Convert my business to Mac - Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Mac Help/Tips' started by maclamb, Feb 9, 2002.

  1. maclamb macrumors 6502


    Jan 28, 2002
    Northern California
    I run a small business and want to convert from our PC machines to Mac. I bought a ti667 late last year, love it and want to turn the whole company mac.

    I am wondering what box/configuration you would recommend:
    3 employees now - perhaps one or two more later - 2 onsite, one remote (via FTP) all the time , the other 2 will need access to files when they travel.

    Need to run a webserver w/ JSP, Servlet and potentially EJB supprt (Apache, Tomcat and JBoss is what I use now on my mac).
    We won't host our main website, but may host a couple of small sites, one or two J2EE applications supporting maybe 50 - 100 users, no more than 10 simultaneously.
    Act as a file server, FTP server (now low load - maybe 2 - 5 downloads per week - this can go up to maybe double - contractors download and upload documents, ppt slides, etc) Uploads downloads can be 1 - 5 Meg in size.
    Backup workstations and server - I like removable hard drives, but tape/iomega zip cartridges are ok. and store application sw images for re-installing sw, archiving sw, etc.
    Possibly also run our own mail server.
    Run a database - using Oracle now - but don't really need it - mostly to support our contractors in course development (we teach Java, oracle, etc) - OpenBase is what I use on my mac for jdbc access, but MySQL or even Filemaker should work - only a few databases - not heavy demand. Used to support the J2EE application(s). If we do need to run Oracle I can try it within Virtual PC w/ win2K, or on our solaris box - but I'd rather not maintain two machines - but again, it would be for max ten users for use in class prep.

    Some graphics work - illustrator, photoshop to support small web page design, newsletters, brochures, scanner (would like to share with other machines, if possible) , color and laser printing, faxes.

    I figure to put iMacs on the workers desktops and keep my ti667 for mobile use. I assume the iMac wil be fine for web design/graphical work at the scale we do it.

    Suggestions? I figure a 933 or DP1G - which is overkill now - but we will lease the machine for 3 years - so as the business grows the Architecture must be able to supprt the increased load. Also must be able to support large drives, RWCDROM and swappable hd for backup - possibly, though I think that is overkill - nightly backups are fine. Do I want the Apple server software?

    thanks in advance
  2. Falleron macrumors 68000


    Nov 22, 2001
    Hi. To be honest I cant answer a lot of your question! However, there will be many people here that will be able to help you.

    I have one suggestion!! Be a forward look company and make the move from OS9 --> OSX full time!! This might mean waiting a few more months until programs are available on OSX but in the long run it will be worth it.

    As for computer type, I'm sure the 933Mhz G4 would be plenty fast enough, BUT, the Dual 1Ghz tower is ideal. I guess the decision will be on whether you are purchasing or leasing? 933 - buying, 1GhzDP - leasing maybe.
  3. Taft macrumors 65816


    Jan 31, 2002
    OS X Server

    I think the biggest reason to get a OS X server machine is to make setting up a multiple user network/network file sharing easier.

    Its easy to set up a web server, ftp access, etc... on a workstation machine. But under OS X, the software that comes with the server is pretty much the only way that I know of properly set up a netinfo domain and manage mutiple users effectively on a network. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think NetInfo and LDAP are the only two network authentication methods available under OS X. And I don't know of an LDAP server available for OS X, which leaves NetInfo as the only viable option for an authentication server on OS X. Or you could a Win 2K machine and use it for authentication--ick!)

    This also makes it very easy to create nfs shares available to all authenticated domain users. Other file sharing methods exist on OS X (like Appleshare) but I have found them slow and problematic. It is possible to facililtate nfs partitions and such without a network netinfo domain, but it is much harder and isn't practical for more than a couple of machines. Plus, there are certain security risks with transparent file sharing (ie nfs) without proper domain authentication. Kerebos authentication is possible with nfs, but I haven't had any luck with it--has anyone else?.

    If you really want a robust local network file server and a multiple user environment on your local network, I think having at least one server is a good idea. Other solutions do exist, but they are not as simple and may cause you much more grief in the long run.

  4. maclamb thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jan 28, 2002
    Northern California
    yes, I had assumed I would go with OSX.

    I will look more at the server sw - you raise good points.

    Would a windows machine (win2000 pro) be able to connect to an nfs server (ala mac OSX) - meaning, can I get the Mac server first and replace the PC workstations later, or do the workstations first (connect them to Win2k server now).
  5. Taft macrumors 65816


    Jan 31, 2002
    NFS and Windows.

