Want Xserve, am total noob

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Jiggerpower, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. Jiggerpower macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2011
    Hey guys,

    I am a total noob to server and do not much but maybe you can point me in the right direction.

    I am thinking about buying a server for my web hosting needs. I have been looking into get an xserver, mac mini, or even turning an old g4 into a server.

    The xserver is most sppealing to me becuase of cost, it seems you can buy them for about 500 bucks on eBay. Such as this, and this.

    I would like to know what else is needed to get these up and running. Do I just buy an xserve and some server handdrives and it's good to go? will it need to be hooked up to another computer? monitor?

    From my understanding, I would be able to just buy one of those and plug it in and it's good to go, but I could be wrong. Please let me know what I am missing and what would be a good course of action. Thanks!
  2. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Hosting your own website may be against your ISPs TOS plus your outgoing bandwidth may not be very fast.
    That said a cheap & cheerful LAMP box would make an excellent web server. I use a Synology NAS and it's pretty handy and minus HDDs is under $200 for a 1 bay device.
  3. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Just buy a Mini. If you're only going to run a web server for yourself, there's no need to waste all the space and electricity needed to run an obsolete XServe.
    Further, there's no need to use OS X Server for web serving.
  4. iPhoneCollector macrumors 6502a


    Nov 30, 2010
    you should buy the parts and assemble a linux server. i think linux servers are better for you just because i think spending ≈$4000 on an xserve is not necessary when you can do the same for ≈$1200 on a linux machine. but after all the decision is up to you and that was just my opinion.
    ps. the prices above are just guesses a didn't do any research.
  5. iDisk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2010
    Menlo Park, CA
    If you haven't done it already, then educate yourself on hosting a web server, then look into books about running Mac OS X server, then you'll have a better idea as to what your needs should be and if your serious about OS X Server or are just infatuated about the idea of "running OS X server".

    Though if you do decide to go ahead and self host, then just buy a mac mini and some good books and educate yourself, about the server your running.;)
  6. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008
    You ARE wrong, and I don't even know where to start. There is no such thing as "buy one of those and plug it in and it's good to go" in the server business. If it were that simple, the entire IT industry would be out of business and it wouldn't take years to learn all that stuff.


    Apple discontinued their server product line, so it doesn't make any sense at all to buy a used (or even new) Xserve. Unless you're interested in oldtimers or out-dated computers, of course.

    I also do not believe that OS X Server will have much of a future anymore. Firstly, Apple does not even produce the server hardware for their server operating system anymore. So why should they keep on developing a server OS when there is no platform left to run it on? There MIGHT be a Lion Server (if only to satisfy some existing contracts), but you can bet your salary that it will be the last incarnation of OS X Server to ever see the light of day.

    The second reason NOT to use OS X Server is even more compelling: Apple does not use that platform in their own data centers or on their own web servers. It is a well known fact that they run Oracle Solaris (formerly Sun Solaris) instead of their own products - and have always been using Sun/Oracle servers instead of their own Xserve products. So why should anybody else use OS X Server when its maker doesn't eat its own dog food?

    That all being said, you're better off investing your time and money in a Linux-based (LAMP -- Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python) solution on commodity PC server hardware. I personally recommend Ubuntu LTS - that's what we are using on our servers, and it has never let us down so far. Ubuntu is free, fast and reliable, well documented and has a large user base.

    And the best hardware partner that I've ever worked with in a data center is... DELL. HP's service and support has let me down a couple of times, and SUN and IBM never appeared as something positive on my radar either -- they were just more expensive than the others, that's all.

    Dell Germany was always there on time and they always sold reliable products. Dell simply EARNED my trust. Based upon my own experience, if I had to build a one billion dollar data center, you can bet that Dell would get the hardware deal.
  7. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    Apple does use OS X Server internally though, as some job postings state, although just not 100% in the large data centers (Mainly as WebObjects is cross platform, so Im guessing Solaris is best for the amount of data Apple is sending around the world for iTunes Stores, Mac App Stores etc)
  8. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    Actually, they do. It is called Mac Pro. The Mac Pro and XServe have always been using almost identical hardware. Chipsets, processors and such are completely identical.

