File Server for Mac Environments


I just wanted to point this out to everybody that might have issues running a dependable file server for Mac or Multi-Platform environments. Just as a brief summary of issue to point out, I will mention what steps had been taken.

The company had a OS X, Solaris, and Windows network. All their files were stored on SNAP servers, and needed a larger storage server, and off-site backup. If you don't know too much about HFS+, then let me metion that it uses "resource forks" for all the files, pretty mcuh letting any Mac know what type of file each is, and what properties it holds. When a file is copied from a Mac to another storage facility, these forks stay, but if it's not a HFS+ file system, that file system will not know that they are there.

In the first phase, we setup a FreeBSD file server, and rsynced the files from the SNAPs to the FreeBSD system. All the resource forks had been lost since the SNAPs were not HFS+ based. The data had pretty much become useless, unless someone was to go through each one and re-save them with a Mac. Next, we took a G5 and rsynced the SNAPs with FreeBSD system again. The forks stayed, since OS X 10.4's rsync handles resource forks. It took the forks off the SNAPs, and put them on the FreeBSD server along with all the files (Of using OS X 10.3 you must install Psync).

For the offsite, we setup a G4 Quicksilver with OS X 10.4, and have it pull the data from the FreeBSD server in the store, to also keep the forks. All Macs were able to tell what file was what, like the Quark files that didn't have file extensions.

All in all, to always keep these forks, and to backup the files to be useful after a data disaster, make sure that the files are transferred by a Mac. The file server doesn't have to be a Mac since the forks are there, but not known by the server. Hope this sheds some light on anyone's issues.