Best way to learn OS X Server Essentials: Attend a class or buy a Mini with Server?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Luba, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. Luba macrumors 6502a

    Luba

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #1
    My goal is to learn and pass the ACTC (Apple Certified Technical Coordinator) exam, or perhaps even the ACSA (Apple Certified Systems Administrator).

    I could buy the Mac OS X Support Essentials and the Mac OS X Server Essentials books for about $100 for the both of them. That would be least expensive route. I think I could get by with just the book on Support Essentials, but with Server Essentials I don't have SL Server software to learn from.

    I could take a Server Essentials class which costs $2000. Or I could buy a Mac Mini with SL Server for $1000, but I am on my own to learn the material. Or I could just buy the books and see how it goes. How did you learn Server Essentials and which method do you think is best?

    The thing is I don't need a server so in a way getting a Mac Mini Server is a waste. I don't even have my own website, although I do plan on getting one. Having a Mini Server would at least save me hosting fees. I suppose I could eventually set it up so I won't need MobileMe anymore.

    How difficult is the Server Essentials exam compared to the Support Essentials? And if continue on for the ACSA, how are the exams in Directory Services, Deployment, and Advanced Systems Administration?

    Thanks for all your help in answering my questions!
     
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #2
    From the Rules:
    I learn better with classes, everyone is different.
     
  3. DeepIn2U macrumors 68040

    DeepIn2U

    Joined:
    May 30, 2002
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #3
    Agreed that eveyone learns differently buy y notaximize by doing both; get the machine with the server, setup a site with services amongst other osx and windows machines and take a course along with watching a few of Apples and other free video podcasts and practice what you learn.

    This way you retain the info your learning and you get to find out any strange oddities if any our new scenarios-to you that is- and ask for valued experience in classes ;)
     
  4. Luba thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Luba

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #4
    Well I don't want to spend the money for both, that would be $3000. For learning purposes that would be the best.

    thegoldenmackid, didn't know it was against the rules, just trying to reach 2 different audiences.
     
  5. hakuryuu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    Lomita, CA
    #5
    I am going down the same path and decided to get the books and the Mini Server. Haven't received the server yet, but I am studying the OS X Support Essentials book in the mean time and have the OS X Server Essentials book ready for when I am ready for it. I work in a mixed office so learning how to use OS X and Server alongside Windows Server 2003 and Windows 7 is going to be a good learning environment.
     
  6. iSavant macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #6
    Buy the books and the MM Server

    SQ3R the books

    Work with the hardware/software in as real world use as you can.

    When you've attained the level of proficiency that you seek... sell the MM Server for most of what you paid. You rented it.

    0.02 YMMV FWIW That's what I'm doing but might find I like it too much and just keep using it.

    Good luck!
     
  7. bigbearf macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    #7
  8. Luba thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Luba

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #8
    Thanks everybody, I am going to go that route. Already ordered the book which has practice quizzes etc., so now need to get the Mini Server!

    Ok, I don't need the Server, but what are some ways I could put it to use, in the kind of nice, kind of cool to have. I could get a domain name and set up a webpage and host it on the Mini. I like to host a forum to perhaps see it take off and make some money, but if ever did take off my consumer broadband wouldn't work at all. I could use the Mini Server to take over some of the functions of MobileMe . . . sync Cal, eMail, and Contacts perhaps it could also sync Safari bookmarks. Any other ideas?
     
  9. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #9
    I'm currently struggling through my MCITP (a microsoft server qualification), and I can safely say that if you have any hope at all of qualifying as an Apple Systems Administrator, you definitely need your own server.

    You'll need to run through all the labs in the books you've got, set up domains and take them down, learn DNS and DHCP, and LDAP and so on. Expect to mess it up and reinstall again and again and learn something new every time.

    On the MS side, I use plenty of VMs, up to 7 at a time to stimulate a network (Domain controller, DHCP server, file server, SQL server, network clients etc), messing them up in various ways.

    I don't have much experience of running OSX in a VM, but I think Apple allows it as long as it's on their own hardware, which a Mac Mini is.

