Mac Mini as a colo server?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by iRCL, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. iRCL macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2011

    I'm a developer and I have created an engine (ObjC/Cocoa) that I spent lots of blood&sweat to get compiling native on iOS and also cross-compiling using The Cocotron open-source Cocoa libraries, which I've deployed to FreeBSD and am running there. The portion running on FreeBSD is a server and the iOS app connects over the network to it. It's working great..

    But. (There's always a but). But, it is a real monster to manage that. And it's not free when I hit bugs or portions missing from The Cocotron's implementation of Cocoa (although it is very good). And I need to build cross compilers and keep them up to date when I set up my development environment. And it holds me at least 1 generation back in technology (can't use Clang/LLVM quite yet, blocks, GCD, and so on). This has all worked, but resulted in quite a lot of extra work.

    The solution I'm considering is to drop my usage of the Cocotron, drop FreeBSD, and instead run the service on OS X. This of course, requires Mac hardware. Which is expensive and is a major reason I didn't do this the first time around. However..

    Looking at the Mac Minis, there is a pretty nicely powered ones for ~$500 refurb. And I see a really compelling rack-mount case made by Sonnet: which would allow me to easily rack up the mini in to 1U and colo it where my server currently resides.

    My questions are the following:

    - I have basically no need for the 'Server' OS X services. I would probably run a DB server locally but that's it. So, am I fine with basic old OS X 10.7 Lion standard installation?
    - Are there any differences between the OS configuration of 10.7 versus Server? For example, On 10.6 I tried running a bunch of Eggdrop IRC bots and I got some rather strange behavior with running out of network sockets and getting weird performance from network sockets with just a 'bunch' running. On the other hand I've run hundreds of network connections simultaneously from my desktop using test apps. I'm just wondering if I'm going to hit weird hang-ups for any reason
    - What's it like to remotely manage OS X? I *can* come in person to do things if needed, but this is obviously not ideal.
    - I have literally nothing as far as keyboards/monitors/etc although perhaps I can scrounge. How will it be to set this thing up? At what point can I go headless?


  2. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008

    With remote login and screen sharing, you're essentially sitting in front of the machine. Obviously you can't push the power button.

    After you login for the first time and turn on Remote Login (ssh) and Screen Sharing (vnc) in System Preferences, you can unplug the keyboard, mouse and monitor and talk to it remotely. You're responsible for knowing the IP address. If you want to use Screen Sharing over ssh, you'll have to tunnel port 5900.

  3. slackman1 macrumors newbie

    Jan 9, 2011
    Screen resolution

    ...and you probably will want a remotely operated power switch, as some providers offer.
    Then you also will want to have a bigger screen resolution then the standard without screen connected. There is a solution for that with:
    Otherwise you might be stuck with 1024 or 1280 max. after a reboot

    All experiences from managing 42 mini's remotely...;-)
  4. MacOverWin macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2009
    We colocate a few of our servers and have no issues accessing them remotely. The hosting company will give you a static IP where you configure, or they will configure.

    It was already mentioned that you can use remote login and screen sharing for remote access but the hosting company should also provide remote power control so that you can reboot the server via the power port of your server. This is what we do with the company we host our servers at.

    Oh and most importantly, if you MUST be online all the time, make sure you get a company who has 24/7/365 support for physical remote hands

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