Understanding OSX Server

davidlv

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Apr 5, 2009
1,275
22
Kyoto, Japan
My business partner and I are both Mac users, but neither understands the reasons for running OS X server. Could you tell me: We have a domain name, and run our e-mail through that domain, maintained by a commercial company on a lease basis. Could we cut that cost by using OS X Server on our own machine (new Mini Server w/OSX 10.6, or OS X Leopard Server on a PPC G5 tower)?
I assume we will still need an ISP contract, how does one access the internet when running OSX Server, same as for a regular OS X install?
Sorry about the "basic" nature of these questions, we have little access to people that would know the answers. Thanks in advance for the help. Basically we want to know what can be done with OS X Server, will struggle with how to do it later.
:apple::D:apple:
 

hakuryuu

macrumors 6502
Sep 30, 2007
347
1
Lomita, CA
My business partner and I are both Mac users, but neither understands the reasons for running OS X server. Could you tell me: We have a domain name, and run our e-mail through that domain, maintained by a commercial company on a lease basis. Could we cut that cost by using OS X Server on our own machine (new Mini Server w/OSX 10.6, or OS X Leopard Server on a PPC G5 tower)?
You could setup your email server via a Mac mini, yes. Is it just you and your partner or do you have employees that will make use of this as well? If so the Mac Mini Server (I am getting one for training purposes myself) would work well for most services. However, it would depend on how expensive your current email service is to determine if the cost of the hardware and time to get it setup correctly would make sense.

I assume we will still need an ISP contract, how does one access the internet when running OSX Server, same as for a regular OS X install?
I would guess that you currently have a router connected to your cable/dsl/tiered connection. The server would have one ethernet connection plugged into the modem and one into your local switch(or what was your router if you want, it would just change how you setup some things). During setup you would set it to share the internet and Server Assistant will setup your firewall, DHCP, and DNS services. Regular OS X can do this as well but you would need two ethernet connections to do it right (same as server).

Sorry about the "basic" nature of these questions, we have little access to people that would know the answers. Thanks in advance for the help. Basically we want to know what can be done with OS X Server, will struggle with how to do it later.
:apple::D:apple:
That is what this forum is for. Even if some people seem like old crotchety men. :D

The above link is a great resource for information about OS X server. It isn't terribly indepth, but it should cover basic answers.

Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.
 

davidlv

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Apr 5, 2009
1,275
22
Kyoto, Japan
Thanks Hakuryuu for the very explicit reply. I didn't understand the first comment received, as the link provided said OS X Server does provide mail services, but I guess he meant that was not the whole purpose.
Actually, we do have more than 2 people using the hosted mail service, but no more than 10 at any one time. I have a PPC G5 tower with 2 ethernet connections I could use with OS X Server 10.5.8 also, but I have heard 10.6 is much easier to set up (maybe sell the tower and buy a mini?). I suspect the cash outlay, time and effort involved would be worth more than the small monthly fee we pay for mail now, but the other attractive features as shown in the link above would be nice to have. Now we mostly use the sneaker network and USB memory sticks to transfer large files and such, but as things grow, that will become more difficult.
Thanks again for the help and the time involved.
 

pdjudd

macrumors 601
Jun 19, 2007
4,041
65
Plymouth, MN
Unless you really know what you are doing, I would advice against running a mail server locally on your own - they tend to be very complex and tend to have high requirements. In my experience, it ends up being easier to have email hosted unless you have tons of users that you have to manage. Not only is there alot of work thats involved in the setup, you also have to work with your ISP since they tend to block the ports necessary (usually for your own good).

I am not saying that it's impossible, but I would look really hard at your needs and look at the documentation that Apple provides to determine if it's worth the hassle. Who knows? it might be a lot easier to use hosted Exchange or use another option.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,617
438
Redondo Beach, California
My business partner and I are both Mac users, but neither understands the reasons for running OS X server. Could you tell me: We have a domain name, and run our e-mail through that domain, maintained by a commercial company on a lease basis. Could we cut that cost by using OS X Server on our own machine (new Mini Server w/OSX 10.6, or OS X Leopard Server on a PPC G5 tower)?
I assume we will still need an ISP contract, how does one access the internet when running OSX Server, same as for a regular OS X install?
Sorry about the "basic" nature of these questions, we have little access to people that would know the answers. Thanks in advance for the help. Basically we want to know what can be done with OS X Server, will struggle with how to do it later.
:apple::D:apple:
Of copuse you could do as you describe. But any savings would be eaten up by the consulting company would would need to hire to set this up and maintain it for you. and YES if you need to ask here you will need continuing help to set up and run a mail and DNS server. Also, just like your ISP you would need to set up multiple redundant servers and have multiple redundant Internet connections so as to have 100% 24x7 service. Unless you are a larger outfit it is not cost effective because if you use a larger ISP, like you do now the cost of the infrastructure is shared with many others. Doing it yourself means you can't share.

I have set up systems like this that do email, dns and web services for a larger company. You have to think about every little bit of equipment, routers, disks, CPU and even uniteruptable power supplies, think about "what if it fails" will the failure take you off the air? What about data center fires? Will the data still be safe? You'd need a lot more then just one Mac erver. And people to run it.
I would not recommend Mac OS X. Macs are great desktop machines. But others do servers better.
 
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