Mac Home Network Design & Implementation

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by JLB-UK, May 30, 2013.

  1. JLB-UK macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2009
    Hi All,

    As a family of Mac and iDevice users, I'm hoping to simplify file sharing & data sharing of calendars, emails, printers.

    I've designed a home network, which is attached with a Mac Mini acting as the gateway to the internet and also hosting the server side applications required.
    As the Mac Mini only has one ethernet port, I was planning on using an USB to ethernet adapter to connect to the internet while leaving the gigabit ethernet port to connect to the home network.

    The Mac Mini will host the following services initially, but might be extended in the future
    1. DHCP
    2. DNS
    3. Open Directory
    4. Profile Manager
    5. Mail
    6. VPN
    7. Calendar
    8. Contacts
    9. Software Update Manager

    Do other's build in redundancy with a second mac mini? if so, how? I don't see a real solution out there for this problem.

    I was about to ask about DHCP due to Apple removing it from the server app, but I have just noticed that this has been included again.

    Also, is it best to set the Access Point up to not issue DHCP addresses and allow this to be done through the Mac Mini?

    Finally, is Mac Mini the most appropriate server or would I be best with a Mac Pro?

    If you have any comments or suggestions I would find that most useful :)

    Attached Files:

  2. mus0r macrumors regular


    Mar 27, 2005
    Ok, not flaming, just legitimately asking...

    DHCP- Why? Your router probably does this just fine.
    DNS- Again, see above.
    Open Directory- Absolutely unnecessary at home.
    Profile Manager- Also questioning this.
    Mail- Why do you want your own mail server?
    VPN- This I can see.
    Calendar- Even this, but you don't really need a server you can just share events via email, etc.
    Contacts- Same as above.
    Software Update Manager- Not necessary for a home network.

    This is coming from a sys admin for a Mac only school district, responsible for almost 1000 Mac clients and servers (with some Windows stuff, too, but who cares about that? :apple:). Most of these functions are great for small businesses, schools, etc. but not really useful at home.

    Trust me, I tried just out of nerdy "just because I can" and it's just overkill and more than you want to manage just for home.
  3. jlehman macrumors member

    Apr 16, 2013
    I agree. Essentially everything mus0r asked is valid. I feel like you will create more problems, headaches, and spend more time managing the server than if you just found solutions on the clients themselves, like calendar sharing.
  4. Kasalic macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2011
    I tend to agree it is overkill, I completed a similar setup a year or so ago, but this was as part of my training for Mac OS X Server certification. Once completed, I switched back to running server just for VPN. To be fair we run a Microsoft Small Business Server which handles email/calendars/contacts, but these are easily replaceable with online services from iCloud/Google/Office 365.

    My Mac Mini's main job is to host all our media for use with Apple TV/iPad's/MacBooks etc.

    As for some constructive points, I would not setup the Router/Firewall/Mac Mini in this way. Buy a decent, business router, we use Draytek's, and put everything behind that. You can then run DHCP and DNS from either the Draytek or Mac Mini. The only real reason I have found for running DNS/DHCP on the Mac Mini is to configure DHCP to allow clients to search the internal network first, before searching the internet. Unless you have many clients, this is not really an issue, however I find the option of sending DNS requests to a router, then to a Server and then to the internet to be a less elegant solution than Client->Server->Router->External DNS servers. In a round about way, I am saying that although I know that a router is perfectly adequate at dealing with DNS/DHCP, I prefer to have a server perform these.
  5. defatter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2013
    I have a similar setup at home and I can understand why someone is setting up her or his home environment like this. Of course is a server setup hard to manage for a non-IT-PRO-user but to me it seems that OP has a basic understanding of what the topic is.. :)

    OPs questions were DHCP enabled on the access point and to decide between Mac Mini and Mac Pro.

    DHCP: I would not recommend DHCP on the access point. Unless you absolutely have to, best stick with one DHCP server. In a private environment why not use the It provides basic functionality just as the OP needs.

    mac decision: for the tasks you listed, the mac mini works perfectly. No need to invest in a Mac Pro. Keep power consumption and price in mind. Why buy a Mercedes E63 AMG station wagon when you just need an Mini for your daily doing? :)

    Redundancy is a nice option. Even a little more overkill for a home environment but.. why not? Obviously you do have the need.

    Hope this helped a bit.

  6. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
  7. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    I am running a Mac mini as a home server, the main duties are...
    Time machine back for 3 Mac book pros.
    File server for the house.
    Central location for crash plan backup.
    iTunes server.
    I am playing around with software update, not sure it is worth it yet.

    For email, calendar, Etc I use iCloud or google.
    DHCP is handled by the router

    Most of what I am doing I do not need OS X server except for the time machine backup. For that it is worth the $19.

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