    There are about a billion nfs "enablers" for windows. These will allow you to mount nfs volumes on windows clients. Check out:

    Omni-NFS (Lite version too)
    Pro NFS
    Hummingbird NFS

    They all look pretty similar, but I've never used one before. I'm sure some are better than others.

    However, NONE OF THESE PRODUCTS ARE NECESSARY! Mac OS X Server comes pre-installed with Samba and it is confiured via OS X Server's built in administration tools. This will allow you to share files out to Windows clients.

    And if you don't decide to go with OS X Server, you can always install Samba on an OS X workstation machine. Just go to and get the samba server. Simple as pie.

    OS X makes sharing with windows machines soooooo easy. Its a mac network administrator's dream come true.

  6. michealk macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2002
    As for the earlier comment about LDAP on OS X ... I'm pretty sure that openldap would compile quite cleanly on an OS X box, without much difficulty. Given OS X's Unix roots (no pun intended ;) open source software can usually fill any void you may think exists. :)
  7. MacAztec macrumors 68040


    Oct 28, 2001
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    Re: Convert my business to Mac - Suggestions?

    Hey, call apple and ask them. They have a buisness consulting store. You tell them the size of your company, and what you want to do, and they will find the exact thing for your needs. I saw it at MWSF, there were like 30 setups for all buisnesses.
  8. mymemory macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2001
    The set up of your companny is not complicated, eather if is with OS.9 or OSX. Many video productions company have their macs connected to their pcs to transfer data like renderins and stuff. For remote log in in to the comany files you can use Timboktu (if I spell it right) and that is it.

    The harware, you can guet the low end of the new iMac. 256MB of ram for web design is more than enough, I use 128MB in a G4 and with some organization (one aplication at a time) the job was done. Internet production doesn't take that much ram.

    On the other han any mac with 400Mgz and 256MB of ram and 9G of hard drive would do the job, every single mac comes with the ethernet connection and enough video ram too.

    The server can be an old power mac 9600 but I'm not sure if they can run OSX, or get any G4 and use external fire wire drives if neccesary, so you can p-lug and unplug as you wish.

    With macs are not limitations, just think that there are economic or expensive ways to do the same thing with the same result, everything depends of your ego!
  9. evanmarx macrumors member


    Oct 23, 2001
    are u sure?

    hmm ... excuse my boldness or ignorance ... but i see the know-how u have in setting up your software (& server) environment, that i'm having a hard time believing that u don't know exactly what kind of hardware setup u want/need ... i have definitely less server know-how, but i always know what my hardware needs are (unless the lust factor gets his way) ...
  10. AlphaTech macrumors 601


    Oct 4, 2001
    Natick, MA
    You have three options for a file server. Either a Mac running OSX server, buy a server that runs win2k advanced server, or get a techie friend to build you one. I built our departmental server at work about 2 years ago, it has been running 24/7 ever since then. I went and built it as a peecee, with an AMD processor and installed win2k advanced server. When I installed OS X onto my G4 desktop, I could connect to the w2k server no problem. I had to wait for 10.1 in order to connect to the other servers that are deployed (many still running winNt 4 server). It is very easy to connect, just go up to the 'connect to server' from the 'go' menu and the w2k server will show up. I would advise setting up a domain (part of the configuration when w2k server is set up).

    The main downside of the pc server, though, is that you are best off backing it up off of a Mac desktop (tape drive or other device, via Retrospect). Depending on how much storage you are looking for, I would recommend getting (for a Mac server) VST FireWire hard drives with their RAID software and set it up outside the box. I did a little checking on prices a few months ago, and you can get a TB of storage for about $5000 (a little more if you want to have a parity drive). There are also FireWire tape backup drives that will work on either Mac or peecee. A complete solution, with the Mac server, TB of storage, and tape backup system runs approx. $20,000-$30,000 +/-.

    It all depends on what you feel more comfortable with. I am seriously thinking about giving OS X server a try, once I get a new tower. I believe that peecee's can connect to OSX server without getting any third party software (which is one reason I was trying to push it to replace a IBM server at work). Also, Mac's are very easy to work on and repair. Unlike peecee servers. I did something right with the peecee server that I built considering that the other servers at our location go down about once a month, or have to get restarted about that often. There was one day that the server admin went to restart one of the older servers, which was supposed to be down only 15-30 minutes. It was down all day.

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