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phonitron
Sep 12, 2012, 01:21 AM
Hey folks, I've recently purchased a MacBook air and wish to use this as my main machine - replacing a mini. Anyway, I was thinking of converting the mini to ML server, creating an open directory account on the mini, thus when i log in on the air, im actually logging into the mini... Obviously this is going to be done over wifi n but I'm guessing this is going to be a huge performance hit.

Does anyone have any comments or suggestions? The limiting factor I suppose is the network speed and the storage capacity on the air



Truffy
Sep 12, 2012, 04:24 AM
I'm not clear what the question is that you're asking. And where does iTunes come into all this?

switon
Sep 12, 2012, 07:38 AM
Hi,

...I'm a little confused by your comments, especially the parts about the air being your main machine and thus being limited by the storage capacity on the air... To me, this implies that you would be using the MBA as the server, but you initially state that you want to convert the Mac mini to ML server (you can actually run ML server on both machines since purchasing OS X Server at $20 allows you to download as many copies/licenses as you have machines in your Apple ID). If the MM is the server, then the storage space on the MBA does not matter as much and won't be a limiting factor since any large hard disks (for iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, backups) would be hung off the MM with the MBA gaining access to them through File Sharing. Thus this would actually allow the MBA to have a minimum amount stored on it (no large iTunes Library, no wiki sites, no mail, for instance)...

In my personal opinion, and this is what I do at my home, I would install ML OS X Server on the Mac mini and use the MM as the actual server for your home, not the other way around. The MM then runs Calendar, Contacts, File Sharing (AFP/SMB/NFS for any share points on shared disk filesystems), Mail, Messages (i.e., runs your own jabber video conferencing server instead of using the public ones), Open Directory (for network logins), VPN (allowing you to VPN tunnel into your LAN from anywhere in the world), and even Websites and Wiki (if you wish to post your own personal websites or wiki on the Internet) servers and Pushes everything to all of your other machines (MBA, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, other computers). You can use your MBA with Screen Sharing to manage your MM server from anywhere in the world so your MM no longer needs a monitor, keyboard, or mouse. Your MM also runs 24/7 and never sleeps (I believe it only uses 13W of power when idle) so your servers, including your Calendar, Contacts, Internet websites and wiki, are available to the Internet 24/7. You can also VPN into your LAN with your MBA from anywhere on the Internet. The MM also runs iTunes and you share its Library allowing your MBA and any of your other computers to access your iTunes Library including photos from your iPhoto Library with all computers. Any large disks, such as a RAID system, is mounted on the MM but with File Sharing the MBA has access to it. I do this wirelessly, including streaming HD video from the MM, to several laptops in the home, without any wireless troubles. I do, however, have a Time Capsule that acts as my wireless router and serves the laptops as hourly, wireless Time Machine backups. I don't know if your plan was to use the MBA as the wireless router, but I would recommend getting a different wireless router, such as the Airport Extreme Base Station or the Time Capsule (if you want both a wireless router as well as wireless backup to the NAS in the TC). Now you could get the Airport Express to serve as your wireless router, but since its ethernet connection is slower that the AEB's or TC's ethernet, you might experience a bandwidth bottleneck from the AX's ethernet connection to your Cable Modem (ISP). The AX is also smaller (which is nice at one level) and thus I suspect has a more limited wireless range than the AEB or TC. I actually also have an AX that I use to extend the wireless range of my TC router so that I have wireless outside the house in the backyard.

...just my two cents worth of free advice...and the quality of what you get is what you pay for it...

Regards,
Switon

phonitron
Sep 12, 2012, 04:43 PM
Thanks for the response guys. When I say my air would be my main machine I mean the one I interact with daily... Sorry, it was mega early when I posted the question and I hadn't slept much last night.

Anyway, all data (aperture/iTunes/etc) would be stored on an external firewire or thunderbolt drive attached to the mini, and if it's then got to travel across my wireless network to my air, I'm guessing there'll be a huge performance hit especially when browsing libraries for aperture or iTunes.

Things were so much easier when I had my iMac!

switon
Sep 12, 2012, 05:36 PM
Hi,

I don't believe that for most everyday tasks you will see a "huge" performance hit when using N450+N450 to communicate wirelessly. For instance, iTunes music is no problem, iTunes movies is also no problem. Viewing iPhoto slide shows wirelessly is no problem. I routinely stream 1080P HD video wirelessly without any issues (no pauses, no stuttering, no loss of synchronization). I also do Airplay Mirroring from a laptop to an Apple TV3 attached to a 1080p HDTV, including mirroring of HD video with audio, all done wirelessly on N. I also do airplay from iTunes to an Airport Express to play music on a set of speakers in another room. And I backup three laptops using Time Machine wirelessly. (Sure, for the first TM backup it is smart to hook up via ethernet to the TC from the laptops, but after the bulk of the boot drive's files have been transferred to the TM backup, then I find that wireless hourly backups work fine.

In a nutshell, I don't believe you should have any problem browsing iTunes or iPhoto libraries, since the communication speeds (I connect at 450Mbps but the continuous throughput is slower) will often be faster than your eyes or ears. I browse all of my iTunes and iPhoto libraries without any noticeable performance problems, but then again my eyes are antediluvian and so the electrons are slower and my eyes probably don't work as fast as yours.

Sure, if you need to transfer a 1TB NMR data set, then by all means run a thunderbolt cable (or USB3 or CAT6 ethernet) between your air and the mini, but for most everyday tasks I don't think you will notice much of a performance hit. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Good luck,
Switon

phonitron
Sep 12, 2012, 05:59 PM
I'll give it a go... Thanks for all your help Switon!