should i make a server?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by finder39, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. finder39 macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2009
    Chicago, IL

    I have an old black Macbook that i am considering turning into a server. i am a home user so this is not for a buisness or anything. i would be something to use at home and to maybe access from college while i am there.

    I am curious, what exactly am i able to do on a server that i can't on a normal computer. I have worked with computers my whole life but have never gotten the opportunity to work with a server. as a computer science major (i know it is sad that i have never worked with one yet) should i use it? and if so, to do what?

    thanks :D
  2. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    Clients can be servers and servers can be clients. They both often act in the other capacity, depending on what view you take of it.

    Design is the big thing behind servers, from both a hardware and a software perspective. A simple NAS device works as a server.

    Sure you can set one up to play with it, but I would not depend on it for any critical data you may have (since you will be playing with it).
  3. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
    for home servers they are just mainly used to serve up files (movies, pics, music, etc). You can also run bit torrent clients on there and pretty much what ever you want.
  4. steviem macrumors 68020


    May 26, 2006
    New York, Baby!
    What do you want to have in a server?

    My reasons for a home server were the following:
    -A place to store my media securely.
    -I wanted to learn about Linux server administration (apache, postfix)
    -I wanted to have a VM and learn how to install and administer Exchange 2007 before installing Exchange 2007 at work.
    -I want to get away from storing my information in 'the cloud' - ie trusting corporations with all of my personal data.

    Get some reasons together and then you'll know whether you need a server (however I don't really need it, just wanted to learn - which is how it seems to you.)

    If you aren't using the MacBook, then try it. What;s the worst that'll happen? You might learn how to do some server admin...
  5. MikeyLive macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2008
    I hear ya, buddy. Gotta have "safe" push service. The last thing I need is for the location of the BatCave to get into the WRONG HANDS! That is just what Steve Jobs is waiting for as he trolls all of the MobileMe email accounts! :p
  6. TK2K macrumors 6502


    Jun 4, 2006
    true story, if you qualify for ED pricing you can get 10.5 server for $250, which is a complete steal!
  7. steviem macrumors 68020


    May 26, 2006
    New York, Baby!
    Fo' Shizzle dude!

    But seriously, it was more an academic exercise than anything, I wanted to test the Exchange support in Snow Leopard and my work doesn't have Exchange 2007 yet. I couldn't base it at work because we don't have any spare domains and I can't put any production domains into a test environment.

    My work bought me a technet plus subscription for £300 as a 'substitute' for not being able to send me on an MCITP course :rolleyes:

    But, I do really like having my emails on my own server, not on Google's with them profiling me and giving me all this profiled advertising from the text in my emails stored on Gmail.
  8. Apocrathia macrumors 6502

    Jan 6, 2009
    University of South Alabama
    I'm also a computer science student, setting up a home server at my apartment has provided an amazing learning experience that has made my life a hell of a lot easier. I have a 2009 Mac mini running stock leopard, hooked up to a drobo, and sharing everything via afp. I also keep a bittorrent client running, a usenet client, firefly media server (mt-daapd), a growl event server, and i use it as my primary media center (no use in wasting such an awesome little machine). it really doesn't take anything to run a server, the macbook would run fine as long as you keep it on power and tell it not to sleep, etc... My last server that i was running was an ubuntu 7.04 box (made it to 9.04 before it was retired, it now sits on campus as a research machine) and it was a gaming pc i had built about 7 years ago (athlon xp, 1gb memory, really drab specs by today's standards).
    having a server to do sh*t that you don't want to waste your cpu cycles on is absolutely worth it in every sense. if not only for the learning experience.
  9. Zenze macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2009
    The word server can be used to reference the actual machine that is hosting stuff, or the program providing a service to the connected clients. Pretty much any machine/os can run a "server" program, and can therefore be a "server".

    But yea dude, make a server!! I'm a comp engineering student atm and I just decided to make one for my apartment next year so me and my roommates can all put our music and other stuff in one place and just as a learning experience.

    It doesn't need to have much power at all, so an old macbook would be fine. Mine is running fast with a pentium 3 for gods sake... You also might consider using a Linux distro to set it up. I used ubuntu server on mine, and being forced to use a command line is also a great learning experience so I would recommend it (plus you should know the command line if you are a CS major). Plus the documentation on their site is awesome and makes setup a piece of cake (even though you do learn a great amount along the way).

    I started with just running a samba server to share files across the lan, but how it has also taken on the job of a ftp server and hopefully soon a http server :D
  10. mikes63737 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2005
    Is this for students too? I can't find it in the education student store.

    Maybe they took it out in anticipation of 10.6?
  11. Zenze macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2009
    What capabilities do you have in OS X server that you would lack in any linux server distro? just out of curiosity...
  12. steviem macrumors 68020


    May 26, 2006
    New York, Baby!
    Not many to be honest. I guess the one thing is it has a GUI to control everything, but I've gotten to the stage where I'm more comfortable with the CLI that the GUIs aren't as useful.
  13. Zenze macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2009
    Yea thats what I was thinking. As far as what you are going to be doing on a server anything you can do with a gui you can do with a cli, and a cli gives you a lot of functionality you simply can't have with gui.

    Obviously you can't really do pictures/videos with a cli, but if you have a dedicated server box then that doesn't really matter...
  14. paduck macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    This ends up being the fundamental question which you should ask yourself. Setting up a basic server is pretty easy and you'll find a lot that you can do with it.

    The MacBook is probably pretty low-power and you should make sure that you tinker with the energy settings - you don't want an energy hog running up your electric bill at home while you're gone!

    Your home ISP probably blocks a variety of ports outgoing - they do it to stop viruses from spreading, but the ports are the ones used for http, ftp, pop, and smtp, among others. That limits your ability to do mail and web services. Better to find that out before you set it up and leave than after! Also, it will be a good idea to know what you upstream bandwidth is as most ISP's provide significantly less upstream capability than downstream.

    Things you can still do:

    1. Access (store and retrieve) files via AFP over Internet regardless of what computer you are using.

    2. Crashplan remote backup server (off-site backup of your home directory is a good idea).

    3. Remote Time Machine.

    4. Bit Torrent server - but be careful, you don't want to run afoul of the RIAA, so this probably has limited utility for you.

    5. You control the data, not someone else. You can add as much storage space as you need. No additional costs once you have the hardware.

    6. You could set up a calendar and address book server.

    7. Using your home router, you could port forward a different port to Apple's built-in web server on port 80. You just have to address the http line a little differently. This probably is a technical violation of your ISP agreement. If you do more than just you and a couple friends, it will get the ISP's attention and it will become more of a technical violation.

    8. Game Server - want to host interactive games, you could do it this way...

    If you were not connecting over the Internet, having a home server would give you some advantages in backup and centralized media storage/streaming, but that would require that you string a bunch of HDD's off the back of the MacBook.
  15. TK2K macrumors 6502


    Jun 4, 2006
    yup, at least it was when I got my copy :p

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