Mavericks OS X Server V Windows Server 2012 Essentials

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by 998gsb, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. 998gsb, Jan 26, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014

    998gsb macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2014
    Hello All - I wonder if I could have your views and opinions on the following.....

    Forgive me in advance, as I'm not very techie!

    We are a small business and currently have an ageing Windows Server 2003 set up - and some fairly old desk top pc's which are overdue for renewal, as they are running XP SP2.

    Since these were all acquired we've become Mac converts and I'm loathed to give Microsoft more money!

    As Server 2003 is coming to an end in terms of support, we've been looking at the options for a suitable replacement. The hardware that Server 2003 is running on is only 32 bit - so to upgrade to Windows Server 2012, I'm automatically looking at having to buy a new 64 bit box.

    We want to replace the ageing pc's with iMacs.

    I've been looking at Windows Server 2012 Essentials - but note that this doesn't include Exchange to manage our mail - so we'd have to purchase this separately or use Office 365 - which we'd rather not have to do.

    Our server at the moment, acts as a central shared file server with a single Directory, which is accessed by the other PC's on the network and the server also handles our mail distribution, and syncs our iPads and iPhones to outlook.

    We have only 3 PC's hooked in to the server and a variety of iPads and iPhones using exchange.

    I tend to work remotely quite a lot, and at present use gotomypc to log in to my desktop from a remote pc or mac.

    Replacement of the desk tops is a given with iMacs any way so doesn't come in to the equation, but it occurred to me that we could buy a Mac Mini to act as a server, and OSX server, for a fraction of the cost of Server 2012, a new PC to run it on, and Exchange Server. Given that our actual requirements for a server aren't particularly taxing - Windows Server Essentials 2012 + Exchange is quite a big investment to make, and we probably wouldn't use 25% of its intended capability.

    Does anyone have any experience, of implementing OSX server for a small business - what are the downsides ?

    Is it possible to transfer the outlook mail files across to it (or would this simply download itself once the mail accounts are set up ?)

    Would I better giving more cash to Mr Gates ?

    Any views and opinions gratefully received!
  2. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    You may want to consider Gmail for mail services and Linux for your files server/shared directory.
  3. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2011
    United States
    Microsoft doesn't really have a good solution for small businesses as they discontinued their Small Business Server SKUs as of December 31. I believe that it is still available in some retail channels. If you can find that, it would probably be your best option. It runs on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange Server 2010.

    I have not used OS X as a mail server, so I cannot comment on that, but I do know that Exchange 2010 is pretty much the de-facto standard in corporate mail servers. Although it may seem like an overkill for a very small business, it works just as well from 3 users to 3000 users.

    I would not recommend Office 365 either due to it's subscription licensing model.
  4. mmomega macrumors 68030


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    The new Essentials is basically the new small biz server version.
    After saying that I chose to use just plain server2012 R2 at our business, I actually have 2 servers. 1 as a domain controller and 1 as a dedicated application server with SQL 2012 Ent and I have 12 Win7 machines and 6 Macs, 6 iPads that all connect just fine with both.

    Personally I do not have experience with OS X server in our workplace but I do have an all Mac network at home with 6 Macs and occasionally a Windows box when I need to set one up and share files and again it works great. I have not tried the mail function of OS X server so I can't help with you that portion.

    I might suggest looking at as they have some information and books on the basics of using and setting up both types or servers with mix OS's.
  5. irnchriz macrumors 65816


    May 2, 2005
    Osx server mail is fairly basic and we no longer use it tbh. We either put clients onto office 365 basic outlook accounts £2.60 per user per month or if they wish to run the mail locally, we recommend Kerio mailserver.

    Generally a windows DC provides a more robust network than Osx server does, so we normally recommend a 'golden triangle' approach. (Windows DC and Osx server for profiles). This obviously varies depending on your usage and requirements. To run everything on a budget you could get away with running everything from the Osx server.

    Either way always remember to have a decent backup and storage policy in place.

    If hosting the email at your premises it is advisable to utilise a store and forward service so that should your server be down you will not lose any incoming email.

    Plan your user and group security structure in advance as if you get it all laid out before you set everything up it makes implementation a lot smoother.

    Good luck.
  6. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I tried to move my father's computer to OS X some time ago, but given my experience with Windows and OS X On the same network, I can only offer a single nugget of advice.

    If you plan on going OS X, you'll have to go all the way in or not at all. If you try to do some parts OS X and some parts Windows you'll have a terrible time.
  7. northernmunky macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2007
    London, Taipei
    Last time I worked for a small business (we were also an all Mac setup - Windows was banned!) we used a Google Business account to handle our emails and document management. It worked very well, all our documents were shared with whoever needed access to it, and write permissions were given where necessary.

    It also meant that multiple people could see the same doc/spreadsheet simultaneously and you can see who's doing what. Great for rota management :)

    It was very hard to go back to emailing .doc files everywhere!

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