Looking to create a server

Discussion in 'macOS' started by shabba, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. shabba macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2007
    This is probably going to be such a complex task but its worth a shot.

    My macbook is sadly running out of harddrive space. Now I have already upgraded the harddrive to the maximum 160GB I dont really like the idea of external hard drives as they dont switch off! Well mine doesn't. What I want is to port everything over to the server. Have All of my applications, files and such on a server. Basically like the majority of windows servers. This seems like a much better way to do it. Can anyone shed some light on what I need to do?
  2. bug macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC
    Good plan...

    This is a good idea (I don't know how I'd survive without at least one sever), but there are a few things to consider.

    First off, you say you'd like to have your applications on the server. While this is possible in some cases, it isn't going to work out that well for a number of reasons. My advice is to just leave your installed applications on whatever machine you'll be using them on. You can of course keep the install packages or backups of your applications on your server though!

    You'll also need some networking equipment - you have a MB, so I'll assume you've got WiFi of some nature going. If you just have an airport express or something with no physical ports, I'd recommend getting a switch or a router - just something that you can hook the server up to directly. You can absolutely have the server running on WiFi, so if that is how you have to do it - so be it. I just prefer having a server hardwired (faster, more reliable).

    The next consideration is what kind of computer do you have available for the server? This is something serious to consider. The easiest thing is to just get another mac and use that - likely a powermac (or mac pro) of some nature because you can use internal harddrive bays (although, you can use external enclosures - consider getting a card that does eSATA for this if you have the cash). Networking mac to mac is also easier, although don't let that put you off doing linux/pc/mac networks - they really aren't that tough.

    If those suggestions are just totally unreasonable because they are too expensive (which is likely given that you are just looking to serve some files) you can pick up a cheap linux box and use that. It will make a great server, but you'll have to figure out linux which can be a project in itself if you've never done it before. Check out Ubuntu for an easy distro to use, although everyone has their favorite one and some people feel very strongly about one over another...

    Really at this point we need to know:
    -What hardware do you have available to you (networking gear, computers, drives, etc)
    -How much money are you prepared to spend ($300 could probably get you started with a cheap linux box and a router, but we can certainly help spend your money for you if you have more ;) )
    -How much data do you have and what is taking up your space (ie. what kind of files do you have filling up your drive)

    ...Another simple solution is to just get some external enclosures with a power switch if your only concern is that they don't turn off. I use Vantec Nexstars and just put whatever drive I like in them. They work well with Macs and PCs, they have a power switch, and have both USB 2.0 and eSATA if you need the flexibility.

    Good luck!
  3. odinsride macrumors 65816


    Apr 11, 2007
    You could set up a Linux file server for pretty cheap..just takes a little bit of reading to setup shares and everything, but once that's done you don't have to bother with it anymore.

    Like the previous poster said, it's generally not a good idea to run your apps from a server. Keep those on your local hard drive. Keep everything you'll always want access to on your hard drive.

    For me, this is mainly my music, important documents, etc. Everything else (videos, application dmg files, etc) is kept on my external drive.

    If your only problem is that you're running out of hard drive space, I would simply get some Externals with a power switch.

    If you have multiple computers and want to access your files from a central location, or want to run a web server or other additional services, then a server might better suit you.
  4. shabba thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 21, 2007
    Ahh I forgot to explain all of the questions you asked :p

    I currently have a windows 2003 server. A few routers and switches and ISDN boxes and come to think of it alot of networking gismos (I'm a Cisco Associate).

    This is how it currently works..

    I have a disk that gets mounted on startup. Which is linked to my server this is basically just a shared folder. I want a better way of doing it. Group policies or something, preferably not group policy's as I dont want to actually stop myself from doing anything LOL!

    All I really want is to stop using my mac harddrive! Keep that just for applications, move everything else to the server. That way when I take my laptop out of the house I can dial into my network over VPN.
  5. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Say you're using a Mac Mini or some other Mac, running Tiger. What steps are needed to turn it into a server? What settings should one set in terms of file sharing, access, and so forth?
  6. bug macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC
    Sounds like you should have the skills and equipment required to get it all going. Is there some specific aspect that you need more information about?

    Accessing a windows file share from a mac is pretty easy - command-K, then enter "smb://<name or ip>/". If you need to get into active directory or specify a domain then you'll have to enable it in "Directory Access" on the mac. You can use "NetInfo Manager" to add automatic mounts and things like that as well. There are also many VPN solutions - you can use "Internet Connect" to setup a L2TP or PPTP connection. If you want to use OpenVPN I like TunnelBlick (http://www.tunnelblick.net/).

    The setup you have should be fine - if you run into specific problems let us know.
  7. bug macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC
    System Preferences -> Sharing
    Check "Personal File Sharing" (assuming this a mac to mac network)

    You are done :)

    One the client computer just select finder, hit command-K and type "afp://<ip or name>/". Note that usually unless you've changed other things the name of your computer in afp will actually end ".local" so if your computer is bob you'd type "afp://bob.local" in the connect to server dialog.

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