New user: Lion Server and iCloud.

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Wheelie, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. Wheelie macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2011
    Hi guys.
    I'm relatively new to Mac and have some queries I wonder if you might be able to shed some light on my murky darkness.
    My partner and I run a small business from home. Previously we used Windows SBS and Exchange Server. To be honest, this was much too complicated for our needs.
    After much discussion with the Apple Business Team we've ordered a Mac Mini with Lion Server, and also have 2 iPhones on order (needed to upgrade the phones anyway, previously had one running windows mobile and the other Android, both on last legs).

    We'll be using the server for a combination of things.
    Home sharing (streaming photos and music to 2x MBP, with an "always on" capability)
    Shared and collaborative work documents. (This is very important)
    Shared calendars and email.
    Remote access/VPN.

    I need to be able to view/access my partner's calendar and be able to schedule appointments, etc. For this reason, we didn't think that having just a standard mac mini and using icloud would be suitable - the ability to share/store large amounts of data and have them synced to a multitude of devices and to VPN is also quite important.
    With regard to the shared calendar, the Apple Business Team suggested that we both have one work calendar (rather than 2x separate work calendars), that we both can access and view at any time from our devices. Does this sound feasible. In addition, we'd have individual personal calendars.

    Both of us were completely out of our depth with the windows server, and realised it was too sophisticated for our simple needs. Not to mention, we have only a beginner's understanding of servers. Hopefully that will change over the upcoming months!

    My main question is: when we set up the server and iPhones, will icloud interfere with our syncing? Ideally we want contacts, email and calendars synced via the server. The server is arriving a week after the phones.
    Ideally we want to also upload all photos to iphoto on the mac mini and share it to the 2x MBPs. I'm not sure how the new icloud photo stream will work with this.

    I guess (after much waffling), can anyone advise what the best method would be of setting up user accounts and syncing with devices? Should we wait configuring icloud on the phones and set up accounts on the mac mini server first?

    I want to make sure that all accounts are set up correctly from the offset on the server, and to ensure that when initially setting up the iPhones, I don't configure them incorrectly. I don't want them geared up for icloud, if they should be geared up for lion server (or can the 2 be set up simultaneously on devices?).

    Please excuse my simplistic and basic question. I'm at the very beginning of my mac journey and hope to gain more knowledge as I go along.
    Thanks in advance for any help. :eek:

    ps, the devices involved will be 1x mac mini lion server, 2x MBPs, 2x iPads and 2x IPhones.
  2. kapp macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2011
    Hi, I don't have a proven solution for you but I'm interested in the same thing. In our family of 4 we have 2 university students with MacBooks, and my wife and I share a 3rd one. We have a MobileMe family pack for syncing and email. There is also an iPhone, an iPad, a Time Capsule and a NAS storage device. At the moment my wife and I share an account on our MacBook as I couldn't find a good way for us to sync with MobileMe and share calendars, etc. Our shared MacBook is backed up both to the Time Capsule and Backblaze; the kids only to the Time Capsule.

    What I'm planning to do is get a Mac Mini server and offload bulk data to that and set up portable home directories so we can share computers. Then back up only the Mac Mini to the TC and Backblaze with the idea that the home directories synced from the MacBooks will be backed up too. My wife and I would have separate user accounts but share data, calendars, etc. through the server. iCloud will be used for syncing to iPhones & iPads but I haven't worked out how exactly that ties in with the server and multiple accounts yet. But it seems like it should work in theory.

    Let me know how you get on. I'm probably a month away from buying the Mac Mini yet so would be interested to hear about your experiences.
  3. rwwest7 macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2011
    I'm just starting to play with this all but I don't think sharing photos from a lion server to an iPad or iPhone is a simple task. You can easily share a folder with the MBP's, but for the iPads I think you will be doing something like this:

    - Have everyones iCloud set up for their 3 devices.
    - Everyones individual photos will be synced via photos stream (which works really good!)
    - Photos you want shared with the team you will have to use your MBP to transfer from Photo stream to the shared folder.

    Collaborative documents, honestly if that's what you want then Google docs or MS Sharepoint is what you need. Much better and more reliable than anything Apple has. Google docs is totally free.

    Calendars, you can have many calendars as you want on your MBP. But on the iPads and iPhones I've yet to find a way to add a shared calendar other than iCloud.

    Keep in mind that you're not Apples target audience. They target home users. They advertise their "server for everyone" brand but to me setting up an MS environment is much easier and more reliable. For example, a fresh load of Lion Server without making any changes whatsoever results in the Wiki and iCal services not working at all. Good luck and please post your results. There's very little business support for this stuff and we can all learn from each other.
  4. dgains1229 macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2011
    Mac Mini Lion Server

    I've been installing MAC servers for several months for clients as well as have a certification ACSP. I've have only good things to say about the usefulness of the mac mini server its all you need. Ical server will allow you to have your own calendar and partner his own you just delegate so that you can see each others. If you havent the know how have someone setup your server that know what they are doing. If you setup and not sure of what you are doing your wasting time because most likely you will be reinstalling it later anyways.
  5. rwwest7 macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2011
    Apple has released updates that have fixed my "lack of know how". iCal now works after the fifth reload and doing the exact same steps, only difference was a new update.

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