Switching from Windows Server to Xserve questions???

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by jackiec, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. jackiec macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2009
    The company i work for is finally and proudly making the switch from a Windows Server environment over to Xserve with Snow Leopard. This is my first big project for the company and i want to make sure all my bases are covered. We are going to be using VmWare Fusion to run Windows XP as a virtual machine. I know the Xserve has DNS capabilities, but i was wondering about our Domain name. Will that be the same? How do i go about making sure our Domain name stays the same? And concerning IP ranges with DNS- what do i need to do to configure that with snowleopard? We also have several pieces of equiptment that have static IPs- what do i need to do to keep those the same?

    I know its a lot of questions but like I said this is my first big project and dont have a lot of experience with Snow Leopard server.

    Thanks in Advance--
  2. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    You talked them into a solution that you've never used or configured and have no idea if it will actually work?

    What a really really bad idea...
  3. Winni macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2008
    You are proudly making a switch to Snow Leopard server, and the first thing you mention is that you will be running Windows XP( !! - not even a server OS - !!) in a Virtual Machine on said Snow Leopard server. That's not switching, it's not even real migrating, it's just a sure way to further reduce productivity while at the same time increasing costs on various levels.

    And then, like the other guy said, you are migrating to a solution you know nothing about. That is the fastest way to fail and lose a job.

    Have even considered evaluating that solution in a sandbox environment BEFORE you are trying to go live with it?

    And what makes you think that a niche server platform like OS X could do anything for you that a battle-tested and established corporate platform like Windows Server cannot do for you even better? Especially since that platform was obviously already installed and running. But probably nobody in your shop knew anything about Windows either, but of course it was not the lack of knowledge about the used tools that was the problem, but certainly Microsoft was blamed for not delivering a fool-proof server platform. And now your trying your luck with a Unix-based system that requires an even deeper knowledge of the technology behind it to get something working and running.

    Good luck and lots of money for the external consultants. You'll be needing both.
  4. jackiec thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2009
    Geez...such hostility.
    So my boss, is an avid Mac user. Hes always had Macs, absolutely hates windows. And hes very technical savvy he has decided to migrate to a mac server, Xserve. If i had it my way i would stick to what i know best which is windows. Server 2000 and 2003, but i obviously do not have it my way. The only reason we are running parrallels at all is because one particular and very outdated program that we use for scheduling and which was written in VB6 will only work with XP or 2000 OS. And we dont want to fork over the money to have it re-written for us. Im obviously not going to be the only one working on this, as my boss will be at my side as well, I was only hoping to get some insight on some questions that i have from people who might be more experienced on the networking side than me or my boss.
  5. hakuryuu macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2007
    Lomita, CA
    How much of your office is windows and how much is Mac?

    If it were me in a mixed office I would be running both Server 2003/2008 and OS X Server. They integrate fairly well but don't manage computers and users of the other's operating systems especially well.

    At my current job I am the one Mac user in a Windows office. I have had my Mac Mini Server hooked up for testing purposes and it worked pretty well within the network as an Open Directory Master providing services to my MP and MBP. I am part of a 2 person IT team as well as my normal Data Analyst position.

    As far as keeping your domain name the same it shouldn't be an issue, but again I would probably keep at least one windows server for Active Directory and as a Domain Controller. You can then use the Xserves as Open Directory Masters and get your users, groups, and computers from Active Directory. etc. etc.
  6. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    There's no hostility. I have nothing to lose here. I'm just saying pulling the trigger and making the switch without going through any type of process of:

    1. Functions required
    2. Functions desired
    3. Application compatibility
    4. Any testing, including performance (especially with introducing virtual machines)

    is just a very very bad idea. These are items that should be performed before even considering a switch to another hardware/OS platform.

    If my manager pulled this on me, I'd be asking questions very quickly and potentially looking for another job. I'm not an avid Windows fan either, but it has its place and one has to deal with it.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    First step: List out all the functions you want the new server to do for you. Yes write them down.

    If you are asking for help you should at least show us your list. As it turns out most people don't even need the server version of Mac OS X. But who knows without seeing what it is you want to do.
  8. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    FUD. There are plenty of examples of businesses running OSX that save money, due to lower total cost of ownership.
  9. GroundLoop macrumors 68000


    Mar 21, 2003
    You may need to re-read the thread. I don't think that anyone is saying that there isn't a "possibility" of saving money. The heart of the issue is that it appears to be a snap decision with little or no planning. That and obviously the IT staff has no idea how to perform this migration. That is a direct path to failure.

