Mac Mini - A good solution for us?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by SooTyLaD, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. SooTyLaD macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2007
    Hi guys,

    Thinking I may be able to kill two birds with one stone here...

    I need to get my part time designer a new machine for the office, but we also need a proper central storage place for all our static files and dynamic development projects.

    Is it possible / viable to do both of these in one go by getting a mac mini server? could the designer use Lion in the normal way as a single user and then have server running silently in the background as a different user and feeding the needs of the rest of the office?

    Maybe its more viable to just get a standard mini and install server on my more powerful iMac and use that as central storage?

    Advice needed really, we need a) a new machine and b) a decent solution for a design / development office to share everything including git repositories, static files etc...

    Thanks :)
  2. rwwest7 macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2011
    Very possible. As long as the user doesn't do a shut down before going home. Or suddenly reboot to finish an install while someone is accessing an important file.

    I would say it's best to keep servers and workstations separate, just because of the downtime and reboot issues that can be caused.
  3. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    Yes, this would be possible... You wouldn't want to give your part time designer admin access to this system, just user access. And, generally speaking, using a server as a production desktop too isn't the best idea. You can do it, but I wouldn't consider that a long term solution.

    With the prices on the Mini so low, is there any way you could get two of them? Perhaps just get a base Mini for your file serving needs and a slightly upgraded one for your desktop user. Having a spare desktop computer is always a good idea. My MBP recently was in the shop and the Apple store doesn't offer loaners. So, I pulled my Mini out of the closet and used it until the repairs were complete.
  4. SooTyLaD thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2007
    Yeah its not super ideal I agree, but it'll do in the interim I think... So can I just confirm I can run fileshare and sql/php servers on a separate admin user while the designer sits and plays with photoshop, indesign etc as a standard user, who also has access to the necessary shared bits?
  5. DaffyDuck macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007
    Based on my own experience with the 2011 quad core server, I would not recommend it until more bugs are worked out. The main issue I have is when more than one user is logged in, freezing of the interface becomes common. Finder freezes. Video freezes. Brrrrr... It usually doesn't require a reboot but it's still not usable as a multi-user system. I have tried every trouble-shooting tip known to man and lost most of my hair trying to fix it.
  6. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    Have you tried taking it in to Apple for service? Maybe it's a hardware problem.

    Or are you saying that the problems you described are consistent across a large number of machines you've tested on?

    Because if it's just one machine, I'd start by treating it as a machine-specific problem, rather than a generalized problem. I've had several Mac minis, and only one of them had a problem, and it was hardware, and replaced under warranty. All of them are still sailing smoothly along.
  7. DaffyDuck macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007
    I had the exact same issues on my MacBook Pro with multiple users logged on. I don't usually install betas but I installed 10.7.2 out of desperation and it improved the situation greatly. The 10.7.2 beta will not install on the Mini Server and it worries me that there appears to be no external beta testing of any new releases that install on Lion Server. Perhaps it's being tested internally only but I don't know why that would be. Anyway, my fingers are crossed that there will be a 10.7.2 for Lion Server and that the freezing issues will improve.

    ...Actually, you can trick 10.7.2 to install on Lion Server but it's clearly not meant to be installed on Server. I tried it with 2 different beta releases of 10.7.2 and the freezing was not fixed but other problems appeared. Reverted to 10.7.1 with Time Machine each time.

    There is a thread on the Apple Forums about how to install Snow Leopard on new Mac Minis. It can be done but the result is a 50% decrease of its speed. I'm tempted to try this just to try to prove that the freezing is a software issue. The fact that just moving the mouse over the dock causes it to unfreeze seems to suggest a software issue.
  8. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    There's no need to do all this testing. I, and quite a few others, have used their Minis with Server as desktop machines for whatever reason. My MBP was in for repair so I used the Mini for a couple of days and it worked fine.
  9. rwwest7 macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2011
    There is a 10.7.2 beta already out for Lion Server, not sure what you're talking about. If you can legally obtain the regular Lion 10.7.2 then the download for the server version is on the same page, along with an admin tools update.

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