Difficulty of setting up Xserv and 12 imacs?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Learjet035, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. Learjet035 macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2005
    S. Floriduh
    My Mom runs a charity that may be receiving a large computer grant.
    She had a few quotes done from local computer installers and I was grossed out seeing 12 Dell computers with all kinds of extra charges for anti virus updates, and what not.

    ANyway, I got her a similar quote.. all Apple.

    I'll be doing the setting up and networking and I have no experience, although I am pretty knowledgable with macs.

    Any tips, or advice would be great.

    Basically it's 12 imacs, 6 printers, 2 airport (2 story building) and 1 Xserv.

    Thanks a million
  2. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    That should say Xserve.

    To answer your question, no one here can say how difficult it would be without knowing what you plan to do.

    Giving us the number of items you have doesn't tell us anything about the environment you plan to setup. Are you going to use Open Directory? How many user accounts? Mobile homes? File shares? Calendar? Mail?

    What about network hardware? Routers, switches? Are you going to properly rack the Xserve? Have you priced out a rack?

    I suggest you determine what you want to setup and whether or not the hardware you are choosing is sufficient. Then maybe we can help you.
  3. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Yea, a laundry list of hardware doesn't give us much to work with. Are there parameters? For example, must all the iMacs have access to the printers? Do you need iCal? What's the Xserve going to do? Do you need file sharing between all the iMacs? Hardware is easy to set up, the parameters aren't.
  4. foidulus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2007
    Short answer is yes. Of course it does depend to a degree what you are doing on it, but in reality the XServe can pretty much handle any small office task you can throw at it.

    By the way, I don't know if you have submitted the bid or not, but if possible I would recommend you include an extra $500 to buy Apple Remote Desktop(http://www.apple.com/remotedesktop/)

    As an admin of about 100 mac workstations and about 20 servers I can say for a fact that will be a life-saver.
  5. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Six printers sounds like a lot for only 12 users...
  6. Learjet035 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2005
    S. Floriduh
    Thanks all. To answer your questions, I really have no idea.
    I'm sure all of them should be able to file share, and ical sync would be a plus also. The reason for 6 printers for all the different processing of people and the paper work required. They serve 100's sometimes thousands of people a day.

    Anyway, sounds like I'm in over my head, but it's for a great cause so I'll give it my best. I have no idea what I'll need Xserve for or what kinda rack I need. I do know that they want all the macs to centrally backup each day so that should be my priority.

    THanks for the Remote tip, good idea, as I'd hate to have to drive there anytime there's a prob.

    Thanks again
  7. andrewag macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2005
    Take some time to read the Mac OS X Server documentation. I think Mac OS X Server really excels in this kind of setup.

    Storing the documents on a server would enable you to backup the data the easiest rather than backing up individual computers. Open directory will enable you to setup users who can access the files on the server, and potentially provide authentication on the clients (it can be as simple or as complex as you like). Open directory will also allow you to manage the user environment of the computers which is a real time saver.

    Anyway, hope that this gives you an idea of where to start researching. The doco is available at http://www.apple.com/au/server/macosx/resources/documentation.html

    I recommend reading user management, file server administration and network services to get started. I think a workgroup like what you're talking about will probably be able to utilise the wiki service as well.

    Anyway, good luck!
  8. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    If the grant is providing for computers why not find a guy who knows how to set up a Mac/Xserve network and throw a few bills his way to do it right. Have him show you what he's doing so you can troubleshoot. Presumably the grant would cover this for PCs, so why not Macs?

    I oversaw setup of an Xserve + 10 macs and the guy who knew what he was doing set up all sorts of useful features that it would have taken me weeks to learn about. I'm sure I could have set them up, but it's knowing that they exist and how to get settings right that experience is needed for.
  9. guzhogi macrumors 68030


    Aug 31, 2003
    Wherever my feet take me…
    You might want to check out the book by Peachpit Press called Apple Server Essentials:

    This explains how to set up a server.

    I don't know how your building is set up, but I suggest hooking up the xServe & Airports to a central switch. Either one Airport Extreme & 1 Express or maybe 2 expresses. That way, you could use the Express to just extend the wireless network (but both need to be connected to the switch for this to happen).

    Open Directory & accounts are necessary if you plan on having people save & access files and if you want everyone to have their own calendars, e-mail accounts & individual websites.