  10. jackiec thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2009
    Thanks Every One for answering and giving opinions. Much appreciated.
    Just to set one thing clear, being in the IT field i would never put something on our network without proper testing first. And this has been a topic for several months which we have out weighed other options. Including going with a Mac Mini Server instead of the XServe. Now, one of the main reasons why my boss wants to move over to mac is the issue with Viruses. As there is no viruses that i know about or have found that attach OSx. We do have a fairly decent Anti-Virus for our Windows OS, but the main thing that we have been experiencing are constant "Account Lock-Outs" which I can not find the source,and is a constant ordeal.
    We are a very small Lasik Company, with about 10 employess max in 2 different locations. Everyone Except my boss and myself have PCs with XP. We need XP because of our scheduling program, which was written by the previous iT guy in VB6, will only work on XP. This is why we want to run XP on the XServe. My boss and his wife VPN into the sever from their MACs to check the scheduler.
    Also- My boss wants everyone to go through the Xserve when going to the internet. As a proxy server.
    I believe those are the main points he wants covered.
  11. foshizzle macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2007
    You can definitely setup a VPN with OSX server with access control, etc. I'm not sure you'd really need an xserve for this, I think a mac mini server would handle the job. Just be sure that, if you're making this the gateway, you get apple's USB to ethernet adapter and run that to the internet, with the mini's gig ethernet to the local network. Then get another mini (doesnt have to be a server, but couldn't hurt), install parallels and XP, and have it ONLY running the XP and your scheduling software. This will be cheaper than the xserve, you won't have to deal with virtualization of XP and being sure it has enough RAM/CPU/Storage on the main server, plus you've got two boxes in case one goes down you aren't out of all business for a day or so.

    Then for backups, use time machine which will keep backups of the servers and the Virtual Machines (nice to roll back if XP gets a virus or something), along with superduper or CCC to have an immediate fallback if a hard drive goes bad.

    With the single xserve you don't have any hardware redundancy. From what you're saying you don't really need much power out of this, just to run directory services VPN NAT DHCP and firewall. Two minis might be a better idea. If the main one goes down, just plug in the CCC or SuperDuper drive into the other (or even a third spare - at $1000 each they're about the same as one xserve) and boot up to it, and you're back in business in no time.

    For proxying, i guess squid is the only one I would know of. Maybe even look into a linux server running Squid and clamAV to keep viruses off the network as well. Sit this in-between the internet and your network either with firewall rules or physically.

    Good luck - server upgrades are always fun. You always learn something new.
  12. jackiec thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2009
    Thanks so much for your advice. We actually did consider going with 2 Mac Minis. However, we would need something more powerful considering the image files we upload, and of course our scheduling program.So thats why we decided to go with the xserve. Your other advise is very helpful and i appreciate it. Thanks alot
  13. kiboko macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2010

    Just ignore the hostile replies of some wannabee sysadmins. Your boss has some good reasons to switch from Micro$oft to a Mac environment. Viruses alone are enough reason to abandon the PC.
    In my organization we come from a 500PC network, today have 400PC's and 200 Macs and in 3 years we plan to be Mac only. We are switching from Windows Server and AD to OS X server and Open Directory. No more CAL's means we save small fortune here.

    Your OS X server can do everything your boss wants:

    - directory server
    - dns
    - file server
    - firewall
    - caching proxy
    - Virtual XP host

    And with the size of network you could make the switch over a weekend...

    All of the above is nicely documented in (no offence!) "Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server for Dummies."

    I would recommend to prototype (sandbox) this setup in a separate test network. With the OS X server as NAT firewall you would only need one public IP address to get this working. Your test network would be a private net on the other interface of the server. Once all works fine you would just switch everyone across to the new network. This way you can easily use the same domain name (even while testing).

    You say:
    My boss and his wife VPN into the sever from their MACs to check the scheduler. but what I think you try to accomplish is to have an RDP session to the XP running on the server. This works fine but only for one user at the time. You could of course run multiple virtual XP machines of the server, depending on how many concurrent users you have. If it's more than just a few you could consider running Windows server in a virtual machine as terminal server. I guess the scheduling program would run Windows server fine too.
    Maybe an even better solution would be to keep your Windows server box in the OS X network just as a Terminal Server for this particular application.
    Eventually you could have a network with just Mac clients, one or two Mac Servers and one Windows Terminal Server serving the scheduler.

    Good luck!
  14. Mattie Num Nums macrumors 68030

    Mattie Num Nums

    Mar 5, 2009
    This statement right here shows me you know nothing about Corp. environments.
  15. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    Exactly. For small businesses, you may be able to switch "over the weekend". When you leave the small business arena (not based on employee base, but flexibility to integrate), you tend to leave the OS X arena. Once you hit those constraints, you'll start separating things out.

