Mac Mini as a Server

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by TerryJoyce, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. TerryJoyce macrumors member

    TerryJoyce

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hello All,

    I am wanting to have a home server. I currently have a MBP and the wife has a Vista machine. I am wanting to have all my data stored in one central place and I am happy for it to be attached to the Mac Mini. I am wondering however what else can I get the Mac Mini to do.

    So I am asking for the perfect home network what would you put on the Mac Mini to allow it to be more than a file store.

    I was thinking of a VPN / Mobile Access and also a place to do my Time Machine backups. So any other ideas.

    Also ideas on software to do the above would be appreciated.

    Terry
     
  2. sibruk macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Location:
    UK+US
    #2
    Our Leopard Server machine, serving a small business, is also an entertainment centre - connected directly to a big TV screen. A combination of Plex, Remote Buddy and EyeTV all work just as well on OS X Server as they do on OS X Client.
     
  3. Fizzoid macrumors 68020

    Fizzoid

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    UK
  4. TheCheapGeek macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #4
    I have set up a home server mac to do time machine backups. It involves a few terminal hacks to get it to work, but it does work flawlessly. However, I have since learned that using this method of sharing a drive from the server to each machine for time machine use can cause problems as the backup drive begins to fill up. Backup to me need to be rock solid so I abandoned this method. To properly use a server as a time machine server you need to use Leopard or snow leopard server. This version of the OS allows multiple macs to backup to any hard drive on the server. Hope this helps.
     
  5. TerryJoyce thread starter macrumors member

    TerryJoyce

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    I am also wondering what software will be required to perform the actions of a VPN and mail server.
     
  6. ramases macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #6
    Leopard server (and Snow Leopard) have VPN and mail built in. You just need to configure it. There are some excellent walkthroughs on iTunes - look for Apple Quick Tour of Leopard Server, currently 29 episodes from setup/install to comms services.
     
  7. TerryJoyce thread starter macrumors member

    TerryJoyce

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    Yes that is true but if there is some software I could use on the SL installed already it would be better than paying £399 for the SLS.
     
  8. ramases macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    #8
    There are a number of options regarding mail on a mac mini. Personally I use surgemail from netwinsite.com (free for up to 5 users), easy to install etc.

    I use my Draytek 2820 to build the VPN and my macmini sits behind that accepting the VPN traffic and serving mail to my iMac and 2 macbooks and 2 iphones. However, I believe ivpn will allow you to configure the mini if your router only allows vpn passthru.

    All my printers are defined and attached to the macmini and are shared. Therefore all my macs can print to them using the mini as a "print server".

    I have an iomega 500gb firewire HDD attached to the mini for storage (itunes music etc) and a small partition for a timemachine backup of the mini itself.

    If you want to take it a stage further, have a look at plex (plexapp.com) and use the mini as a media centre.

    Have a look at macminiserver.com for some other suggestions.
     
  9. G-Funk macrumors regular

    G-Funk

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    Miami , FL
    #9
    I've just ordered Snow Leopard server edition with a Mac Mini to have it set up as a server for my network, would Snow Leopard server help in having it as a gateway to my entire network (VPN) , will I be able to have it as a Spotlight server (go to my Mac) through VPN once I connect to it from the internet remotely ? will it enable me to log to it from my iPhone ? add users and manage the network from the phone ?

    One more Question, will i be able to plug the Mac Mini server to the network after setting it up without hooking a keyboard and mouse and be able to control it from a remote client from within my network ?

    Appreciating the help.
     
  10. TerryJoyce thread starter macrumors member

    TerryJoyce

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    Answer to all those is yes if you look at the server site
     
  11. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Location:
    Lexington, MA, USA
    #11
    I use SSL Explorer for my home VPN. As its name suggests it sets up an SSL VPN which allows you to up- and download files from the server, remote desktop connect to any machine in your network, etc. I use it on Linux, but there is a port for OSX as well.

    For mail servers, if you install Xcode and either Fink or MacPorts you can probably grab Sendmail, the granddaddy of all mail server software.
     

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