    However, I do get your point, and personally I too don't think that a workstation grade computer can be considered a Server, which is what Apple tries to do right now.
    Physical dimensions, non serviceable parts (PSU, fans, hard drives) without taking the machine apart just doesn't make it a server.

    I don't think Apple will ditch its server OS, though. Apple's server "line" is hardly targeted at data centres and such, rather than at small businesses, like create professional offices, or even individuals. Given that such businesses generally don't have a full server rack, Apple's current line (Mini and Pro with OS X Server) suits the needs of such enterprises pretty well.
    I also think that with the Mini Apple is more going towards the home server business, although current hard- and software is not really ready for this, yet (Pro too expensive, Mini with lack of external interfaces, software too complicated).
  9. GLS macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2010
    I concur. Apple isn't going to concede the SMB server market to Microsoft....if anything, I could see them taking the product and producing a Mac Home Server. Windows Home Server is doing reasonably well, and Apple could easily market the MacMini server along these lines.
  10. foidulus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2007
    I doubt Apple will come out with a separate "home server" OS, there is no need for such a device.

    OS X client already does 95+% of what the windows server does(for free!), and if you really, REALLY need that extra bit of flexibility then you can just use the mac mini Server.

    Overall though I really wish Apple would give us a roadmap. If they are going to phase out OS X server then they should tell us what they plan to do with the Apple specific technologies(namely OpenDirectory which is really the only good reason to get OS X Server over Linux imo)

    Since they discontinued the XServe I think it would really be in everyones interest if either:

    1) they allow virtualization on non-Apple hardware(doubtful, Steve hated the clones and seems vociferously opposed to anything even remotely resembling the clones)

    2) They spin out the few things that OS X Server does uniquely(OD, podcast producer, etc) into separate products that will run on top of Solaris and/or Linux. That way they don't have to do things like maintain separate versions of tools like bind, samba etc. Save them money and give their customers more flexibility when deploying macs in the enterprise.

    My guess is that if they go with #2 it will be compatible with the "Server Admin tools" that Apple currently ships so you can manage everything entirely from your desk.
  11. calimedic911 macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2010
    there is nothing wrong with xserver equipment. you can get a decent config AND a 3.5 tb fibre channel SAN for under $1k for a small graphic design shop that is a pretty darn good deal. the OP mentioned something to start out on. why would he need to invest in a DELL or HP server for 3+ times more for the same actual spec. if they run OSX at home then why not.

    as far as your comment about taking years to learn the software and processes to run a web server, we all had to start somewhere. and if I had something as friendly as OSX to start out on I think my learning would have been a bit less painfull.

    Anyways, just my $.02

  12. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Feb 13, 2009
    United Kingdom
    Possibly, but OS X Server is hardly as friendly as OS X... its better than Windows Server for some things, worse for others, but Id get the OS first, and some books, before going headlong in with an XServe (You can learn the basics even on a PowerMac G4 with Server 10.3/10.4 or a Mac Mini with 10.6).
  13. Kenrik macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2004
    The mini is going to kick the pants off even the fastest G5s ever made while only using 14watts @ idle. If price is a factor you cam get a refurb mini for $849.
  14. Kenrik macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2004
    Depends on where you are and what plan you have.

    Comcast sells Business internet with static IPs and able to host from with 100meg down 10meg up for around $200 per month. You can get a 12down 2up Static for $65 a month.

    Or you could always go with MacMini Colo, I prefer to have my server local so I'm using Comcast 100/10.

    FIOS is what 20meg up? I don't know the prices for their business plans though.

    Either way, any dedicated server even on a 12/2 will kick the pants off of even the best shared hosting providers.
  15. Kenrik macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2004
    Dont get an old copy of OSX Server to learn... They changed so much from 10.4 to 10.6 it's not funny.

