Setting up a network. Server Specs please

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MacFanUK, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. MacFanUK macrumors 6502a

    MacFanUK

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    I am looking to setup a network for a new company (web development company). I haven't yet decided whether to use Windows or Mac's yet, however, I was wondering how the specs of a server would impact the perfomance of my network.

    The purpose of the server would be to hold the user accounts so users could log onto any computer on the network (we currently only have 2 desktops and 2 laptops so not a big deal), but the main purpose would be so that any user can access their files on any computer.

    What specs would you recommend for this?
     
  2. lgmac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Location:
    US
    #2
    Have a look at SME Server (Linux)

    Have a look at SME Server http://wiki.contribs.org/Main_Page. You can have it up and running in 30 minutes. Works like a champ on older hardware. Can set it up as a PDC for a Windows network, or Open Directory Server for the mac. Shows up in Finder > click on the icon > login > walla.... access to your network files. Also works well with groups.

    Web: Can setup iBays to host websites. I use godaddy.com.... point them to my server and mask the URL. Also works like a champ.

    Can also setup email hosting for your domains on the same box. Very reliable and after setup and you can administer through web interface over the local network or the web.

    I've used SME server in our school as a firewall/gateway, application server for Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, User and Group accounts for 7th and 8th graders, and serving the school website..... all from the same box. Keep in mind it is a small school, and our computer lab only has 20 computers.

    Good luck with your choice.
     
  3. jcuk macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2009
    Location:
    Motherwell, Scotland.
    #3
    To be honest, server spec wouldn't have much difference with such small userbase.

    If it was just for files, i'd recommend having generic logins for each machine and use a Network attached storage device for people to store their files, or even give them usb pen drives. 4 machines would normally be setup p2p.

    If you're going for centralised server, i'd use a unix based system for its scalability accross multiple platforms and protocols, and it's free :)

    Server spec, just aim for minimum dual core cpu, minimum 4gb memory and plenty of hard disk space depending on content.

    Cheers,
    Jamie
     
  4. MacFanUK thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MacFanUK

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    SME Server sounds good but is it a big learning curve? I may get a trial of VMWare on my PC and give it a blast. It sounds useful having a web server and email server though...would certainly save paying for my VPS lol.

    If I use it for a webserver, what would the performance be like? Wouldn't it be poor due to broadband speeds?
     
  5. MacFanUK thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MacFanUK

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    I've just tried SME Server and it confused me a bit. Is there anything else I could try with a better UI?
     
  6. jtara macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
    #6
    SME Server - whatzat?

    I'm a programmer and have done a lot of work on Linux/Unix. I have to honestly say that I've never heard of SME Server until today. It's a fork of a VERY old version of Centos, which is the open-source version of RedHat Enterprise. (Because of an agreement, Centos can't refer to the name "RedHat"- they call it "the upstream distribution").

    The reason it runs so well on old hardware is that it's an old (aged) distribution.

    For Linux, I would choose Ubuntu Server or Centos. Both are going to be rather unfriendly, unless you are experienced with OSX command line tools, in which case you should be pretty comfortable since many of the common common command-line admin tools will work just the same. You can add a GUI (Gnome or KDE, as well as multiple more light-weight choices) but that will soak-up memory and CPU time, so normally you wouldn't install a GUI on a server.

    You could also go with a version of BSD, which would be even more OSX-like. Or, why not just go with a Mac Server? (Besides cost. :) )

    (A BRIEF history - Unix originally came in one flavor System 7, from Bell Labs. (I have no idea about System's 1 through 6...) Source code came with, and the University of California at Berkeley forked it to create the Berkeley System Distribution, or BSD, with number of improvements. in the mean time, System 7 somehow got followed up with System III and the System V. (Again, don't ask messy questions bout System's I, II, and IV...) Linux was a complete ground-up rewrite, but is based more in principle on System V than on BSD.

    The big difference vs OSX will be file locations and system startup. While OSX uses a BSD kernel, Apple has diverged significantly in terms of where common files are found in the filesystem, and how the system starts-up. Oh, and the GUI, which probably won't be an issue for a server. The OSX GUI is completely different than the X-Windows-based GUI found on these other OSs.

    The reason I recommend these particular OSs is that they are widely used and supported. Go with something obscure, and you're going to be awfully lonely trying to figure stuff out on your own.
     

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