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Old Nov 17, 2012, 11:58 PM   #1
imbm24
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Mac Mini w-2MBP do I need server to back up

Hello,

I have a Mac Mini and 2 Mac Book Pro. Right now it seems that we can only connect one of the MBP at a time to be able to have Time Machine back up to the MyBook 3T drive attached to the Mac Mini. Is the only (or best) solution to purchase OS X Server on the Mac Mini so we can have both MBP connected at the same time. Is there another option. I don't have much money and am not into Linux or other stuff but I do want something fairly easy and trouble free.

All three computers are now running Mountain Lion. I also have the Mac Mini connect to my TV and use to to stream NetFlix or play movies stored on the MyBook. If I change it to OS X Server will I still be able to do that?

Last edited by imbm24; Nov 18, 2012 at 12:07 AM.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 09:09 AM   #2
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What's happening that leads you to believe you can only connect one of your laptops to the Mini at the same time? There should be no problem using standard file sharing to connect two laptops at the same time to the same file share. Can you describe how you have things configured? Do you connect to the Mini and connect to the external drive as a share?

If you have an Apple Airport base station with USB, you can get another external drive and connect it there, using that drive for Time Machine on multiple machines. (That's how I have my network set up.) I even have the movie drives attached to the Airport, via a USB hub. You might have problems with your 3TB drive connected to the Airport, though... and don't expect awesomely fast transfers, even over Ethernet.

If you don't have and Airport base station, consider a NAS box, such as the Western Digital MyBook Live. You can prep the NAS drives for Time Machine use if the NAS doesn't support it directly.

In short, you COULD put Mac OS X Server on the Mini, but I don't think that's completely necessary.
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Old Nov 19, 2012, 04:02 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by aarond12 View Post
What's happening that leads you to believe you can only connect one of your laptops to the Mini at the same time? There should be no problem using standard file sharing to connect two laptops at the same time to the same file share. Can you describe how you have things configured? Do you connect to the Mini and connect to the external drive as a share?]

When one person is already logged in and the other person trys to log in they get the message "Having problems logging in to Mac Mini"

[If you have an Apple Airport base station with USB, you can get another external drive and connect it there, using that drive for Time Machine on multiple machines. (That's how I have my network set up.) I even have the movie drives attached to the Airport, via a USB hub. You might have problems with your 3TB drive connected to the Airport, though... and don't expect awesomely fast transfers, even over Ethernet.]

I don't have an Apple Airport. I am using a Netgear router.

If you don't have and Airport base station, consider a NAS box, such as the Western Digital MyBook Live. You can prep the NAS drives for Time Machine use if the NAS doesn't support it directly.

I can't afford to purchase a NAS drive. That is why I am thinking about OS X Server which is only $19.

In short, you COULD put Mac OS X Server on the Mini, but I don't think that's completely necessary.
I am thinking about buying OS X Server since it has other features like being able to log in remotely when I am at somebodies house and what something off of my home computer.

I am still trying to find out if OS X Server will do what I want and how hard it will be to set up and get running. Also, after I get it running will it be seamless or will it be difficult for my wife to use?
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Old Nov 20, 2012, 01:16 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by imbm24 View Post
Hello,

I have a Mac Mini and 2 Mac Book Pro. Right now it seems that we can only connect one of the MBP at a time to be able to have Time Machine back up to the MyBook 3T drive attached to the Mac Mini. Is the only (or best) solution to purchase OS X Server on the Mac Mini so we can have both MBP connected at the same time. Is there another option. I don't have much money and am not into Linux or other stuff but I do want something fairly easy and trouble free.

All three computers are now running Mountain Lion. I also have the Mac Mini connect to my TV and use to to stream NetFlix or play movies stored on the MyBook. If I change it to OS X Server will I still be able to do that?
I have a 2012 Mac Mini with Server installed and a 3 TB USB 3.0 drive that is the iTunes server for 3 apple TVs and Time Machine Server for 2 other MBP and an iMac. I have had zero problems, even when multiple backups occur. I didn't try it before installing server. Server is only $20 though... I think.

I'm actually very happy with it, I can sustain over 70 MB/second backups over ethernet, which is faster than the 65 MB/second from directly attached FW800 drive.
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Old Nov 20, 2012, 02:22 AM   #5
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Thanks, I think that I have decided to buy Server as soon as pay day comes around.
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Old Nov 27, 2012, 10:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by imbm24 View Post
I am thinking about buying OS X Server since it has other features like being able to log in remotely when I am at somebodies house and what something off of my home computer.
I have SSH enabled on my Lion box running on my Hackintosh. From there, I can have access to all my files, tunnel to the box and use VNC, file sharing, etc. All without Server.

