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Old Apr 28, 2012, 12:53 PM   #1
MacNoobGuy
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OS X Server: How is better than Linux/Solaris/WinServer?

hi all, i've been wondering this for a number of years now and i'm just wondering how OS X Server is better than the alternatives out there? you don't get any choice with the hardware, it's expensive compared to the alternatives and sure, it's stable, but every sever OS is stable. what advantages does it have that i'm missing here?

the market share must be less than 2% of all the Servers out there. is it only used by Apple enthusiasts?
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Old Apr 28, 2012, 03:42 PM   #2
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I would say so... yes. Snow Leopard Server was actually pretty decent, but OS X Lion Server sucks. The only reason to use OS X Lion Server is because one, you know absolutely nothing about servers yet feel the need to set one up for whatever reason, or two, because you need a good way of managing iOS devices. Windows Servers can provide all of the same services in the GUI (who wants to use the command line to accomplish simple tasks?), but much better. I use Snow Leopard Server since I like Mac OS X and dislike Windows, but if I need to upgrade for whatever reason, I will be heading to Windows for their server.

Last edited by jackhdev; Apr 28, 2012 at 10:41 PM.
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Old Apr 28, 2012, 04:22 PM   #3
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Windows and Mac OSX are much the same when it comes to 'servers for idiots'.

Before i get trolled too much, I don't mean that in a negative way. I have worked on everything platform from super computers, from Cray's down to netbooks!

Windows and MacOSX (in the same way as OS/2 in the past) took many of the decisions away from the user, so making a server/network available to non-techies in the way Novell and AIX never could.
LINUX platforms (or generic UNIX based servers) are a continuation of the Novell type of platform. They are great at what they do, but need a good deal of knowledge to setup and configure, so are out of reach of most mortals

MacOSX is based on a old branch of UNIX but retains many original UNIX commands and controls. The good thing about MacOSX Server is that you can use the 'idiot' method GUI front end, or you can get down and dirty in the command lines.

Windows is much less able to do this. OSX Server is cheaper software, but hardware is expensive against a Windows box... but the actual RoI (Return on Investment) of a Mac Server is actually not far from that of a equivelent Windows server. Don't think you can compare a CostCo PC against a Mac Server. They are engineered differently. Try thinking IBM x-Series vs Mac Server and the prices don't seem too far apart!

So, the answer to pretty much every technical question about 'what is better... A or B' is that there is no better, just different.

Again, the RoI of a Windows 2008 Server vs a Mac OSX Server vs a LINUX RedHat EL Server is roughly the same for each. They each serve ('scus the pun) different purposes in life so choose the one that suits you best, or you prefer the look of, or have shares in the company, or just want to own the T-Shirt
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Old Apr 29, 2012, 07:24 AM   #4
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thanks.

how much does Lion Server cost now? i remember reading it was now free as a part of the regular Lion? is this true? you could setup Lion Server on an iMac right?
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Old Apr 29, 2012, 08:46 AM   #5
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thanks.

how much does Lion Server cost now? i remember reading it was now free as a part of the regular Lion? is this true? you could setup Lion Server on an iMac right?
I never recall it being free. It is $50 in the Mac App Store. You can run it on your iMac.
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Old Apr 29, 2012, 10:10 AM   #6
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I never recall it being free. It is $50 in the Mac App Store. You can run it on your iMac.
When the beta's were coming out it was all included. However in the final release they separated it.
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Old Apr 29, 2012, 11:05 AM   #7
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I plan on getting it just to learn it and play around. We have a few xserves at work, nothing huge, they're sort of a mystery and only one guy works on them.

I guess I should say my "old" work since I left there a few days ago
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Old Apr 29, 2012, 11:14 AM   #8
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It is just an add-on to lion and will run on pretty much all machines that run lion little bit more memory hungry. the one nice thing compared to windows is that that is the only license you need for unlimited users.
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Old May 1, 2012, 09:35 PM   #9
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I make my living with Solaris and RHEL and I just bought a Mac mini server. This was really for quad core , not for Mac server. That said, it's not horrible but not stellar either.

