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Old Jun 3, 2012, 08:31 PM   #76
belvdr
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Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Fair enough, I meant "nobody" in a hyperbolic way.
I see.

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Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
If disk is the bottleneck and we are talking about the same given disk source it is going to be the bottleneck whether on physical hardware or in a VM cluster. One difference is, it is generally more cost effective to connect a single consolidated VM cluster to your SAN or disk array than it is to connect a bunch of physical servers to it. Depending on the layout of the machine room this also often allows you to consolidate SANs/disk arrays, which is another potential substantial cost savings. The other difference is that in some cases you can lessen your load by adding more disks to the array, which is generally more sensibly done with one big honkin' over-engineered disk source.
I can only tell you that using SQLIO, I get more throughput with a physical machine (a blade in this case) than a VM with an RDM. I'm not sure why or how, as I'm not a SAN or VM expert. I only speak of what I see.

We're preparing to upgrade our VM software soon, so I'm going to retest after that happens. I would love to virtualize my servers, but at this point, I can't do it.
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Old Jun 3, 2012, 08:34 PM   #77
besson3c
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Originally Posted by belvdr View Post
I see.



I can only tell you that using SQLIO, I get more throughput with a physical machine (a blade in this case) than a VM with an RDM. I'm not sure why or how, as I'm not a SAN or VM expert. I only speak of what I see.

We're preparing to upgrade our VM software soon, so I'm going to retest after that happens. I would love to virtualize my servers, but at this point, I can't do it.

I apologize for the inaccurate and hyperbolic way I tried to steer conversation, I just thought it needed a sort of bludgeon to shine the light on virtualization, because hopefully we can both agree that it is a very big deal and certainly worthy of being in this conversation
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Old Jun 3, 2012, 08:39 PM   #78
belvdr
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I apologize for the inaccurate and hyperbolic way I tried to steer conversation, I just thought it needed a sort of bludgeon to shine the light on virtualization, because hopefully we can both agree that it is a very big deal and certainly worthy of being in this conversation
Oh, no worries. It certainly has its place. We're on our way there, but for example, we can't virtualize our Oracle Exadata clusters.

We're watching our physical / virtual percentage carefully. I wrote some SQL Server reports to manage our infrastructure and one of them is to monitor our ratio of systems.
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Old Jun 3, 2012, 08:40 PM   #79
besson3c
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To add to my last post, I know that some IT groups are literally unwilling to provide the staffing and financial resources to maintain a physical server. In many cases, if it can't be virtualized it is not going in the machine room.

Maybe these sorts of case scenarios are a little fringy, but I do know they exist. Maybe they are generally designed to ensure that researching the possibility of virtualization has been thoroughly exhausted, because managers in particular love the fact that virtualization can save in staffing resources, the costs of physical hardware, rack space/gear, and electricity.

Because of this, I find it generally illogical to sort of hold on to yesterday's way of running servers, as if the world is going to change their mind about the benefits of virtualization. I don't mean this directed at anybody in particular in here, but again, if you aren't in on this you are missing out.

It seems like Apple embracing virtualization could also be their answer to no longer making XServes. There seems to be far more future in this than racking Minis or Mac Pros. Pretty much all it would take is proper licensing arrangements (if not so already, I'm a little hazy on where things are at in this regard), and a few drivers (energy saving stuff, video, para-virt network and disk), right?
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 08:13 AM   #80
lakorai
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At our small law office we have decided to dump our OSX Server, as it is at the replacement cycle anyway. We are runnning a 2006 era Mac Pro with 12GB of ram and dual RAID1 1TB arrays connected to a HighPoint Mac compatible PCIe controller.

We used to be an all Mac shop, but the lack of enterprise features and horrible business practices of Apple make it impractical to support Macs. Glued Batteries. Proprietary SSD storage. Increasingly difficult to replace components and get parts on time (I'm talking new parts, not used parts ripped from a working Mac from iFixit). Proprietary SATA drives found on the iMacs. Lies from Apple stating that if I replace the ram, hard disk or upgrade the components on the Mac void the warranty (which is illegal as it violates the Magnum-Moss Warranty Act). Not being able to downgrade to SL on newer machines. Dumping support too quickly for older OSX versions. Hostility towards Virtualization of OSX. No "legal" ability to run Mac OS X on standard VMWare ESXi.

Apple also doesn't provide LOM, or lights out management. All of our Macs have been replaced with custom built PCs that we standardize on a configuration. I used 80+ gold power supplies, Intel Core i5 processors and the Q77 chipset for iKVM and lights out management. I can completely check on the hardware independently from the OS; I can reimage the machine remotely. These are the enterprise features that businesses need. For Windows laptops we use Dell Latitude E6420's, which come with a 3 year on site hardware warranty. Why can't Apple provide on-site service like Dell?