I still haven't figured out why you can't get two computers to access the same share. I can with regular Lion. Do you have the exact message you get when two computer attempt to access the same share?
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Old Nov 27, 2012, 02:07 PM   #7
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I still haven't figured out why you can't get two computers to access the same share. I can with regular Lion. Do you have the exact message you get when two computer attempt to access the same share?
Since I started with this, for some reason, everything has started to work like it is supposed to. We have been able to log on with both computers at the same time every day. I don't know what is different, it just started to work.

I am still thinking of getting the Server since it only cost $19.99 and it is supposed do all that I am currently doing along with several features without having to study up on technology.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 09:48 PM   #8
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While there's barely a better solution (unfortunately) for Time Machine and two Macs, I'd suggest Back to my Mac as a far easier solution than remote access via OS X Server.

The former is simple to set up; the latter less so.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 09:58 AM   #9
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RE:Back to My Mac...VPN...

Hi imbm24,

I believe that what you are asking is whether 2 MBPs can simultaneously backup using Time Machine to a single shared drive? The Mac OS X Server software will help you set this up, and yes you can do this. Each MBP has its own sparsebundle on the shared drive. Actually, I don't think you actually need the Mac OS X Server software to do this, but I could be wrong. In any case, the Server.app will help you set this up.

[Oh, I see from your last post that TM now works on both of your MBPs...so the above comment is superfluous.]

Regards,
Switon


Quote:
Originally Posted by motorboating View Post
While there's barely a better solution (unfortunately) for Time Machine and two Macs, I'd suggest Back to my Mac as a far easier solution than remote access via OS X Server.

The former is simple to set up; the latter less so.
Hi motorboating,

I'm unfamiliar with Back to My Mac, mostly because it conflicts with VPN and can't be used with the VPN server, which is the service I routinely use. I assume that Back to My Mac is actually based upon the VPN protocols or maybe wide area zeroconf protocols (wide-Bonjour, or whatever Apple calls it), and is basically just a way of doing VPN using the iCloud for the server/client configurations. (Perhaps this is why Back to My Mac conflicts with VPN?)

I'm sure I could look up the answers to my following queries somewhere, but since you seem quite familiar with Back to My Mac and I've never used it, I hope you don't mind my asking you? Does Back to My Mac give you the same capabilities as VPN, such as IPsec/L2TP security/encryption and an assigned LAN IP address? Can you access your LAN's resources when using Back to My Mac from the Internet? In a nutshell, does Back to My Mac replace the VPN service? Or does Back to My Mac provide a simple login service to your server computer, similar to SSH? Or does Back to My Mac provide a screen sharing service to your server computer, similar to VNC? Or maybe it provides all three? Thanks in advance for any comments you might have; sorry for my naiveté.

Thanks,
Switon
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:38 AM   #10
motorboating
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I'm unfamiliar with Back to My Mac, mostly because it conflicts with VPN and can't be used with the VPN server, which is the service I routinely use. I assume that Back to My Mac is actually based upon the VPN protocols or maybe wide area zeroconf protocols (wide-Bonjour, or whatever Apple calls it), and is basically just a way of doing VPN using the iCloud for the server/client configurations. (Perhaps this is why Back to My Mac conflicts with VPN?)

I'm sure I could look up the answers to my following queries somewhere, but since you seem quite familiar with Back to My Mac and I've never used it, I hope you don't mind my asking you? Does Back to My Mac give you the same capabilities as VPN, such as IPsec/L2TP security/encryption and an assigned LAN IP address? Can you access your LAN's resources when using Back to My Mac from the Internet? In a nutshell, does Back to My Mac replace the VPN service? Or does Back to My Mac provide a simple login service to your server computer, similar to SSH? Or does Back to My Mac provide a screen sharing service to your server computer, similar to VNC? Or maybe it provides all three? Thanks in advance for any comments you might have; sorry for my naiveté.

Thanks,
Switon
UPnP and wide area Bonjour play a part in configuring BtmM. It's a useful service for allowing access to a Mac at home if you don't understand all that goes in to configuring a VPN server, from DNS to L2TP/IPSec.

Because of the (almost) 'zeroconf' nature of the system, it interferes with L2TP/IPSec VPNs as it tries to map the same ports for its own uses.

The service allows you access via Screen Sharing (Apple Remote Desktop without the management options, which generally works far better than VNC, more on a par with NX), SSH access and AFP if you've got the relevant sharing turned on.

