Is Snow Leopard Server Appropriate For Me?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by MadDoc, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. MadDoc macrumors 6502

    MadDoc

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hello,

    I'm a longterm Mac user. I have recently bought a house and have just converted the garage for use as a small home cinema. I have a Mac Mini (the one before the one just released the other day) and a Drobo (amongst a lot of other gadgets!).

    I want to use the Mini to host all of my music/movies/TV shows. I also want to be able to use it to play emulated old games. The output from the Mini will be diverted to my projector. I'm also hoping to mirror the output to a small LCD screen in the media cupboard (that houses all my gear) for servicing.

    I run a website and there are a number of members in my household. I want to be able to host my own website instead of paying hosting fees and I want to be able to sync all of my family's address book details and calendars.

    Would OS X Server be a more appropriate OS than Snow Leopard? Is OSX Server still able to play games, etc like the 'regular' OS.

    Sorry if these questions are very basic.

    Thanks,

    MadDoc
     
  2. pendolino macrumors member

    pendolino

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    #2
    i would like to here what other experts here have to say on this since i had just the same idea when i saw the new mini server edition released.

    i dont usually use the CD drive and find the extra storage in lieu attractive as well as the lower overall cost of the product with server software.

    after thinking a bit more about the matter i realized that for many of the server-provided applications with OSX, i depend on other substitutes as follows:

    * email: intermedia provides reliable exchange hosting and i dont think i would like to manage my own unfamiliar (never use OSX mail server before) email server
    * file sharing: dropbox seems to be doing a heck of a job and the price is reasonable
    * chat server: we already use gtalk and other similar popular platforms so what benefit do we have with ichat server that seems to be a walled garden

    i would like to add that macminicolo.net has started offering the mini server as well as the standard edition and they will take the hassle of colocating the machine and securing it in their facility coupled with solid connectivity. the benefit i see here is that i could use the mini with OSX leopard server as my VPN server as i often am outside the US and prefer to use secure, encrypted connections.

    of course there are more uses of the server with specific apps it provides but i can't find a compelling enough reason to try it out. i am, however, tempted to try it out just to see how easy to use it really is. i've dabbled in setting up windows servers before and they are an absolute nightmare to use.

    in terms of client-server third party software that would work on OSX snow leopard server i have not heard of any must have tools but then again i am not too familiar with the product.

    thoughts?
     
  3. dazey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    #3
    I use OSX server at home on a g4 MDD:

    Web serving:
    -I have paid hosting for my website. A home server is no substitute for paid hosting if you want high availability. As an example, I am due to be moving house in about a months time and it will probably take 2-3 weeks to get a proper net connection back again.
    -One of the big uses however is that I use my home server as a webdav server (providing functionality bit like ftp but secure and without firewall issues). This lets me give all my photographic clients individual usernames and they can log onto my server and only get access to a particular folder. This lets me host large files that I could not do with my paid hosting for download. I have several webdav systems running on different web addresses
    -One day I may host some of my website on this server but the main site will always be on a paid hosting
    -OSX server makes it a lot easier to host multiple sites with different addresses.

    Calendars
    -I do use caldav, works great and I can sync my iphone over the air.

    Contacts
    -no idea, not in leopard server

    File serving
    -It hosts my photo library that is on an internal mirror raid and also some other shares. Server makes it easier to assign partitions and I found that I could get aperture to recognise the RAID as a valid source whereas I had issues doing this when it was a shared drive under standard osx. Managing users and permissions is a lot easier and flexible than on the client version.

    VPN
    -Very useful and easy to set up on server version. I use it to get secure access on my iphone if I am on a public wifi point. Also I have an offsite backup done by an old g4 mini running chronosync that connects over vpn and performs a backup of my photo library

    There is no doubt that with some hacking you can do a lot of this using the client version but it would be harder.

    Personally, if I was using a mini, I would rip out both of the drives and connect the mini to two external caldigit SATA mirror raid drives as 500GB is way too small for me. Either that or one SSD and one external RAID.
     
  4. extrachrispy macrumors regular

    extrachrispy

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    #4
    As a long-time FreeBSD guy (I've run my own server at home since the 3.4 days), I can tell you that there is a bit of a learning curve to switching to OS X Server. It was surprising, for example, that IMAP just plain did not work with local users--I had to set them up in Workgroup Manager so that their accounts were visible in LDAP.

    That said, it's going to be nice to have unified logins on all of the Macs in the house, and running my own mail server for spam trapping is something I never, ever want to give up.

    I'm looking forward to setting up the calendar and address book servers, as well as the wiki. If nothing else, it gets my son used to using these tools at an early age, so that he won't have to be asking "You want fries with that?" as a career choice. :)

    I'm also GREATLY looking forward to not having to patch the thing up-to-date myself. Yes, there are tools to help you update open source servers, but there's a lot to be said for Software Update (and OS X Server lets you cache the updates locally and push them out to your client machines without user intervention, if you wish).
     

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