Mac Mini Server?

rjcalifornia

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 4, 2012
668
3
El Salvador
Ok, so I was wondering if I can use this Mac:

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_mini/specs/mac_mini_g4_1.5.html

as a web server?

Back story:

The school server is not working. No funds to get a new one (Windows Server) and we need one so that computers access the internet. So here's I want to donate one, but I don't wanna spend a lot of money lol I found one like that going for USD $80 (international shipping included) so I was wondering if I can use it as a server.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,187
13,026
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Ok, so I was wondering if I can use this Mac:

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_mini/specs/mac_mini_g4_1.5.html

as a web server?

Back story:

The school server is not working. No funds to get a new one (Windows Server) and we need one so that computers access the internet. So here's I want to donate one, but I don't wanna spend a lot of money lol I found one like that going for USD $80 (international shipping included) so I was wondering if I can use it as a server.
Just a web server? Possible, but I'd be concerned with the limited amount of ram. 1GB is pretty low for a server.

Are you seeking to control internet access with the Mac?
 

rjcalifornia

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 4, 2012
668
3
El Salvador
Just a web server? Possible, but I'd be concerned with the limited amount of ram. 1GB is pretty low for a server.

Are you seeking to control internet access with the Mac?
Control internet access. Like when the server was working, it had to be turned on so that computers could get internet access.

Just that, no need to save files or anything special. Is it possible? Or should I just find a very very cheap Intel PC?
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,187
13,026
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Control internet access. Like when the server was working, it had to be turned on so that computers could get internet access.

Just that, no need to save files or anything special. Is it possible? Or should I just find a very very cheap Intel PC?
Yeah, that's possible. The Mini will need another NIC card though and software that will do that. I assume OS X Server would handle that. Unfortunately, my server experience has been mainly with Windows Small Business Server 2003.

One NIC on the Mini would connect to the router/modem and you'd run a cable from the second NIC to a switch. The internal computers would connect to the switch.

Both NIC cards are on a seperate IP address range (keeping the internal network from being exposed to the internet) and the server bridges the two cards. You can thus control access from the server.
 

rjcalifornia

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 4, 2012
668
3
El Salvador
Yeah, that's possible. The Mini will need another NIC card though and software that will do that. I assume OS X Server would handle that. Unfortunately, my server experience has been mainly with Windows Small Business Server 2003.

One NIC on the Mini would connect to the router/modem and you'd run a cable from the second NIC to a switch. The internal computers would connect to the switch.

Both NIC cards are on a seperate IP address range (keeping the internal network from being exposed to the internet) and the server bridges the two cards. You can thus control access from the server.
I manage to fix the server (Proliant ML350) by changing the position of the Smart Array controller. Seems like one of the PCI slots died
 

rjcalifornia

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 4, 2012
668
3
El Salvador
The motherboard may be going then. Glad you got it working for the mean time though.
Yes that's a big problem, the Motherboard is going :(

The thing is I don't want to use Windows as a server solution, and I don't wanna go the Linux road either.

I mean students are learning Windows and Linux but no Mac OS. I wish I had the money to get intel iMacs or at least iMac G5 for that matter, for the computer lab.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
Yes that's a big problem, the Motherboard is going :(

The thing is I don't want to use Windows as a server solution, and I don't wanna go the Linux road either.

I mean students are learning Windows and Linux but no Mac OS. I wish I had the money to get intel iMacs or at least iMac G5 for that matter, for the computer lab.
The question is whether that board is going to fully die or just the slot is shot. I have seen boards run for years with damaged and broken PCI and AGP slots, but I have also seen a board where the slot died and the whole board started to degrade. It started with two of the RAM slots, then the other PCI slots, then the whole board died a week later.

Either way, since the board is going and you don't know how long it'll run, I would petition to get it replaced. Otherwise rig the network up to run without the server until a new one can be afforded. What is the server actually doing, DHCP, NAT, file sharing, printer service, or filtering? Depending on what it is doing, we may be able to help you get the network running without the server.
 
Yes that's a big problem, the Motherboard is going :(

The thing is I don't want to use Windows as a server solution, and I don't wanna go the Linux road either.

