View Full Version : OSX on external drive
July 31st, 2009, 08:09 AM
If I install OSX SERVER 10.5 on an external drive on my XSERVER, then use it as my boot drive, is there a noticeable degradation of performance as compared with booting from an internal drive? The server is strictly used for sharing files.
July 31st, 2009, 09:04 AM
...is there a noticeable degradation of performance as compared with booting from an internal drive?
If it's a USB 1.1 drive, then yes.
If it's a USB 2.0 drive, then not much.
If it's a FireWire 400 drive, then even less so.
If it's a FireWire 800 drive, probably not at all.
If it's an eSATA drive, you probably couldn't even tell.
Is there some reason you need to boot from an external media instead of the internal drive?
July 31st, 2009, 10:08 AM
yes, I had a very unfortunate crash on the first reboot of an UPGRADE install from osx server 10.4 to 10.5. Luckily, I had cloned the orginal boot drive (which also has about 300 gig of files) and I just popped that back in ,and restored the missing week's files from the unbootable but readable 10.5 boot drive attached externally. Apple support confirmed that reinstallation was my only choice.
Since it's only a fileserver, I love the idea of setting up all of the system files and user/password/permissions on an external and booting from that. (We don't use Open directory or any directory service) I would clone the boot drive it to use in the event of a crash (maybe 2 or even 3 clones!). Again, with 300+ gig of files, it it tedious to clone my entire current boot drive (I DO use all 3 drives in the Xserver)
Also, You mention that it woul dbe very slow booting form a USB drive. Please, tell me how to boot from a USB drive! Everything I have read only permits BOOTING externally from a Firewire, but I am always open to info from those more informed than me!
July 31st, 2009, 10:21 AM
Also, You mention that it woul dbe very slow booting form a USB drive.
Yes, a USB 1.1 drive. Most drives are USB 2.0 (which is much faster than USB 1.1), so unless your USB drive is 10 years old, that probably won't affect you.
As far as I know, USB booting is impossible on PowerPC-based Macs (G3, G4, G5) -- but Leopard somehow gets around this limitation and allows PowerPC-based Macs to boot from USB devices. So, booting a Tiger-based system via USB may be impossible on a PowerPC-based Mac, but booting a Leopard-based system via USB on a PowerPC-based Mac should work, from what I hear.
Apparently, Intel-based Macs (Core Duo, Core 2 Duo, Xeon) can boot from either FireWire or USB, regardless of system software.
To boot from an external drive, simply change the Startup Disk preference in the System Preferences and restart.
July 31st, 2009, 10:57 AM
Yeah, mine's a G5. (You can imagine how "happy" I was to find out that the Intel version came out about 4 weeks later....)
The thing is that the OSX 10.5 server software wouldn't install on the drive connected via USB, explaining that it can't be installed to a USB drive. My external drive enclosure DOES have eSATA, but alas, I don't have a Mac with an eSATA port. So I installed it to a LaCie firewire, which is probably 400. I will clone this to an 800, and use that on my production machine.
I guess that's my best solution given my circumstances.
(I know how to set the boot drive, but thanks! I never take anything for granted when talking to my users either!)