Go Back   MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Desktops > Mac mini

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Feb 2, 2013, 10:43 PM   #1
Mac Write
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Vancouver British Columbia
How do I manage Macs in a Remote office half way across the country?

Really not sure where I should post this so it gets the attention it requires.

I work for a charity and we are going to purchase 3 Mac mini's for our Toronto office as "Data Entry" computers. I live and work on Vancouver BC. We barely have the funds for these new computers, so I need to come up with a solution to handle this Mac minis from half way across the country.

My ideal solution would be a VPN+Apple Remote Desktop, but a server for that office isn't on the books at present (we will be getting a mini server for our head office this month though).

I need to remotely manage these computers and since we most likely won't get a mac mini server, I need other solutions.

"Back to my Mac" is another option, but that means I need a "office" iCloud account and have to change user accounts on my MBP. The other issue is, reliability. I personally feel Back to my Mac isn't reliable enough for having to manage Macs in a remote office.

Any ideas on how best to do this? We are using a Time Capsule or Airport Base Station (not sure which one). I just realized since they are data entry systems we should go with Reburbs. will save us close to $500 on all 3 systems.
Mac Write is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Feb 2, 2013, 10:49 PM   #2
Intell
macrumors P6
 
Intell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Inside
SSH. Each Mini can be it's own server. Setup port forwarding on the router to forward a high public port to the Mini's port 22. Setup a SSH only account that has a good strong password or use public key authentication. Allow only that account to be used for remote access/SSH. Then forward the Apple Remote Desktop ports and VNC ports to the local machine. You can even use SSH compression to make it a bit faster and you can use only Mini to act as a server for the others if you want.
__________________
Last edited by Intell; Yesterday at 10:45 AM.
Intell is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Feb 3, 2013, 12:09 AM   #3
Mac Write
Thread Starter
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Vancouver British Columbia
Quote:
Originally Posted by Intell View Post
SSH. Each Mini can be it's own server. Setup port forwarding on the router to forward a high public port to the Mini's port 22. Setup a SSH only account that has a good strong password or use public key authentication. Allow only that account to be used for remote access/SSH. Then forward the Apple Remote Desktop ports and VNC ports to the local machine. You can even use SSH compression to make it a bit faster and you can use only Mini to act as a server for the others if you want.
Thanks. We are going to get the 2011 Mac minis with 2GB RAM as they are refurbs.

The other issue is, right now I just have are volunteer computers at the head office use a limited user guest user account so it auto resets on logout.

Tell me more about how to use ARD with port forwarding. I assume that in the group I would call "Toronto Volunteer Computers" That I would enter IP:Port and that would be good enough to get through via SSH?
Mac Write is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Feb 3, 2013, 04:36 AM   #4
Adz76
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Dagobah System
Just thought I'd say that if you are using those machines with that amount of RAM the performance would not be great. I have a 2011 and bumped it to 8Gbs of RAM, think mine came with 4 and even that amount still felt at times sluggish.Lion is fairly resource hungry.

Also we have used Teamviewer across multiple platforms and I have to say it's superb, the free versions are not meant to be used for commercial use but you could give it a try and see what you think and then buy if you decide its worth it.
Adz76 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Feb 3, 2013, 04:41 AM   #5
Mac Write
Thread Starter
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Vancouver British Columbia
We are a Charity/NonProfit. As for the RAM. Basically the Mac minis will be used to access Safari and then do Data Entry via Web forms. 99.99% of the work done on these Mac minis will be in Safari. Maybe I will say we should through 8GB of RAM in them. I doubt each year I will upgrade the OS on them as I am in Vancouver and they are in Toronto and…well good luck getting approval for that trip.
Mac Write is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Feb 3, 2013, 12:03 PM   #6
Mojo1
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
2GB RAM is a non-starter if you plan on using Lion or Mountain Lion. You need at least 4GB to do the basics; I know this from personal experience. 8GB RAM should be sufficient based on what you plan to do with the Minis.
Mojo1 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Feb 3, 2013, 01:05 PM   #7
palebluedot
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Why get Macs at all if you are only going to have 2GB of RAM? You can get PCs at the same power for a cheaper price and Windows 7 and OS X are pretty much comparable now in terms of usability (and before I get flamed, I use both).

