Building a network. Would you use Mac or PC?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by MacFanUK, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. MacFanUK macrumors 6502a

    MacFanUK

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    I am looking at building a network for my company which currently has 1 Hackintosh, 1 Desktop PC, a Windows Laptop and a Macbook Pro. Eventually, I want to convert the whole business over to Mac. I do web development and graphic design.

    Should I go down the route of Windows server or Mac OSX Server?

    If I choose Mac OSX Server, can Windows machines connect to the OSX network with an account based on the OSX Server?

    My only pull either way is the fact that I can get Windows 2008 Server free due to being an IT student at university.
     
  2. rowsdower macrumors 6502

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    Jun 2, 2009
    #2
    You can get OSX Server free too if you don't care about license agreements.
     
  3. MacFanUK thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MacFanUK

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    UK
    #3
    I do care about license agreements so that isn't an option.
     
  4. rowsdower macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    #4
    To be fair, I don't know what license agreement you get Windows 2008 Server under, so maybe I'm wrong. But if it's anything like the US university license agreement, you can't use it at your company. For example, from the Academic Alliance agreement:

    And you already said that the company has a hackintosh.
     
  5. Guiyon macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    North Shore, MA
    #5
    Except you are limited by the licensing agreement to only use it for personal use/non-commercial puposes. Installing it and using it in a commercial setting is a violation of the licensing agreement. I'm assuming your school is a member of the MSDNAA program which means you will have to abide by these restrictions in order to legally use the license.
     
  6. MacFanUK thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MacFanUK

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    #6
    It's not actually under the MSDNAA. It's the full MSDN subscription because our IT Deanery do work for Microsoft, as such, I am able to use the software for commercial purposes.
     
  7. AnimaLeo macrumors 6502

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    Sep 2, 2009
    #7
    You do work for Microsoft with a Mac? Haha brilliant! :p
     
  8. MacFanUK thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MacFanUK

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    #8
    Well I don't personally do work for Microsoft, the IT Deanery do. They don't own Macs (not that I know of anyway).
     
  9. devburke Guest

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    Oct 16, 2008
    #9
    Did you think Microsoft wrote Office for Mac using Windows, and just guessed that it would actually work when put on a Mac?
     
  10. RandomKamikaze macrumors 6502a

    RandomKamikaze

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    Jan 8, 2009
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    UK
    #10
    Actually, MSDN doesn't allow you to install software in a production environment. Only development. The exception to this is Office in which case the named account holder can use 1 copy of Office, except Visio, on one production environment.

    You know that Microsoft have a Mac development department, which use Macs don't you

    And in response to your question, Windows Server if you want Exchange, Group Polices etc. OS X Server if you want to move them to Macs. Also, as OS X Server is just an LDAP directory, Windows should be able to integrate to this. Active Directory is just an LDAP directoy at heart. Just made a lot more useable by Microsoft IMO.

    For the number of users. I would probably go with Mac OS X Server for that number of users
     
  11. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

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    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal, QC
    #11
    That depends what you want to do with your server. I only deal with web servers, so Mac OS X Server is a colossal waste of money. However, as I understand it, Mac OS X Server is great for business and media servers.

    Make up your own mind.
     
  12. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #12
    Yet, you have a Hackintosh...which breaks the license agreement. :/

    I'm not trying to be self-righteous here, as I'm a Hackintosh user myself (with a legally purchased copy of Mac OS X I might add), but your OP contradicts this.
     
  13. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #13
    Leaving licensing issues aside, I've set up smallish (5-20) workstation networks with both Mac and Windows servers, and to me I'd go OSXServer without a second thought.

    Windows server was significantly more difficult to get set up when I wanted to do anything more than "default" stuff, and it was finicky for no discernible reason. OSXServer, in contrast, was easier to set up than I'd expected (though still not for the non-technical) and as been remarkably stable. The remote admin tools are much nicer as well.

    It's really going to depend heavily on what you want to do with the server, though. In my day job environment (~15 Macs, 4 PCs, and a few laptops) the main purpose is file/print services, with a secondary bonus of OpenDirectory network logins (though we do not use network home folders). In terms of files and printing, this works wonderfully in a mixed-platform environment. Spotlight also works well on shared volumes--VERY fast once you enable network searching. Netboot images are also a possibility, though I haven't personally done more than mess around with them, and booting was rather slow.

    If you're going to be running an Active Directory or similar Windoes-centric domain services, I'd assume Windows Server would do better, and might be the preferable choice. (Although Windows clients should be able to use accounts off the OSXServer, or so the relevant tab claims--I've never tested that.) I also like some of the automatic document versioning it can do, though I confess to never having gotten it working right. Windows used to have better granular ACL control, but OSX has caught up at this point.

    I haven't been impressed by the speed of OSX network home folders, if you're planning on a completely centralized thin-client system, but to be fair I haven't used them recently and my experience with the Windows equivalent (as a user, not configuration) wasn't stellar, either.

    As far as hardware, I'm certainly happy with my XServeG5--thing has been running solidly for 4.5 years in a dusty, very not-climate-controlled environment with the only failure being a stick of RAM after four years that gave plenty of warning with increasing ECC errors. The one Dell server of a similar vintage I set up was cheaper, but came with internal cables unplugged, a bad optical drive, the tape drive failed after a few months, and tech support was a pain to deal.
     

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