    Start with the easy exams first. Even if you're not learning about servers, you may still need VMs to stimulate the various ways of setting up OSX on a network e.g. user control, network access control, supporting staff trying to get their work done etc.

    MS offers Server 2008 for extended trials to anyone who asks, which is nice (for a change!) It's a shame that Apple doesn't do this, and I've emailed Steve Jobs about it :).

    Apple does however offer their Server software for free to certain limited categories of people - check out this page :

    http://seminars.apple.com/contactme/SnowLeopardServerEvaluation/

    Hope this helps.

    x RedTomato
     
  10. dazey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    #10
    I believe that you will find that Apple allow you to run OSX server on a virtual machine but not the client version.
     
  11. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #11
    You may well be right, but do you have a quote from Apple on that?

    To the OP: To make it easier to play around with clients, legally, you could attach a firewire external to the Mac mini, install OSX to a small partition on that,get it fully updated, then make a backup copy with Carbon Copy Cloner, rewriting the partition from the the backup whenever you mess it up.

    Personally, since you're running it on Apple hardware I would just stick OSX client in a VM - it's much easier to build internal networks with that, and to stimulate low memory conditions or network issues. Apple are highly unlikely to complain as it's for your own use and learning only.

    The legal issue that dazey referred to might be only for use in the workplace and may not apply to use at home. I don't know.
     
  12. stukdog macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    #12
    From the OS Server license agreement, "This License allows you to install and use one copy of the Mac OS X Server software (the "Mac OS X Server Software") on a single Apple-labeled computer. You may also install and use other copies of Mac OS X Server Software on the same Apple-labeled computer, provided that you acquire an individual and valid license from Apple for each of these other copies of Mac OS X Server Software."

    So, you can virtualize, but you'd need a license for each one. (This is different than OS X, which can't virtualize whether you have a license for it or not.)

    But for the original OP, if you're in Chicago, DC, LA or Cupertino, you can hit one of the free Snow Leopard Server Tour spots to get more info on it.

    http://www.apple.com/education/snowleopardserver/
     
  13. Luba thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Luba

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #13
    I attended the Server seminar, but still haven't received my free trial software. :( In any case, the free software is good for only 30 days or something like that.
     
  14. Luba thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Luba

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #14
    So just getting the Mini Server isn't enough, I need "clients" or maybe just a client to set up my network. If I screw up learning to use the Server software I hope the client (me) won't be affected.
     
  15. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #15
    The client isn't you, it's any OS that is on the network attached to the server, and which isn't acting as a server at the moment. It's the other half of the 'server / client' model.

    Well as you're just starting out, you could use for a client any other computer, your macbook or a windows pc or whatever.
     
  16. BertyBoy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2009
    #16
    The two books are ideal, or save money by starting with old copies of the books - don't know how much the Leopard versions are - I still have mine from Tiger.

    Then look at one of the courses from lynda.com, either view online for a small fee, or for free for a short while (with a 24 hour pass), or buy on DVD. I can't praise the Tiger course enough, took a lot of the nightmare out of it - still hard work. unfortunately, nothing in-depth for Snow Leopard.
    Courses are here:
    http://www.lynda.com/home/ViewCourses.aspx?lpk0=197
    Maybe others will agree.

    Not sure why you need mini-Server, if you already have an Intel Mac, learn on that. Or start of with Leopard Server - a lot cheaper.
     
  17. Luba thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Luba

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2009
    #17
    Red Tomato: When I said, "me" as a client I meant a computer that I was using, but since I can use a PC then I'll use that as my client as I am not concerned about that machine. Right now, I have linux on it, but could put back Windows XP. If I make a mistake I don't want it to affect my everyday Mac that I use.

    Bertyboy: Wow, lynda.com is great and it's free, sort of like iTunes podcasts. Well, already bought the 2 books for about $100. They are pretty readable. Are you saying, I could buy 2 hard drives one with the Server software on it, and the other with OS client, attach it to my Mac and I would have my server/client to learn from?? If yes, that would save me $500. OS X Server is $499 and the mini Server is $999. I am glad I posted here, I would have felt quite foolish to spend $2100 for a 4-day class on OS X Server.
     

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