drobo pro and osx server suggestions

as I have bought a new imac, i an taking my 4 y/o mac pro
osx server 10.5
dual 2.66 xeon dual core
16 gigs memory
(4) 146 sas raid 5 drives
apple raid card
drobo pro 8x2tb

I want to move all my items to there and run vmware fusion, am i better off running fw800 connection or iscsi? I will be using it as a whole house media server and itunes server, and so forth. I have vpn, apache, mysql running and a few other things.
vm wise i will have a vista, server 08, and a couple vm’s running. mostly 2 or 3 @ the most. I have a apple airport extreme (gigabit) for connection. I will also plan down the road to make it tmback up also for my mbpro’s…

any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

iSCSI will give better performance than FW800.

Just make sure you directly connect the DroboPro to your Mac via ethernet cable. You don’t want to hang it off a switch and have the Mac use the same connection it uses to the rest of the network.

As you mentioned having a MacPro - that should have two gigabit ethernet ports so use one for drobo and one for network.

correct I have dual gig nics, i am more owrried about the virt machines,
it will be a nice whiole house media server…

I have a Mac mini Server, which only has one ethernet port, which means I would have to use a switch.

Which do you think would be faster in this case, a shared gigabit connection or a dedicated FW800 connection?

I have slimmer down, and actually now I have gone with a new 15" i7 mbp.

Sold the mac pro, sold the drobo and went with a qnap 859 pro and was able to convert the osx server to a virt instance and use iscsi to a iomega 2 tb lun and run everything this way. It is all now virtual every server instances and use boot camp on my mac for windows needs. Done with all the extra stuff, Imac for home and mbp for my and my wife. all my files are on the qnap device, all firewall ports are closed and i vpn thru my asa for files i need. I also went dropbox to sync needed files between work and home.

I don’t think Fusion supports Firewire port mapping anyway - but even if it did, you would only be able to hook the storage to one VM directly or share it from the OS X Server host over standard networking or Shared Folders in Fusion.

iSCSI is really the only way to go.

The other issue is that you can’t configure any vSwitches in Fusion - so even if you had 2 NIC’s (1 for storage 1 for other traffic on the host OS X Server) I don’t think you can dedicate those in Fusion, as you can in vSphere, for example.

You would still gain some performance by having the storage dedicated on the host though.

Arguably the best way to go (in my opinion) with a single host restricted storage device like the DroboPro is vSphere. Though breaking the Apple EULA, you ‘can’ run OS X Server on ESX/vSphere too. That said, I have VMware NFR licenses with my job so I get all the nice vCenter and Data Recovery options free - alright for some. It just so happens that it works perfectly for this type of device. The Elite would be different - if only I could have afforded one!

If you go with your idea, I would highly recommend having your OS X and VM storage disk(s) mirrored. The next issue I had was how to get my VM’s highly available as I was now dependent on them to access the Drobo - you would be dependent on the OS X Server for access to the storage and the VM’s as your media server etc .

What happens if the OS X server OS disk dies or the host itself dies? Or your VM’s don’t work for some reason? Obviously your Time Machine on the Drobo is fine, but without your host, the backup is useless. And you can’t restore an OS X server (or client) from a non-time capsule network TM backup - you have to do it after the restore process of OS X. Your down time may not be an issue, so this may not matter. It’s more important for me, perhaps.

I use VMware Data Recovery and DroboCopy to backup the VM’s. In the event of a major issue, I’d have to do some work, but essentially if I mess up a VM in any way, I can recover very quickly. I also have the ESX host on mirrored drives - it’s just an HP DC7900 business workstation - works nicely.

Hope this is helpful in some way shape or form. Best of luck with everything.


yes i fusion supports fw800 instances, I use this with my mac book pro. I have sold my pro for my house. All this is in my house this is only testing and my own stuff, as I only have one 2tb lun and one physical host it really doesnt mater about fail overs. the qnap device does do time machine bu across the netowrk and i have recovered from it. I build the osx version on fusion and used p2v migration to vsphere 4, as for the eula its a joke. if microsoft tried this they would be sued and loose big time. hmm but thing about it is this what apple is being sued over now in a class action?

we have 2 pro tied to a mini via fw800 and have no issues the 2nd is a off site back up to the first. as we have seen some issues even with the elite dropping iscsi its not owrth the headache, besides we are backing up across a wan connection so is there going to be a speed difference between iscsi and fw400 even?

as for vmware we can debate all day but in our colo we do run vmware ent and 4 dell PE 900’s with 128 gigs of memory each and 4 equalogic 6000 arrays in in raid 50 so we are getting thebest of both worlds.