I would hazard that it works in the same space - and is therefore incompatible with - L2TP/IPSec because you're not going to use both. If you can configure a VPN server properly you'd use that. If you lack the knowledge, you'd go for BtmM.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 08:50 PM   #11
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My error message

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Originally Posted by aarond12 View Post
I have SSH enabled on my Lion box running on my Hackintosh. From there, I can have access to all my files, tunnel to the box and use VNC, file sharing, etc. All without Server.

I still haven't figured out why you can't get two computers to access the same share. I can with regular Lion. Do you have the exact message you get when two computer attempt to access the same share?
Here is the error message I am getting. It has been working for the last few days. Today I started getting the error again. Today my Mac Mini is running and I have logged on via Screen Sharing but if I try to connect to allow back up or to transfer files I get this message:

"There was a problem connecting to the server "Mac mini".

The file server will not allow any additional users to log on. Try to connect again later."
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 08:57 PM   #12
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getting lost needs help

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Originally Posted by motorboating View Post
UPnP and wide area Bonjour play a part in configuring BtmM. It's a useful service for allowing access to a Mac at home if you don't understand all that goes in to configuring a VPN server, from DNS to L2TP/IPSec.

Because of the (almost) 'zeroconf' nature of the system, it interferes with L2TP/IPSec VPNs as it tries to map the same ports for its own uses.

The service allows you access via Screen Sharing (Apple Remote Desktop without the management options, which generally works far better than VNC, more on a par with NX), SSH access and AFP if you've got the relevant sharing turned on.

I would hazard that it works in the same space - and is therefore incompatible with - L2TP/IPSec because you're not going to use both. If you can configure a VPN server properly you'd use that. If you lack the knowledge, you'd go for BtmM.

I have a question. I read all of these responses to me. I see a lot of words that I kind of understand like SSH or AFP or VPN or VNC and many others. I generally know what each of these thing are and pretty much how they work but I don't have any idea how to set them up or make them work on my computers. I see people saying that setting up OS X server is easy but I am worried that the set up would be easy if I understood how to use all of these terms but may not be if I don't. I also am not good at working with terminal.

Based on this will I be opening a can of worms if I buy OS X server or will it actually be as easy to set up and use as advertised?

Please let me know.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:25 PM   #13
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RE: Server.app

Quote:
Originally Posted by imbm24 View Post
Based on this will I be opening a can of worms if I buy OS X server or will it actually be as easy to set up and use as advertised?

Please let me know.
Hi imbm24,

Mac OS X Server and its Server.app is designed to basically be "push button" so that even inexperienced users with no prior knowledge of how these servers/services operate can configure them. I would say that it basically succeeds in this endeavor. Having said this, however, I would also say that the more you understand about how these servers work, the easier they will be to setup and maintain. As an example, say you wish to configure LDAP for network accounts, then you really need to have your DNS server configured and working properly before attempting to configure the Open Directory. I not sure how the Server.app would handle this (since I knew to setup DNS first before I setup my OD). And would you know to Kerberize your OD in order to only have to authorize with your password once with Kerberos taking care of further authorizations? Since I already had all of my servers/services running on previous versions of the Mac OS, I didn't have to "start from scratch" with ML's Server.app, so I don't know if Server.app will always guide a novice through the proper steps. At the same time, with very little information you can use the Server.app to setup many useful services, such as VPN, Messages, File Sharing, Software Update, Profile Manager, Web and Wiki servers. It does guide you through setting up SSL certificates for use with the various other services, such as Mail, Messages, Websites, Calendar, and Contacts, so this is a plus. For only $20, Mac OS X Server is a real bargain. I would suggest that you get it and try it, and if you don't like it you haven't lost too much.

I believe Apple has a checklist of steps to take for setting up their server software; it may be worth finding this checklist and reading through it before setting up your server.

Good luck,
Switon

P.S. No terminal commands are needed to configure the services using Server.app. On the other hand, if you wish to do a little more than just the basics that are contained in the Server.app, then you will have to use terminal commands to accomplish this.

P.P.S. As far as your error message is concerned, this is a somewhat unusual message to receive. Now File Sharing via AFP, SMB, and NFS allows you to specify the maximum number of client connections, but I didn't think that this was configurable through the Server.app. I thought that you would have to setup these limits using the serveradmin terminal commands. But it appears that you are not even using the Server.app yet, so your file sharing is being setup using the Sharing pane of System Preferences? Again, I do not believe that you can limit the number of client connections using the File Sharing of the System Preferences. So I wonder if the File Sharing System Preferences pane does not configure a fairly severe limit on the number of connections? When you encountered the above error about not allowing any more users to log on, were there other users connected to the shared filesystem?

