Can XServer do that??

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by megamouse, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. megamouse macrumors member

    Sep 7, 2008
    Hi I am new to servers, but I am thinking to get one for my business, can a XServer do the following??

    If I have four sets of monitors, keyboards and mouses, can I connect them to ONE XServer and let four people to use the Server at the same time?

    I guess instead of four sets of peripherals, I need four Macs right? :D

    But my boss need to save money, so please, can anyone clarify on that. Thanks guys.
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Your "standard" UNIX can do what you want. THey have been used that way for over 30 years. If you were to buy good PC and load BSD Unix or Linux or Solaris it would support a lot more then four users. Max OS X is Unix and it would work and run unix apps but but Mac apps so an Xserve would be a waste

    BUT. big "BUT" here what a user would see on the terminal is NOT the Mac OS X desktop. He'd see a command line prompt. From the prompt e's be able to start up the X11 graphical system and from there he could run a UNIX style desktop. It looks a little like Mac OS and MS Windows but not the same and of cource he'd only be able to run X11 programs -- Open Office, Gimp and so on. THey could work and many people do run small offices this way.

    One of the major advantages over this vs. a Mac or PC that every terminal is IDENTICAL. Your log in follows you. You can log off of one walk up stairs and log into another and pick right up where you left off. But in today's world, now we use PCs or Macs as terminals. They cost about the same as termnals and can do other things. So you are not saving so much, well except that you can use the lowest-end cheap PC as a terminal and do well.

    Sun makes a kind of "PC" that is specially designed for use as a client terminal. They work well. See here for details:
    You need to run a Solaris server with these but Solaris is now free and runs on PCs. The sunray system is very secure, you issue a "credit card" to your users and they log in my incerting the card and typing a password and then their desktop appears on the screen just as they left it. We have about a hundred of these around the company. Tey are about 1/8 the price of a Mac but of course can't run Final Cut Pro, Logic or Photoshop.

    But Mac OS X is not set up to do this. If you want this kind of system look at Solaris, Linux or BSD.
  3. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Different options than xServe = $3000 + 4x monitors include:

    Refurb MacBook
    4x $800 = $3200

    Mac Mini
    4x $600 = $2400 + KB + monitor

    Refurb iMac
    4x $1000 each = $4000. comes with mouse, keyboard, display.

    Refurb mac comes with same warranty as new products and look exactly new.
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You are right, but if some one were to build a server based system they likely use thin clients of the type made by Sun, Wyle or Compaq that sell in the $300 range. These tend to be little boxes that are about the size of a router that hve USB, video and Ethernet and DC power connects and run off a little wall wort. They'd drive a standrd LCD monitor and USB keyboard. One advantage of them is "zero configuration". The thin clients lack internal disk drives.

    When you loose the disk and have zero local storage then there is ZERO labor required to maintain the system, zero software to buy and no upgrades in the future. These machine boot over the network. Yes you do need a fast server. That is why Sun pushes there because they have some nice server machines

    This kind of setup is very specialized. The perfect use is a call centers in India where yo have 250 users that all need to run just a very very programs and a web browser. It can also work for clerical people like secritaries and admin. We have been trying these out at the office here and find they work well for many kinds of users but certainly not everyone. "Zero configuration" realy does mean "zero effort to maintain". When one breaks users tend not to care, they just find another machine that is not broken. The big $$ saving is in the suport end. One part time person can suport hundreds of these workstations.
  5. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Yeah it might make sense for some, but OP wants to do that for 4 users.
    Thin clients are fairly inefficient for that.

    You can do the same thing from x-serve and mac minis. Netboot from server.
  6. megamouse thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 7, 2008
    Thank you so much guys, especially Chris and Consultant.

    Giving the imminent iMac or Mac Pro update, I would prefer to wait a little bit and rely on Google App for the time being.

    All our staff needs are word processing and web browsing (to access filemaker database)

    I will look into the Sun system closely :D

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