Using Mini as local sync server - Questions

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Jon-PDX, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. Jon-PDX macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Pacific NW - USA
    #1
    I was going to post this in the Mac Mini section but the server section seemed like a better place to ask.

    So now that Apple has removed SyncServices from Mavericks I've been thinking about setting up a local sync server to keep my data locally. And a Mac Mini seems like a logical solution since it does not take up a lot of space and would not add any overhead to my workstation.

    Before I go out and get a used Mini can anyone tell me if OSX Server will, or can be made to, act like Apples iCloud?

    I other words, beside the calDAV and cardDAV can I also use it to sync things like iCloud Tabs, iBooks, notes, etc...?

    Is an older 2009 Mini going to work ok or would I be better off spending a little more and getting one of Apple's refurbished Mini's like this…

    Refurbished Mac mini 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
    Originally released October 2012
    4GB memory

    500GB hard drive

    Thunderbolt port (up to 10 Gbps)
    HDMI port supports multichannel audio output
    Intel HD Graphics 4000

    Also, once it's all up and running do I still need to have a mouse, keyboard, and monitor connected to the Mini or can I disconnect those things and just manage it remotely over my local network?

    Oh, one other question… it appears I can only get OSX server for Mavericks. Is that correct, or can I get an older version? And if so, how would I get a copy since I don't see any other versions listed in the Mac App Store?

    Sorry for all the questions but I like to know what I'm getting myself into before I spend money.

    Thanks,

    Jon…
     
  2. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #2
    You know you could run it headless once you set it up. Sadly Apple doesn't give away Apple Remote Desktop or keep it up with Mavericks (yet).

    Then look at things like TeamViewer as well as others.
     
  3. kappaknight macrumors 68000

    kappaknight

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    #3
    What do you mean? ARD now works with Mavericks. It was updated recently.
     
  4. satcomer, Nov 17, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2013

    satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #4
  5. Jon-PDX thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Pacific NW - USA
    #5
    Thanks for the replies.

    I did not know I would need ARD to remote into the Mac. I figured (assumed) that function was already built into the OS. So thanks for the heads up on ARD.

    The VPN server that Satcomer linked to looks interesting. Don't really need VPN since I did not plan on making my network available to the outside world but it is a less expensive solution than ARD and it appears I could use it locally.

    I've also looked at OwnCloud which looks promising. Although I'd prefer to stay with Apple products if I had the choice since in theory they should work well together.

    I was thinking last night that it might be a good idea to first spend the $20.00 on OSX Server and install it and Mavericks on my Air and play with it before spending the money on a Mac Mini. That way if I decide it's not for me I can just restore the Air back to 10.8.5 which is no big deal since there is nothing critical on the Air that's not backed up.

    Thanks,

    Jon…
     
  6. jimsowden macrumors 68000

    jimsowden

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2003
    Location:
    NY
    #6
    If you're on the local network, screen sharing has been built right into os x for some time. Under shared computers, just select the mini, share screen and login as admin. Obviously you can VPN in to achieve the same results with any modern router as well.
     
  7. Jon-PDX thread starter macrumors regular

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    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Pacific NW - USA
    #7
    Screen sharing, that's what I thought would work. But from the replies, I got the impression I needed something else. That may be my fault for not being more specific about local control in my original post.

    I just turned on screen sharing on my Macbook and connected to it from my desktop. It worked perfectly! I even had it check for updates and and install them without any issues.

    Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

    Jon…
     
  8. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #8
    You don't need a separate VPN either. Server has it (although the one in Mavericks Server is broken, it will get fixed).

    I've been syncing Calendar, Contacts, and Reminders for 3+ years now with my mini server. It won't do any of the "special" iCloud type synching like passwords, notes, or tabs.
     
  9. Jon-PDX thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Pacific NW - USA
    #9
    Talmy,

    Oops, sorry, missed you post until just now.

    Thanks for the info.

    Question:

    I installed the server app on my macbook to play with it and noticed that my iPad will only update contacts when I close and then reopen contacts on the iPad.

    I have not come across a way to "push" data from the server to the iPad like using Apple's iCloud does. Is that normal?

    Oh the iPad is running iOS 7.

    Jon…
     
  10. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #10
    My contact list is pretty static. I do notice that calendar notifications are pushed.
     
