Mac OS Server... Not recommended for Workstation use?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by frescies, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. frescies macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #1
    Hi,
    I've ran into a bit of an issue at the office. I need a second installation of Mac OS Server in addition to our Xserve. Unfortunately, however, our only other available mac at the moment is my personal ibook. I use my personal ibook for EVERYTHING... office apps, games, sound apps, millions of third party apps, music junk, webdesign... you name it. I talked to apple about the prospect of installing 10.3 server on my ibook, but they strongly suggest not using server on a workstation machine for some reason.

    Has anybody had experience with this? Have any of you tried using Server on a workstation machine and ran into problems. Or have you not tried, but have some good idea as to why it should or should not work.

    Thanks for the responses!

    David
     
  2. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #2
    You can use Mac OS X Server as a workstation OS, but why should you?
    It is alot more expensive, and unless you are sure you are going to need the ability to setup and run services not easily done on Mac OS X Client, then there is no reason ts do so.
    BTW, you can always install the Client version, and if you find out you really need the Server... just insert CD 2 of the Server Install CDs, and it will install all that's needed!
    It "converts" the Client to Server. :)

    The problem with running the Server version on your workstation, is that you may start fiddling around with it. I bet ya, your network/system administrators would not consider it funny, when you switch on the DHCP services.... :D

    Apart form that, the Server is really just the Client with "extra's". The Sever adds tools to be able to setup the services easily, has different "default" settings, etc. but the OS is the same.
     
  3. frescies thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #3
    I am the network admin :p... And I would consider it damn funny.

    I need server because I need netboot :/

    Can I run netboot without installing OS X server? I'm not sure this is possible
     
  4. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030

    crazzyeddie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #4
    You run Netboot off of the Xserve for client Macs. All Macs with NewWorld ROMS (all G4's and white iBooks) are capable of using Netboot for startup using OS X Client.
     
  5. frescies thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #5
    right... I would be crazy to run netboot off my ibook and boot the xserve off a netboot image... Even thought this is the only way to run xrdiags on a G5 Xserve....


    Thanks for the input eddie, but I do in fact NEED to run the netboot service FROM my ibook. Is this possible without installing OS X Server? And if it's not, should I expect to loose the ability to run some of my workstation apps? I think macsrgr8 should be right in that Server shouldn't make me loose functionality, only add more.... But you never know (ie: windows server/client :( )

    Thanks, in advance, for any comments
     
  6. tomf87 macrumors 65816

    tomf87

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2003
    #6
    The only problem I found with OS X Server on my PB is some of the client apps aren't included with server. However, you can always download them.

    I run everything on server that I run on the client. I haven't seen a problem yet.
     
  7. MikeLaRiviere macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    #7
    Don't Do It...

    You really shouldn't run OS X Server on a workstation. I tried that, and it didn't work too well. There are many problem's you'll encounter. First among them is this: when you shut down/reboot your computer, much of your preference-based data will be lost. For instance, whenever I restarted the computer, Mail "forgot" my account information and messages, so I had to set up the accounts again. This is the real problem I encountered: client applications didn't seem to remember things correctly (or at all) from boot to boot.

    Another problem I imagine you'd encounter is poor performance on the rest of your network, as using the workstation as a server and simultaneously running your own programs will, of course, place your foreground processes at a higher priority than your network users' background processes on the server.

    Mike LaRiviere
     
  8. frescies thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #8

    Ok that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for jumping in too, as I was about to give it a oh-what-the-hell and do it anyway :D. I would hate for my client apps to loose their configurations. It would aggrivate the hell out of me, and I hadn't thought about the potential program processing priority issues. Oh well... I'll just have to wait untill a real company mac laptop arrives :D

    Thanks for the responses everyone!

    David
     
  9. MikeLaRiviere macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    #9
    Just One More Thing

    David, I just have one more thing to add. At work today I was talking to the server guys in my IT department, asking them why they didn't implement any Mac OS X servers. None of them are fans of Macs, unlike me; they did, however, have some good points. What it came down to was this: if you're going to go the open-source route, go with enterprise-level unix (including Linux) or Windows. As they pointed out, OS X Server is just open source (FreeBSD, I believe) with many important functions stripped out, with a candy shell. "Unix is unix, so if that's what you know, go with an enterprise-level OS," they said. We've got a combination of unix and linux, Windows NT, 2000, and a few 2003 servers.

    The real reason to get OS X server, according to them, would be for the speed advantage that the Apple hardware/software combination creates, if one exists.

    So I don't know if your company is on OS X Server already or if they're considering it, but I just thought I'd throw in some (Mac hating) experts' opinions. I myself am not a server person, although I have (unsuccessfully) tried my hand at OS X Server and Windows SB 2003 Server.

