Mac OS X Server: What can it be used for?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by MacNoobGuy, May 6, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2012
    hey all, i just found out that Lion Server is only a $50 upgrade in the App Store so i thought i could buy it and do something with it. what are some things i could do with it?

  2. macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    If you have to ask, you probably can't use it.
  3. macrumors 68030

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
  4. macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2011
    It can be used to dabble around and learn new things, I would not trust it with anything important. It is very buggy and will just stop working at the drop of an update. If you like living in fear of updates than use Lion Server in production, not for the faint of heart.

    Mountain Lion is looking like it will be better, but Lion Server left a very bad taste in my mouth. I've never had to reload a Windows Server from scratch just to fix a DNS issue, which I had to do a few times with Lion.
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2012
  6. macrumors 68040

    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    OK, as someone who runs it (at home):

    - you can run email on it
    - you can run a wiki on it
    - you can share files off it
    - you can run podcasts off it
    - you can run web pages off it
    - you can run time machine backups to it
    - you can use it for VPN services
    - you can use it for centralised authentication
    - you can use it as a log host for your network devices
    - you can use it for network boot/install of OS X on your machine machine

    The last point is handy. I have the lion install.esd image set up to network boot off my mini. If i need to reinstall i just ensure time machine is current, boot from network and reinstall from my mini...

    If you don't need/want to do any of that it is pretty pointless. But if you do, it is pretty cheap.

    I currently have a mid 07 spec mini running lion server as a time machine backup destination for my GF's MBA 11", VPN server so i can connect back to my home network and desktop sharing so i can leave it running torrents using transmission/transmission web server.

    Is it ideal for a 60,000+ employee enterprise? Of course not. But for home / small business use it could be handy.
  7. macrumors 601

    Aug 15, 2005
    I had that setup too until I realized I never reinstall and it was just wasting resources.

    I doubt I'd use it for a 50 employee business either, especially the way Apple has treated their server product. They haven't done much with it in 10 years.
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2010
    Argyll, Scotland
    You can use it if you want to spend money on something that is second rate compared to Linux servers.
  9. macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2010
    Troy, IL (STL Area)
    I use it as a better DHCP server than my consumer home routers are.

    I think saying if you don't know you don't need it is kind of harsh unless the intent is to discourage the poster. If that's the goal it could be successful.

    Very few can walk up to a computer with an instant ability to be a sys admin on it.
  10. macrumors 68040

    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia

    If you are familiar with OS X, and not linux, then a mini + lion server is pretty cheap. Yes you could build cheaper with a linux box but time to learn linux is not free.

    And I say that as someone who is a former ISP system admin on Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris.
  11. macrumors 65816


    Apr 29, 2011
    I've never set up a website but I did read that OSX server can be used for this also. Where can I read a HowTo on this ? I have used Ubuntu and did once set up a home brew Ubuntu NAS (but dismantled it in favour of a store bought RAID NAS).
  12. macrumors newbie

    Apr 17, 2013
    I have very bad experience with this server - lack of support and simply not linking to the real world

    - you can run email on it -> linux has the same function and microsoft much better
    - you can run a wiki on it -> there are many free wiki server with a better interface
    - you can share files off it -> all mac os can do it, you don't need a server
    - you can run podcasts off it -> again many free server and better than this
    - you can run web pages off it -> the apache server is nothing improve from the standard, just a standard server, same as xampp
    - you can run time machine backups to it -> yes, but you also run on a network driver, more efficient
    - you can use it for VPN services -> it is not hard to find a router do it more securer and faster, because when the DNS server down, you cannot do anything about it
    - you can use it for centralised authentication -> only for mac, if you have windows or other type machine, just forget it.
    - you can use it as a log host for your network devices -> speechless, what server can't do?
    - you can use it for network boot/install of OS X on your machine machine -> but the new os require you connect to itune store

    Also, it can run as a dns, dhcp server... however, if you did something wrong at the initial step, you can never fix this issue after you install the OS, or maybe you need to spend a lot of time to fix it.

    Remote multiple session server... it is very slow and not user friendly.

    I am sorry, but we move to MS server. Good luck with anyone is using it :mad:
  13. macrumors member


    Mar 26, 2007
    On my server I'm also running:
    Filemaker Pro Server, webtrees and phpBB 3 forum software with picture gallery and download / upload area.
  14. macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2011
    Good luck with the Microsoft server, but used in a proper work environment, you would be mad to use any server without a competent, qualified, network engineer.
  15. macrumors 6502


    Jul 17, 2005
    Mooresville, NC
    Fwiw, no server software is "easy" or "simple to administer."

    OS X Server has its problems. So does Windows Server. Arguably OS X Server has more problems, but that's a different discussion for a different thread.

    OS X Server is perhaps useful in a home environment — it would be great to manage a family's Time Machine backups and implement strong parental controls on the kids' Macs and iOS devices. It's not necessarily going to be easy to implement and problem free, however. Unless you have a ton of spare time it's probably not worth it.
  16. macrumors 65816

    Apr 21, 2012
    The Leopard Server or Snow Leopard Server are useful because you can run PPC apps on them even when they are installed via Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion on an intel mac running Lion or Mountain Lion.
  17. macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2010
    What Apple should do is simply melt together Time Capsule and Mac Mini Server into a beautiful NAS running on ARM-processors with an app store.
  18. macrumors regular

    May 12, 2010
    the only point to using osx server is if you don't want to actually admin a server. even still, you are going to end up doing that with osx server.

    Really, the only purpose it serves is as a mac directory service. if you find configuring a mail server too difficult, you will eventually have problems with running a local mail server anyway - no matter how easy the GUI is.
  19. macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2011
    OS X Server

    I have acted as my own 'admin' for the last 10+ years, and while no way competent for employment, can 'dig & fill' my own holes!

    While it's great to have free stuff, the 'no need to adminster' approach is preferable for home use. I used both Windows 2000 Server & 2003, these were both great in many respects but over-complicated for my purpose. I then tried building my own NAS, after flirting with several different distros of Linux. I finally settled on purchasing a NAS from a reputable vendor, as this offered the best integrity and redundancy for my data.

    Still yearning for something to tinker with and expand my horizons I offer (this year-old thread) the following 2 additional considerations for choosing OS X Server:

    1) Running your own 'iCloud' - I use a Mac Mini for Address Book Server & iCal Server. (I don't want to trust a third party, for security or availability.)

    2) A legitimate VM for legacy Mac apps that require Rosetta: 10.6 Server is still available for only $19.99!

    Good luck to both the OP & new searchers; best advice is not to trust any (single) server with irreplaceable data.

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