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Internet, Networking, and Wireless Discussion of networking, internet, and wireless including Apple's Airport products.

Macmini Lion server/user setup advice


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dspiv

 
Member Since: Jan 30, 2012
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Just purchased a macmini lion server. It will be used concurrently as a file server, as well as by a logged in user as their personal system, and we also want to use it for vpn.

I have a small office with only 4 users, including the user whose system this will be.

We are a design studio so we have large files flying around, but the frequency is low because we are so small.We will not be sharing programs from the server except for CD Finder for catalogs of CD's and DVD's.

It is my intention to attach an external FW 800 drive for additional storage for files less used.

We will be doing a migration of a new user (other than admin) for the user whose computer this will be.

I am looking for advice as to how to best set up the server's shared network users, whether the external drive scheme is an issue, especially for VPN, and any other general advice regarding issues people may have run into in this type of scenario.
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louishen

 
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Your main problem is trying to have a work computer and a server at the same time.

If you migrate over the user it can act as a standard mac, but I have never tried having 2 users logged in at the same time.

Setting it up as a file server is fairly easy, but make sure you deselect its other functions if you have no intention of using it as a mail server or ical server

The external disk is not a problem, in fact the external firewire drive would be ideal as the main share. But you will also have to have a back-up drive as well, or 2 external drives set-up at one combined RAID 1 drive.

AS for VPN, that really depends on your DSL speed. A relatively slow upload speed will seriously hamper external computers accessing the server since the upload speed is crucial to VPN. Its fairly easy to set-up, bit you also have to open ports on your router to get it to work

I have set-up a Snow Leopard server, so for any help come back to the forums

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dspiv

 
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Thanks for the reply. I had read (don't remember where) from what I considered a reliable source that the quad core i7 mini server, especially with 8 GB RAM, could handle the user/file server scenario without an issue - especially in my small office situation. Why would this be a problem considering my light usage? FYI, we have been using an old noisy G4 Xserve, but I wanted to migrate to something that will support newer server software. THis was an economical way to upgrade the imac my user was on and upgrade my server simultaneously. The mini also allows me to use a color accurate monitor that is better than an imac.

Forgot to mention - we have comcast pro cable modem service. Download speeds are 20M and upload are 5M - tested.
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louishen

 
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I cant remember if, when you use fast user switching, if the non active user keeps its network connection, you'll have to test it.

To be honest, I wouldn't recommend using a server as a workstation, but if you have to, set it up as a server first, then add a suer account and see if the server account still functions well with another user logged in at the same time

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dspiv

 
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How would you utilize the drives in this scenario?
Where would you install the user's software - on the system drive or the second 500 gig drive - not even sure this is possible with CS5.
Would you leave all file storage for the user on the 2nd drive and the external only? What about network users? Seems to be a waste of disk space to devote one 500 gig drive only to system use. It's tempting to ditch the system drive and use a flash drive instead.
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MacsWork

 
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Here's the deal.

The reason it's a bad idea to use a server as a workstation is because the default user type is Admin.
In the old days (Snow Leopard and older) The "server " OS was it's own animal. Software was not supported for the server OS. You might not have desirable results installing and running CS5 on Snow Leopard server.

That said, Apple has turned the server OS into more of an Application or group of applications and services. Which leads me to believe that the software support for third party apps might be a better fit.

As for drive space, you can create custom shares and put them anywhere you want on the server. Macintosh HD or Server HD, doesn't matter. They give you two drives simply to have more storage, or in the event you would want to configure redundancy with a RAID1 drive scenario.

Since you only have four users you most likely don't want to bother with Open Directory and network accounts. And for the sake of simplicity you might just create a generic user that is used for connecting to the share. Since the local user of the Mini won't need to "connect" to it you may just create the two local users on the server and call it done.

Local login account would be something like Joe Smith and the network shared account might be Server.
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