Some advice on Lion server please

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by jenster81, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. jenster81 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    #1
    Hi there,

    I run a small business with currently 4 full time employees and several remote freelancers.

    I find it incredibly frustrating that I need several programmes in order to share 'stuff' and I am wondering if Lion server may be an option to 'get rid of my issues!'

    We are ALL mac users in the office and some of our freelancers are PC users but remote.

    The basics of what i want to do is:

    - Share calendars (we use ical not google) I find this really annoying at the moment as some computers are not on iCloud - i know this could solve this.
    - File share
    - Create areas of the server for clients to have access to in order to see files
    - Create back ups of all company computers
    - Potentially host the mail servers
    - Potentially host the website - is this recommended??

    I know my needs are currently basic, but they will grow as we expand. I've also looked everywhere and am not entirely sure how to set users up - i mean, i can see you 'create new user' etc, but what i mean is how they connect their computer to the server?

    How do we set this up as a secure server? Avoiding any hacking if we did host the website?

    Sorry If I'm asking dumb questions, just fed up of having everything all over the place!

    Thanks in advance for any help or advice..
     
  2. codeus macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    #2
    Lion Server can do all of this including the webserver.

    With the number of users you are talking about, you won't need anything too powerful to run it on either (unless your website gets a lot of traffic). Any Core2Duo mac or macmini should do although obviously you'll need big disks if you plan to use it as a timecapsule for your office computers.

    You will be able to set up sharing groups for your internal and external users.

    A few others things you will need are:-

    - Good bandwidth - both download AND upload
    - A static IP address
    - The relevant DNS and MX records to point your domain name and email at your server's ip.
    - Someone to set it all up for you!

    Lion server has a nice GUI but in reality, configuring all the services you need (DNS, AFP, iCal, Mail, Apache) is likely to require a degree of tinkering 'under the hood'.

    Re. Hacking, Lion's webserver is a recent(ish) build of Apache which is world-class, but nothing is impregnable and you are just as likely to be the victim of attacks on other services (pwned Mail servers are very handy for spammers for example).

    HTH
     
  3. StevenMeyer macrumors member

    StevenMeyer

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Location:
    New York... Where Else?
    #3
    While I agree a "Mac" is capable I would NEVER use one in a mission critical environment with mixed OS's. EVER. I would much rather use LINUX or even Windows. As someone who is around Mac servers all day, Apple does not give a damn about them and all your support will be in these forums or in learning Unix. Also keep in mind that they no longer have dual power supplies nor is the server a dedicated environment, it is now just an app. While being an app is not bad it goes to show you what apple think of a server.
     
  4. jackhdev macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Location:
    Bismarck, North Dakota
    #4
    I completely agree. Don't spend any more time than you need to setting up the Lion Server, then go do something else. If you want to learn more about servers, I could not more strongly recommend learning about Windows or Linux. Apple does not care at all about the server market and it is a waste of time to learn how to use their products.

    It's unfortunate because Apple cries and cries about how education got them started (January keynote) and how they're all about education, but they provide no way of managing the devices schools buy for education. Same with companies. They adopt Apple's devices and Apple encourages it. There's no easy way of managing Macs or even iPads without Apple's software, which they are unwilling to provide.
     
  5. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    VA
    #5
    I will echo other comments in the thread and state that if you're looking to build a core infrastructure to run a business (even a small one such as yours), you should absolutely not be looking to OS X server. The most significant reason being the lack of support and the lack of a clear roadmap of the future of OS X server. Also in my opinion, the whole package simply is not as robust as other *nix-based alternatives, or Microsoft products for that matter.

    I would also advise not running all services on a single box, if that's what you were thinking. One failure could bring down your website, mail services, shared storage, etc. all at once. Not good.
     
  6. mikes63737 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #6
    I wouldn't recommend hosting your mail servers or website. The reason most people go with a service provider is because there's no single point of failure in a datacenter -- if the power goes out, there are battery backups and diesel generators. If an Internet connection goes out, there's another provider's connection that can be used.

    I work in an office of 7 people, and we're moving away from our University-provided desktops to personal laptops so that we can work from home. We've found these tools to be really useful:
    • Dropbox - file sharing between computers. It keeps a copy on each computer, and a copy "in the cloud" so that your remote workers always have access to the latest files, even when they're not in the office. You can create shared folders that you can share with clients.
    • Google Calendar - you said you use iCal, but you *can* use Google Calendar with iCal. If you have people on PCs, iCloud doesn't meet your needs, no matter how much you might like it over Google. Plus, you can use Gmail on your own domain name (possibly costs, not sure since we're a .edu) and Google Chat is really useful (and integrates with iChat).
    • CrashPlan - backups to the Internet or your own server. You can have remote PCs back up to "the cloud" and your office Macs back up to any computer in your office.
     

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