I mean students are learning Windows and Linux but no Mac OS. I wish I had the money to get intel iMacs or at least iMac G5 for that matter, for the computer lab.
I have a single processor G5 Xserve that you can have if you pay shipping from Florida. I am not sure if it has an OS or not though, but I can check if you are interested. If you can put it to good use that is better than it sitting in my work area unused.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
Yes that's a big problem, the Motherboard is going :(

The thing is I don't want to use Windows as a server solution, and I don't wanna go the Linux road either.

I mean students are learning Windows and Linux but no Mac OS. I wish I had the money to get intel iMacs or at least iMac G5 for that matter, for the computer lab.
If you accept that offer that TampaSteve threw out then I will gladly be able to help get it configured in your setup. There are alot of knowledgable network folks around here.
 

rjcalifornia

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 4, 2012
668
3
El Salvador
The question is whether that board is going to fully die or just the slot is shot. I have seen boards run for years with damaged and broken PCI and AGP slots, but I have also seen a board where the slot died and the whole board started to degrade. It started with two of the RAM slots, then the other PCI slots, then the whole board died a week later.

Either way, since the board is going and you don't know how long it'll run, I would petition to get it replaced. Otherwise rig the network up to run without the server until a new one can be afforded. What is the server actually doing, DHCP, NAT, file sharing, printer service, or filtering? Depending on what it is doing, we may be able to help you get the network running without the server.
As of right now it has an Active Directory (18 computers from 2006 joined) and also as a Proxy Server. Each computer has the server as a proxy, doing DHCP and NAT. I will post a screenshot of that.

The server is from 2004, running Windows Server 2003. It is pretty old (HP Proliant ML350) and not very reliable. It has only one RAID left. It used to have more but died a long time ago due to misuse.

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I have a single processor G5 Xserve that you can have if you pay shipping from Florida. I am not sure if it has an OS or not though, but I can check if you are interested. If you can put it to good use that is better than it sitting in my work area unused.
Sounds pretty good!! I will look how much the shipping from Florida to El Salvador is and I will PM you.


Could you check if it has an OS? If not, what OS does it need to be installed? It will be put to a good use!!!!
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
That's pretty wonderful! I will need a lot of help configuring it :confused:
You are going to need Leopard Server 10.5, or at least Tiger Server. Snow Leopard Server or later (10.6+) won't run on a PPC. Given at least 2 GB of RAM and decent storage an Xserve may be a viable option to hold you over a few years.

Granted, in most cases it makes no sense to use a Mac server in a PC environment. Since it is just doing directory services, DHCP, and proxy filtering you should be fine.

When you say it is handling as a proxy do you mean for filtering purposes? If so you may want to step it up to an outside source. The problem with proxy servers is that they generally do not get updated to include the latest "bad sites", often confuse appropriate sites with those that are not, and are local. If you do something DNS based all lookups go through an external server, which will take the load off the new server you get. I am not sure what services are available in your country. In the United States, I personally like OpenDNS.

I am guessing you have a modem of some sort connected to a NIC on the server which is then routing and sent out another NIC and is connected to the wiring. In my setup there is the modem connected to a router and then connected to the infrastructure (wiring) and the server gets a static address. Hit us back with a more detailed explanation of your setup.
 

rjcalifornia

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 4, 2012
668
3
El Salvador
Granted, in most cases it makes no sense to use a Mac server in a PC environment. Since it is just doing directory services, DHCP, and proxy filtering you should be fine.

When you say it is handling as a proxy do you mean for filtering purposes? If so you may want to step it up to an outside source. The problem with proxy servers is that they generally do not get updated to include the latest "bad sites", often confuse appropriate sites with those that are not, and are local. If you do something DNS based all lookups go through an external server, which will take the load off the new server you get. I am not sure what services are available in your country. In the United States, I personally like OpenDNS.

I am guessing you have a modem of some sort connected to a NIC on the server which is then routing and sent out another NIC and is connected to the wiring. In my setup there is the modem connected to a router and then connected to the infrastructure (wiring) and the server gets a static address. Hit us back with a more detailed explanation of your setup.
Just a normal proxy server. No filtering. I don't want to allow file sharing because the school would be liable for the content saved on the server.

