Questions about setting up new mac mini with lion server

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by TarkinDale, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. TarkinDale macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    Hi all

    I have ordered a mac mini server, and have been doing some reading while I wait for it and I've now come up with plenty of questions. Hoping you may be able to assist. Here are my questions:
    When the mini arrives, I understand it will be configured without RAID even though it has the two drives. How do I actually go about setting up RAID 1?
    Given that it comes with no install media, I was thinking of using carbon copy cloner to back it up. Has anyone tried this? Does it back up the recovery partition as well? Does restoring work? Is there any way to create a restore disk? Or can I do a time machine backup and restore everything including the recovery partition?
    Can I migrate settings and apps like itunes from a previous desktop mac mini to the new server?

    I plan on setting up the mail server with multiple domains, try out the wiki, iCAL server etc, but I'm wary about going to far until I have an effective restore mechanism that doesn't involved restoring over the Internet.

    Finally, has anyone seen screenshots of the webmail in this version? I'd love a link or a review of this part of lion.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. srf4real macrumors 68040


    Jul 25, 2006
    paradise beach FL
    In the same boat. This will be my first stab at server configuration. Gotta learn some time!
  3. Sodner macrumors 68020


    Jan 12, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Wish I could help you but I too, purchased a Mac Mini (base model + 8 GB Ram from OWC) to play with Lion Server. I am a Windows Server administrator and I am interested to see "How the other have lives" so to speak. I too will be looking for some insight and advice.

    Looks like a OS X Lion Server for Dummies book is coming out but not for a few months. Though Apple does have some guides I feel like a more comprehensive manual is needed. :p

    As far as some of this restore / recover stuff goes I think it is SO NEW that right now none of us know exactly how it works. I persoanlly BELIEVE that the AIR and MINI have this recovery stuff BUILT IN more than say someone who installs Lion on a 2009 iMac. But who knows?!
  4. squeakr macrumors 68000


    Apr 22, 2010
    I have a Mac Mini Server from 2009 that I just upgraded to Lion the day after release, so I may be able to answer some of the questions.

    As far as RAID goes, you would need to go into the Disk Utility upon start up and build your RAID Array. I tried this at first and realized the only thing that I gained was a little redundancy and maybe a slight speed boost (remember mine is a 2009 so it came with 5400RPM drives, so not exactly a speed demon and RAID isn't a backup option, it is more for data protection). For what I use, I liked it better to delete the RAID and run the OS off of drive 1 and store everything data related on Drive 2. This worked great for me when Drive 1 died, as I lost nothing, just replaced the drive and reloaded the OS and pointed to the folders and data.

    I didn't try cloning it, but it should work. You could back up to an external and then start from there. I would recommend AppleCare as it gets you phone support for the 3 years (and it is cheaper on the Mini than the MBPs) which is initially good for only 90 days of phone support.

    I haven't checked out how the recovery is on Lion yet (there was none on Snow Kitty other than reloading from the disks).

    I can tell you from first hand that the techs on the phone are learning just like we are. I was on a call for a few hours with no resolution, and then things just started working for no explainable reason. The Webmail is so much better than the older version. I will try and attach a screen shot as requested.

    Hope some of this helps. I would write more, but need to get back to work.

    Attached Files:

  5. TarkinDale thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    srf4real: I'll make sure to post as soon as I get my grubby hands on the thing.

    Sodner: I don't do as much day to day admin as I used to, but I've looked after Windows networks for years. I have also played, or been tortured with trying to get OSX server to work with AD, probably 7+ years ago. I don't really remember the detail though.

    Re the RAID, if I go into disk utilities on start up, am I not going to wipe the preinstall of Lion and have to redownload afterwards? Or are you saying I can do it as soon as lion is up, i.e. from within the operating system? I've felt at risk having a mini before without RAID, though I do use time machine via a NAS. Thanks for the wemail pic. Much appreciated. It looks nice and clean, and should cope with the many folders of my own account. I've been using an older version of Zimbra, and while I don't look forward to moving the mail I'm looking forward to having a similar set of feature with push notification, have it easy to upgrade and actually be backup-able.

    It would still be good to hear from those who start with a new mini server in case there is more info you can pass on.

    Just checked shipping. Superdrive due 27/07, mini due 29/07.
    I suppose this is what I get for going for 8GB of RAM.

