Is a mac osx server fits to a office with 10 PCs

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by funfun166, May 14, 2010.

  1. funfun166 macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2010
    I want to set up a server for my company

    The purpose of the server is to store files, share files & printer, a calendar, an internal website( for hosting a blog and filemaker files), regular backup

    My office will have 10 PCs (window 7) connects to the server, and my company dont have an IT expertise ..

    I have considered between Window SBS, Mac osx server and ubuntus server
    I think a mac mini server is the best solution for me as:
    1: easy installation
    2: less expensive than SBS

    however, is the mac mini server work well in my case?

    Thank you very much!
  2. northernbaldy macrumors 6502a


    Jan 13, 2010
    the north, UK
    mine was a pain in the arse to set up (be careful with your DNS settings)
    but its a very cost effective solution
  3. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    I'd agree with northernbaldy. Installation of OS X Server extends well beyond just popping in a CD and installing.

    I understand the desire for running OS X, but it just doesn't make sense in this case. For 10 PCs, I'd recommend Windows SBS, because then you can start maintaining your existing infrastructure, not to mention that Windows help is abundant in many areas.
  4. pdjudd macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2007
    Plymouth, MN
    I agree - if all you are running are Windows PC's, then you really aren't going to gain much with OSX server - While SLS can indeed control PC's, most of the functionality is aimed toward Macs. There really all that much to gain overall that Windows SBS cannot do as well.
  5. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Yep, pay the money for the Microsoft SBS and you will be happier. And without any expertise, avoid Linux.
  6. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    IMHO everyones take on keeping oranges with oranges (Win SBS) is the smart thing, but Ive been running OS X Server (XServe G5) for 5 years now along with a few dozen Macs and 6 to 10 PCs (XP and 1 single 7).
    It seems to be fine but not sure how deep of control you want?
    They work great as file server.
  7. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    Yes, it will work, but:

    This is why. Finding help with OS X Server can be tougher than finding someone with Windows experience. Additionally, the SBS product has always been a breeze to install and maintain. It's aimed directly at small businesses whereas OS X Server is a generic OS for a business of variable sizes.

    This isn't really about feature set, as they both can perform the requirements listed above. Adding another OS to the puzzle only complicates things that don't need to be.
  8. funfun166 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2010
    I thought Mac server OS is the easiest to maintain and set among Mac server os, SMS and linux

    am I getting wrong?
  9. tigres macrumors 68040


    Aug 31, 2007
    Land of the Free-Waiting for Term Limits
    I run a very similar environment as the OP is intending on SBS 03'

    If I recall correctly, my SBS was $850 +/- (I did the install/upgrade) and put it on a IBM x345 server (which I believe I paid 2k for at the time).

    SL server on a mini IMO would be underperforming what your needs will be for this setup. SBS runs my office, even though all of my Desktops are slowing becoming iMacs (under VM).

    I am sure you can snag a deal with a box and SBS somewhere. SL server on a mini is 1k- my bet is you can do just a good looking around for SBS.
  10. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Nov 12, 2007
    No, it's easiest for the Mac focused shops and behind IT who knows Macs.

    Go with the MS SBS, you can download the trial right now and play with it and you'll see that it's easy to manage. You can get a lot of more resources with SBS than with OS X server.

    Also Mac Mini with Server includes unlimited licenses, you don't get that with SBS, it's default to 5 licenses and you need a license per user or per device. Each is 80$.
  11. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    I'm not sure why you would think that. OS X Server is not equal to OS X. I ran through a small configuration wizard at Dell and came up with $2,500 for SBS2008 with 500GB disk and 8GB RAM. If you call them up, they can get you an accurate quote.

    Again, when trouble occurs, where are you turning for assistance? Hopefully, your organization is not relying on an Internet forum for support. You need to think this through on a business IT level, not a consumer who loves his MBP with OS X.
  12. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008

    Since you don't have IT expertise in house, here is what I think you should do:

    Buy a server from Dell with Windows Small Business Server 2008 Standard as the server platform and also purchase installation AND end user support from Dell and at least three years of on-site warranty. In other words: Out source everything to Dell.
  13. rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    Agreed 100%...
  14. robert786 macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2010
    Hello sir I am a hardware engineer and in your case i wiil say that one of my customer is also using a Mac OS X Server in his home office for approximately 6 months now without a hitch. He have 5 clients (Mac OS X & Mac OS 9) connected to it and regularly open and manipulate 100MB+ Photoshop files across the network (100mbit). He also have 240GB of RAID 0 Storage. So I think It is the best OS server for you.Compatible and cheapest other than the servers. thanks
  15. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I don't think anyone here doubts that in an environment with only Mac OS clients, Mac OS X Server is the obvious choice. The OP, however, is in an office with 10 Windows clients and no Mac clients.
  16. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    Sounds like a poor design, with RAID 0 storage and 100Mb connections.
  17. Metatron macrumors 6502


    Jul 2, 2002
    Apple's whole mantra..."servers made easy" only applies to macs running os x. Also, as a previous poster sure the dns settings are pat or else the whole thing will come apart at the seams.