We have a rack, NIC switches, modem. The switch is connected to the router and the switch is connected to another one to allow up to 30 connections in the computer lab. The current server connects to it with two ethernet cables.

How does the Xserve G5 works? Like screen monitor? I read that is very very reliable and an Xserve would be a pretty great addition to the school, since the current server is pretty much done. Other schools that I were given the same servers (Proliant) don't have them anymore. (Burned years ago)
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
Just a normal proxy server. No filtering. I don't want to allow file sharing because the school would be liable for the content saved on the server.

We have a rack, NIC switches, modem. The switch is connected to the router and the switch is connected to another one to allow up to 30 connections in the computer lab. The current server connects to it with two ethernet cables.

How does the Xserve G5 works? Like screen monitor? I read that is very very reliable and an Xserve would be a pretty great addition to the school, since the current server is pretty much done. Other schools that I were given the same servers (Proliant) don't have them anymore. (Burned years ago)
So you have the server connected in two links to a switch. That switch is then "daisy chained" to another for the computer lab. Can you by chance take a picture of this setup also?
 

hwojtek

macrumors 65816
Jan 26, 2008
1,133
238
Poznan, Poland
Control internet access. Like when the server was working, it had to be turned on so that computers could get internet access.
I believe you were using the computer not as a "web server" but as a router. You will be much better catered for with a $30 router.
[edit] OK, I read up on the topic and yes, the Xserve will be more than capable to fulfill all the duties (you are going to enjoy the configuration, BTW, it is so elegant). Squid web proxy and you are all set!
 

rjcalifornia

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 4, 2012
668
3
El Salvador
Sure thing, it is not with me now, but I can check for you on Monday.
Sweet! Thanks!

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I believe you were using the computer not as a "web server" but as a router. You will be much better catered for with a $30 router.
[edit] OK, I read up on the topic and yes, the Xserve will be more than capable to fulfill all the duties (you are going to enjoy the configuration, BTW, it is so elegant). Squid web proxy and you are all set!
hehe yep, but I wonder, how do you set up an Xserver? It doesn't have a VGA port or something?

----------

Worst case scenario, I am sure you can get a copy of Leopard Server cheaply nowadays.
Sounds good
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,872
368
Inside
Xserves are setup by another Mac. When a default fresh installation of Mac OS X Server is detected on the same local network as another Mac that just started it, it'll prompt you to set it up. From there you can setup the basic settings and such. You can also set it up with the Mac OS X client's Server Admin Tools. Or if you have one, you can install a PCI video card and configure it that way.
 

rjcalifornia

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Oct 4, 2012
668
3
El Salvador
Xserves are setup by another Mac. When a default fresh installation of Mac OS X Server is detected on the same local network as another Mac that just started it, it'll prompt you to set it up. From there you can setup the basic settings and such. You can also set it up with the Mac OS X client's Server Admin Tools. Or if you have one, you can install a PCI video card and configure it that way.
Ok, some questions:

1. So can it be configure with my Powerbook?

2. Can I place it inside a Network Rack?

3. How loud is it?
 

hwojtek

macrumors 65816
Jan 26, 2008
1,133
238
Poznan, Poland
The Xserves do have a (very basic) graphic card and USB ports, so you can set them up by hooking up any DVI monitor, mouse and keyboard. However doing it remotely is much more comfortable indeed.
 
The Xserves do have a (very basic) graphic card and USB ports, so you can set them up by hooking up any DVI monitor, mouse and keyboard. However doing it remotely is much more comfortable indeed.
You are correct on the USB port part, but not all Xserve systems have a DVI port. Only the Intel and PPC G4 versions have video out ports (DVI and VGA, respectively). PPC G5 need a PCI card installed.

Sweet! Thanks!


Just took a closer look at the Xserve. It looks to be equipped with:
(1) Single processor 1.8GHZ G5
(3) HDD caddys
(1) HDD installed
(2) One GB RAM module
(1) VGA card

It fires up and runs, but the ominous flashing folder appears.....so it would appear there is no OS on the HDD.