Home Office Server Setup - Please Help!

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Verona1108, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. Verona1108 macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2007
    First off, if you are taking the time to read this - Thank you! As I have little knowledge in terms of networking or any server setup and have tried searching for answer on-line with little understanding on my behalf.

    As a business deduction at the end of last year I purchased the mac mini server with 2X256GB Solid State Drive (I figured more expensive must mean better, but I really don't know, despite a loss in storage capacity).

    I am wanting to know the best way to set this up with the following things in mind:

    - I work with my brother who lives in another state, so he will need to be able to remotely log in to access all the files. The mac genius at apple told me the only way to do this was with a static IP address @ $85/month. Which for starters, I know you can get for probably $6/month. However, from what I have tried reading on the boards....the VPN option sounds like it might be the way to go? and free?

    - At home I have one desktop and two laptops - that I want to be able to back-up. Initially I was thinking I could just drag it all to the server, but with opting for the 2SSD I was afraid I would be using too much space. Then I read about people who have expanded their server by adding additional hard drives and then formatting it all together. Today, I was at the apple store with the intention of purchasing the time capsule, thinking that would be the easy answer. But the business specialist told me I would be better to go with the G-Raid drive....and set me up with an appointment with another genius tomorrow. But I rather find input from the group here. Feel free to also comment in terms of RAID 1 / RAID 0....etc.....again, I have no clue of where to start.

    My two laptops just float around the house and never really dock anywhere. Which is why I liked the idea of being able to backup wirelessly with the TC. However, one of the two laptops is about to be put down and really the files just need to be transferred/backed up.

    I tend to have files on my laptop and desktop that I need at various times and I end up either e-mailing the files to myself or putting them on a cloud so I can pull it down on the other computer. This is a huge pain and waste of time.

    Ultimately, I am looking for the best setup to be able to access any of my files from any of my home computers AND from external locations. Preferably, with some kind of back-up integrated into the setup.

    Your help is greatly appreciated! Please let me know if you need any other details!
  2. maxplus macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2006
    Remote Access:
    At home you will be using Network Address Translation (NAT) that lets you have many IP addresses inside the network (private) and one address outside (public). The problem is then how to find that private address from outside - this is where the fixed IP address comes in. You can also look at Dynamic DNS to do this mapping for you.
    Once you have access to the server you can then use the server as a VPN gateway to provide a secure tunnel into the private network.

    Get yourself a large external hard drive for backups. First things is work out how much data you want to backup, then look at options that will supply that capacity. RAID-1 or RAID-5 will give c greater protection against drive failure. RAID-1 is two drives that are mirrored. RAID-5 is more expensive but it spreads the data across several drives plus has a checksum for protection.
    I recently got a WD external hard drive that has 2 drives inside. It comes setup as RAID-0 (2 drives appearing as 1 large drive) but I reset it up as RAID-1. These come with either 2x 1Tb or 2x 2Tb but there are plenty of other options out there.

    Files storage:
    I would use the internal SSD drives as file storage. Keep your current working files on the laptop. The earlier versions of Mac Server allowed for mobile home directories - this allowed you to have your home directory (Desktop, Documents etc) on the server and the laptop and have them automatically synced. I am a bit out of date with this but you can find more info via google.

    Good Luck!
  3. Verona1108 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2007
    Thanks for your response - this is definitely a great start.

    As for the external hard drive, how did you reset your WD? Just through disk utility?

    With the remote access, I will definitely have to do more googling in terms of the stuff you mentioned. And maybe once I get brave and take it out of the box and actually look at the settings, it will make more sense.

    Thanks again!
  4. maxplus macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2006
    The WD comes with special setup software that lets you choose RAID-0 or RAID-1.
    As far as learning what is possible and how it might work for you - start playing!
    I would start with the backup - this is the easiest. In the Server app => File Sharing you will need to create a network share and then tick to "enable as Time Machine Backup". On your laptop, connect to your server, mount the network share you are going to use for backup then in Time Machine select this as your backup disk.

    Also download Workgroup Manager http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1567 makes working with user account easier.

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