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Hoping to repurpose Hackintosh as a server, but "File Sharing" greyed out

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Out of curiosity, I just tried to create a new OpenMediaVault NAS on my Raspberry Pi with an old 2.5" drive. From start to finish, it took less than 45 minutes. Most of the time was spent on trying to make sense of unintuitive UI. But once set up, everything worked as advertised. Even performance was pretty decent considering it's just a Raspberry Pi. I got ~70-90MB/s writes and ~105MB/s reads.
I use a spare RPi4b as a Plex server for my home. It looks a bit silly, big disk and small RPI, but it works fine and is energy efficient. I am seeing the same up/download speeds at Pastrychef.
Setting it all up will take some effort. I am using a WD 8TB USB disk for sharing.
RPI is passively cooled, so completely silent.
 
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Out of curiosity, I just tried to create a new OpenMediaVault NAS on my Raspberry Pi with an old 2.5" drive. From start to finish, it took less than 45 minutes. Most of the time was spent on trying to make sense of unintuitive UI. But once set up, everything worked as advertised. Even performance was pretty decent considering it's just a Raspberry Pi. I got ~70-90MB/s writes and ~105MB/s reads.

That is a very quick setup time. Thank you for sharing that. That's encouraging.

I've been looking at SSD and NVMe speeds so much of late that I had forgotten hard drives aren't much faster than the ~100 MB/s network speeds.

After your comment on Friday, I ran speed tests on my Hackintosh's hard drives and saw speeds ~115-145 MB/s. So a network speed ~100 MB/s (even 70-90MB/s as you're getting) would be perfectly fine for the bulk of my storage (~16TB) on hard drives.

I also have ~3TB on SSDs (~500 MB/S). But per your suggestion, I can always decide later whether or not to get a 10GBase-T card to take better advantage of them.

Thank you for mentioning the 10GBase-T card, btw. I had no clue how much faster it was and didn't know the Mac Studio had one. I have no experience with networks beyond sharing the odd folder or two between MacBooks. So thank you for pointing that out! That was really helpful.

OpenMediaVault sounds like the best path forward. I'll likely give it a try this weekend, once I have everything finalized and set up on the new machine, and time to give it a few hours of attention.

BTW, do you know if OpenMediaVault be used with a bootloader, i.e. so you can choose between OpenMediaVault or MacOS? I read a few threads where people said you could run OpenMediaVault off a USB stick. Not sure if that's advisable or not, but thought that would work, i.e. plug it the USB to run OpenMediaVault, pull it out to boot off MacOS?
 
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I use a spare RPi4b as a Plex server for my home. It looks a bit silly, big disk and small RPI, but it works fine and is energy efficient. I am seeing the same up/download speeds at Pastrychef.
Setting it all up will take some effort. I am using a WD 8TB USB disk for sharing.
RPI is passively cooled, so completely silent.

Oh wow. How do you measure energy efficiency?

That's a concern of mine. My Hackintosh power supply is 850W. I would *hope* its power consumption would low if it were just being used as a network server but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The main upsides of my current rig is that it's paid for and the Fractal Design case is *very* quiet. But it's possible it will cost more to run than to replace?
 

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That is a very quick setup time. Thank you for sharing that. That's encouraging.

I've been looking at SSD and NVMe speeds so much of late that I had forgotten hard drives aren't much faster than the ~100 MB/s network speeds.

After your comment on Friday, I ran speed tests on my Hackintosh's hard drives and saw speeds ~115-145 MB/s. So a network speed ~100 MB/s (even 70-90MB/s as you're getting) would be perfectly fine for the bulk of my storage (~16TB) on hard drives.

I also have ~3TB on SSDs (~500 MB/S). But per your suggestion, I can always decide later whether or not to get a 10GBase-T card to take better advantage of them.

Thank you for mentioning the 10GBase-T card, btw. I had no clue how much faster it was and didn't know the Mac Studio had one. I have no experience with networks beyond sharing the odd folder or two between MacBooks. So thank you for pointing that out! That was really helpful.

OpenMediaVault sounds like the best path forward. I'll likely give it a try this weekend, once I have everything finalized and set up on the new machine, and time to give it a few hours of attention.

BTW, do you know if OpenMediaVault be used with a bootloader, i.e. so you can choose between OpenMediaVault or MacOS? I read a few threads where people said you could run OpenMediaVault off a USB stick. Not sure if that's advisable or not, but thought that would work, i.e. plug it the USB to run OpenMediaVault, pull it out to boot off MacOS?

I've been using 10Gb network to connect to my NAS for a long time and it makes a huge huge difference. But, yes, in many instances, 1GBase-T is fine for file sharing.

On my Raspberry Pi, I just had OpenMediaVault installed on an SD card. On a PC, I'm sure a USB flash drive would be fine. Make sure to make backups of the USB flash drive.

You don't even have to pull the USB flash drive if/when you want to boot a different OS. Just go in to your motherboard's BIOS boot menu and select a different boot drive/device. I think on Gigabyte motherboards, it's spamming the F8 immediately after powering up.
 
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Oh wow. How do you measure energy efficiency?

That's a concern of mine. My Hackintosh power supply is 850W. I would *hope* its power consumption would low if it were just being used as a network server but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The main upsides of my current rig is that it's paid for and the Fractal Design case is *very* quiet. But it's possible it will cost more to run than to replace?
I don't. The PSU is a tiny wallwart rated for 5v/3A. So there you go. Next to nothing max.
 

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I don't. The PSU is a tiny wallwart rated for 5v/3A. So there you go. Next to nothing max.

With 2.5" HDD attached to and being powered by my Pi 4, I saw ~10-10.5W on my Kill-A-Watt clone when running OpenMediaVault.