    Thanks all

  6. squeakr macrumors 68000


    Apr 22, 2010
    I know that with my server, RAID had to be done at startup and it wiped the disk to create the partition. I would imagine that is the same on the newer machines as all RAID partitions i have encountered always destroy the original in building the array. This is why I wen t away from the RAID. I couldn't find confirmation that if one drive died I could rebuild the second from the first. Since the drives aren't hot swappable I wasn't sure if i would have to wipe and rebuild the array once the bad drive was replaced (I have encountered other hardware RAID solutions where this was the only option). At that point I decided RAID wasn't a necessity for me and my situation, so went the data and main OS drive route. Good luck with you new server. Lion is a whole new animal (no pun intended).
  7. TarkinDale thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    Squeakr, if you had to wipe when you replaced a drive for RAID that would definitely remove the value of RAID in most circumstances. So I suspect you wouldn't have to. My desire is to get the RAID in action without screwing my ability to load lion, have ilife etc. This is going to be interesting. The mini wasn't delivered today when it was meant to, so I suppose I'll be waiting till next week to find out.
  8. skorpian23 macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2011
    I am not sure if this will work for you. I had a Mac Mini running SL. I purchased Lion through the App Store. I was able to create a bootable DVD of Lion using this link

    From that point I was able to do a fresh install and then create my RAID 1.

    Given that your Mac will come preinstalled with Lion, this might not be an option for you, but I wanted to throw it out there.

    Unlimited Hosting at
  9. TarkinDale thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    Thanks for the idea Skorpian. I've been reading similar articles. I'm really surprised that no site seems to tackle this from a new mac mini. I can't be the only new mac mini owner who wants to have RAID.

    Still waiting for my hardware to arrive TNT...
  10. lethalillness macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2010
    Long Island, New York
    I am working on something now that I think might work, If it works I will update how I did it. If it fails I will update with what not to do .. lol.
  11. voigtstr macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2008
    Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
    regarding RAID, have you considered using external raid via thunderbolt. To reinstall on the internal disks as a raid set, you might be able to use internet recovery to reinstall on bare drives, as to whether diskutil will allow you to raid the disks during install will be interesting to learn.
  12. Teevau macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2011
    Hi, I just did this a week ago... You need to press Command-R after power on to boot into Recovery mode, wipe both disks with Disk utility (Erase with one partition on each drive as Free space), configure RAID and then install the system from scratch. It will download the whole OS X Lion through the Internet, obviously you need an active connection for that and some time.

    I tried with a bootable USB stick which I created with a downloaded copy of Lion, but this doesn't boot on Mini Server - so only option seems to be through Internet install. Btw, you'll also be able to download iPhoto etc. after the clean install as the AppStore app seems to verify what software you are eligible for through serial number of your Mac (or some other identifier, it's completely transparent to the user).

    It worked well for me

    Regard, Thomas
  13. TarkinDale thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    Hi Voigtstr

    I have 5 bay synology NAS, albeit without thunderbolt. However I still want to RAID my OS. Assuming it was possible to boot off of the NAS Iwouldn't want to spend another grand to replace a relatively new NAS. Besides, that sounds like giving in :)

    Yes, working out what is possible will be interesting. I was hoping someone else would have done the hard work first... Would have been nice if it was Apple.
  14. TarkinDale thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    Wow Thomas. Some great info! That makes me feel much safer about getting the RAID in action. I assume it doesn't delete the recovery partition when you clear the disks. I wonder if when raiding it then duplicates the recovery partition to the second drive. Any ideas?


  15. lethalillness macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2010
    Long Island, New York
    I was successful with setting up the RAID 1 without having to reinstall anything. Took a bit of time, but I managed to do a full write up between last night and today of what I did last night with pictures. I blogged about it at my personal site here is the permalink to the post.
  16. TarkinDale thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    Ok, I have the mini in hand. I've put it in target mode and backed up the recovery partition and the lion install using CCC and the setps here:

    Now that article said that CCC won't backup the recovery partition, but with it mounted that doesn't appear to be correct. How useful it will be I don't know.

    I'll be setting up the RAID shortly.
  17. TarkinDale thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    Not going well

    I've tried to install twice and failed.
    It finished getting the file and looks like its copy files, then it can't find the .GlobalPReferences.plist

    Then it says that if failed to mount helper partition: error 0XF8DA000C
    It finally logs:
    copy boot files failed!brtest function result = -119930868

    On call to Apple
  18. Teevau macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2011
    Robert, glad to help - installing Lion Server on a RAID configuration doesn't install a recovery partition, but you can always enter recovery mode - in the absence of a recovery partition, the Mac loads the core OS etc. through the Internet. So you're safe as long as your Internet connection is on,,,
  19. TarkinDale thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    I had some dramas. The apple support people could tell that it was having trouble creating the files, as the log entries had already suggested, but they have very few tools for diagnosing problems. I had backed up the recovery partition and I followed their suggestion of creating a boot disk to run the recovery from in case that was a problem. It didn't help.
    So at the end of the night and 3 full downloads of lion later I wondered if there were problems with the RAID. I deleted and then recreated the RAID. Left it downloading over night and then it worked!

    Hope this helps someone else out there is the same position.
    It was definitely worth having the backup around, so I'd use that link I mentioned above.

    Now I need to find a guide on setting up all the server services.

    Thanks for everyone's input and help.



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