    If your company is, in fact, on OS X Servers, I think many of us would be interested to read any information about them that you can post. I know I'm curious as to how well they perform and if the OS is, in fact, enterprise level.

    Mike LaRiviere
     
  10. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816

    Sweetfeld28

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2003
    Location:
    Buckeye Country, O-H
    #10
    Wouldn't our iBook, or PB, get offly hot? i recently, copied my music folder to a friends PC via ethernet cable, it got really hot (at least the HD did) while transfering file non-stop for 20 mins.

    i think that apple was not recamending that you put server on your laptop, but rather on a PowerMac, one that could at least cool itself properly and deal with the massive work loads.

    thats just my guess.
     
  11. Funkatation macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2001
    #11

    If only that was right.... Someone needs to read their documentation :)

    You don't NEED netboot to run the xrdiags, you can run it from your admin machine without netbooting the Xserve.

    I would not recommend running OS X Server on a workstation (especially a mobile one)

    If that workstation is set to DHCP you will have to reinstall the server OS (or run changeip in terminal) everytime your ip is going to change. Remember, it requires a static IP.


    If the only reason you want to run OS X Server is to run xrdiags, then don't install it, and reread the xrdiags docs and follow the instructions :)
     
  12. Funkatation macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2001
    #12

    Your IT guys don't know what they are talking about... OS X Server is as much an enterprise server as any other... Everything any other *nix server has, it has (if not can be installed in the same manner). The added benefit is that their is a GUI for alot of functions and makes it easier to manage.
     
  13. MikeLaRiviere macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    #13
    Funkatation, are you a server administrator? Because I think that if you are an admin running 20-30 servers, you should agree that unix is unix, so getting the best flavor for the job for the least amount of money is what is most desirable. If a Dell server running Red Hat outperforms a G5 server running OS X, and the Dell/Red Hat costs less, I see no reason why you'd go with OS X. If OS X doesn't have the feature, of course you can download it, but why wouldn't you get an OS that has the feature to begin with?

    I'm not a server admin so I don't know myself, but these guys know their stuff. If we're talking about enterprise, we're not talking about GUI.

    Mike LaRiviere
     
  14. arnaudsj macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    #14
    OS X Server rocks as a workstation

    Hi frescies,

    I have been running OS X server on my Powermac for 6 months now and I am running the "regular" client version on my Powerbook and there is no significant differences between the 2 version of the OS for workstation use. You will just find the set of preferences/tools more geared towards the server management/it specialist than the average user. Otherwise you can use the same apps (except those that require a different license for a server, like Retrospect). If you are going to use your workstation with OS X server to provide network services to others on your network, then of course you can expect a performance impact depending on the type of service you intend to run.

    Now concerning the discussion between OS X server, Linux, Windows, I always enjoy the cat fights about what is best :) Personally I manage a group of 50 servers running windows, linux and os x. Each of those OS has its advantages/disadvantages. The first thing you should look into is: what type of app/service do you need to run? What is my current environment and how well can this fit in (backup needs, etc..)

    1 / Linux/x86 will pretty much always come in the cheapest, so the question is there more about your skills and how much time you will have to dedicate to get up to speed on managing a Linux server. Some vendors like Red Hat/ Novell make things a little easier but add quite a price tag on the total cost. It is robust, enterprise class and once setup, I doubt you will have to reboot your server other than when you need to recompile the kernel

    2/ Windows, personally I hate it, it has been proven rather unreliable and the total cost of ownership is severly higher due to the many security updates required, anti-virus to keep it running, regular reboots to keep the system running smoothly. Nevertheless, it is rather easy to setup and has the most applications available on it, including some exclusively on this platform

    3/ OS X Server, this is kind of a different beast. If you are looking for something easy to manage, with enterprise robustness and most of the goodies from the linux/unix world with a rather clever selection of open source packages preconfigured for you this is a good choice. The cost is definitly higher mainly due to the hardware cost of the Xserve, but in the end you will see that you will spend a lot less time managing this os once setup, without the steap learning curve of linux.
    Please also note that the XServe is a 64 bit proc based OS, which will in upcoming release of Tiger be suited with a true 64 bit kernel.

    Hope this helps. Remember it is always hard to compare apples to penguins, as they serve a very different purpose. Always look at YOUR present and future needs along with your available ressources. A server/platform is always only at most 50% of the cost you will endure in the next 3 years of ownership. I personally prefer Gentoo Linux for server work but also recommended many times OS X Servers to other clients, based on their limited budget to server maintenance.

    Cheers,

    Sebastien
     
  15. MikeLaRiviere macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    #15
    Thanks for the info, Sebastien. I'm going to start a new thread about servers. For the past year or so servers have been of interest to me, but only on the sub-hobbyist/thinking-out-loud level. I'll talk to the server guys Thursday to get more fuel for the fight.

    Mike LaRiviere
     

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