For non-admin types the GUI front end makes basic stuff easier... but as with any point and click administration it doesn't replace actual knowledge.
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Old May 2, 2012, 09:29 AM   #10
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One good usage scenario for Mac OS X Server: if you have to serve files to Mac clients. SMB performance on Mac clients is generally not so great (alternative SMB clients like DAVE don't really help all that much), and some Mac OS X apps aren't very happy writing to network shares unless those shares are honest to goodness AFP mount points.

I've been getting pretty deep into Windows Server 2008, and it's actually not too shabby. There are still numerous Windows UI and command-line inconsistencies, but it's a pretty powerful set of tools you can put to use if you know how. As others have said, it's expensive, and if you need real AFP file sharing capabilities you'll have to buy a third party add-in like ExtremeZ-IP which further adds to the already high cost of doing business.
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Old May 3, 2012, 04:02 PM   #11
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I'm sorry, but the default installs of Ubuntu / Centos / Fedora are bloated, they install way too many packages that are just not needed.

Please tell me something *BSD can't do that linux can do?
Everything is bloated out of the box, there's no monopoly on that in the market.

That's what custom configurations are for.
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Old May 6, 2012, 11:23 PM   #12
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lol, wow i never thought macrumors would even dream of running Linux over OS X.

how much is OS X Server again? $50? that must be the cheapest Server going around?

----------

do any major sites run it?

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just curious, but why are you a Mac user if you regard lightweightedness in such high regard? OS X's GUI is far more CPU/RAM intensive than Windows/Linux... or do you only use OS X as a desktop machine? how are you able to communicate to servers running *Nix? wouldn't it be easier to communicate when everything was the same platform?
I know this isn't directed to me, but ...
Open a terminal session. Then ssh user@host works just fine.
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Old May 6, 2012, 11:34 PM   #13
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Also i'm not sure what you do as a job, but I don't run multiple resources on 1 box, it's not best practice... virtualisation is your friend. But I always keep resources on separate instances/machines.

Your nice little OSX Install is running a FreeBSD Userland!
Without redundancy built in, virtualization itself isn't any better than running multiple services on a single instance of an OS.

I know you know based on what you're writing, but most people don't deal with redundancies built into their systems. So I'm pointing that out for them.

Also Solaris runs just fine on Intel commodity hardware. I first booted up Solaris 10 on Intel hardware back in the 2.5.1 days. We used it to control an ATT phone switch we used as an auto dialer.
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Old May 8, 2012, 10:42 AM   #14
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has apple ever talked about revamping it and making it comparable to the OS' out there?
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Old May 11, 2012, 05:54 PM   #15
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I agree with the previous poster about the 1 resource per box model being terribly outdated.

depending on what you're doing its just fine to put multiple services on 1 box. keep in mind that were not talking about each 1 of the service with only having 1 instance. rather were talking about say 6 or 8 servers per service behind a load balancer that handles individual node management.

there are certain things we do can only really have 1 server per X. these we cluster usually in a 4 to 1 ratio.

the key is being familiar with the applications you're presenting and eliminating single points of failure wherever it is possible to do so.

I think were way way beyond the original scope of this thread, but it's a discussion,and that's how they flow.
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Old May 12, 2012, 12:58 AM   #16
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ok thanks a lot guys. what i don't understand is why apple deliberately markets the Mac Pro Server and Mac Mini Server as Server products. i just read the XServe line was discontinued, was it much better under that?
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Old May 12, 2012, 02:09 AM   #17
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ok thanks a lot guys. what i don't understand is why apple deliberately markets the Mac Pro Server and Mac Mini Server as Server products. i just read the XServe line was discontinued, was it much better under that?
They are servers - and they'd be fine for a small workgroup.

Eg, a DTP or graphic design firm with say 4-5 designers, they could use a mac pro or even a mini as a file server and / or remote VPN server to get back to work from home.

