Use Mac Mini as a server

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by yugioh5d, May 19, 2017.

  1. yugioh5d macrumors member

    Mar 20, 2015

    I am planning on creating an online personal storage similar to Dropbox. I need some opinion on this.

    Should I install an OS X Server on a Mac Mini and use owncloud? Or should I use macmunicolo (rent Mac Mini)? Or try Apollo Personal Cloud Storage?

    Help is appreciated. Thanks.
  2. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    Maybe you could use a something like Snology DS216Play and use its Apps to use like dropbox and also use a VPN service with it when on the go!
  3. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I'll muddy the waters a bit more by suggesting you look at Resilio Sync which works peer-to-peer and has clients for OS X, Linux, Windows, iOS, Android, and about every NAS out there. I do have a Mac mini server which is my always on sync to my iMac and two Mac laptops I use. Owncloud looks like a decent alternative, but I've never tried it to say for sure. A colocated server is expensive overkill for this but it does give you off-site backup. IMHO there are better ways to get off-site backup. I wouldn't touch the Apollo -- reminds me too much of Transporter. If the company fails you have an expensive piece of worthless hardware.

    Resilio Sync is quite useful in its free version, especially if all you want is personal storage. It does encrypted transfers so no worry over public networks.
  4. yugioh5d thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 20, 2015
    It's actually for a family storage. Dropbox is expensive and space is limited. Resilio looks good, but how secure is it for sensitive data?

    Edit: While browsing the net, it seems there are comments out there saying some files are lost when sync with Resilio...
  5. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    It's secure for transferring data. The data on your computers however are only as secure as you have your system (FileVault on? Good passwords?)

    Looking at lost files, there seemed to be a problem when people went from BTSync to Resilio sync. There also seems to be a product "Sync" that is a cloud service (in Canada) that claims end-to-end encryption unlike Dropbox.
  6. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    NB: you probably don't need to buy OS X Server - its not like OS X server is hugely expensive these days, but I wouldn't bother unless you also need several of its advertised features. It'll be mostly irrelevant to a third-party/open source sync server.

    Mac Minis are cool little servers, but they don't have much space for disc drives. There are NAS boxes from Synology, WD etc. that offer "cloud storage" features or if you're not afraid of a bit of techie stuff you could install Linux, FreeBSD or FreeNAS on a re-used PC or something. (I got a HP Proliant micro-server for £150 and installed Ubuntu Server on it - there are also howtos for installing FreeNas on it).

    Also - what's your home internet connection? Some ISPs prohibit running servers full stop. Also ADSL/VDSL (phone line and fibre-to-the-cabinet services) often have very slow upload rates that are a fraction of the download rate (and anybody remotely fetching files from your home server will feel that pinch). Some solutions might need a fixed IP address (an extra cost with some ISPs - not available with others).

    Then, you have to leave a server running 24/7 in your house, and if your remote storage suddenly stops working while you'll have that wonderful "is it just the broadband on the blink or is my house a smoking hole?" anxiety :)

    Personally, I'd only run servers off a home broadband for personal (i.e. just me) use or very limited experimental use and, for anything more serious a co-location service or virtual private server (in a proper server facility with a decent pipe to the internet) would be the sensible (if more expensive) choice.

    Sync-wise, I'm using SyncThing which runs on Mac, Linux and Windows (and there's a plugin for FreeNAS) - principally just over my home network, but it can work over the internet. Security wise, you have to exchange long "device IDs" to give others access. There's an (optional) "global discovery" server that avoids also having to swap IP addresses (and I guess removes the need for having a fixed IP address for your home network, although I use a fixed IP anyway).

    It's essentially peer-to-peer syncing, but if you want an always-on service it makes sense to have everything syncing to a "master" server. I use a Linux box. I assume you could use it on a co-located machine of virtual private server.

    There's a third-party iOS client "fsync()" but I haven't tried it.
  7. yugioh5d, May 21, 2017
    Last edited: May 21, 2017

    yugioh5d thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 20, 2015
    I am looking for something that is secure, easy to setup and maintenance. Synology NAS sounds good, I'll look into that. But with the Synology and WD NAS, does it mean my files are also store in their server as well? Or only me have access to it?

    I'm on unlimited broadband with Vodafone. The upload speed is around 90 Mb/s I think..

    I basically want to have a secure cloud storage that allow multiple users (family) to use instead of the expensive Dropbox option. I think NAS sounds good alternative than run a server.

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6 May 19, 2017