Apple really screwed up enterprise functionality with Lion. I saw all the horror stories from upgrading from SLS to Lion Server and decided that I was in no way going to risk our organization. Forget Mountain Lion as our server can't run that anyway. We have 2 Macs left, older Macbook Pros, that got hosed on SMB file sharing when Apple dumped SAMBA from OSX. This required purchasing the DAVE client, which is not cheap, in order to fix. We only upgraded to Lion on these machines because the Mail client for SL doesn't support threaded e-mails and our Mac users don't care for Outlook 2011.

So I'm going to change us over and add another Windows server; probably Server 2012. We already run Exchange 2010 on WS 2008 R2 and it runs awesome for e-mail. We are going to dump the Mac server.

How does Apple think they are going to get businesses to use Macs when they are doing these practices which are very costly and hostile to corporate IT environments?

Just my two cents. Run OSX Server at home to tinker; run Windows Server 2012 or 2008 R2 if you want a real server OS.
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Old Oct 25, 2012, 04:21 PM   #81
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OS X Server has just been one huge experiment for Apple.

Mac OS X Server 1.0, where it all started, simply was the commercialised produce of the NeXTSTEP -> OPENSTEP -> Rhapsody process after Apple bought NeXT.
Once Rhapsody / Mac OS X Server 1.0 got the Carbon API and Aqua GUI it was all about Mac OS X (10.x) as a client OS.

As the early OS X client releases only supported NetInfo as a directory service (a NeXT legacy) it was necessary to be able to host a NetInfo database over the network to serve Macs on the corporate LAN.
Mac OS X Server was the logical product to host such a service. There were enough Apple System Administrators who were willing to take the plunge in what was called Mac OS X Server.
As OS X already had all the "server" features (FileSharing, DHCP, DNS, NetInfo / LDAP etc.) built in by default (as it is a UNIX) it wasn't a huge big deal for Apple to make a GUI which could administer these services.
So, Mac OS X Server 10.0.3 was born. At first this GUI front-end was based on the (absolutely awful-) AppleShare IP interface. I assume this was to "help" the Mac OS 8/9 System Admins get used to OS X Server...

The Xserve G4 was released as a "Power Mac G4 on its side" but with Mac OS X Server 10.1.x as pre-installed OS. No real redundancy at the time, as there were no dual-power supplies back then. But, hey.... it did fit in the 19"rack.

Later the Xserve became a more sophisticated product, especially once the Intel Xeons were used. But, once you seem to get "serious" in the Server market, one new service becomes important: Support.
That seems to be a pain in the a**: Hardware support and software support....

For the "new" market called AV editing, Xserves combined with multiple Xserve RAIDs running Xsan and Power Macs (Mac Pros) all connected via Fibre Channel gave the Final Cut Studio specialists even more reason to use Apple based hardware and software jammed into 19" racks.
But both the hardware (newer, faster laptops with SSD) and the software (Final Cut Pro X) made this extremely expensive, sensitive, fragile and support-needing hardware and software redundant.
Nowadays an editor will use the software himself to AV-edit on a Retina MacBook Pro. No need for expensive 3rd party "experts" anymore.

Mac OS X 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 etc. came and went, and yes for each client OS version there was a fully-blown Server version.
NetInfo was replaced by LDAP v3 and later the OS X clients could even connect to AD databases.
Up to and until Mac OS X 10.6, the server versions were better and more feature-rich than the server versions before it.
Mac OS X 10.6 Server is probably the pinnacle of OS X Server.

Since Mac OS X Server 10.5 Apple has tried to give the non-techie-system-admins a simple interface to use and configure a server. At first this "kiddy-version" of Server Admin (Server Prefs) was neglected. It wasn't even compatible with the "normal" version of Server Admin.
In 10.6 Server the "geek" (Server Admin) and "kiddy" (Server app / prefs) versions were compatible. So, teh "kiddy-version" could be used, but no-one did.
In 10.7 Server the "geek" version was not even installed by default. So, the geeks had to download and install Server Admin manually....
In 10.8 Server the "geek" version is GONE. Only the Server.app is there.
End of geek use, enter kiddy-only use.

The Xserve is long gone. No real need for 19" Apple hardware anymore.
"Real" servers were never based on Apple software or hardware. The occasional NetBoot / NetInstall can be done on a Mac mini. If you really need some sort of horsepower to run OS X Server, get a Mac Pro.
But.... guess were the Mac Pro is heading...

Apple, logically, did to the Xserve what Microsoft did to the Zune.

So, in retrospect (funny... "Retrospect".... that was the only really usable OS 8 / 9 / X Client and Server backup software...) the Xserve was a temporary need for AV purposes and for the need for early OS X client support.
Not anymore.

In the early says of OS X (10.0 - 10.4) it was kinda necessary to have a OS X Server running to help support Macs in a network.