    I volunteered last week to setup a mac mini server for a local non profit company. It took me several days to work all the bugs out of the server because it was supporting macs and PCs. Had it been a mac only environment, it would have taken half the time. I am a systems administrator for the DHS and I manage thousands of machines. I can tell you now, if you are not 100% comfortable with os x from both a command line and gui interface, do not think you will save any money by using os x server. You will most likely fail to setup the server to fit your needs and it will cost you thousands to have someone with the experience to setup the server properly. You could pay the same and outsource to dell.

    Once it is setup, it is rock solid. But until you reach that point, it will be a huge pain.
  18. funfun166 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2010
    thank you for the advice

    I wonder whether a NAS do the job, rather than spending time and extra cost setting up a server
  19. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    If you are just looking for shared storage, it possibly could work. However, how are you planning to backup that data and get it off site?
  20. funfun166 thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2010
    Thank you

    Generally , what extra function does a server (SBS or Mac) provides over a NAS?
  21. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    For 10 PCs, let's stick with SBS. You can have central control over accounts (passwords, complexity, etc), what the users can and cannot do, antivirus, etc. You name it and you can have control. You can even control patches to the machine.
  22. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    The biggest advantage in our office is user level permission control. Admin staff can see engineering files, but not change them, engineers can see admin files, but not mess them up, only a few people have the permissions to edit archived files, etc. I would be scared ****less with a NAS. There is no recycle bin, if someone accidentally deletes half your files, you have to recover from the backup (which probably isn't up to the minute, so you have a high potential for losing some work).

    After switching to a proper server, my incidence of having to recover deleted/moved/overwritten documents dropped significantly. Also with full windows server, it can be setup as a terminal server. This allows you to install software on the server and have other computers access it. It's good for expensive and/or rarely used software that multiple people in the office need access too (check your EULA's though, some prohibit this usage).

    If your budget really sucks, you can probably setup a shared drive on a computer running XP and do user level access. Just make sure that computer is always on, has a good connection to the network and you have a bulletproof backup plan in place.
  23. velocityg4 macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    Everyone in this thread will probably hate this idea but...

    Personally I would not bother with a server as your listed requirements are:
    1. Storing files centrally
    2. Sharing files (between 10 computers)
    3. Sharing a printer
    4. Having a Calendar

    For your file storage and sharing needs I would custom build a PC with Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate, as Windows 7 supports 20 SMB connections as apposed to the 10 of XP. For storage I would get a motherboard that supports RAID 5 and build an array large enough for your needs (keep your OS on a separate drive). Backups can be made on external drives with Memeo autobackup premium, possible in conjunction with an online solution (though I would not want a third party to have access to all of my files).

    My main reason for using a regular desktop is you are not running any server apps. Therefore there is no need to deal with the headaches of a server such as DNS and all the other settings (which are difficult for the novice without a lot of study), the much higher expenses (OS, licenses, Anti-Virus).

    As for the shared printer. Just buy an HP with built in Ethernet. Of all the brands I have set up HP is by far the easiest to configure.

    For your calendar just use Google or Yahoo calendar. They are free and work great. I found Google calendar to be easier to configure. Plus you can set up G-Mail and relay through their system so that you have free IMAP support lots of e-mail storage space and still pipe everything through your domains e-mail when configured correctly (to avoid the on your sent e-mail).

    Other things you may want to consider. For networking I would set up a multiport gigabit switch then connect that to a router. If you need remote access to your server you can use's services. For anti-virus you can use Avast-Antivirus (their business edition is $50 but much better than Norton or McAfee). For the backup I would use Memeo Professional Backup as mentioned above. Then you can keep two backups and rotate them out daily or backup to a local external drive and to an off site device via FTP.
  24. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Actually, generally a good idea, but I'd not recommend a custom PC because of support issues (namely, there is no support). Better to buy a commercial grade workstation (example -- Dell Precision T3500, accepts 4 drives with RAID 5, ECC memory, and "ProSupport").
  25. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002

    You are a CEO's dream. I mean that in a good way, as your suggestions potentially saves this guy thousands of dollars and hours of setup time and STILL offering the exact capabilities required.
    I would not custom build anything though, rather I'd just get some serious drives in a stock PC running Ultimate.

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