New Business Setup From Scratch

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by KeyBlue, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. KeyBlue macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2016
    Hi all,

    I'm a long time user of Macs but very new to servers and backups on a business-scale. I have a few questions I was hoping some of you experts could help me answer?

    Our current setup:

    We are a small business with eight Macs, all with 1TB hard drives but none are full. They're all connected via LAN to the internet and to our Apple Time Capsule which we are using as a wireless hard drive, a 'dropbox' for shared files.

    We have a network cabinet which currently has two switches which essentially house all the LAN cables which then go into our router to the internet. Our router is then connected to our Apple Time Capsule. Like this:

    iMac --> Via LAN --> Network switch --> Router --> Apple Time Capsule

    What we want to do:

    I'd like to setup a server that all our Macs can access. With this server I'd like all the Macs to use Time Machine to backup to the same place on the network.

    Stage 1:

    I'd then like to use a RAID configuration (which I have read is possible) so that we essentially have two copies of the back ups. That way one copy can be taken home by someone each night and over the weekend in case of a fire etc.

    Stage 2:

    Once this is setup, I'd also like to be able to download our websites at the end of everyday. Not the entire site, just files that have been added or edited that day, once again backed up in the same way as the Macs.

    How do we do it?

    That's my question! What hardware and software would we need to achieve this?

    I've been recommended we get a network drive caddy and full this with hard drives, then use OS X Server to get it all working. This sounds fine, but can anyone give me:

    1. A shopping list of exactly what you would recommend we use
    2. Point me to a guide or give me a run down of how I would get the above setup

    I spoke to a network guy yesterday who confirmed for me the above idea I have will work, we just didn't go into details about the setup process. I'm open to all suggestions so please let me know of any alternative ideas you may have.

  2. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    A revolution has taking place in NAS devices that take many service a place of traditional Servers! You should investigate in a Synology. Try starting with the DS415+. In Synology you can use it's many apps to use fully in your business!

    Plus if you decide to go with Synology routers you could invest in camera surveillance in your business.
  3. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    One more detail...what kind of files are being shared and do users need to access the files at the same time?
  4. Fabian90 macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2013
    Bonn, Germany
    I would rather use a Mac mini with OS X server than a NAS. Stuff like caching services is really convenient.
  5. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    @KeyBlue While Synology offers products that will do what you want and more, OS X Server offers a great deal of flexibility and expandability that you cannot get in an NAS. I would personally look at a Mac Mini with OS X Server simply due to its ease of use, manageability, and overall extensive capability.
  6. Geeky Chimp macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2015
    We have a fair amount of Mac Mini's running with OS X Server installed, and what you want to do is definitely possible.
    Firstly you'll need a Mac Mini (I'd recommend a Mid Spec one but a Base Spec would work).
    Secondly you'll need some External RAID Storage - take a look at the WD MyBook Duos or WD MyBook Thunderbolt Duos.
    Thirdly take a look at some cloud backup software so that your OS X Server backs up off site without needing to take hard drives away every day. Otherwise just buy some WD MyBooks and set Time Machine in OS X Server to backup to all of the additional drives, then take the relevant one off site every day.

    Hope that helps.
  7. KeyBlue thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2016

    Hi all,

    Thank you for your replies.

    We had someone we know come in and chat about our idea which he too said is possible. He did recommend we stay away from NAS drives just in case we later want to upgrade as all the components are soldered.

    I never thought about using a Mac Mini as a server?

    In terms of hardware I was thinking about getting something like this and filling it with hard drives -

    But a Mac MINI with external storage has opened up a world of options.

    I've never used Mac OS X Server - could someone run through the process I'd need to get setup in terms of all our Macs seeing the server and then in terms of backups how I'd go about this? Would all the Macs just be able to use Time Machine as normal but all to the same place?

    In terms of files it's a bit of a mix - Word Documents, HTML files but some larger Photoshop documents as well up to 1GB.

    One thing I didn't think of was to back up the backups! So if we go down the Mac Mini Route, we could have external storage as the back ups for the Macs, and then another hard drive using time machine that would backup the backups?

    In terms of hardware the Mac Mini is no problem, in terms of storage would I need something like this as I guess the Mac Mini is limited in Thunderbolt/USB ports?

    Thanks for all your help so far!
  8. Fabian90 macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2013
    Bonn, Germany
    i have a broken finger, so please excuse typos and no capitals.

    osx server is pretty cool. it's just an app you load and set up from there, it's very easy to do. then you add external storage, maybe a thunderbolt raid. you will want to add a drive for time machine use in the server app, every other mac on the network will find it right away, it's super simple.
    also activate caching service, it will download updates for the computers for all appstore apps and system updates (osx and ios) and store them so that you only have to load them once. on the clients, there is nothing to do. it will check the server automatically first and load via network. saves a lot of time!
    furthermore you obviously want to use file sharing for your documents. the mini server does not need display/keyboard etc, you can easiliy control it via screen sharing.

    that's the stuff i use but there are plenty more options, like own vpn or email server, messages between devices, open directory and so on :)

    EDIT: take a mini with a ssd and plenty of ram!
  9. KeyBlue thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2016

    That's great thanks, I'm starting to think a Mac Mini is the way to go.

    In terms of backing up all our individual Macs, is that as simple as setting up Time Machine?

    In terms of storage would something like this be enough for 9 iMacs?

    I forgot to mention we have an Apple Time Capsule we're currently using for shared data and I'd like to move all 1TB of that over to the server as well.

  10. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    OS X Server can be configured as a Time Machine server. You can point all of your Macs to the server and use it as a Time Machine destination. Most any USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt option will work just fine provided you purchase one with enough space. A couple of terrabytes of space should be plenty for a while. You can migrate your Time Capsule over to the new server setup. Also going to shoot you a PM.
  11. lynmond macrumors newbie

    Jan 13, 2011
    You make this sound so easy! I'm a relative novice, so go easy on me )

    I have a MBP and hope to create a new 'NAS type' environment for backups and attached storage. I was thinking of the WD My Book Pro (access to educational discount makes it a little more affordable) but your suggestion above has got me thinking. I could get the WD My Book Duo 8TB for £199 (am obviously UK based) or the WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo 6TB for £240.

    I also want to run Windows - so maybe I could better do that with the Mac Mini route? (rather than my current Parallels setup on my MBP)

    Can I also have other household Macs backup to this type of setup? And install Plex? And access remotely?

    Finally I intend to wait for new kit to be released this year (don't we all!) e.g. new MBP, new Mac Mini (if this is the way to go) etc.

    Thanks in advance & sorry for gatecrashing!

    PS How do people share a single keyboard/mouse with an existing MBP & Mac Mini?

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