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Old Feb 23, 2013, 12:05 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2010
switchover from pc network to mac

So I am planning on doing a complete switchover to mac for my fathers office.

They don't really have any special needs and such, mostly they use microsoft office, web browsing, quickbooks, and a few other basic things.

Currently they are on way outdated Dell computers from about 10 years ago wit a dell server running windows 2003 server.

Rather than redo everything with pc's which while cheaper overall, are more prone to malware/viruses than macs, The stability and ease of maintenance are more welcome in the mac.

So the current setup has a windows 2003 server which basically holds documents and stores installation cd's for reinstalling computers. It has security set for specific folders for some of the employees.

I want to have him switchover as follows:

Mac mini I5 with 16gb ram
Mac mini I7 Server with 16gb ram.
Dual 23" widescreen monitors on each system (not the server)
I have a 2tb external buffalo linkstation nas disk for backup purposes that I will get configured for time machine backups if possible, if not should I have him invest in a time capsule instead?
I have a Sonicwall setup that the firmware corrupted and I had to reset it, so I haven't put it back in place yet, should I use that wired and turn off wireless and use a time capsule to handle the wireless network? or run the minis all wired? and have wireless for the MacBooks him and his business partner have.

Each system will run the basic apps, office, web browsing, one will do quickbooks for the book keeper, and each system will run parallels and windows 7 as well for some of the programs that they use once in a while that are windows only.

My plan is to migrate all the documents etc to the mac mini server, have the nas do time machine backups of the server and the workstations.

I would want each users computer to be networked to the server and their home folder to be on the server for centralized document storage. All the documents are stored in a single folder with subfolders for each user, and users need to be able to access sometimes several of the document folders.

I can get the basic system setup with software that is needed, but I am more interested in how I should go about the following:

1. Have users be able to access their documents folder and add access for other document folders and have office open by default to their main document folder, and I want to be able to restrict access to most of the folders.
2. Have all users be able to print of course to printers on the network (there are 3 of them, 2 which are copier/printers, 1 is a color laser jet) and of course the copiers can act as scanners.
3. I want to set up Ical for my dad to sync to his iPhone/ipad/macbook/imac at home, and also for his partner to have the same setup.
4. I want them to also be able to access the server remotely as if they were on the network directly so they can access the documents off the server as needed anywhere in the world. I assume I would need to set up a VPN.
5. I have a sonicwall for the office that i will use for their internet access, as it will be setup to restrict access to email systems like gmail, hotmail, aol, etc, and to things like facebook and myspace.
6. for the dual monitor setup which is best, hdmi port for one and then mini display to display port for the other? each monitor will have display port, hdmi, dvi and I think vga connections. so options are wide open in that respect.
7. my dads macbook pro should be able to login to the network when he is at the office.
8. which is better, use wifi for all the computers, or go wired? all the offices have wired networks existing, but wireless would be a cleaner look overall.
9. can I transfer his existing windows server into a virtual machine on the mac mini server so I can work on setting up the systems and be able to recreate folder security without having to switch between the two computers, this way I can mirror the server to a virtual machine, then from home, work on migrating over to mac server without the need to be at the office, then when done, just copy the changed files over to the mini server?

I am planning on setting this up then plug it in side by side with his existing network before shutting the old one down. I need to make sure the users can access everything they are supposed to.

Can I setup one workstation the way I want it and then use superduper or ccc to clone to the other workstations? Can I set up the mini server to basically automate each workstation setup? can the mini server also handle updates for each computer so they are installed automatically, but downloaded on the server and distributed to the workstations, like pushing the updates to them?

what in your opinion would be the best way to set this up. I am not worried about copying his existing data, I am more concerned with what I need to do to get it setup to work for his needs.

I know I have said and asked a lot, but I have been working on getting him to upgrade to mac from pc in his office for a long time, and he is finally starting to come around. It only took 3 years of him being switched to a mac for personal use for him to finally get what I have been telling him to do with the office systems.

i figure if he were to do windows again, each pc will cost about $500.00 on average and then he will do dual monitors so workstation cost will be similar to mac minis, but then to do a proper server, that could cost thousands over the cost of a mini server for something that will do basic tasks. his current dell server has been near perfect reliable, had a power supply go out once and that is it in 10 years. it has been rebooted maybe once every couple of months since it was installed mainly for software updates.

I want to bring him up into the times, and I think the minis will fit the bill, lower power consumption than a pc with 300- 500w power supplies, less footprint in the offices, = cleaner look, no more bulky horsepower robbing virus scanners, and something that requires less upkeep.

Any thoughts on the best way to set this up? Any tricks I should know?
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