Since iOS (iPhone OS to be precise) Apple has made sure their end-user products (the game Apple actually is in) connect and can make use of existing Servers.
The iPhone was the first Apple product that connected better to MS Exchange than to other Mail servers, including Apple's own OS X Server Mail services.

IMHO Apple System Administration doesn't really exist anymore. OS X Server is just an app that helps the end-user setup some services on your home or small-business network. Yes, setting up a DeployStudio Server running DHCP, DNS, NetBoot, AFP etc. seems to need system-admin's knowledge and thinking, and that's true. But the level of support needed to keep those type of services running is very low....

IT is getting more and more "extreme" Either "simple" IT (DHCP, DNS, FireWall, Routing) is left to the end-user, or "complex" IT (Cloud hosting, hosted Exchange, etc.) is left to corporate professionals.
The need for the "man in the middle", i.e. the Sys Admin, the geek in the family, will fade away. New technology gets simpler to use, and, the modern users get more tech-savvy.
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Old Nov 17, 2012, 10:57 AM   #82
cjoy
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Originally Posted by MacsRgr8 View Post
IMHO Apple System Administration doesn't really exist anymore. OS X Server is just an app that helps the end-user setup some services on your home or small-business network. Yes, setting up a DeployStudio Server running DHCP, DNS, NetBoot, AFP etc. seems to need system-admin's knowledge and thinking, and that's true. But the level of support needed to keep those type of services running is very low....
Thats pretty much the situation I have at hand.
Until now a mac mini with external storage has served as a pseudo SBS for us. "Pseudo" because it is a bastardized setup intermixing desktop and server applications. Its main roles are taking care of backups from multiple network clients (all OS X of various versions) which is done via carbon copy cloner (rsync basically), as well as to provide NAS for the office and a MAMP stack for the intranet.

Not a whole lot - but too much for a mac mini to handle cleanly without a ton of external devices attached (we need a lot of disk space). Also, the mini is co-used by bookkeeping as a desktop machine (what could possibly go wrong )

Now granted, this discussion was more centered arround enterprise use and not so much small business - but honestly - OS X server has never been adopted by enterprise for reasons already pointed out. So I think it best compares in the HS/SBS category.

Where to go from here ...

Mac mini Server / Mac Pro Server?

The mini already too much processing power for the tasks at hand, which would not be a problem if there wasn't the price tag to go with it. Also, I am no big fan of having a ton of peripherals for the base setup. This would be more manageable with a Mac Pro based server, but pricing and horsepower are absurd. The other issue I have with OSX Server, is the insane bloat you get with it. Why would a dedicated server need stuff like LaunchPad, GarageBand and the whole myriad of desktop userland applications. Compare that to a minimal install of your prefered distro. On the pro side - the learning curve to integrate a OS X Server is probably the lowest. Although I would expect things to get hairy in case you run into trouble or have to meet non defaults criteria - simply for the lack of widespread adoption and ressources.

We'll be taking things away from the mac bubble (for the server at least) and will replace the mini with the HP Proliant Microserver:



If you compare the pricing for the different options, all in base config with 8TB storage and 16GB RAM based on retail pricing (no apple BTO), it is a no brainer (and the mini is not as "cheap" of a server as it would seem):

Mac Pro: ~3500 (3099 base)
Mac mini: ~2000 EUR (1029 base)
HP Proliant Micro: ~600 EUR (170 base)

Granted, it will take me some time to get everything to work smoothly and if I didnt find this stuff fun the cost advantage would likely be eaten up by the time investment - but - this setup will get me a nice clean little box running 2 VMs on ESXi (a pitty apple refuses to open up here) that can easily take care of the required services with a form factor that trumps anything apple can offer for this use case and will make scaling up easier.

Number crunching tasks aside - I dont see where the mini server gets to justify the steep price and awful ergonomics (for a server box that is).
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Old Jan 15, 2013, 08:06 AM   #83
danielsutton
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Originally Posted by throAU View Post
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.
Pardon my dropping in on the conversation like this, but I do think that OS X Server has a place in the enterprise. True, Apple dropped the XServe, but that was a change in their hardware offerings. OS X Server still provides many robust 'server' features, and even adds some powerful new options in Profile Manager (to support enterprise deployments of iOS devices) and a caching server to distribute software purchases to client machines, as two examples. I would not discount OS X Server, it is based on a BSD variant (Darwin) and provides many well-tested open-source software packages to support network infrastructure.

That said, Apple is preparing to release new Mac Pro systems this year, and it will be interesting to see what other hardware they release. By no means is Apple leaving the enterprise, they are only retooling their offering to remain relevant in a fast-changing industry. Only a short while ago, BlackBerry seemed to be the go-to hardware/software solution for enterprise computing. RIM didn't follow the current trends in technology, and BlackBerry has fallen behind. Apple is trying to avoid this fate...
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Old Jul 15, 2013, 05:13 PM   #84
Photics
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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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