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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Anyone here using a Mac Mini as a server??


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DustinB22

 
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Who has a Mac Mini and using it as a server? Just wanted some basic feedback to see how well it works and how you guys like it.

Dustin
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louishen

 
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At work we use an Xserve as the main server and a mini as a database server.

The mini seems rock solid and pretty maintenance free.

But have you got any experience of OSX server or do you just want to know if the mini is up to the task

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dtravis7

 
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I am using an older G4 Power PC mini as a small Web Server. A couple of business's in the area and a couple of friends sites and my main site. Has not given me a bit of trouble. I would buy a new Mini with OSX server but am broke right now and and sites I am hosting are all very fast, so for now, this will do just fine.

I am just using normal OSX 10.5.8 Leopard (Not the Server edition) set up by me with either the terminal or OSX's built in stuff. The server version has a graphical interface for all the Server setup and settings.

I would think one of the latest Intel Mini Severs would work great for anything that is not crazy say hosting a site like Apple.com!

What all you going to use the server for?
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DustinB22

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by louishen View Post
At work we use an Xserve as the main server and a mini as a database server.

The mini seems rock solid and pretty maintenance free.

But have you got any experience of OSX server or do you just want to know if the mini is up to the task

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
I am using an older G4 Power PC mini as a small Web Server. A couple of business's in the area and a couple of friends sites and my main site. Has not given me a bit of trouble. I would buy a new Mini with OSX server but am broke right now and and sites I am hosting are all very fast, so for now, this will do just fine.

I am just using normal OSX 10.5.8 Leopard (Not the Server edition) set up by me with either the terminal or OSX's built in stuff. The server version has a graphical interface for all the Server setup and settings.

I would think one of the latest Intel Mini Severs would work great for anything that is not crazy say hosting a site like Apple.com!

What all you going to use the server for?
Sorry for this somewhat long response with a lot info you might not need.

First of all I have no experience with a OSX server, just starting research now. The mini seemed like a good price point and isn't an overkill. This would be for a somewhat small business (staffing wise). I have free range to setup and pick out the computers/technology we will use. I am not the owner/CEO so it's not my money on the line but I will be very involved. Technically I am the CFO, since I am the one who filed the Articles of Incorporation and made myself so Really that was my only initial/main use. I will actually deal with all finances/accounting and overall banking since have a bachelors in both Finance and Corporate Accounting (yes those are somewhat of polar opposites) and I currently work for a bank. There is no conflict of interest between the two companies. This one is construction which we started a little over a few ago. My point being is I do not have a solid back ground in technology, nor have I set something like this up but I have always been good enough to learn and figure it out. I am not a rash person, I try and educate myself before I make decisions. Time is on our side since we both have real jobs that pay our bills and enough to start this and fund it. I have just grown to love my MBP and I would like to have to business go all Apple. The owner has always been PC since that is what nearly all large companies use. He does love my MBP and he ditched the blackberry for an iphone 4 when it was released and has loved it. That is what opened conversation of going Mac. Since we are starting small it would make since to just start with the mini and pick up a few MBP for the few employees we hire. Most all work is done out of the office and heavy travel is already involved for the owner and same for future employees. The office space we have rented only has two offices and a receptionists desk (plus a good size warehouse out back for the trucks and equipment).

Sorry to make a long story out of it, but the main reason I believe/want a server is I would like to have all files/pictures/job proposals etc. saved to the server so that we can all access it from anywhere anytime. No more emailing back and forth. I don't really want to just push everything to their devices. Also it would be nice to set up the email/calender/main address book and web server. Even though I consider this a small business it really isn't due to the actually work that will be done. The jobs are large in size and revenue. I consider it small because I we can do it with a somewhat small staff and subcontract the rest out.

Dustin

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louishen

 
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OK got it - you want these things

File server

Mail server - bear in mind that if you host your own mail server, any downtime in your server or connection will result in bounce back mails to your customers. Google does a hosted mail service that gives you email addresses with your own domain name as does any web/internet hosting service.

Calendar

Address book

Remote access to address book calendar etc.

Your best bet is to visit an Apple store - especially as some of them offer introductions to OSX server from an expert, so check their events calendar. The most important thing to get right is to buy a domain name for the company and an IP number from your internet provider. Transferring the domain name to your companies IP should ideally be done before you buy and set-up the server. That will give the server a domain name that is your companies name and make setting up a lot of the services much easier going on.

In my experience the little guide you get with OSX server is a little basic, but clear and fine about the basics. Apple's documentation for Server comes in 2 flavours. The basic manual is clear but sometimes misses out on the detail. The more in depth documentation assumes you are an IT / Unix / networking propeller-head - and there is no middle way between the two.

That said - I have worked it out myself but I really should have tied the IP address to a proper domain name from the start - would have saved me a whole lot of bother.

You can always come back here for help, and try and see if an Apple store is holding a seminar or discussion, OSX server is certainly relatively straight forward to adminsiter but expect to have a bit of a learning curve since its still a server

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dtravis7

 
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Excellent advice louishen.