    As for wannabe sysadmin, surely you jest. I've been working IT security for 10 years now, so don't even think about comparing OS X's firewall to Check Point.
  16. kiboko macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2010
    You guys just don't get the point. What are these forums for? For people to help each other with technical problems and share thoughts.
    In this case a newbie to OS X Server asks some genuine questions.

    And instead of using your "10 years experience" to give some guidance, all you do is bully them away with statements like "What a really really bad idea..."

    We are not talking about Corp. environments here, but a small shop with 10 employees. All they probably want is something simple that works and is affordable.

    For companies that are not in the position to hire a "Apple Infrastructure Engineer" or MCSE or whatever these guru's may call themselves Apple has introduced the Mac Mini Snow Leopard Server. A small powerful machine that does probably everything a small company would want at a very affordable price.

    If security is the issue, yes they may want to use another type of firewall (I doubt it though). But then again what good is a firewall when the enemy is on the inside? You know how much damage one compromised PC on the inside of your network can do, so getting rid of those is generally a good idea.

    I would like to finish this off some words of wisdom:

    In a world without walls and fences, there is no need for Windows and Gates
  17. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    I get the point and I was offering help in the form of "no testing a new platform is a really good way to end your career". Given the data the OP posted at first, it was a really really bad idea. It came across as he suggested this just to move to Macs without any investigation whatsoever. Six days later, he lets us know he is testing things. Take time to read and not jump to conclusions.

    Again, that data was not given early on. That's why there are dates next to the posts and the posts can be read from top to bottom, not in random order.

    Just because SLS is on a mini doesn't mean it's any easier to configure. So I take it you have no certifications whatsoever and look down on those that do. Good call.

    That's why security is done in layers. A firewall by itself does little good if you're not protecting the machines too. OS X can get a trojan just as easily due to a user doing something they shouldn't.

    That's not wisdom; it's someone's hype in not realizing even Windows serves a purpose. Want a BES server so you can control your mobile devices? Can't do that on OS X. Want a great firewall product? Can't do that on OS X.

    Open your eyes to the world around you and realize that neither Windows nor OS X is the end all be all solution you think it is.
  18. mcprobie macrumors member


    Nov 16, 2009
    Paradise Corrupt

    Sorry ... Maybe I'm the only one that think this is funny ... I know what you mean with it ... But still ... Great Firewall product and Windows together ... ;)

    No disrespect meant
  19. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    Well you can run Check Point on Windows, but that's not an optimal solution. I was really pointing out that OS X can't do everything well. No OS can. :)

    No offense taken.
  20. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    Thanks for the idea, I'll have to pick this book up. My boss just asked me about making the switch to OSX server as well. Being that we are a small company we should be able to switch now without too much pain. (It's really just my boss and myself. I'm on a Mac and he's currently on a PC but planning on switching to Mac soon).

    But we have a few contractors we will want to manage and thus trying to plan for the future. :D

    Thanks for any help.
  21. robertk54 macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2010
    Windows Server allows for multiple simultaneous users. OS X Server does not. There is a workaround using a specific version of VNC server but this is not very elegant. We use such an environment for software development. We have server based build environments. Would like similar on OS X.
  22. observer macrumors member

    Jan 26, 2007
  23. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    It can do this by using Terminal Services.
  24. wromy macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2010
    Don`t worry

    I have purchased a Mac Pro for my law firm, with three employees. I am not an IT-expert, but with a little help from the consultants in the shop, I have made the swhitch to Snow Leopard server without any problems. I manage the server my self, and it is really not that difficult. I really cannot understand why you should not make the change. I have not experienced anything that the server isn`t able to do. We use lap tops when at home, using the AFP - works like a charm - every time.
    I have also an other company, where I have just made a purchase of Xserve, where I will have some heavy applications and media streaming. A lot of people warned me, and arguing to purchase window instead. But I can really not see any argument for that. Quite the opposite - the Mac server seems to have far better performance and reliability than any windows server.
    Regarding database program, I would recommend to use the Filemaker, which works excellent for most tasks.
    We also have one program that needs to run on a Windows application. We solved this by having WM Ware Fusion installed on one of the computers (not the server). Later on we just switched to another software, which was modern enough to be able to run on a Mac as well.
    Good luck.
  25. robertk54 macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2010
    Yes, with Terminal Services we can have many users logged in to the server at the same time. Each has their own environment. Each shares the applications and resources installed on the server. I was expecting the same from XServe but can only achieve this with a hack using a specific VNC server which must be started by each user only by logging in directly, it can't be started via a normal VNC session using the built-in VNC server.

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