  11. hitopalpine macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    #11
    i new to this forum but and i know im probably in the wrong thread, but im trying to get a copy of osx leopard server, can anyone help or point me in the right direction, thanks in advance
     
  12. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #12
    You need to start a new thread. It would probably be difficult to find after all this time. And nobody but people interested in the thread topic will be reading this.
     
  13. Jon-PDX thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Pacific NW - USA
    #14
    ** Update **

    ** Update **

    Sorry for the long delay, been really busy.

    So I finally got around to getting a late 2012 base model Mac Mini to use as my server after playing around with other solutions that did not work out with the hardware I have in my Win-7 box that's been sitting around since making the switch to Apple a couple years ago.

    I've been trying to learn as much as I can before setting up server on the mini for real. In the process I've reinstalled the OS a few times because I find it easier to try things out without worrying if I mess things up. It's been a fun learning experience and it's time to put the server on-line.

    I came across this set of videos by Todd Olthoff that I have found to be very helpful.

    Mac 10.9 Mavericks Server Tutorials
    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLP9lCFXVZfRNJx3S2dqM3h0NEZ5Xto2iZ

    He keeps adding to them and is up to configuring VPN as I write this so I figured it was time to go live.

    Anyway…..

    I think I have a pretty good handle on how to set it now and hope to have it up and running for "real" in the next week or two (time allowing).

    I do have one question though…

    I don't have a static IP or domain name but I probably will want to access the server using VPN in the future.

    If I initially set the host name to .local to get everything up and running can I change it to .private at a later date when the time comes to start using VPN, or should I set it to .private from the beginning and just leave VPN off until I need it?

    Thanks,

    Jon…
     
  14. talmy, Feb 28, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014

    talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #15
    The .local domain is used by Bonjour. Create a unique domain name.

    Here is a very thorough guide to Server: http://krypted.com/guides/mavericks-server/.

    You will need to set up the DNS server and make up your own TLD so it doesn't conflict. I used to know of a really good guide for this but I can't find it now. EDIT- I found it. http://labs.hoffmanlabs.com/node/1436

    Anyway:

    1. Give the server a static IP address. You will either have to configure your existing DHCP server (typically your router) to have a range for static IPs or will need turn that off and run a DHCP server on your mini. The mini needs to be configured so that the DNS server it uses is itself (System Preferences => Network => Advanced => DNS).


    2. In the DNS server you need to add your TLD as a new zone and your server's static IP as the name server for that domain, and add any systems you want to access with static IPs (including the server itself). I've added my stationary iMac, the router, and a Windows VM I run on the server.

    3. In Forwarding Servers, add the name server hosted by your ISP or a public server(s). I use the Google DNS servers 8.8.4.4 and 8.8.8.8.

    When you are ready to set up VPN you will need to open up the appropriate ports though your router and probably sign up for a DDNS service so you can access your LAN from the outside world. Note that your TLD you made up is useless outside your LAN (or Virtual LAN with VPN running).
     

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  15. Jon-PDX thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Pacific NW - USA
    #16
    Thank you for the info and the links to the websites. I'll take some time and read through that information.

    Currently I've been using my Time Machine for routing and DHCP

    Already have a static IP address for my server and a couple of other workstations. And I've also reserve a range of static IP addresses so that they won't be handed out.

    Browsing through the link you provided for Hoffman labs it appears I'll have to put a little more thought into the domain name and TLD that I use. I noticed the author recommends to not use .private which surprised me since everything I had come across suggested that if I planned to access the server from outside my local network and did not already have a public domain name.

    Would it be easier to just register a domain name to avoid any conflicts? Or is that really not needed since I have no plans to make the server available to the public?

    Thanks for the example image that you posted. That will help when I start setting all this up.

    Don't be surprised if I have more questions :)

    Jon...
     
  16. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #17
    As far as I'm concerned, the only reason to register a domain name is if you want to eventually have the system act as a server outside your LAN, but that would also require an Internet static IP and appropriate (business) class Internet service.

    I've got several registered domain names but don't use any of them on my server.
     
  17. Jon-PDX thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Pacific NW - USA
    #18
    Yeah those were my thoughts too regarding a domain name. I did not think I needed one in my situation but figured I'd ask.

    Thanks,

    Jon...
     

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