New business.... to mini server or not to??

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by RubbishBBspeed, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. RubbishBBspeed macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2009
    I'm starting a side line business from home in the next couple of months, which will hopefully lead to a full time move.

    To start off with I've already have one 15" mbp i7, one 4th gen mb and one 27" i7 on potential order. There are four windows based pc's which i can't wait to get rid of and would rather not use. I'd love a MP but that's out of my budget for the moment.

    Growth in budget and future requirements allowing. I eventually foresee a need for three to four 27" iMac i7's. One or two may get external displays but not to start with and three 15" MBP i7's and one 1080p tv. Eventually...... eventually a nice spec'ed MP.........i wish. So about severn computers and one telly.

    I'm looking into buying a mini server in the next couple of weeks, to start running the 40" TV and a 27" ACD to show completed videos to clients. and have the two mb's linked wirelessly if possible (using a cable isn't a deal breaker) and the iMac cable linked as well.

    Some of my queries are; as i can't ask the IT guys at work without raising suspicion.

    Assume on using about 6 to 8 TB of storage plugged into the mini server which will mainly contain video files of around 150 to 450 mb's each that all the computers would need access to, plus the ubiquitous pages and numbers documents, e-mail and some drawings. would be nice to share an itunes library too but not crucial. Ideally I'd like to link the TV to the mini server and the 27" ACD rather than buy another mac mini just for the role.

    Can the mini server still be used as a computer in it's own right and still handle the server role.

    Is it capable of running a network of this size.

    Am I better to go with a dual processor Mac Pro and use that as the server instead also substituting one of the iMac's??

    Aany advise or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. macros73 macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2010
    If you're the sole employee, you don't really need a server as such. However, it's generally a good practice to dedicate hardware to the server role if you do need one.

    Look into using your Windows PC hardware as a fileserver or backup server. You can wipe them, combine parts and drives into one or two systems, and run CentOS (think a whitebox version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux) or Nexenta on them to turn them into dedicated file servers for your Mac clients.

    You may also be able to turn one of the spare Windows computers into a dedicated media computer to play video on the television for your clients. Windows or Linux could be used as the host OS with appropriate software like VLC to display the video.

    Cable things where possible. If you're not color-blind, get a spool of bulk Cat-5E and do your own LAN cabling. One time pain, but with a decent consumer-level Gigabit switch, you'll have a reliable Gigabit LAN.

    If you're serious about starting a home business, obviously, you want to be very careful with how you allocate your funds and your time.

    Backups are essential.
  3. RubbishBBspeed thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2009
    Thanks for the idea of cannibalising the windows pc's, shall look into that.

    From the out set there will be three people working, sometimes all at the same time other times a bit of come and go. Essentially I'd like to keep it that each person has there own computer and desk (I have two spare rooms to knock into one to make the office out of) and the area I'm planing on using for clients is a converted side room with it's own entrance.
  4. macros73 macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2010
    Okay, if there will be multiple users, that's when you do want some sort of domain authentication. Mac mini (preferably an older used or refurbished model to save on cost) would be fine for that role - but you wouldn't have to use /it/ as the file server. Just as your domain/authentication server, to play nice with the Mac clients.

    Don't know enough to advise on whether you're going to have bottlenecks if you store your working video files on a NFS share. I would guess you'd edit locally on the Macs, then copy your backups and final copies to the file/backup server.

    Video display system could pull via NFS over the network. That should work fine.

    Anyway, I'm coming from more of a SMB perspective, and haven't used a Mac only environment. Hoping to hear how the hardcore Mac admins would approach it. :D

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