Could also host their local email on it, and it would be a lot more cost effective than Windows, using AD + Exchange.

Thats the kind of market apple is playing in - the big end of town is way out of their reach.
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Old May 12, 2012, 05:07 PM   #18
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They are servers - and they'd be fine for a small workgroup.

Eg, a DTP or graphic design firm with say 4-5 designers, they could use a mac pro or even a mini as a file server and / or remote VPN server to get back to work from home.

Could also host their local email on it, and it would be a lot more cost effective than Windows, using AD + Exchange.

Thats the kind of market apple is playing in - the big end of town is way out of their reach.
ok, thanks
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Old May 13, 2012, 09:34 AM   #19
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They are servers - and they'd be fine for a small workgroup.
Mac Minis are not servers and I would not recommend them for a business, no matter how small, not if your income depends on it working 24x7x365.

You can call any computer a server just by installing a server OS on it, or using it to 'serve' one or more services or applications to other computers.

But it is not *built* like a server. Server systems usually includes features that ensure they are reliable such as over-specified and/or redundant power supplies, server-quality hard disks in raid, high rpm fans and large cooling channels to manage heat.

The MacMini can do software raid but doesn't have any other server qualities. It is designed to be small, stylish and quiet and it does this at the expense of airflow, performance and reliability.

Don't get me wrong, I love the macmini, but as a server you will get 1 or 2 years out of it I guess before that tiny little fan dies of dust inhalation and I wouldn't want to count on it for critical systems.

The Mac Pro is a better option as it doesn't compromise so much to be tiny. I still find it sad that Steve Jobs and / or the Bean counters killed off the 'unprofitable' X-Serve. Surely the bigger picture is that it massively helped their IOS and Mac products to flourish in the business and education sectors.
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Old May 13, 2012, 07:19 PM   #20
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Mac Minis are not servers and I would not recommend them for a business, no matter how small, not if your income depends on it working 24x7x365.
You see that's the thing. It can be good enough for small workgroups.

RAID 1, time machine destination for a bunch of laptops = fine
RAID 1 file server fro small work group, (of course you should back it up) = fine.


My mini has been running since 2009 without skipping a beat, running server.

Would i run a 24x7 enterprise off it? Of course not, its not what it is for. However for a small work group who store most of their stuff locally and just want a machine there to share things out, it is fine.

That's what it is aimed at.
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Old May 14, 2012, 04:36 PM   #21
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Don't get me wrong, I love the macmini, but as a server you will get 1 or 2 years out of it I guess before that tiny little fan dies of dust inhalation and I wouldn't want to count on it for critical systems.
I've been buying Mac minis since they came out and I have yet to have a fan failure. The only thing that has failed has been the hard drive (typically after 3-4 years).

A.
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Old Jun 3, 2012, 08:36 AM   #22
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I used to own 3 Xserves and they were great and the server OS was easy to set up and reliable.

When Apple discontinued the Xserve, it was clear that Apple was abandoning the serious server market and I sold my Xserves.
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Old Jul 15, 2013, 05:13 PM   #23
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hi all, i've been wondering this for a number of years now and i'm just wondering how OS X Server is better than the alternatives out there?
I've been using Linux for my personal website for years. But recently, I had to setup a site — with server — in a short amount of time. I could have picked Windows or Linux, but I picked Mac.

I like having a graphical user interface. Sure, that eats at system performance, but the Mac Mini has power to spare. The improved Screen Sharing with Mountain Lion makes it easier to administrate. It fits in a rack with a rackmount enclosure too.

It's a MAMP setup with Drupal. The Mac already has Apache and PHP. Installing MySQL was fairly straightforward too.

My concern is that I don't know if Apple is serious about supporting the server app. The ratings/reviews on the Mac App Store are pretty bad. That seems unfortunate to me, as the Mac server has been great. I'm waiting to see how things go with Mavericks. If Apple can't (or won't) improve the server app, I might have to switch things over to Linux.
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