What is the best set-up for a web-server in-house?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mox123, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. mox123 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #1
    I have been put in charge of buying a new web server for a research group in a university that will also double as research data back-up and perhaps internally run email server.

    What would be the best set-up for this using mac's? Right now, the mac mini with SL server OS looks appealing to me for what I need, given its price. Any other considerations I should look into, like a back-up power supply? Data back-up solution?

    This is a small setup with ten-or-so active users. I have been a personal mac user for the longest time, so I thought of using apple for this set-up right away.

    Thanks in advance!:)
     
  2. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #2
    Any mac can be a webserver. They come with apache setup right out of the box. I think with SL Server you can use the machine as a "Time Machine" target for other macs on the network. So that can do the data backup for you. Depending on the budget you might want two mini servers. One to act as the backup for the main one. With one, should the server go down you'd lose email functionality until it can be repaired.
     
  3. macsmurf macrumors 65816

    macsmurf

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    #3
    I would definitely recommend against using this setup for backup of important data. Research data would be quite expensive to lose. Don't you have some professional data storage solutions available at the university? For my personal use, I have a Linux server running a webserver (Apache+a number of Tomcats) and backup on two mirrored 1 TB hard drives running RAID1 and LVM on top. This gives me the following options:

    1) more disks can be added if storage space runs out
    2) disks can be switched with another if one of them fails
    3) smartmontools sends me an email if a failure is imminent

    This suffices for my personal data, but I wouldn't use it for anything even remotely close to what you propose, and my solution is a lot safer than running all of it on a Mac Mini.
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    Don't mix the backup and web functions of the same machine. the risk of data loss is to high. Backup needs to go on a very secure machine and copies need to be rotated to an off site location.

    Macs are expensive servers. You be much better off runs BSD, Linux or Solaris on server grade PC hardware.
     
  5. mox123 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #5
    so the mac mini server edition wouldn't work as a good web server? i was going to have one drive mirror the other as backup. Is that still not safe enough? (for the purposes of hosting a website and possibly setting up internal email accounts only at this point) :confused:
     
  6. macsmurf macrumors 65816

    macsmurf

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    #6
    Well, backup and reliability are two different things. I believe the Mac Mini server ed. is thought to be an alternative to the Windows Home Server products. As such it is probably a reasonable (albeit expensive) approach in a home environment. I'm not an expert in this field and have no experience with these products.

    Even if your server was perfectly reliable, you could still accidentally delete something which would result in data loss. Mirroring the drives only gives you a better chance of surviving a hardware failure. Real servers can have redundant PSUs so one can take over if the other fails and so on.

    In short, it depends on your needs.
     
  7. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    #7
    RAID1 is not a backup solution. if someone deletes data it's deleted on the other drive as well. if there is corruption, it's probably corrupted on the other drive as well.

    why not ask the university IT people? they probably have an email server already and another website doesn't need it's own server. we have web servers where i work with more than one site on it. and every time a requirement comes up for another site, we just add it to the existing web server.
     
  8. mox123 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #8
    ahh...thanks so much for everyone's inputs!

    I ordered the mini with snow leopard server along with the 24" LED screen, keyboard, and magic mouse.

    It'd be a fun learning experience with hosting a website and setting up a secondary email system, among other things :D
     
  9. Mintin8 macrumors 6502a

    Mintin8

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #9
    Have fun with it!
     

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