Mac Mini Server (2011) - keep Lion or upgrade?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by MarvinHC, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Shanghai, PRC
    #1
    Hi,
    I just got myself a used Mac Mini 2011 server version. It was on Sierra but I wanted to make a clean install so wiped everything and make internet recovery which reinstalled Lion - the original OS

    I then went to reinstall Sierra which told me that I first had to upgrade to Yosemite or El Capitan to get the server functionality. I had the El Capitan install file luckily on a different machine so went to install that. Only to find out that the server app has to be bought again!? Seriously? I feel a bit cheated here by Apple.

    So two questions:
    1. Is it worthwhile upgrading from Lion to a new server version? It is for home use, sharing files in the family, managing time machine backups of all devices etc, maybe in the future also work as VPN

    2. Is there any way of getting a free upgrade? I read a bit on the net, somewhere it seems to suggest that an upgrade from Yosemite was free, unfortunately I don't have a Yosemite install file readily available and they seem to be nowhere on the net.

    I on purpose looked for the server version of the Mini and I know the app only costs 20 Euros but given the original price of the server Mini this still doesn't feel right.

    Any advice / guidance would be high appreciated.

    Thank you.
     
  2. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #2
    Honestly? I don't think you need to upgrade if you feel that the machine is working fine for you right now. I'm actually still using Snow Leopard on my old 2007 Mini right now, and it still works fine for how I'm using it (HTPC and web browsing).

    However, you'll have to deal with a lack of support. Not only does Apple no longer provide updates for Snow Leopard, both Google and Mozilla have stopped updating their browser software for that OS. I suspect they've dropped support for Lion as well. So, you may eventually want to upgrade.

    Apple only started making OS X upgrades free with Mavericks (10.9). Unfortunately, this means that at a minimum, you need to be running Mountain Lion (10.8) to receive any free upgrades. Apple is still selling Mountain Lion:

    http://www.apple.com/shop/product/D6377Z/A/os-x-mountain-lion
     
  3. MarvinHC thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Shanghai, PRC
    #3
    Thanks for the feedback. The upgrade of the OS was actually free, but after the upgrade the server software does not work and requests you to purchase the new version.

    As said I have just bought this Mac Mini so cannot say if the older version is working fine or not, but the lack of updates makes me worried about security for the server.
     
  4. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #4
    Yes, I think you need to purchase the upgrade to 10.6 if you are still on 10.5. But Lion should be upgradeable for free.

    I think the issue is that the server was a specially configured version of MacOSX that was very expensive "back in the day". Somewhat later (perhaps 10.8?) Apple split the server software off and made it available for $20 at the app store.

    So there is probably no way around this. If you had a backup of the original software that shipped on that mini under Lion (or whatever) then you could restore that and have the server. But it sounds like that isn't an option for you, since it already had sierra on it.
     
  5. MarvinHC thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Shanghai, PRC
    #5
    Restauration went back to Lion including server software, so that I have, it was more about the newer versions. When looking for a 2nd hand I factored in when buying the server mini, that I didn't have to pay extra for the software but looks like I was not well enough informed.

    So I guess the main question now is: Use the Lion server software that I have or pay for the upgrade and use it under Sierra or El Capitan. Just wondering which would be the best (most stable) version...
     
  6. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #6
    Sierra and El Capitan run the same version of Server.app. Since you're starting from scratch, use Sierra as it'll be the most secure.
     
  7. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #7
    Watch out for 10.12.2 on your mini. Just finished almost an hour of talking my son in law through restoring his bricked 2012 mini following the update - had to use time machine to restore him to 10.12.1. ;) There's a thread here where others had the same problem of black screens at startup.
     
  8. MarvinHC thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Shanghai, PRC
    #8
    Thanks for the warning. Was about to run that update. Better wait until 10.12.3 in that case.
     
  9. Boyd01 macrumors 68040

    Boyd01

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey Pine Barrens
    #9
  10. MarvinHC thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Shanghai, PRC
    #10
    Really appreciate you posting this, I have to say this is a helpful forum!

    I am actually about to go on a 3 week trip, so won't have time to set this up before anyway, so when I am back I guess Apple has fixed the issue and I will go properly about this. Never played with a server so looking forward to this new challenge.
     

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