Os X Server is it worth it for a newbie?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by chama98, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. chama98 macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2014

    I am thinking of buying OS X server. However this is the question:

    I have 1 mac mini (which is used all the time) 1 macbook and my other half has a macbook air which he backups to a portable hard drive when he remembers to plug it in!

    I have quite a lot of other devices, Apple TV, iPhone, iPad as well as the other half. So I am wondering if backing up his macbook air to use my external hard drive is any good. Also being able to stream movies etc from my mac mini (where the server is would be installed) would be any good.

  2. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    I just did this and am quite enjoying it. Mini houses video files in folders that Server makes available and nPlayer runs on the pads.

    Backup works nicely, but technically you could also just connect the drive to an AEB. The same mini also runs iTunes that all the devices can push to any airplay box.

    Caching server is also cool. The more services you can use, the more sense it makes. Just make sure to use a fixed ip and configure dns first.
  3. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Standard OS X allows you to do what you wanted to do. It seems there's no need for OS X Server if those are your only needs.
  5. chama98 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2014

    Thanks for the comments. :)

    However I would like to use it to allow easy deployment of software updates to my macbook as well as the other halfs macbook air and making sure that he regularly backs up his mac. I presume when a new update for iOS comes out for example the server would download that and then make it available to my iPhones and iPads?

    My router is from my ISP and I have set the DCHP server to renew every 21 days. I am not sure what else I need to do to make all of this work.

  6. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Setting up a Caching server would be a use for OS X server.
  7. chama98 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2014

    So does Caching also work with iPhone/ipad?

    Watching some of the youtube videos on server looks like easy to use.

    I am tempted but will need to do homework. I am thinking that if I did have the server software installed on my mini, as I pop it to sleep at night, it might be a waste of time? Questions, questions.
  8. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Mini uses minimum power and makes little noise, so you can keep it up 24/7.

  9. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Do you mean backup the Macbook Air to an external on your Mini using Time Machine? If so, yes that is a feature that requires OS X server and it will work like you want.
  10. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    I run a mimi server also my favorite feature is time machine backups for all the laptops in the house.
  11. AmestrisXServe macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2014
    Really, all you need are the server tools for OSX to do what you want to do here. Most of the components are already included in OSX, but the only interface for them is a shell.

    Adding the server components will add apache, and some other server stuff--depending on your OS version, that you'ven't specified--that you will either not need, or may make enabling some thing more involving.

    Share points, NFS/AFP/SMB as an example, are more defined in X Server, allowing more options, permissions for ACL and POSIX, and other functions, but are not as simple to establish as a standard share in Sharing Prefs.

    These are the questions I would ask you if you were a client:

    Do you need a local DNS?
    Will you be doing ant HTTP/HTTPS protocol operations?
    Will you be managing SQL databases?
    Will you be hosting any WAN content (websites, podcasts, etc.)?
    Are you willing to, and able to use a shell (e.g. Terminal) to set up functions?
    Will you be using a netboot or tftp protocol?
    Will you be using OpenDirectory / LFAP to manage users?
    How many clients will be connecting to the host at any one time?

    To stream content on a LAN, and do management from other devices on that LAN, you don't need OSX Server. You only need to enable SMB & AFP enabled, possibly with WIndows sharing enabled as well, and a VLC player on each client.

    You can mount volumes from your host machine using AFP or SMB to another local system, and use VLC to play them.

    You can use iTunes on any system on your LAN to load the iTunes libraries on a host system on that LAN and play them.

    You can remote manage any number of systems by installing VNC Server on one end, and VNC Client on the other. You only need the basic VNC version for a home LAN, as you won't be accessing it over the WAN and probably don't need enterprise level encryption.

    You can alternatively do this with ARD, but you'd need to buy that, and it probably isn't worth it for your needs (and unlike ARD, VNC is cross-platform).

    OSX Server is useful because it ties all services through one interface, but it doesn't seem as if you need that ability, or any of its advanced features for your LAN.
  12. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    To be quite honest is a discussion about need really worth while in this case. the app is $20 which by most accounts isn't a lot of money, if you have multiple macs in your household chances are $20 won't kill your budget.

    I'd suggest that for someone new to trying to setup a home network having the GUI that is easy to use and intuitive is really helpful more so than say the 20 or so, coffee's you could otherwise buy with the $20.

