2-Mac Network setup - request for recommendations

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by JabrTheHut, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. JabrTheHut, Nov 29, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014

    JabrTheHut macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    #1
    Hi,

    I've got a setup where my wife and I share 2 macs. We're constantly logged into the iMac, as separate users, checking mail or web surfing, and we leave it on 24x7. We both prefer to use the iMac because of the gorgeous screen. If the iMac is in use by one of us then the other will boot up the Power Mac, log in and use that. Both are running OS X 10.9.

    I have all the data on the iMac, and I used to NFS share the home directories and data to the Power Mac, but that seems to lead to problems with spotlight on the Power Mac constantly reindexing everything. I've set up Mac OS X server on the iMac now, and we are both logged in all the time. Our home directories are on the boot disk, so even if we do log out the home directories are not unmounted. But OS X server seems overkill for what I want, which is essentially for either user to use either computer at will, with only 1 left on all the time. Also OS X server doesn't seem that stable or that great, and uses a lot of memory. I'd like to avoid it if I can.

    Does anyone have any recommendations as to what the best setup in this case might be?
     
  2. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    #2
    You could use screen sharing and both of you could be logged into the iMac at the same time - making the other Mac mostly just a display device. n.b.: you call it a 'Power Mac', but no Power Mac I know of can run 10.9 :)

    A.
     
  3. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #3
    There is no reason to have OS X Server for two Macs. You can configure the other Mac to mount the home folders as a volume (over the network from the iMac) but never point the home folder directly to it. Alternatively, you could use Screen Sharing as Alrescha stated before.
     
  4. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #4
    I can see two approaches, the first using Screen Sharing as Alrescha suggests. The second is to do a network login from the "Power Mac" -- the home folder on the iMac would be used. This is possible with the Server App. I tried this out some years ago when I first set up a Mac server at home. Both approaches have both positive and negative aspects:

    1. With Screen Sharing, the display updates on the "Power Mac" will be noticeably slow because it's basically VNC which does a pixel-by-pixel repainting over the network to do updates.

    2. Network login will run programs locally on the "Power Mac" but all data accessing will be on the server. This means that anything that is disk intensive will be slower than Screen Sharing.

    3. Screen Sharing is much easier to set up. But it will bog down the iMac (with two simultaneous users) much more than the server setup. Server.app is really pretty lightweight.
     
  5. andeify macrumors 6502

    andeify

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    You can disable spotlight indexing on any drive you want in system prefs, which would solve your original problem
     
  6. torana355, Nov 29, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014

    torana355 macrumors 68020

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    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #6
    I don't see how screen sharing is even a solution, you cant have someone doing one thing on the iMac while the other uses VNC (screen sharing) on the other mac to do a different task. afaik the best solution is to just mount the iMac volumes on the power mac and turn off spotlight. You can create a simple script to automatically mount the volumes you need at startup.
     
  7. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #7
    Since Mavericks (or maybe even earlier) multiple simultaneous users have been supported in OS X. It does work!
     
  8. torana355, Nov 29, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014

    torana355 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #8
    How do i do this?

    Edit: Never mind i figured it out. Well you learn something new everyday and that is a cool feature :)
     
  9. JabrTheHut thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    #9
    Thanks guys

    Thanks guys, you've given me food for thought.

    In response to your questions:
    It's a Mac Pro, and old one, not a Power Mac.

    Screen sharing is too slow for playing games, or working with large spreadsheets, which I sometimes do.

    Has anyone tried using AFS or something similar to essentially share out a distributed filesystem?
     
  10. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #10
    Not sure what you are trying to accomplish, and by "distributed filesystem" do you mean spread across separate computers, separate drives, or something else? Separate drives on a single computer should be possible, but I've never done it. My server has 11 shares with the share name associated with the logical content not the physical drive.

    You might be able to use something like Chronosync, synchronize when you turn on and turn off the Mac Pro. Then the systems would have the same content. This should work efficiently if you only have a small amount of frequently changing data.
     
  11. JabrTheHut thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    #11
    Hi talmy,

    A distributed filesystem is something like NFS only it adds an element of portability. OpenAFS is essentially NFS with a few extra features like local cache to speed up writes of files and being able to join different filesystems from different computers to make a larger tree.

    Chronosync might work, I'll look into it. Thanks!
     

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