Greetings! Finally registered to hopefully get advice from you all (after years of Googlurking these forums for every mac question I've had....) So I've just purchased a 2012 mini server, pretty much loaded (2.6, 2 SSD's, 2x8G etc.). Please not criticism on not doing aftermarket RAM - I'm no hardware pro and live fairly remotely so it was worth the money to have it arrive w/16G... I'd have spent more than Apple's upgrade fees in time/gas/RAM/installation anyway. The mini will be used for both desktop and server purposes at a small home office setup, as follows: Desktop: - heavy web browsing (3 browsers and 20-50 tabs at a time, many running wordpress admin areas) - numerous productivity apps open simultaneously (mail, word, excel, acrobat, adobe CS, coda, itunes etc) - no gaming or heavy video editing Server: - a dev environment running PHP, MYSQL, for coding/testing (new programmer here, so not too sure about this side of the equation) - other uses I'm not sure about, see questions below: 1. Server Security: For security purposes I assume I shouldn't even connect this mini to the internet until I have the LAN properly configured ie modem-->router-->firewall-->switch-->mini? 2. VPN: We need to have VPN client (external web-access) abilities in to access files on the LAN - I'm not familiar with the VPN software (if any) that Mac OSX server provides. Any advice as to whether this should be run using the mini or a different machine? 3. Proxy Server: We need to have a proxy server that all internet traffic on the network is routed through (any/all machines using the network's internet connection). Can the mini server also serve this purpose? Are there any performance/security pros/cons? If it's a terrible idea, could a repurposed macbook (08-10 models) be configured to sit open as a proxy, if allowed to let the battery run out occasionally? What would be the best configuration? ISP speed hovers around 14x2. 4. Network Storage: The SSD drives are obviously very small on the mini and would not be adequate for storage - what external drive do you all recommend in this setup? Have read terrible things about both the Pegasus and LaCie thunderbolt drives and I'm wary of dropping that many bones on shifty product. 5. Boot Drive I'm not too familiar with how to set up one drive as the "boot" drive and another to run applications... is that advisable, and how would I go about doing so? 6. Scratch Disk For the *occasional* FCP project - I've read that SSD's are not a good scratch disk. Is that true, and if so, would a La Cie 500g 3.0usb suffice? I already have one of these so would prefer not to have to get another external. I obviously have more questions, but this is already ridiculously long. Any advice really appreciated. Thanks!