Mac Pro Lab
Any of you guys run mac pro labs in a edu environment. We have just setup the "CFC" lab here, and have run into some issues.
The machines login with AD credentials, and basically pull your files from a local network in that lab. This seems to work, except when there are 30 students trying to access 20gig profiles (Adobe Photoshop / Premiere files etc...) and it starts to lag. The issue is that we cannot assign an individual machine to a student for the term of the course as the labs are open to all students. We need a way to keep the files safe from deletion while improving the speeds.
What are some methods you guys run mac pro labs ?
20GB profiles? your mad, surely you mean 20GB of documens data per user. Just because they are Macs does not mean that the back end requirements are handled by magic. If you need that much access without lag you may need a propper SAN with a 10GB local uplink and gig to the clients. You'll need to look at IBM or HP or another vendor for this as Apple has nothing even close. Maybe 12X15k RPM SAS drives or a SSD Raid would give you the throughput you are looking for.
Other options include making them carry their own portable HDs with their video work around and hooking them up directly, they would have to do their own backups etc. or the option which you have already discounted of making them use the same machine the whole year. Surely if they are logged in under domain creds they are not admins and sou you should be able to use file permissons on the local drives to isolate specific file usage to the individuals and admins. You may need to double check though as I have seen perms completely ignored on the OSX platforms even for limited users.
20gig including their raw video and stuff.
We have a 30tb server in the lab with 10gig connection, but they still complain it takes too long.
The hdd idea was shot down with USB2.0 being a bit to slow to edit on. USB 3.0 seems to over a solution, but of course finding a USB3.0 card for the macpros that works with "ALL" hardware is hard...
Hmm, I'd take a look at it over the remote connection - time it during a class - and then copy the files locally and do the same timeing. They could just be being winey little ingrates with no idea of how much data they are actually pulling across the system. It could also be that the spindles/DiskIO are choked on your server and despite the 10GB link are getting clogged at the drive or OS stage. I'd look at running perfmon or its mac equivilent during a contended class to see if the internals of the server are the bottleneck.
Originally Posted by agarabaghi
These two tests should help you pin down where the issue is and what speeds are actually possible then you can either upgrade teh server or tell the winey users to suck it up and wait or use compressed video.
Good call on the roational drives being the bottle neck. Ill have to get with the network guys and see just where the lag is occuring.
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If you could use a USB3 card such as the one above you could possibly move over to the external accounts option. This would allow all users to be able to access any of the machines at any time while also keeping their data with them at all times. They could back up to the server by mounting their networked home dirs and copying up anything they wish to keep. The network would need to be quick though so as to remove any waiting around time, if backing up large files.
How external accounts work with networked accounts though I'm not sure, but you could do some testing.
With the external drives you could look into firewire 800, a bunch faster than USB2, more rare and expencive but that is what Macs are all about anyway. Those would probably allow editing but given your setup I'd look at fixing your possible server bottelneck issues. It may simply be a case of adding in a few more drives, more cache on the RAID controller or even an SSD buffer depending on configuration.
Server Admin and Active Monitor may provide you with the tools to understand what is going on.
Look at the overview of the data coming (network throughput) and check the disk IO activity in Activity Monitor. If the IO is high but the throughput is low then would this lead you to suspect the disks are too slow? Also what version is the server on and what are the sharepoints? AFP/SMB