Mac mini server in Windows environment

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Muddy, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. Muddy macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2010
    Hi All,

    I am thinking about getting the mac mini server for my fathers business.

    Everyone uses a Windows machines in his business, so I was wondering if anyone has this setup (with the back end being the mini).

    I was hoping people could let me know how well it works, and how they use calendars emails without outlook etc...

    Thanks in advance
  2. hakuryuu macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2007
    Lomita, CA
    If all you really want to do is run mail server, calendar server, and file sharing this will work fairly well though not as well as if you had a windows server doing the job. However the Mini can do everything for far cheaper, obviously.

    You can have both mail and calendar (as well as wiki and blog services) be web based so you wouldn't need a client application to view any of that. But for instance without a client you won't have anything popping up to alert someone of a calendar event. I think some of Mozilla's clients are compatible with iCal server. And there are surely others as well as supposedly a way to connect to iCal with outlook, though I haven't looked too hard for this.

    The mail server can be connected to by any normal mail client.

    File sharing has worked well for me when connecting via windows or mac. Just make sure to use SMB only for your shares that they will use.

    There is a lot more to consider, including whether they are using Windows XP or 7. 7 introduced some hurdles when sharing with any SMB (OS X or Linux) client/host.
  3. Muddy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2010

    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes it will be used to run a mail server (I assumed this works like exchange so will sync between the blackberry and the laptops), calendar server (especially important for shared calendar and the admin girl adding appointments for everyone) and file sharing (currently done via dropbox but not a great solution for multiple people using the same files)

    Client applications would be preferred rather then the mail/calendar all being web based, and as you mentioned pop ups with new appointments etc are handy.

    The mail server will work with Outlook? Although I suppose if i have the calendar working with a Mozilla product, its best to use Mozilla also for the email and have everything together?

    The machines are all Windows Vista, would this represent the same problems as 7 does? What else would I need to consider in making this decision?
  4. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    1. Who is going to maintain/repair this environment?
    2. Where are you putting backups?
    3. Sure, you can use Outlook with it, but by default, all credentials are sent in cleartext. It may or may not matter for your case.

    If they already have email using Exchange, you're likely taking steps backward by implementing a Mini. Is there a particular reason why you're investigating a switch?
  5. Muddy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2010

    I will be looking after the setup, although I am not trained technically I have done similar in the past and run things fine.

    Backups will be done via a TM.

    At the moment they do not have exchange, it is a very simply setup of files shared via dropbox, and printer etc shared via an old PC acting as a server. It is a very simple setup which is not enough for there needs now. So they would be "upgrading" to the mini server.
  6. Muddy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2010
    Hi All,

    Anyone else with some first hand experience that could help?
  7. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    I used to be an exchange admin, there is no other product on the market with the same features. It's a pain sometimes but it makes a lot of things easy and cheap to run.

    For smaller businesses check out hosted exchange solutions
  8. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    Get a proper Windows server. It simply doesn't make sense to run a Mac server in a Windows environment. Heck, it doesn't make sense in most Mac environments!
  9. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    For OS X Server, you don't want to use Time Machine, as it doesn't backup everything properly.
  10. kgeier82 macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2008
    How big is the company/user-base? An exchange environment might not even be a viable solution if its just 10 people.

    The mini will be fine in the right environment with the right amount of demand.
  11. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    Think Small Business Server.
  12. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    still too much trouble

    Google apps or Microsoft's hosted solution. i've seen small businesses buy servers and it's always too much money and trouble and PITA to support them
  13. ahankinson macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2010
    If you've never done this before, I'd suggest getting one and setting up a testing environment before announcing that you're switching everyone whole-hog.

    When you say you've "done similar things" before, what do you mean? If you give some indication of where you're at, we may be able to help you fill in the spots where you need to do some brushing up.
  14. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    And OS X Server may still be too much trouble too. On the other hand, when SBS was first released, I had many customers using it without a hitch. I haven't used it since SBS on Win2K.
  15. Muddy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2010
    Sorry for the delay in replying, and thank you all for contributing

    There are currently 5 people in the business, but it is slowly expanding.

    I would definitely be setting it up in a test environment before deploying it.

    In terms of experience I have none using Mac server, although I have used a Macbook pro for a year now myself.

    I used to use a hosted service, but the company went belly up and so did all my info! Luckily I used to keep backups myself. Also another company I contract with had there supposedly big time secure hosts go into administration, so I am not keen on that solution and would rather have it all in house.
  16. danunwin macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2009

    Did you impliement a Mac mini server?

    I'm looking to do the same and replace our sbs2008 server with a mac mini, The server is running so hot it's cheaper to replace reather than get AC installed!



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