For comparison, my M1 Max Mac Studio uses ~12-15W when I'm just surfing the internet.
 
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I've been using 10Gb network to connect to my NAS for a long time and it makes a huge huge difference. But, yes, in many instances, 1GBase-T is fine for file sharing.

On my Raspberry Pi, I just had OpenMediaVault installed on an SD card. On a PC, I'm sure a USB flash drive would be fine. Make sure to make backups of the USB flash drive.

You don't even have to pull the USB flash drive if/when you want to boot a different OS. Just go in to your motherboard's BIOS boot menu and select a different boot drive/device. I think on Gigabyte motherboards, it's spamming the F8 immediately after powering up.

For anyone interested in closure :) tl;dr a fresh Open Core install of Catalina did the trick.

x OMV.
I installed OMV over the weekend. It was easy enough to install after watching a couple of videos. That's a big plus. I toyed around with it for a few days, but couldn't figure out how to set it up like I wanted, i.e. JBOD. I was only able to create shared folders, couldn't figure out how to set the size of them, and it seemed to require erasing the drive first, which wasn't practical for my setup.

x Windows 10.
I tried setting up a network with Windows 10. And I was quickly reminded why I dislike the Windows OS so much. Driver incompatibilities galore. Awful interface. Advertisements in the start menu!? A system update that tried to steer you into an Office subscription (it seemed mandatory, but wasn't), couldn't use the trackpad or bluetooth keyboard, etc.

✓ Open Core, Catalina
My last ditch option was to try and install macOS Catalina using Open Core, on the slim chance that the problem was the software setup rather than hardware incompatibility. More fuss and trouble than I experienced with Clover (and almost more than I wanted to deal with), but much to my surprise and relief, File Sharing worked.

A big plus: screen sharing between the two computers. A simple swipe on the MagicTrackpad let's me jump between the Mac Studio and the Hackintosh. The wireless keyboard and trackpad even work on both, like magic.

There are still some wrinkles that need ironing out, e.g. there are permissions issues with some of the drives; two network drives appear as attached drives when I click Mac Studio icon in a Finder window (which is great). The others are only visible in the Network folder (haven't yet figured out why).

Also, I still need to try and fix Sleep on the Hackintosh. It would be nice to have it power down when it's not being used and wake only as needed. [Not entirely sure if that's possible]

10G card?
And if that all gets sorted, I'll look into getting a 10G network card to speed things up. I'm getting transfer speeds of 60-70 MBs/second about half the speed of a hard drive and 1/10 the speed of an SSD.

I also need to look and see if there are any apps that would help run and manage the server, e.g. measure speeds, keep an eye on disk health, etc. It's a shame Apple discontinued their server application. (Supposedly many of the Server app's functions have been rolled into the latest OS, but they're scattered and seem incomplete).

Thanks again to everyone for the help, advice, and encouragement.
 
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I tried to run my media server on my skylake hack, but it would only stream at 720, so I tried windows which was also on the hack. Well that was very annoying, windows would reboot for updates with no warning in the middle of a movie. So I wiped everything, loaded linux mint on it, it has been streaming 4k and 1080p movies to the rest of the house with no issues for the last 2 years now. I now use linux for all my server needs. Best part is it's all free!
 
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I tried to run my media server on my skylake hack, but it would only stream at 720, so I tried windows which was also on the hack. Well that was very annoying, windows would reboot for updates with no warning in the middle of a movie. So I wiped everything, loaded linux mint on it, it has been streaming 4k and 1080p movies to the rest of the house with no issues for the last 2 years now. I now use linux for all my server needs. Best part is it's all free!

Yes, that was another problem I had with Windows: aggressive updates with little or no warning. And people accuse Apple of taking away choices from users, lol. But there's a difference between making design and use decisions for you, or hiding information that most people don't need, vs. completely commandeering your computer and hijacking your time and workflow. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Oh, for anyone interested, I figured a few things out since last time.

On the off chance it's helpful to any network newbies like me:

1. Testing network speeds. "OpenSpeedTest-Server" in the Apple App Store is free. Install it on the first computer, then type their IP address (prominently displayed on the app) into the browser on the second computer.

It says I'm getting speeds around ~975 bps -- at least under the ideal circumstances of a speed test, or about ~122 MBs/second. My hard drives have read/write times around 140 MBs and 170 MBs.

2. To get network disks 'mounted' to appear as drives under your computer's in the Locations sidebar tab, log into your network, e.g. smb://YOURNETWORKNAME.local, and it will present a list of disks which you can load. I don't know what difference this makes beyond the cosmetic (and saving you a click when going through the Network tab).
 
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I use a network macs to share media over SMB and haven't run into problems with speed limits limiting my media for a single stream. However I have seen macOS SMB deliver woefully sporadic data rates. And it's pretty hard to know where the problem resides. This dialog reminded me of a recent article with a surprising take on macOS I/O rate-limiting — I have no idea where else to here to post this news and I thought of it in this context, so here it is...


On Darwin, threads block inside throttle_lowpri_io when they're being artificially delayed to slow down their I/O operations, with the ultimate goal of optimizing the performance of higher-priority I/O. And indeed, in both of these cases (and in the other similar problems I saw), the chain of blockage ultimately leads to a thread with less-than-highest I/O priority.

This explains a problem that I have seen for at least a decade when using macOS to make full drive copies using ddrescue: using the drive block device as opposed to the character device (/dev/disk2 vs /dev/rdisk2) caps throughput at about USB2 speeds (30MB/s). I discovered by accident that the character device doesn't suffer this.

Assuming the writeup above is correct, we can only imagine at what applications such a rate-limit bug might affect.
 
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