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Mac storage and file sharing on Windows domain

Posted on 2009-05-06
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Our underlying problem is mac file sharing on our Windows 2003 domain.  We have about 120 PC's and about 20 mac's (OSX).  The mac's are for our art department and have fairly large storage needs - 2 TB right now (but 97% full) and we anticipate it going up to 4 TB in the next year.  The mac's have all sorts of file sharing problems, some users get permission errors when trying to access their files or other's files.  They all connect to a Netgear NAS device that is 2 TB capacity and they work from there.  This was a bandaid solution and the time has come for change!

What I would like to accomplish:
Implementing some new storage-server solution or utilize existing available SAN devices.  In either scenario I want to transfer the contents of the Netgear NAS to the new solution.  I want to eliminate file sharing/permission problems so that things are seamless for my mac users.  I would potentially like to integrate all of this into our Windows domain on some level - or whatever would be the cleanest most operable/problem-free way to do this.  I want the solution we put in to be scaleable so that if we need to jump from 4 TB to 12 TB in a couple of years we can do so with ease.  Also, some form of manageable backup solution is desired for this mass amount of data - so while we don't have to accomplish that in this thread, keep that in mind with whatever solutions you are thinking about!

I have virtually no experience with making the mac's and their data cooperate on this scale, thanks in advance - this should be fun!

Other footnote:  We will be adding a Windows 2008 server to the network within the next 30 days.
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Question by:maingateinc
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by:coredatarecovery
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I would look at a MAC Server, or a Linux server for storage sizes exceeding 2 TB, Windows 2003 server has a limitation of 2tb per drive letter.

You can of course install multiple drives in the server as a raid 5 and share them as multiple 2 TB partitions in 2003 server.
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by:maingateinc
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What about Windows Storage Server?  Can't this exceed 2TB storages and partitions?
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by:coredatarecovery
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maybe with windows 2008 64 bit server edition, it can, however nothing except for 64 bit OS will be able to correctly read those drives.

the 2 TB limit is a problem with XP and vista unless you are running the 64 bit version on a 64 bit computer.

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by:maingateinc
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So I've got CDW and Dell storage specialists telling me that with Storage Server 2003 they can give me disk storages from 5TB - 30TB + that our macs and PC's can work from, but you're saying that's impossible from XP/Vista/OSX unless they are 64-bit OS's or unless the storages are broken into 2TB partitions?

How have all the fortune 500 companies of the world managed their mass amounts of data, way beyond what we're looking at?  Surely there's some form of enterprise solution out there for this?  That's what I'm hearing Storage Server 2003 is supposed to be, but not if our 32-bit clients can't work off of it!
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by:maingateinc
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From http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/wss2003/productinformation/FAQ/default.mspx

Q. How scalable is Windows Storage Server 2003 R2?
 
A. There are many different OEM models that are scalable through the addition of disk drawers to the main filer. Capacity varies from 320 gigabytes (GB) to over 60 terabytes. Multiple devices can also be added to the network to increase capacity as needed. The NTFS file system that powers Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 has no limits (over four billion tested) in terms of the number of files on a volume and each NTFS volume can be up to 256 terabytes in size (tested).
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by:coredatarecovery
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I've got several fortune 500 companies running 32 tb storage servers in their data centers, and yes, they are ALL broken into 2 TB drive letters for sharing down to windows XP and vista clients.

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by:maingateinc
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Wow that sucks, can you share some info with how you keep these organized?  sounds like you've got 16, 2TB stores - how to you manage that and prevent duplication?
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coredatarecovery earned 500 total points
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It does suck. The servers that access these are virtual now and are using about 4 tb in 2 drive letters each on average. Data duplication is avoided mainly thru the AD structure and file structure by disciplined individuals.

For example, the guys who do the Cad work only have access to 2 drive letters, one for cad documents, and a generic workflow area for excel and word documents.

The engineering group has access to 3 areas, the workflow areas, cad documents and another 2 tb section for engineering standards and code enforcement.

That particular client has 3000 employee's now, (Down from 5000 in November) but management takes a team of about 10 IT guys (Down from 20)

I'm just an outside disaster prevention consultant for them.

You can stitch several dynamic disks together in windows to access them as 4 tb or more, but it's a headache to manage the process in AD.

Good news is that the mac drives don't have this 2 tb limitation. So your artists can create huge files and fill up space with impunity.
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by:maingateinc
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Do you have any problems or any special arrangements so that mac and PC users can share and work with the same files?
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by:coredatarecovery
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they are using office 2008 on the macs and 2007 on the pcs, the macs are using samba shares to use the windows mappings.

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by:maingateinc
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Through the brilliance of our IT consultants we were very easily able to utilize partitions over the supposed 2 TB limit.

On a Windows 2003 Standard server on the most recent service pack and release you can partition the drives as GPT (i think it's gpt, global partition table perhaps?) and then format them as NTFS.  Anyway it is a fully operational function of windows and all of our end user stations running XP or later can  work with 1 giant partition.  In our case the partition is over 9 TB in size.

I'm extremely disapointed in the answers and advice that was given here, this goes to show that you always need to do your own homework even when a professed expert insists they know what they're doing.
partitions.JPG
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