    Even if the OP can do all she/he wants without the app, the other features of the app may prompt the OP to try and learn other networking bits... that's what happened with me for example :D

    So, i say just buy the thing and go play with it :D and have fun, even when you brake it :D
  13. AmestrisXServe macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2014
    In all reality, the cost isn't the problem. Once you switch to OSX Server, you change a great deal on how OSX handles features such as network shares, and sharepoints. OSX Standard shares an entire system, and mounts entire volumes, whereas OSX Server uses specific sharepoints, and standard file sharing (in System Preferences) is disabled.

    There's no real way to revert, once you change over, and if you don't want to have to do privledges administration on sharepoints, and such, switching to OSX Server can actually cause you more trouble than it is worth. It all depends on your application of the services.

    Other components and functions change as well, and you had better be ready to RTFM.

    That is why, in this application, I advise against OSX Server (for the OP, not in general) unless the OP can answer 'Yes' to most of those critical questions.

    All he wants to do is share media on a LAN, and it is easier for a 'newbie' to do this without OSX Server. he can always test the waters with OSX Server once he is fully prepared.

    I was using UNIX back in the System V days, so I don't have a problem with complexity, but someone new to OSX probably doesn't want to dive into OSX Server head-first, with no need to do so.
  14. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    That's a good point i totally forgot about that and yes it can be a bit of a pain to manage privileges... it did cause me quite a bit of headache in the beginning but now things are running relatively smoothly :D

    btw what does RTFM mean?

    And one last question for you I posted a question about LAGs in another thread:

    Do you think you could help me with that?

  15. AmestrisXServe, Feb 15, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014

    AmestrisXServe macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2014
    RTFM = Read the F'n Manual. :)

    I read your LAG post, and was going to formulate a response. What I would really need to assist you is a full rundown of all your equipment, switches, routers, SAN devices, etc, with model numbers, to determine what capabilities each has by reading a data sheet on them.

    Not every device is going to support making a LAG, and your choice of switches can be pretty critical in ensuring proper operation, so without a list of all your components, I would be shooting in the dark trying to find out where your problem originates.

    I personally rarely need to work with more than a 2GB/s Ethernet setup, and I usually suggest Fibre over copper to anyone who needs that level of throughput.

    If you post about your configuration in your LAG thread, I will look it over when I have the chance. At present, I am diagnosing some odd problems that seem to have no end to them, as I cannot find a satisfactory cause; whilst waiting for a parts order to arrive to finish some other work.

    I'm also fighting with an XRAID that is corrupting its admin and monitoring passwords, and finishing a copper installation. Once you post all of your details--I honestly don't recall if you listed most of your components--I will start looking at data sheets on them, but it may be a while before I have a definitive answer for you.

    That same XRAID is refusing to show the array that I made (Raid-5 LUN, of seven 500GB drives), when I open Disk Utility. My only clue thus far is this: http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=2010110903253554

    I just removed the array and started a new init. I hope that cures the problem, as I only plan to use this as a Netboot image volume and for swap space, so it won't be a singular, critical component. it's sad, but you can't rely on an XRAID, and you can't get UATA drives at any affordable rate if and when one fails. I have a stack of drives that just light red, and two that light amber. These latter two probably would work, but the XRAID refuses to allow them and just shouts an alarm. I could care less if they fail, and need to be rebuilt constantly as a RAID-0 set for swap space on a network of diskless systems. They can also be 'Enhanced JBOD' for all that it matters, and pattern out the bad blocks.

    To day the least, I'm a bit overstressed, and it's a lot easier to give advice, and answer software questions than to instruct someone on how to set up a LAG, using 'unknown' equipment. If I was on-site, I could probably set it up fairly easily, but I would still need to check to see if anything doesn't support your desired configuration, which is quite possible given what I recall reading in your post.

    I'm going to return this thread to its topic now.
  16. JEB-Network macrumors newbie


    Jan 31, 2016
    To anybody thinking about or doing it, installing OS X Server. The functions of the server iteself: GREAT... the ease of setting the thing up: FANTASTIC... functionality in daily usage: AWESOME... but... do not, I reapeat do not upgrade or migrate when apple pops a new release, always wait until at least version xx.1 !!!... I've been useing OS X Server since 10.6(the best ever) and every time that I could not wait it screwed up my whole server settup, settings, connectivity, data... nothing worked anymore... every single freakin time people!

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