Is OSX Server overkill for my needs?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by dark knight, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. dark knight macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2008
    Sorry to be a complete network newbie but:

    In a small office setup of around five clients and a server doing mundane office tasks such as word documents, print sharing, mail application sharing, maybe iCal sharing, possibly have the odd PC on the network, would standard snow leopard on the "server" machine cope just fine or are there features of OSX Server that i would find invaluable.

    Would i be trying to find work-arounds in standard snow leopard to effectively serve the network?

    Im sure OSX server would be utterly essential on larger and more demanding networks and ive read about some of its great features but have been advised that a lot of these are present, if not so obvious, in standard OSX

    thanks for your advice.
  2. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    Server is nice in that it has a GUI to configure all this good stuff. However, there is a downside:

    You must setup Open Directory and DNS. Time Machine will not backup OD correctly, so if you begin using OD for accounts and binding machines to it and such, you'll need another backup solution.

    And, if you're not currently backing up, you'll want to find a backup solution.
  3. dark knight thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2008
    wow, thanks for the tip, im now going to look up Open Directory means (maybe a different file system).
    But the point is, i was going to use time machine to back up the file server. i suppose time machine could also back up the clients to a time capsule too for ease but there wont really be any files (bar programs) on them.

    more things to consider, thanks.
  4. Silencio macrumors 68020


    Jul 18, 2002
    Actually, you don't need to set up Open Directory if you don't want to use it. For such a small office, it's probably not necessary.
  5. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    How so? With my Mini, it forced me to set it up using 10.6 Server.
  6. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    It's an option. You can have nothing run on the server if you don't want. Open Directory for such a small office WAY overkill, and fraught with danger in the form of tweaking and most importantly learning time. The real reason is simply "why?".
    Stick with AFP and SMB, set up groups and shared folders which takes seconds, and away you go. You can add things later on AS you learn what they can do for you.
    If you don't have a lot of large files, get a Mini with a large drive. The beauty there is that Time Machine will work perfectly to an attached 130 dollar Lacie FireWire Drive, though I would use SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner on a daily schedule. Less chance of losing data as TM CAN be somewhat buggy at times. If you have the dough get a low-end MacPro with a server license with a couple of internal TB drives. NO NEED for an XServe. None at all.
    With either a Mini or a Pro, you'd be up in very little time, and quite probably would never need to touch them again.
  7. jerry333 macrumors regular


    Nov 4, 2005
    Les is correct. When you install OS X Server you can (and probably should) skip everything that it asks you to, and select configure later. Then you can go back and configure just what you want. On the Mini with OS X Server Open Directory is probably pre-configured so that's why it's there. A re-install should fix that (be sure to create a good tested backup drive first because OS X Server is kind of fussy and it's easy to end up with a non-bootable system).
  8. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    Just go to Server Admin and turn off everything but SMB and AFP. Don't need SMB if you have no PC's.
    Then go to Workgroup Manager and add users. Set up folders in SHARED ITEMS at the Root level, make groups, add users to groups then add ACL's for the groups to the folders you set up giving them full control.
    I'm serious when I say this will take about 10 minutes.

    Attached Files:

  9. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    Strictly speaking, I believe Time Machine does back up OD correctly using ServerBackup. What it doesn't do is restore everything for you.

  10. dark knight thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 28, 2008
    thanks all, have ordered a nice new imac today to be used as a simple file server for the other macs. (non OSX server)

    les' suggestion seems a pretty straight forward one of just letting others access shared folders on the server. i suppose i will set up the client machines to have a password login, like any standalone machine, but essentially they are not asking the server for anything more than files.

    printers etc can all be connected to the "server" imac and shared + time machine can work normally too.

    any other hints and tips for this style of setup?

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