Mac Mini Server - advice

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by costabunny, May 30, 2010.

  1. costabunny macrumors 68020

    costabunny

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Location:
    Weymouth, UK
    #1
    Any mini server users here?

    I have a couple of Q's that I seem not find answers to (my google-fu is weak)...

    I really only want to know;

    What config are the drives in as shipped? (Mirrored, seperate?)
    Anyone using a samsung USB DVDRW as boot (to reinstall if needed)?
    Does OS X Server include iLife also?
    Anyone done the 8GB upgrade - thoughts?

    Am just evaluating what I really need from my new mac and the mini server might do the job (mirrored drives is a great thing for me).

    (My useage is light PS, office/iWork, safari, watching junk (TV, movies etc) and a bit of handbrake - not too worried about speed as anything will blow the socks off my Dual 1.25 G4)....

    thanks in advance guys n gals
     
  2. indg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    #2
    i'm not a mini server owner, but i'll try to answer:
    internal dual drives can be configured with disk utility. initial config doesn't really matter.
    os x can be booted from most external drives. take your drive to an apple store and test it out if you're not sure.
    ilife is not included.
    4gb max ram according to apple.

    personally i think the mini server is overkill for your needs. a regular mini with an external hdd as backup might be a better/cheaper option. you may not even like snow leopard server os.

    also be aware that the mini is nearing the end of its refresh cycle (i.e. less bang for your buck). it may be wise to wait to wait a few weeks/months for the next refresh.
     
  3. costabunny thread starter macrumors 68020

    costabunny

    Joined:
    May 15, 2008
    Location:
    Weymouth, UK
    #3
    thanks..

    The initial setup is an issue as I'd rather know if I need to plan for a fresh install or not. - maybe Apple should offer this as a BTO option (as even dell does that simple item allowing you to select the config).

    Mirrored drives are an issue for me as I need my system running all the time (so an external is ok, but still needs a reinstall incase of drive failure) - the backup and mirror are two separate mechanisms. (I do use an external for TM anyways).

    I also can read the 4GB max - I am asking if anyone has exp with the 4GB upgrade (that it will take even tho apple don't offer it).

    I will give the apple store a ring tho about iLife as my nearest apple store is 2hrs+ away. (and I'd be buying online).
     
  4. calderone macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #4
    1. The drives are configured as separate volumes. Macintosh HD and Data.

    2. I have not, I utilize NetRestore or an external firewire drive. I would be cautious about assuming the external DVDRW would be bootable, it should be but it may not work.

    3. No it does not include iLife. It is meant to be a server, not a daily use computer.

    4. Upgrading the RAM is easy if you know what you are doing and are comfortable working inside a computer with small space. From your usage, I would estimate that 4GB would be enough.

    I, personally do not recommend the Mac Mini Server unless you are using it as a server. Since most people don't run OS X Server as their daily use OS, there will be far less data about incompatibilities. While most software would work, if something does not you may be out of luck.

    You may as well buy a regular Mac Mini and remove the optical and add in a new hard drive. This way, you can have mirrored drives, you will get iLife out of the box and you will have an OS that isn't overkill for your uses.
     
  5. bill howell macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 31, 2010
    Location:
    Saginaw, Michigasn
    #5
    bill

    I purchased a mac mini server. called Apple re: setup as mirrored drive. They did not recommend I do so. Said users have problem when an array drive is running system software... great probability of error.
    Asked if i Could put the system on an external drive, use that as startup and mirror the two internal drives. Apple said yes but that would not be supported.
    I am wondering if I can purchase external drives to build a mirror. Has any one tried it?
     
  6. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #6
    I've got a Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server that I use as a server in my home which has 6 other Macs and a Windows PC as clients.

    I'd never buy the server version to use as a desktop. It would just be frustrating. The client Snow Leopard is much easier to set up and use, and comes with iLife. It took me a couple of weeks of evenings to get my server up and running as I wanted it, with all features reliable.

    My server sits in the corner of my office and runs "headless". I use the remote management tools and Screen Sharing to manage it. I've got the two internal drives set up as RAID 0, with nightly image backups to rotating external drives. I can boot the external if the internal RAID array fails. I remotely mount DVD/CDs on my iMac if needed to install software on the mini, and can use target disk mode on my iMac if I ever need to reinstall the OS.

    The 4GB of RAM has been more than enough. Looking at the stats (uptime is 23 days) I've had 3.8M pageins but only 42k pageouts, nearly a 100 to 1 ratio. Currently it shows 2.78GB RAM used, high because the mini is also running a Windows VM under Parallels. Disk usage has been 1.5TB read and 1.2TB written.

    Regarding the OP wanting mirrored drives ("a great thing for me"), why? Nothing you list as doing needs mirrored drives. Mirroring is great for business transactions (think: banks, store inventories) where losing any data at all is a disaster. For home use Time Machine plus image backups kept at another location is almost always sufficient.
     
  7. bill howell macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 31, 2010
    Location:
    Saginaw, Michigasn
    #7
    bill

    I am running a business using a server to provide access to files from 7 Macs and two PC's. I was hopeful I could remotely access data from another site.
    I currently use a old G4 running OS 10.4 with two two internal drives in addition to the system HD. Runs fine but I wanted to increase my server storage capacity and so added the mini.
     
  8. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #8
    Sure, using VPN. However Bonjour doesn't work over VPN so the remote systems (and resources like printers) won't appear in the finder and "Connect to Server", command-K, must be used to connect to remote systems.
     
  9. calderone macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #9
    That isn't exactly right.

    http://www.afp548.com/article.php?story=20090205204942121
     
  10. adjuster macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    #10
    I checked with Apple Enterprise support this morning and was told it is okay to mirror the hard drives. The Apple expert said that if there were a problem, Apple would issue a knowledgeware bulletin on it.

    Does anyone have further info on this?
     
  11. VideoFreek macrumors 6502

    VideoFreek

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Location:
    Philly
    #11
    I just don't see the point of mirroring in the Mini Server. Mirroring/ RAID makes a lot of sense when system uptime is critical and a failed drive can be replaced on the fly e.g. using hot swap bays. In the case of the Mini, you'd have to take the thing down and crack it open to replace a drive anyway, so what do you really gain by mirroring? It does nothing for reliability/ uptime, and if it's data security you're concerned about (and you should be), backing up to an external via TM or disk imaging is a far better option.

    Talmy, do you see a measureable performance gain going with the striped volume? Interesting approach, but of course more risk of failure. I'm also interested in more details on what software you are using to image your system to externals. Thanks in advance...
     

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