What's a good configuration for a web development server for local network?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Stella Richards, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. Stella Richards macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    #1
    Hello,

    We're about to purchase a development server for our team of web developers - php and javascript programmers. We're planning on running LAMP and Subversion. What is the best hardware (processor, memory, manufacturer) and software (flavor of linux, setup, etc.) configuration? And what's the best way to network it to a team of 4 Windows machines?
     
  2. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #2
    You shouldn't need a very powerful machine if it is just for dev work. In fact it is probably better to develop on an underpowered machine as then if you can get the site optimised and running fast on that then you know that it will cope with the demands of a live site.

    Personally I would stick FreeBSD 7.1 or OpenBSD 4.4 (4.5 will be released in May) on it and then compile all the server components myself.

    I avoid Linux if I possibly can, but I seem to be the exception rather than the rule.
     
  3. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #3
    @OP:

    This is a Mac forum so don't be surprised if the answers beyond this focus in that specific direction. Your question seems generic, as if you don't know where you are right now, a Mac place. Sorry, but that's how it comes across. Nevertheless, I have good advice for you, specifically enterprise solutions since the other respondent covered the more basic setup:

    Server

    if you have rack space, get the Xserve blade which serves Mac, Windows, Linux clients out of box and under one license. It also supports Active Directory and Xserve for your Windows IT environment. Otherwise for desktop style look into Mac OS X Server software run on the Mac of your choice or Xserve, such as the Mac Pro which is a powerful machine for network usage. If you choose to use a Mac running Leopard, install MAMP Pro which will install MySQL, PHP and Apache for you under one simple client. If you opt to go Linux, I suggest Red Hat or CentOS, the latter is very stable and commonly used on VPS platforms. The advice to "avoid Linux" is not shared by me or likely most others, and you should ask that user to validate their comments with benchmark tests and facts, not just personal experience. There is a reason Linux is the most popular open source OS platform in various flavors.

    Development

    Buy RapidWeaver4 for Mac as a low cost alternative to DreamWeaver, it supports all you mentioned in terms of code integration and WYSIWYG. The rest involves the usual Mac tools, BBedit for HTML/text editing and pick an FTP client from this list or just use terminal mode or publishing features in RapidWeaver. Mac has numerous clients for version control such as Versions which is SubVersion for Mac OS X and works with any diff tool.

    Networking

    The answer to your last question depends on what you setup as the main server, distance and budget. General advice is found in this topic which includes screenshots on setup on Windows and Mac, how to work with AD and how to share folders.

    -jim
     
  4. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Location:
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    #4
    I did not advise the OP to avoid Linux. I said I personally avoided Linux.

    OpenBSD in particular is far superior to Linux in terms of security and the firewall it uses beats the Linux and Mac OS X firewall into the ground. The reason Linux is so popular is because people constantly recommend it without understanding anything about the competition. The same way people recommend Windows without knowing much about Mac OS X.

    An Xserve is major overkill for a web development server, especially when there are only 4 clients. Heck, a Pentium 4 could cope with that and still have mucho juice to spare. If your website on a dev box serving 4 clients struggles, how do you think your website is going to cope when it is live and you have perhaps 100+ simultaneous viewers? Subversion is not going to take much power as you are unlikely to be commiting constantly with only 4 devs. Filesharing, is also a pretty easy thing for a server to cope with. You could pick a machine up for £300, install whatever OS you like on it (except Windows) and it will happily chug along and do what you need.
     
  5. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000

    SrWebDeveloper

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    #5
    @Cromulent:

    Some folks on here have a tendency to read too fast and ignore things people say, focusing on 1/2 of the context. First off, when you tell someone you avoid something you're indirectly telling them to consider the same, due to the nature of this forum which is teaching and advisory based. If we were blogging here, different story, of course. I also noted in my comment anyway that the OP should ask you for clarification and not rely on "personal experience" -- which means I properly acknowledged for the OP and anyone else reading that your comment was indeed a personal opinion. You still felt a "correction" was necessary via "I said...." which was not necessary.

    Secondly, my entire advice was for enterprise level, which I even underlined to emphasize and also disclaimed by stating, "since the other respondent [you] covered the more basic setup". The reason I suggested some of these other higher products was to promote them, as each is actually very competitively priced and Mac oriented. Plus, each is fully scalable in case the OP were interested in expanding the network in the future, which is a possibility worth covering here. I didn't try to bait and switch, or ignore the OP's requirements and oversell - my disclaimer took care of that.

    ** It never hurts to promote the full line of Mac products here. Never, ever! **

    Finally, nobody here doubts the BSD port of Unix is very secure, but it should be noted I suggested only two specific flavors of Linux and each has a vastly superior system of distributions and support services compared to BSD. That was in reference to the OP's "software configuration". My advice was responsibly given and fits comfortably within the requirements stated by the OP also as to "flavor of Linux" which they asked for, verbatim.

    Relax, Cromulent - all opinions are welcomed here and if they don't happen to be shared by you, maybe consider an approach that might not be construed as patronizing with stuff like, "without understanding anything about the competition".

    @OP: As you can see, everyone has their own opinion and sometimes defends them with intensity, do your own research and use the links provided to come up with a solution that works best for you.

    -jim
     

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