Only thing else I would say is if you go with the mini with it's 2.5" 5400 RPM drive, I would use the internal drive for the applications and OS but get a high quality external for your data. The Mini has FW800 and the new Thunderbolt port. There are already drive arrays that work with Thunderbolt. I would rather trust my data to something like that rather than the 2.5" laptop drive inside the mini.

Let us know what you end up doing. Sounds quite workable.
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DustinB22

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by louishen View Post
OK got it - you want these things

File server

Mail server - bear in mind that if you host your own mail server, any downtime in your server or connection will result in bounce back mails to your customers. Google does a hosted mail service that gives you email addresses with your own domain name as does any web/internet hosting service.

Calendar

Address book

Remote access to address book calendar etc.

Your best bet is to visit an Apple store - especially as some of them offer introductions to OSX server from an expert, so check their events calendar. The most important thing to get right is to buy a domain name for the company and an IP number from your internet provider. Transferring the domain name to your companies IP should ideally be done before you buy and set-up the server. That will give the server a domain name that is your companies name and make setting up a lot of the services much easier going on.

In my experience the little guide you get with OSX server is a little basic, but clear and fine about the basics. Apple's documentation for Server comes in 2 flavours. The basic manual is clear but sometimes misses out on the detail. The more in depth documentation assumes you are an IT / Unix / networking propeller-head - and there is no middle way between the two.

That said - I have worked it out myself but I really should have tied the IP address to a proper domain name from the start - would have saved me a whole lot of bother.

You can always come back here for help, and try and see if an Apple store is holding a seminar or discussion, OSX server is certainly relatively straight forward to adminsiter but expect to have a bit of a learning curve since its still a server
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
Excellent advice louishen.

Only thing else I would say is if you go with the mini with it's 2.5" 5400 RPM drive, I would use the internal drive for the applications and OS but get a high quality external for your data. The Mini has FW800 and the new Thunderbolt port. There are already drive arrays that work with Thunderbolt. I would rather trust my data to something like that rather than the 2.5" laptop drive inside the mini.

Let us know what you end up doing. Sounds quite workable.
Yes thank you louishen and dtravis7. I did not think about transferring the domain name to your companies IP first. Makes total sense. I have been making a list as is, and moving things as need be. I also have asterisks by the things I need to learn more about. I feel like the server for the most part can be pretty basic for now. My main concern is the all the files being on the servers hard drive and can get accessed from anywhere they can internet access. I basically want a database or "Officeshare" as I have nicknamed it for now where all docs/files/pics etc can be. Also allowing others to access if it requires more than one person on the project. I have even been in the boat where a work laptop stolen from my truck and I had files that could not be replaced or would have taken extensive time. Being from the other side of the world from this type of business I have seen more issues and headaches because of simple things like this. The owner that I am going in with has around 38 years of experience in this field so I had him lay all the problems that he has had to deal with ranging from companies that are notorious for safety violations to just poor communication mainly due to a lack of technology. I picked out issues that I know I can help with. I am green when it comes to this type of construction so I am obviously no help with safety on a construction site and I am not about to learn OSHA laws for the shop sites. But besides the accounting side, I know I can learn how to put together a simply easy to use server that I can grow from. The only thing that could still hold this up is what software he decides to use for estimating/design etc. He does draw up blueprints some are MAC compatible some are not. Which now brings up the factor I'll have to buy a superdrive since the new Mac Minis don't come with one.

Also I will look into the Google hosted mail. I trust the connection for the most part. We have had the same DSL company for years home and work and never once has it gone down. It's amazing, the modems haven't quit on us. I did just replace the DSL modem when they can to setup the fax lines. It was an older modem so I figured I would just get a new one and have that as a spare. But I do agree that even though I trust the connection doesn't mean I can't have issues so I will look at the Google hosted mail.

And dtravis7, I don't ever trust any one HD. Anything can happen, that's why I don't want the files on everyone's each individually laptop and I won't solely rely on the MAC mini. I'll need down the road for storage anyways so I was looking at some of Pegasus Storage units. I plan on running a RAID (which one, I don't know yet since it depends on other factors).

I have a lot of pricing and work to do with this still. The mini may or may not be the way to go. I will have to look at overall costs to benefits.

Thank you guys for your input.

Dustin

13" MacBook Pro 8,1: 2.3GHz Intel i5, 320GB, 8GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 3000, OS X Lion w/ASUS 26" LCD Network Setup: Apple TC 2TB 4th Gen w/ Synology DiskStation DS212j holding 1TB WD & 74GB WD Raptor Drive Accessories: Apple TV 2nd Gen, Epson V600 scanner, M-Audio Studiophile CX5 Speakers
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JosephTSS

 
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I use a Mac Mini running OS X Server in my office. We purchased the Mini Server from Apple about 6 months ago and it has been 100% rock solid ever since we first plugged it in. It is running OS X Lion, 16GB RAM, 1.5 TB HDD. It is used exclusively for our FileMaker databases and also stores documents loaded into the databases.

For what it's worth, it's the only machine in our infrastructure that hasn't crashed.
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