Time to switch our office to Mac.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by p.doering, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. p.doering, Nov 23, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2010

    p.doering macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2010

    Our architecture firm currently has 4 employees. If business goes nuts and we expand back to the biggest we've ever been, we'd have ten. Don't need to go crazy.

    All our crappy old systems are a decade old and failing, we've all got iphones and like em, and I've leveraged that to singlehandedly convince the boss to let me dump our outdated exchange server 03 and switch everything over to Apple.

    So here's what I'm thinking. Going simple & lean & clean:

    1. imacs for everyone
    - even the base models have 4x the power we need, so no mac pro needed)

    2. Some kind of NAS
    - our current server has a 160GB drive which after a decade is still only half full, so a mirrored 1TB will be plenty. Maybe a Drobo or?

    3. Switch our email over to Gmail-based. Looks like we can even mask our domain name over theirs with a little effort. Gonna try that this weekend.

    4. Avast AV

    5. Online backups, maybe Mozy, etc


    1. Not sure how we handle thousands of shared contacts between gmail or entourage or apple mail.

    2. How do we format an NAS so that it can be written to by our windows workstations and our macs alike? Never used an NAS, but I'm thinking it's like a simple shared drive between all the systems we'll have plugged into this 24port switch here.

    3. I'll probably keep this Barracuda firewall. Hopefully that doesn't give me any surprises.

    4. Print server or just shared printers?

    Has anyone done this? Any recommendations on hardware or software? Any thoughts at all would be greatly appreciated. I'm kinda sticking my neck out on this one, & hoping I'm not a turkey with a tree stump under me. Thanks! Pete

    It'd be kind of cool to illustrate how to put a small office together based entirely on mac.
  2. dmn8 macrumors member

    Sep 27, 2007
    Gonna get flamed on this one but here goes.

    You should really look at Microsoft hosted Exchange. It gives you all of the Exchange functionality (Calendar, Contacts, Mail, etc.) along with email virus and spam detection. It is $5 / user / month. That gives active sync to mobile devices and works now natively with all the Mac apps - Mail, iCal, Address Book.

    Just my .02.
  3. 1911 macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2008
    Re: Time to switch our office to Mac.

    iMacs for everyone, and a Mac mini server.
    Use the mac mini server to replace the NAS, then you have email, wiki calendaring, etc., etc.
    Compare the pricing to a server with MS Exchange!
    All you need to complete the environment is a Time Machine compatible drive and a SonicWall UTM.
  4. jahala macrumors regular


    Feb 7, 2008
    Look at other architectural firms

    Have you looked at the business profiles on Apple's site? Specifically, http://www.apple.com/business/solutions/architecture.html has some case profiles at the bottom where you can see how several architectural firms met their needs with Apple software/hardware. It might give you some ideas of what has worked in the past.
  5. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Taking your concerns in no particular order...
    4. shared printers. I like and use Brother because they have excellent Linux and OS X compatibility. Go for a higher end model that supports duplex printing. Get an all in one that includes a network capable scanner. You can then scan documents and either email or ftp them (depending on the limitations of the network printer/scanner you buy).

    3. Airport extreme router should do nicely. An all Apple environment is truly trouble free. If you want vpn for your employees on the road, then you might have to look elsewhere but if you need a basic router/firewall go for the AE.

    2. You normally don't format an NAS, unless you have one that works with external drives. It runs EXT 3 or HFS or Fat32 or NTFS or whatever it speaks depending on the OS the NAS device is running. This is one area where I'd make an exception to the all Apple strategy. I'm not a big fan of Time Capsule. It's overpriced and the reliability problems of first gen Time Capsules put a shadow of doubt on the product (in my opinion). Here you can use an Airport Extreme and connect a USB disk which will wind up formatted as HFS (Apple).

    1. Shared contacts? Not sure what you mean here. Are you saying you want user A to update contact Y and user B sees the updated contact Y in his contact list?

    You don't need AV. If you decide you want it anyway, stay away from Mcaffee and Symantec as they are nearly as bloated on OS X as they are on Windows. I agree with the earlier post that suggested a Mac Mini as a NAS. You can plug in USB drives for days.

    What sort of architecture design or CAD software are you using? If it requires a lot of resources, you might opt for higher end iMacs, but iMacs should be all you ever need.

    You might consider a Macbook Pro or two if you want to be able to travel to customers and make presentations.

    All those decade old systems would run great under Linux. You can get NAS software free to run on one or more of them. Now you don't need to buy a NAS at all.

    I don't really like the way google contacts works, or shall I say doesn't quite work (for me) with Address (contacts app) on OS X.

    Since you are using iPhones and thinking about going all Macs, you might consider using Mobile Me as it syncs contacts wirelessly to all your iThings including iPhones, iPads and OS X computers. (It claims to also work with Windows but that's something I wouldn't know about).

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