Moreover, I forget the name of the site but there is some site that allows 501c3s (I assume, in Canada, too) to register and get mega-discounts on software and hardware.
palebluedot is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Feb 3, 2013, 03:09 PM   #8
Mac Write
Thread Starter
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Vancouver British Columbia
Maybe a Linux Terminal would be a good idea, but Windows is out. That's what we have now and we require low maintenance. I am not going to support Windows (have enough trouble getting the president off of Windows 7 on her 27 iMac we bought for her 2-years ago!.

I will definitely look to upgrade the RAM. Now I need to find cheap Keyboard, Mouse, 24" Monitors.
Mac Write is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Feb 3, 2013, 04:07 PM   #9
laughjimbo
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
I have used back to mac reliably from a mobile phone connection to my mac book pro to support a number of macs before with no real problems.
__________________
13" Mac Book Pro 2.3ghz i5, 256gb Samsung 830 SSD, 8gb RAM / Mac Mini 2.3ghz i5, 256gb Crucial M4 SSD, 8gb RAM / iPad 2 16gb WiFi / iPhone 4S 64gb / Apple TV 3 / iPod Touch 4th GEN 32gb.
laughjimbo is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Feb 3, 2013, 04:10 PM   #10
Intell
macrumors P6
 
Intell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Inside
For you needs, 4GB of ram is plenty. A simple Pentium 3 box running a stripped down version of Linux would do very well as a server box for you to SSH into. If you can find an old x86 laptop that would be even better as they tend to use less power than a desktop of similar vintage.
__________________
Last edited by Intell; Yesterday at 10:45 AM.
Intell is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Feb 3, 2013, 04:38 PM   #11
initialsBB
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
If Safari is the only needed app, who not go for iPad/minis ?
initialsBB is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Feb 3, 2013, 07:08 PM   #12
chrise2
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Check out logmein.com. You can use the free version or pay for a full version. Works very well for remote control.
chrise2 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Feb 3, 2013, 08:23 PM   #13
FreakinEurekan
macrumors 68030
 
FreakinEurekan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac Write View Post
My ideal solution would be a VPN+Apple Remote Desktop, but a server for that office isn't on the books at present
Why would you need a server for that office to use ARD? Can't you just use a VPN tunneling router?

It's quite possible you can't; I've not tried that with ARD... but I've used VPN tunneling routers to support remote computers using VNC so I would expect it to work OK with ARD.
FreakinEurekan is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Feb 4, 2013, 11:29 AM   #14
Holmes093
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Could you not do the following:

Grab a Raspberry PI.
Setup the Raspberry Pi as a VPN server using Hamachi.
Use ARD over Hamachi VPN.

I am going to be buying a Raspberry Pi come payday, I will try this method.

Holmes093
__________________
ACTC / ACSP
iPhone 5s 32GB / White & Gold / 3 / iOS 7
iPad Air 32GB / White / 3 / iOS 7
Mac Mini 2.5GHz / 8GB ram / 120GB SSD & 6TB Thunderbolt Drive / 10.9.1
Holmes093 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Feb 4, 2013, 09:54 PM   #15
DarthMoops
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Baltimore MD
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrise2 View Post
Check out logmein.com. You can use the free version or pay for a full version. Works very well for remote control.
logmein is great, if they will be inside your WAN look at VNC as well.
DarthMoops is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > Apple Hardware > Desktops > Mac mini

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Microsoft Launches Office 365 Subscriptions Alongside Office 2013, But Macs Still Stuck on Office 2011 MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 302 Apr 15, 2014 05:15 PM
Malware that remote controls Macs? Mafamaticks OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion 1 Aug 15, 2013 12:41 PM
Remote working from NY in London office xk8mate Mac Pro 8 Aug 8, 2013 10:14 AM
How do you manage your family's accounts on multiple macs? ACaldwell Mac Basics and Help 7 Sep 10, 2012 12:01 PM
Can I link all the macs up in the office? yalag Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking 29 Aug 23, 2012 02:31 PM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:19 PM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC