Best version of OS X for Mini Server

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by ncrypt, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. ncrypt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    I have a Mac Mini 2,1 (Mid 2007 C2D) that can run up to OS X Lion, officially. I'm planning to run it as a server for VPN, file sharing, media streaming and backups and am in a dilemma with which version of OS X to put on it.

    Snow Leopard, Lion, or.. Mountain Lion using MLPF? (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1325709)

    I've heard the Mountain Lion is more stable than Lion but since it's being 'hacked' onto the Mac I'm not sure which of the options would work out best. Any thoughts?
     
  2. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #2
    Snow Leopard Server was the best server. Lion server was terrible (I skipped it altogether). Mountain Lion server seems fine with few issues. I know nothing about MLPF but if it works you would have the advantage of running a still supported OS.
     
  3. blanka macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2012
    #3
    For your interest: you can still buy SLS at the Apple Store (by phone only!) for 19.95$/18€!
    It also can be virtualised in more modern OSX-es if you need to run PPC software on say mavericks.
     
  4. Neodym macrumors 68000

    Neodym

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2002
    #4
    Out of curiosity: Is the 10.9 server app still lacking something that 10.6 server offers? I mean, the latter once did cost a couple hundred Euros to buy and now it's offered for only 18€ (same price as the 10.9 server app)...?! :eek:

    Or did you mention this more as a low-cost alternative to get an official 10.6 installation in general?
     
  5. talmy, Aug 14, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014

    talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #5
    I know these services are missing: Printer Server, Podcast Producer, webmail, xgrid. They also went from MySQL to PostgreSQL for databases (which might cause some problems) and dropped SAMBA for an in-house SMB networking interface. Some more esoteric configuration options have also disappeared from the GUI interface, but none that I use.

    Added because I forgot -- Rosetta to run any PowerPC apps. (I didn't have any.)

    I've also wondered about its use of excess RAM as a disk cache. Snow Leopard Server did this and Mavericks OS does this so Mavericks Server will as well. I don't know about Lion or Mountain Lion Server as I don't believe Lion or Mountain Lion were designed to utilize all RAM.
     
  6. Neodym macrumors 68000

    Neodym

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2002
    #6
    Thanks for the brief summary! At first glance there seems to be nothing too important missing for SoHo use (btw: according to Anandtech's review of the Lion OSX server app xgrid is still present - chances are that this is still the case with 10.8/10.9 editions of the server app).
     
  7. Val-kyrie macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2005
    #7
    Wait .... I am looking into using a Mac Mini as a server to share a printer hooked up to it. ... So it won't share a printer? If it does share, what is the difference between sharing a printer and being a print server?

    I would like to hook a printer up to the Mac Mini via USB (for now; maybe ethernet later) and share it between my MB and MBA. Would this also print documents from an iOS device?

    Sorry if it is a noob question, but I am trying to learn about OS X server.
     
  8. Neodym macrumors 68000

    Neodym

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2002
    #8
    To my understanding a printer server makes sense in a multi-people environment, taking care of queueing print jobs etc. A shared printer is locked for other devices during a print job.

    IIRC in bigger networks a print server also takes care of providing the necessary driver for the printer, but I'm not sure about that, because I seem to remember that a shared printer was also accessible from my iPad which definitely had no special driver installed.
     
  9. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #9
    It shares a printer identically to the way any Mac does. The print server is different in that the print "jobs" are actually saved on the server (this is called spooling). The server can limit access to certain hours and users.

    For home use the only difference you see is that with SLS the print job appears to execute instantly (your computer says it has printed). Personally, I found it cumbersome to manage and wished that I could just have done printer sharing (SLS won't do printer sharing!).

    It might just be that I've got more experience now, but I've found Mountain Lion and Mavericks server to be easier to set up than Snow Leopard Server. SLS required getting the networking configured "just right" in order for anything to work properly. They've really advanced a lot toward just plug-and-go.

    My story setting up a Snow Leopard Server is here: http://almy.us/server.html.

    OTOH, I've found the following videos to be good for setting up recent (Mountain Lion and Mavericks) servers: For Mavericks Server and For Mountain Lion Server
     
  10. ncrypt thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 16, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I went with Snow Leopard server and it's running really well on the Mac and the server admin tools are definitely quite powerful -admittedly slightly overkill.

    I stumbled across this when I was researching, love how you've got everything set up and evolved it over time! :)
     
  11. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    #11
    Xgrid is missing primarily because Xgrid is dead. Apple formally canceled it (it had been comatose for more than several years).

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1412900

    Still can get MySQL on new several via a port system. Default GUI simple admin management is really only thing missing.


    More so accepting the fact that Windows Servers does bulk of file/authentication work. Printers in similar boat.
     
  12. Val-kyrie macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2005
    #12
    Thanks for the links--excellent videos.

     

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