Last edited by switon; Nov 29, 2012 at 10:41 PM. Reason: Added PS and PPS
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:52 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by switon View Post
Hi imbm24,
When you encountered the above error about not allowing any more users to log on, were there other users connected to the shared filesystem?
The only computers on were the Macmini and my MBP. I had it working for a little while so I could have two MBPs set up to share files, do back up, and log on with screen share at the same time.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:58 PM   #15
switon
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Hi,

So let me understand precisely what you are doing. You have a Mac mini that is sharing a disk volume or directory tree. You setup this sharing using the Sharing pane of System Preferences.

You then attempt to mount (connect to) the shared disk from your MBP by clicking on it in the left-hand sidebar of a Finder window. Sometimes when you do this, you can connect to the shared disk, but at other times when you do this you receive the error message about not allowing any additional users to log on. Is this correct?

Switon
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 11:12 PM   #16
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Hi,

So let me understand precisely what you are doing. You have a Mac mini that is sharing a disk volume or directory tree. You setup this sharing using the Sharing pane of System Preferences.

You then attempt to mount (connect to) the shared disk from your MBP by clicking on it in the left-hand sidebar of a Finder window. Sometimes when you do this, you can connect to the shared disk, but at other times when you do this you receive the error message about not allowing any additional users to log on. Is this correct?

Switon
Yes, that is correct.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 11:29 PM   #17
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RE: File Sharing limits = 10!!!!!

Aha! I can't believe it, but I just found Apple documentation that states that the File Sharing using AFP under the System Preferences Sharing pane is limited to only 10 connections! (So I had guessed correctly in my earlier posting.) This means that if you attempt more than 10 connections including counting idle ones, which I suspect is fairly easy to do, then you will receive the "additional users cannot log on" error.

I think it is time for you to bite the bullet and buy Mac OS X Server and use it to setup your servers/services...what do you say?

Switon

----------

You might try the following terminal command to see how many connections your system allows:

defaults read /Library/Preferences/com.apple.AppleFileServer maxConnections

If it returns 10, then this is the limit allowed by the Sharing pane of System Preferences. For the File Sharing service of the Server.app of Mac OS X Server, this variable will be set to -1 which means that an unlimited number of connections are allowed.

Switon

Last edited by switon; Nov 29, 2012 at 11:37 PM.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 11:37 PM   #18
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Aha! I can't believe it, but I just found Apple documentation that states that the File Sharing using AFP under the System Preferences Sharing pane is limited to only 10 connections! (So I had guessed correctly in my earlier posting.) This means that if you attempt more than 10 connections counting idle ones, which I suspect is fairly easy to do, then you will receive the "additional users cannot log on" error.

I think it is time for you to bite the bullet and buy Mac OS X Server and use it to setup your servers/services...what do you say?

Switon

----------

You might try the following terminal command to see how many connections your system allows:

defaults read /Library/Preferences/com.apple.AppleFileServer maxConnections

If it returns 10, then this is the limit allowed by the Sharing pane of System Preferences. For the File Sharing service of the Server.app of Mac OS X Server, this variable will be set to -1 which means that an unlimited number of connections are allowed.

Switon
I did your terminal suggestion and it came back as 10.

I don't know how that could be the issue since I am only trying to connect two MBPs to the Mac mini. The only way I could be hitting 10 connections would be if every day it when I connect it sets it up as a new connection and doesn't clear the old one. If this may be the case do you know how set it to clear the connections every day without have to reboot the Mac mini.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 11:43 PM   #19
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RE: 10 total, including idle ones...

Quote:
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I did your terminal suggestion and it came back as 10.

I don't know how that could be the issue since I am only trying to connect two MBPs to the Mac mini. The only way I could be hitting 10 connections would be if every day it when I connect it sets it up as a new connection and doesn't clear the old one. If this may be the case do you know how set it to clear the connections every day without have to reboot the Mac mini.
Hi,

The 10 connections means 10 total connections, including idle connections. So, let me guess --- if you reboot your Mac mini and your MBP, you can then mount (connect to) your shared disk. But if your Mac mini and MBP have been running for awhile, you then have problems mounting the share? The reason is because after working for awhile you have generated connections that are now idle but still count towards your limit of 10 connections, thus you get the "additional users are not allowed to log on" error.

Time to invest $20 in Mac OS X Server that allows an unlimited number of connections.

