Small network setup

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by pknz, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. pknz macrumors 68020

    pknz

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Location:
    NZ
    #1
    Hi I have been asked by a friend to help set up a small network for a new company. (They want to go Mac, yay!)

    The company requires two computers at the office (a desktop and a laptop). Then there are three remote computers, a desktop and two laptops that will be mobile.

    The three remote computers will never need to be located at the office.

    The staff require email, file sharing between themselves and would also like to be able to keep their calendars synced together.

    Would the best route to take be a Mac OS X Server at the office, and the remote computers connect via VPN?

    Or is a client/server network really necessary?
     
  2. ian.maffett macrumors 6502

    ian.maffett

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Florida
    #2
    The trick to this question is growth. If this is for a small company, hopefully you can expect them to grow and if that is the case I would suggest a server of some kind - Mac if you want to stay all Mac would be logical. If you build something that can be scaled, your job will be easier in the future - otherwise, it will be exponentially more difficult once up and running.
     
  3. pknz thread starter macrumors 68020

    pknz

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Location:
    NZ
    #3
    Yes I assume growth is on the cards, at some point in the future if the business succeeds. Although at the moment it will have 4 staff.

    With four staff, is it worth going to a server for email/iCal/file sharing?
     
  4. ian.maffett macrumors 6502

    ian.maffett

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Florida
    #4
    Well, Under 5 you could try the family pack of mobile me for most of that...
    Just an idea to start cheaper for the first year. Those Apple Servers are pricey.
     
  5. pknz thread starter macrumors 68020

    pknz

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2005
    Location:
    NZ
    #5
    I did wonder whether MobileMe could be used to "sync" across different users in a business setting. I will look into that, thanks.
     
  6. stukdog macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    #6
    A Mac mini and Snow Leopard Server would be more than enough for this situation.

    Or, if you don't want to host your own hardware and server, you can set up Google Apps for your Domain which would make the email and calendar syncing real easy.
     
  7. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #7
    I'd recommend finding a hosted solution. Does this newly created 4 person company have the knowledge of how to maintain the backups and restore files, and keep things patched?

    My guess is they do not and finding a hosting company you can trust is your best bet. The problem with the free hosting solutions is that you can potentially lose data and the hosting provider will not assist you.

    This is a company's data, not a directory full of MP3's, so be sure you have your bases covered.
     
  8. foshizzle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    #8
    I second going with Google Apps for calendar, email, document, contact sharing. It's pretty simple to get it setup, just buy a domain and then have google host it for all of your stuff, so your email is not "XXX@gmail.com", it will be "XXX@whatever domain you bought.com". You can even try the pro version free for 30 days. If you don't like it, you can still use the non-pro version which offers the same functionality as a standard gmail account, but still at your domain, for free.

    Do this, then setup a mac mini in the office with server for filesharing and VPN, or an internal website. It'd be about $1500 for a future-proof machine, but it'll let you not have so much setup to do regarding email and such.

    Plus, you don't want to worry about the power going out or internet going out or something - using google pretty much guarantees (close to) 100% uptime. I know, their services have gone down for a couple of hours, but come on, it was like two times this year and IMAP was still running which means anyone that has their iPhone or mail.app setup would not be affected.

    There's not much of a reason for you to host your own email/calendar and such. In my opinion it is too much of a hassle and just something else to worry about instead of getting the company started. Hosting files, I understand that, but you could even use http://www.macminicolo.net/ and really not worry about anything at all.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    Agree 100% with this. If they have to ask you for help on something so simple as this then they can't manage a simple network

    Also even a four person office needs a backup and disaster recovery plan and off site backups. Ask the question "If the building burns to the ground will they be able to recover in 24 hours? Not if you depend on Time Machine, the TM disk will be gone too. Any bussines needs a real backup/recovery plan

    Hosted apps are a great way to make this all work
     
  10. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #10
    Who is backing up this data and what is their SLA on restoring it? If you store your data at a hosted site, you don't need a VPN server at the "office". Too many times I have seen small companies do a very poor job at this and when they lose data, they are in a world of hurt. Again, get this hosted where you have definitive SLAs on things such as downtime, backup, access, etc.
     
  11. foshizzle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    #11
    Did you check out the site? They allow you to have an external drive plugged in to backup to (however many you want), they offer recovery and fast response time depending on how much you pay, and they even offer a hot swap option where they'll restore a new mini with your backup in case yours goes down. I realize you don't need a VPN at the office as well, which is why I mentioned this as an alternative to use along with Google Apps.
     
  12. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #12
    Yes I did and it's co-located, not fully hosted. There's a huge difference. In no way would I recommend a small company, who is serious about their data, to start with a co-location service.

    EDIT: Several things would deter me from using them:

    1. 100Mb shared line is nothing these days.
    2. A USB drive for backup? What happens during a disaster? Your data disappears, that's what happens.
    3. The way they are setup is just waiting for disaster.
    4. I can't believe they were allowed to take pictures of equipment that's not theirs. Most hosting providers consider that a violation.
    5. The pictures are really really old. In those pictures a Cisco 12000 and some 12 year old Compaq DL380's are shown. I don't believe any of the units shown in that photo are actually supported (definitely not produced).

    There's too much question about things for me to even recommend them.
     

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