Do I Need Lion Server?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by p0ssumman, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. p0ssumman macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2009
    Hey all, I have been considering giving Lion server a try now it's nice and cheap, but I'm a bit unsure exactly how much I can get out of it and basically whether it's worth a go or not? I apologise if my questions are a wee bit noobish, but if anyone could clear them up for me that'd be great! :) I've got an early 2008 24" iMac 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo 4GB RAM, late 2009 MacBook Pro 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo 8GB RAM, iPhone 4 & iPad 2, if that helps!

    Firstly (a very daft question I'm sure but I just want to check), do you only need to install the Lion server on one computer, and then as many others as you want can access it? I'll be going back to uni in September and a couple of others in my house have slightly older MacBooks, would they just be able to connect to my server (say for arguments sake I install it on the iMac) and access and stream any files I have on it, music or movies etc (assuming they have Lion installed)?

    Just to make sure I understand, will it also keep everything in sync between all my devices, mail, contacts, calendar etc? One of the more frustrating things I've found with having two computers on the go, is the fact that I might file some emails away in a certain folder/mailbox on my MBP, then they're nowhere to be found on my iMac?

    I've got a 1.5 TB external HD that i've been using for backups, would I be able to just leave this connected to my iMac and have my MBP backup onto that HD over the network, as well as having my iMac back up to it also?

    Lastly, will there be any noticeable performance hit on my iMac if i have this running?

    Apologies if anythings not very clear, any answers would be greatly appreciated

    Cheers all!
  2. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    You should probably read up on Mac OS X Server, no pun intended.

    But to answer some of your questions, you make individual accounts for all the people you want to have access and sort out what they have access to on the computer with Mac OS X Server installed (this includes network drives), then the users gets prompted when on the same network, that a new user account have been made for them on the server.

    To get access to the same mails over a bunch of computers, use IMAP.

    Yes, you could backup over the network to any attached network drive.

    What makes you think you actually need Mac OS X Server in the first place?

    You can do the limited list of things you have posted about with a normal version of Mac OS X.
  3. arteggio macrumors member

    Dec 15, 2010
    I think I would use the upcoming iCloud for this, unless your intention is to have some sort of network account where you can login in from anywhere? (I'm not too knowledgeable of this server stuff myself.) If what you want is two separate accounts keeping calendar, contacts, etc synced, iCloud should work.

    Email syncing: are you saying that you have an IMAP account that archives/organizes emails out of the inbox, but when you go to a different computer with that account you can't find the emails at all? Have you tried clicking that folder and letting it download all the new emails in it for a second. In, I find that my Gmail account rarely push-updates its folders. (But there might be an option for that somewhere...)

    Yep, this can be done without server. All you need to do is go to Sys Prefs > Sharing > File Sharing, and add your whole drive (or an individual folder on that drive, if you'd like to keep the rest of it secluded). Then find your computer from another Mac's network in Finder, login with the drive-sharing computer's credentials, mount the drive, and set it as your TM backup.

    This is exactly what I used to do with a netbook hackintosh. And if I remember correctly, it auto-mounted the drive on the network when it needed it, so you don't have to manually log in to it all the time.
  4. sheareb macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2009
    On the back of the original posters question....
    Does Lion Server have a webserver built in? This is the only thing I can think i would really use as I develop and maintain websites so would be for testing.
    If so, what sorts of pages does it support (have read the docs and can find nothing on the web server or supported pages). I also presume there are cheaper ways to run a server on Lion?

    Second question - I was thinking of signing up to the mac developer program (I develop for Windows) - price difference is just £24 over buying server itself - I assume if I do sign up I can download the server version of Lion to install?
  5. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_4 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8K2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Even SL non-Server comes with Apache ... No server version needed for just a web server; specially as development system
  6. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Save your $50 - as another poster has pointed out, OS X already has Apache2 and a quick Google will tell you how to enable PHP. You'll need to be able to find your way around httpd.conf - but the same is true of Lion Server.

    I can't comment on Lion Server features like the profile manager, XSAN etc. which I don't use, but the Web Server support is hopeless: it comes with a point'n'drool interface for Apple's built in user Wikis, calendars, webmail and stuff (which is nice) but anything beyond that and you're back to editing .conf and .plist files in Terminal and frantically googling for hunts as to how to avoid breaking, or having your changes overwritten by, the GUI. Configuring multiple websites via the GUI looks as if it should work, but in fact can only cope with IP-based virtual hosting not name-based virtual hosting (which is fantastically useful for development).

    If you're a developer type, and not scared of the command line, I suggest installing macports (on regular OSX) which will let you build and configure all the common open-source web server tools (apache2, PHP, Python, Ruby, MySQL, Postgres and numerous wikis and content management systems) to your exact requirements. This is what I use, and on a proper Unix system like OSX its a great improvement on trying to do something similar with Windows.

    Or, install Linux on a VirtualBox VM (You're more likely to find a detailed HowTo describing exactly what you want to do, and Debian has a nice modular setup for apache2 with cli tools for enabling/disabling sites and modules).

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