So close to server

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by JoshBoy, Jan 7, 2012.

  1. JoshBoy macrumors 6502

    JoshBoy

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #1
    My current set up -

    iMac 2.4ghz with 5 X 2TB drives attached
    Macbook Pro 2.53ghz
    Macbook 2ghz
    Macbook Air i5
    iPad2
    Iphone 4S
    iphone 4
    Apple TV
    ATV2
    Airport extreme

    All except the white macbook run Lion, I have about 5gig of music and movies, I live in a country that has limited bandwidth (i am only allowed 6.5 gig a month)

    I have been looking at lion server from when it came out, I am pretty good on the I.T front but not fantastic. I am interested in learning more. The reason having the iMac as a potential server is to back all the computers up through time machine as well as been able to file share. The last reason was to be able to download updates once and push them out to all the computers.

    The iMac holds all my iTunes at the moment. Am I taking things too far for a noob when it comes to servers or should i dive in and do it?

    I have the upgrade ready to go but i am only 98% sure it is the right thing to do. My iMac is always on but because of the bandwidth issue I would continue to host my website externally so this option would not be used. I also use iCloud so i have no need for a mail server.

    I have asked some questions in the past and have not found many constructive answers.

    Any advise, tips etc are welcomed. Appreciate it.

    Cheers

    Josh
     
  2. Foogoofish macrumors regular

    Foogoofish

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Location:
    London
    #2
    Hey Josh,

    To be honest with you, I am not sure that you 'need' to have server. From what you are saying, if I read correctly, you are looking to have:

    File Sharing
    Backup of 'client' computers
    Distribute Updates
    Network iTunes Library

    As I am sure you know already, file sharing is really quite simple in normal OS X, and in my opinion, if you are the only one that is going to be accessing it (or you don't need different levels of authentication for multiple users), then for the one time little bit of extra effort you can set that up very nicely. Just in case - Sys Prefs -> Sharing -> File Sharing.

    As for the backup side of things, this is where I would really recommend Carbon Copy Cloner. One of the awesome things about this, is that the files are stored as they are on the client computer (or a compressed disk image to save space). This means that when you open them up, instead of using Time Machine, you can just go through the Finder window. It's only my personal opinion, but Finder > Time Machine! :).

    With the back up, the neat part comes in when (for instance, using an External HDD for back up) you share your external hard drive from your mac, and then point Carbon Copy at that share point for the scheduled backup. It works entirely in the background - just make sure to save your authentication method, and can be set to only update files that have been modified - deleting the originals, or even archiving them.

    For the software update, this is indeed a pain when using multiple computers. I would have to say though that while the server is a bonus, I am guessing that if running that, you would have purchased Apple Remote Desktop. This is a great way to distribute the software updates, and I have a feeling you would use this even if you have the server running.

    As for the iTunes, you can also make a share point on the iMac (if it is hosting your entire library) that directs to the 'Automatically add to iTunes' folder. This means that whenever you have got some new music, you just pop it into that share point and let iTunes do the rest. Then just enable sharing on the iTunes network, and bingo, you have your music stored on a centralised location

    To sum it up, from my opinion, I would probably only really buy server if you wanted to start using network home folders, or something that normal OS X can not handle. I hope you liked some of the ideas - maybe they will give you something to play with before you go out and buy server! If you are looking to learn more, this will keep you nice and busy! :)
     
  3. JoshBoy thread starter macrumors 6502

    JoshBoy

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #3
    Thank you for taking the time to respond, heaps of food for thought. I will start reading up on what you have suggested.

    Cheers

    Josh
     
  4. Foogoofish macrumors regular

    Foogoofish

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Location:
    London
    #4
    Hi Josh!

    Any decision on what you are going to do? :)
     
  5. JoshBoy thread starter macrumors 6502

    JoshBoy

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #5
    Thanks for the follow up. At this point in time I am
    Sitting tight. What I will do is continue to have my iMac back up to a connected drive through timemachine. I have connect a 2TB to my airport extreme and have my MacBook pro and MacBook air backing up to it as well as having a shared partition for some files. I continue to share my iTunes through home sharing because the iMac is always on. I have spoken to work who are creating a wifi network for me that I will manually download my updated that are needed onto my MacBook pro and take them home and manually install them on each machine. I will also do this for any iOS updates for the iPhone 4, 4S and iPad2. Noted it is a manual work around but it is a win with my limited bandwidth at home. I will test this for the next 6 months to see how I go. My only challenge now is keeping my apps up to date that sit on the iMac from the app store but may just have to take the hit on my downloads at home.
     

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