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Mac Server FTP

Posted on 2012-04-03
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
Hello all,

Currently I'm having an issue with the FTP server abilities on my Mac Server. The Mac server we are using is currently responsible for digitizing video footage and making it available to transfer onto other systems. These other systems are Windows systems. I currently have a small network comprised of two Macs (a Pro and a Server) and two Windows boxes (a 7 and a 2008 box). The Windows boxes are mainly responsible for copying files off of the Macs which allow the Mac's to free up space to continue working.

I have configured the Macs to utilize two different IP's with their NICs. One for our regular network (for web and updates etc), the other for the private network for transferring files. I did this to separate the transfer traffic from the regular network to help reduce network congestion in our main network (files can be up to 500 GB). They use different subnets (192.168.5.x and 192.168.10.x).

The I have no issue FTPing to the Mac Pro, and I didn't have an issue until recently with the Mac Server. Now on the Mac Server, I am now still able to establish a connection via FTP, but before the directories can pop up I get timed out. Sometimes I am able to connect to the machine, but often it takes more than 5 tries to connect.

I realize that setting up Mac Pro and Mac Server FTP is different, however I enabled the FTP service on the server and it was working well until now.

Here are the things I've tried:
- I'm using FileZilla client on the Windows machine to FTP onto there. I've tried SmartFTP, the basic Windows Explorer, IE, etc. All the same result and gets timed out.

- I've restarted the FTP service numerous times on the server and tried restarts to no avail.

- Tried both Active and Passive transfers

- Did have success with SFTP, however the speed was nowhere near FTP speeds (yes I realize they are different protocols).

- Tried different accounts for the Mac (Root and two different admin accounts)

- No firewalls are active between the Mac Server and the Windows boxes (software firewalls via the OS's are disabled as well)

- Changed the network cables

- Checked permissions on the Mac Server which checked out fine.

Any help would be appreciated to help solve this small issue. I've stopped short of totally reloading the Mac Server as it still is able to do digitization work.
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Question by:hockeyhalloffame
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Expert Comment

by:shayneg
ID: 37803836
if all these computers are on your internal LAN why are you FTPing to them to transfer files,
You can access the files through standard file sharing. As you have 2 different ip ranges you will need to change your subnet mask to 255.255.0.0 and you can then see both networks and setup standard file sharing. FTP access is for external access and doesn't need to be used on a LAN
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Author Comment

by:hockeyhalloffame
ID: 37806438
Yes I understand that, but it doesn't mean I can't use it in an internal sense. Standard file sharing has its limitations. Transferring 600 + GB files means that if something happens during the transfer I am unable to resume my file transfers. The standard file sharing/SMB command also has its limitations and I cannot get the throughput that I need from it (probably half of what I get from FTP).

I do NOT need to share my files in my internal network. As stated I specifically separated them to reduce traffic flow on my internal network. There are many other users using the internal LAN to do other things and the availability needs to be there for them. This is why I have a separate LAN dealing with file moving between these four systems.

However my main issue is the way FTP server on a Mac Server is working. Probably 1 out of 5 tries I can get a appropriate connection and even then it will drop. I'm just looking for a solution to solve the issues with regards to how the Mac Server is dropping connections.
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Expert Comment

by:shayneg
ID: 37807470
That will be because FTP is not a reliable protocol and has Zero error checking unlike SMB.
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Accepted Solution

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hockeyhalloffame earned 0 total points
ID: 37808399
Agreed on that sense.

I believe I've figured it out. I made the connection to the file transfer LAN the top priority in the Network Configuration which seems to have resolved the dropping issue. This was done by the following:
- Go into System Preferences => Network
- Unlock Settings (if needed)
- Set Service Order.. (Under the Cog icon below all the network connections)
- Dragging and dropping the Ethernet connection I was using to the top (making it top priority).

This seems to have done the trick, and I'm no longer needing more than one try to connect to the FTP server and I no longer get dropped upon connection.
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Author Closing Comment

by:hockeyhalloffame
ID: 37822766
Seems that priority plays a part in the FTP service (not sure if it is by design or not). However after making this change the FTP service no longer experienced drops and connection is stable.
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