    Also, since all Macs now can also run Windows, you get the best of both worlds.
  10. Matty-p macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.1-update1; en-gb; Orange San Francisco Build/ERE27) AppleWebKit/530.17 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/530.17)

    above poster you dont haveto have both airport expresses plughed into th switch only 1 ie the master the ouye one can be set a a repeater .

    OP wht about storage how much do you need for the 12 imacs and how will you cater for that ie it is probably more than 3 tb then a xserve alone will not suffice as if you have ssd boot drive then fill the three bays with 2tb each then stick in raid 5 config youll have 4 tb storage max so try build in scalability of about 1.5x so if there using 3tb atm then 4tb max will not surfice youll hve to get a sas . also the problem with the xserve is its a power hog overkill procesing wise and needs a rack (you don know wat one is ?!!) if i were you for far cheaper you could get the mac mini server set up in raid 1 and use internal raid 1 as boot drive . then add the 4 bay promise das about 240 i you dontbuy from apple and fill all bays with 2tb and in raid 5 and attach via fw 800 and then youll have 6tb storge space in r5 and 500gb boot drive in raid 1 and then plug the ma mini the 1st airport express and all imacs ino 24 port gigabit swith done and no need for rack and about hal price.of.exserve with only 4tb single 128gb boot and this will have raid 1 500gb boot and 6tb storage space for half th price and half the power of an exserve
  11. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Most likely, even a Mini server would be more than adequate for a workgroup of that size, and would save a bunch of money.
  12. logandzwon macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2007
    I love the Mac mini servers, but without an understanding of the requirements it's hard to say if it's sufficient. If you don't do any file sharing with it then definitely. But the one real requirement we got says 100 clients per day, times 12 users, plus backups.

    That said, one Xserve is not another. You can get from $2,500 to over $10,000 because they do and handle vastly different things. However, OP didn't ask about if his Xserve PO was configured right, to answer the question asked... It's super easy to set-up a small network with 10.6 driving it, if you've done it before. I set up my Mac Mini server in about 2 hours with full OpenDirectory, user templates, authentication services for Mac and windows, AFP, SMB, DHCP, inter-office DNS, mail, calendar, shared contacts, and corrosponding web services for said services. However, setup Apple networks both tiny, like the one mentioned, and a small, about 30 Xserves in multiple sites with XSANs and other goodies.

    Oh and you don't need a rack for a single server. You can mount them vertically on the wall.
  13. Learjet035 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2005
    S. Floriduh
    You all are awesome.
    Thanks for all your input and advice. I thought I knew Mac well enough and now it seems like I'm starting from scratch.
    Maybe I'll take the advice and watch an expert do his thing.
    Anyone live in SFla and want to help lemme know.
    I'm sure you'll be paid for your time, will discuss when grant is approved.

    Thanks again for all your input, as usual, I really appreciate all the awesomeness on this forum.

    Btw, would this be considered a 1 day job?
  14. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    If you've got no idea what to use the Xserve for, you most likely won't need it.

    In case that your only requirement is to run backups from the client machines, an Xserve is absolutely overkill and a waste of money. The Xserve pretty much doesn't suit your needs in any kind, it provides massive processing power but almost no storage. What you'd have to buy additionally is a dedicated storage device for the Xserve, like a NAS or DAS.

    The better solution would be a very decent NAS for storage needs plus (if really needed) a very small server (like the Mac Mini) to run E-Mail, Updates and iCal. All these services don't require much processing power for a workgroup of your size, which is why the Mini is plenty fast.

    Even if you've got little to no experience with this, it isn't that hard to set up (although OS X Server is not as easy as advertised). You can get all information in the internet or directly from Apple.
  15. jerry333 macrumors regular


    Nov 4, 2005
    One thing I've found is that if you undersize the server you'll get no end of complaints from your customers and probably never be asked to come back. The reason I wouldn't go for the Mini in your circumstance is that there aren't redundant power supplies which you can get in the Xserve (be sure to select this option when ordering). Because the power supply is usually the component that fails first, it's a real problem when multiple people are relying on it. "The server is down and all my people are idle" is the last thing you want to hear.

    Also be sure to get a proper on-line UPS that is correctly sized for the Xserve. You'll need a 2000VA or larger for just the Xserve 3000-6000VA would be better if you're also going to attach a RAID array. Besides power outages and sags, a proper UPS will deliver true sine wave power which will keep the equipment working a lot longer.

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