Switon

To disconnect idle connections, you can use defaults to turn on the disconnection of idle connections:

defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.AppleFileServer idleDisconnectOnOff true

and then reset the idle time to some small number of minutes, say 1:

defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.AppleFileServer idleDisconnectTime 1

Then after 1 minute of idle time, the system should disconnect the idle connections. Now you might think that this is a problem, but it really isn't too much of a problem since your keychain stores your passwords for logging back on and mounting the shared disk.

After resetting these variables, you will have to turn File Sharing OFF and then back ON in order for it to take effect.

Switon

Last edited by switon; Nov 29, 2012 at 11:49 PM. Reason: Adding instructions for disconnecting idle connections...
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 11:57 PM   #20
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Based on this will I be opening a can of worms if I buy OS X server or will it actually be as easy to set up and use as advertised?
Read the documentation. Get a book. OS X Server can be terrifically easy to set up, but the moment something goes wrong you can be up the remotest part of the Amazon without a paddle if you don't know what you're doing.

Think of it as a Unix/Linux server with a pretty interface. That's all it is. Your button clicks and nice simple wizards are just a veneer over a mountain of configuration files, hideous commands and potential pitfalls.

I'm really not attempting to fearmonger you out of trying something. If you want to, go ahead. But be warned that you're probably at some stage going to sit wondering what the hell happened at something. I have even recently, and I've been working with OS X Server for over a decade.

Perhaps the best place to start is a free trial of Lynda.com and their excellent training videos. Work through them and you'll likely feel a lot more comfortable, but you'll still want to read up on documentation etc before you head down the path.

And choose only the services you're needing. If you don't need a VPN, and can work with 'Back to my Mac', which 99.9999% of the members here can, don't set one up. Then you don't have to worry about setting DNS up correctly, or working with DHCP, LDAP and all the other pieces of the puzzle. If all you want is Time Machine for a couple of machines, just set that up.

If you delve deeper, learn terminal commands. You'll need them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by switon View Post
The 10 connections means 10 total connections, including idle connections. So, let me guess --- if you reboot your Mac mini and your MBP, you can then mount (connect to) your shared disk. But if your Mac mini and MBP have been running for awhile, you then have problems mounting the share?
Always disconnect network shares before rebooting, or if you're not actively using them. It's a good practice to get in to.
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 12:08 AM   #21
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Always disconnect network shares before rebooting, or if you're not actively using them. It's a good practice to get in to.
Hi motorboating,

Yes, I agree, it is a good practice to disconnect idle connections, especially when those connections are NFS. It is somewhat surprising to me that the non-Server.app File Sharing via System Preferences limits the number of client connections for AFP to just 10. I always used to set it to 1000, and now using ML Mac OS X Server it is set to unlimited.

About those Lynda.com videos...I've heard that they are excellent, is this true? How long is the free trial, and how much do they cost after the free period?

Regards,
Switon
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 12:15 AM   #22
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Yes, I agree, it is a good practice to disconnect idle connections, especially when those connections are NFS. It is somewhat surprising to me that the non-Server.app File Sharing via System Preferences limits the number of client connections for AFP to just 10. I always used to set it to 1000, and now using ML Mac OS X Server it is set to unlimited.
Non-server versions of OS X have always had limitations on connections, as the higher connection count was one of the selling points of the server OS. Before Lion, there was a ten-user version of Server also available that also limited connections to ten - the advantages there were in the other services that the Server OS brought to the table.

They've just simplified it somewhat - as it's been since the beginning, OS X is limited to ten concurrent connections, and Server is unlimited.

Quote:
Originally Posted by switon View Post
About those Lynda.com videos...I've heard that they are excellent, is this true? How long is the free trial, and how much do they cost after the free period
They are fantastic, yes. The trial is seven days, and depending on whether you want training materials to download, it's either $25 or $37.50 a month, with no contractual requirement/minimum term.

https://www.lynda.com/trial/registra...trial#/account
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Old Nov 30, 2012, 12:27 AM   #23
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Non-server versions of OS X have always had limitations on connections, as the higher connection count was one of the selling points of the server OS. Before Lion, there was a ten-user version of Server also available that also limited connections to ten - the advantages there were in the other services that the Server OS brought to the table.

They've just simplified it somewhat - as it's been since the beginning, OS X is limited to ten concurrent connections, and Server is unlimited.


They are fantastic, yes. The trial is seven days, and depending on whether you want training materials to download, it's either $25 or $37.50 a month, with no contractual requirement/minimum term.

https://www.lynda.com/trial/registra...trial#/account
Interesting...


Thanks for the link to the Lynda.com registration.

Switon

Last edited by switon; Dec 2, 2012 at 10:38 AM. Reason: ...removed personal information that was irrelevant...
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