    I administer a 10.4 G5 Xserve and a 10.6 Server Mini.
    Hands down 10.6 is 1000% better than 10.4.
  16. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    My understanding was that this is already allowed...
  17. Kenrik macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2004
    Only on Apple Hardware.
  18. timbos macrumors member

    Jan 2, 2009

    If you're wanting to play around with setting up a website and so on, why not use the server tools that are built into OS X? It comes with all the necessary components to run any *AMP website built in, and you could use something like MacPorts to add anything that's missing.

    Your ISP most likely won't allow you to run a server on your broadband connection, and upstream bandwidth will likely be horrible (giving long page load times). Why not drop $10/month on a virtual private server? You can specify the OS (it'll be some sort of Linux), you'll get good bandwidth, much better uptime and no increased power bill. I use a VPS to host my websites, run a subversion repository, a calendar server, email (via an ssh mail client) and fool around with learning other Linux tools.
  19. Waragainstsleep macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2003
    Your plan depends on a couple of things. If you want to run multiple websites, or perhaps one with very high traffic, then OS X Server is what you need. If you just want the one site and don't expect it to be too busy for a while at least, then you can use the built in web server in standard OS X.
    As for Hardware, a Mac Mini will totally waste a G4 or G5 Xserve for performance, and when its not being thrashed, it only sucks up 10W. An old Xserve has a 500-600W PSU and sounds like a wind tunnel, even when its idling. So you'll need a (deeper than most -800mm) soundproofed rack for it. The Mini will pay for itself in saved electricity unless you have wind or solar and are off grid.
    Whichever way you go you'll need a router that can forward port 80 to your server. Many home routers do this now but its worth factoring in so check yours in case it doesn't.
  20. ltrain macrumors newbie

    Apr 1, 2007
    Agreed here. I have no idea where you're located, but here in the US, not only is it against most ISP's TOS to host an external-facing server on your home connection, the latency and upstream limits would make for a lousy web host. Nevermind the lack of a redundant power infrastructure, a static IP address, or any sort of SLA. A VPS will serve you (no pun intended) much better for a much lower cost and let you tinker to your heart's content. However, a VPS won't get you OS X Server or the joy of playing with the hardware.

    If you really want to have your own in-house OS X server just to play around, get an Intel-based Mini and don't waste your money on an out-dated Xserve. As previous posters have mentioned, it's a huge power hog and is EXTREMELY loud. Besides that, PPC hardware (G4 and G5 processors) are not supported going forward, and if you ever want to try Linux or Windows Server, you'll need an Intel machine (there are PPC Linux distributions available, but it would be a huge hassle). Good luck!
  21. sickr1rider macrumors newbie

    Feb 22, 2011
    hackintosh server

    I built a hackintosh server and I couldnt be happier with the way it turned out. I found some tutorials on how to configure osx server and it has been working flawless ever since. Much easier to configure than linux or windows. I pay my local isp an extra $10 a month for a static ip, run vpn, dns,dhcp,smb,web,wiki,ical,ichat and other services perfectly. If you feel like a challenge then get you a gigabyte ds4 mobo and start building I sure dont regret it.
  22. Blakeasd macrumors 6502a

    Dec 29, 2009
    I would NOT buy a powerpc server, it cant run snow leopard or any thing past snow leopard. You'll be stuck with old technology.
  23. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    You do know that OS X Server and standard OS X include the very same versions of Apache, don't you?
  24. tgurske macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2008
    I spent 20 minutes writing a detailed explanation of the pros and cons to each alternative but this website made me login again and deleted my entire post so I am just going to summarize: Get a mac mini and colocate it at macminicolo.com It will give you the best bang for your buck and you can set up multiple services (web, mail, firewall) with minimal effort and no command line bs.
  25. Waragainstsleep macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2003
    Yes, but I assume that 'noobs' (his word) don't want to spend their time manually editing config files.

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