases over their previous Mac Pro/SSD solutions.

                                   

                                  In my testing, I looked at lots of factors: drives, RAID types (hardware, software, 0, 1, 5, 10), RAID stripes, RAM, NIC teaming,  splitting OS and FMS across separate drives/RAIDs, and FMP client hardware. The only 2 things that made any significant difference were: 1) the Helios 2 with Accelsior PCIe cards for FMS box improved all users' performance, and 2) better client hardware (recent iMac with fusion drive vs. older Mac Mini with 5400 RPM ATA) improved that one user's performance.

                                   

                                  Gordon

                                  • 14. Re: 2012 MacMini Options
                                    techt

                                    Agreed. Then move your older backups to the RAID and free up the local SSD.