What's your preferred OS X server box?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by jhmaughan, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. jhmaughan macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2005
    I've always liked MacMinis as my OS X server box. Small, sufficient connections, headless. My 2009 server can't upgrade to the latest OS and my 2014 Mini is...disappointing to say the least. (the 1.4, spinning drive, so slow). In my perfect world Apple would update the MacMini as often as it does the MacBooks. I've thought about getting a new 2014 with SSD and the 2.6 but that's a lot to pay for old hardware.

    So what are you all doing for your computers to run OS X server? Nursing it along until better hardware comes out? Using different form factors or Hackintosh? As of now I only use mine for centralized iTunes, TimeMachine backup over the network, oh and caching but not sure how well that works. Maybe I should abandon the server all together, but its nice not having to mount/unmount a hard drive to backup my laptop.
  2. Geeky Chimp macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2015
    I run a fair collection of Mac mini servers both for home and business use. For business use we've tried the 1.4 Mac mini but favour either the 2.6 or 2.8 with SSD. Even though the Mac mini hasn't been refreshed for quite a while (but the new Mac mini is coming ;) ) it's still a good machine and runs well. Business wise we use a vast majority of the services within macOS Server.
  3. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    macOS 10.12 Sierra Unsupported Macs Thread
    macOS High Sierra (10.13) Unsupported Macs Thread
    Using a Mac Pro 5,1 from 2010 at the moment. If Apple comes out with a 2017 Mac mini, and it's actually a decent buy (the 2014 never was IMHO), I'll consider making the switch.

    The built-in drive bays are a huge plus for a pre-2013 Mac Pro. For the Mac mini an external 4-bay USB-C SATA enclosure would be a must, and that plus the Mac mini turns it into a pretty expensive upgrade.
  4. dimme macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    I'm using a 2012 Mac mini with A 1 to ssd and 16 GB of ram. I have 5 4TB USB drives attached with 3 connected via. Thunderbolt hub. I run un it headless and it serves up data, iTunes, VPN and cloud backup. Not running time machine anymore but may restart in the future
  5. jhmaughan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2005
    Which of the services have you found most useful for your business?
  6. DogHouseDub macrumors 6502


    Sep 19, 2007
    I gave up - bought a Synology NAS and use the built in Linux for file sharing, backups, security cams, plex and iTunes content. When/if a better MacMini becomes available, it can use the Synology for storage.
  7. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2005
  8. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    We have used both Minis and iMacs of the current generation for servers. It really depends on how the client wants their server room to look. From a economical standpoint, the Mini is the most affordable option to get going, however both the iMac and the Mini can be configured to be ample servers. With the advent of external storage options and Thunderbolt peripherals, the primary difference between the iMac and Mini in a modern environment is the inclusion of a built-in display.
  9. belvdr macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2005
    No longer logging into MR
    I only need Time Machine support. I really didn't want to dig out the old 2009 Mini, so I created an AFP share on my Linux server and back up to that. With the right server configuration, it works just like you'd expect. I have no need for the other macOS Server features.
  10. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I started with a 2009 Mini Server, then in 2014 replaced it with a 2012 quad-core mini, both of these from the refurb store. I was running a Windows VM on it, and the quad core made a difference, but now it just loafs so I expect a base 2014 would be fine. I've got 13TB in OWC Mercury Elite Pro enclosures (single drive enclosures) so they are fanless and the system, which sits in my office, is nearly completely silent.
  11. prisstratton macrumors 6502a


    Dec 20, 2011
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    I am using the MacBook Air in my sig. with 2 x 2 TB drives attached. The drives are SATA 3 in SATA 3 enclosures with USB 3 connections. The whole setup is pretty quick and totally outperforms the Time Capsule that I was using previously. The 2 x 2 TB drives are split, there is a 1 TB partition on each designated as a Time Machine backup destination. The other 1 TB partition handles all of my: docs, music….windows backups etc., that are all synched to the other 1 TB partition every night via rsync.

    I have been running this setup for almost 3 years now and I am very happy with it.
  12. jeyf macrumors 65816

    Jan 20, 2009
    i have an old NAS box; it is what it is (slow) but one thing i noticed it never fills up. Always every few years a couple of drives go bad and i replace them with the next generation larger drive. Keep adding disk space.

    Using Linux + mini ITX fan free box.
    Originally had a 2009 Mini Server. Expensive and it always ran hot. One day it stopped. Apple electronics stuff seems to buck the hardware reliability trend. Good for them.
  13. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2008
    Tampa, Florida
    At home, I have a 2012 i7 mini with 2x 2TB HDDs and 16GB of RAM. It runs like a champ!
  14. Flint Ironstag macrumors 6502a

    Flint Ironstag

    Dec 1, 2013
    Houston, TX USA
    For small offices they're great! 16GB, mirror 2 SSDs. Open Directory, File & Print, Caching server, Time Machine & Crash Plan (on external storage).
  15. retta283 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 8, 2018
    Kingman, AZ
    I'd say the Minis are the best. Xserves are hard to acquire in quantity, and are huge. cMPs are good, but again are large and take more power than the Mini.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 23, 2019 ---
    Oops, thought it said January 2019 was the most recent post. Not many threads here so had me confused. Sorry for thread necro.
  16. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I wouldn't worry about waking up a dead thread. I've posted to this thread before but think it is time to drop using a Mac as a server and switch to Linux. With Apple dropping the Server.app there is no advantage to using a Mac server.
  17. guzhogi macrumors 68030


    Aug 31, 2003
    Wherever my feet take me…
    The school district I work for has a few Mac minis upgraded with SSDs for OD. Maybe a few Windows and/or Linux servers in-district some stuff. Everything else, we use Amazon Web Services.

    Sonnet has a dock for Mac mini and 2013 Mac Pro. Unfortunately, the docks have only TB 2 connectors, not TB3, so they're a bit dated. Does add spaces for PCIe cards, though. Cool idea, IMO.

    However, with the Mac Server app doing less and less now, you might want to consider something else.
  18. haralds macrumors 6502a


    Jan 3, 2014
    Silicon Valley, CA
    I am running a Mac Mini 5,2 (mid 2011) using High Sierra with a 2.5Ghz i5 and 8GB of RAM. It will stop with that OS, no point going to Mojave.
    I am adding a second internal SSD, but am also using a TB2 to USB3 and eSata dongle. All my TimeMachine drives are in a stack of external USB3 (4-8 TB) connected via USB3 hub. This is in my office and the setup is quiet. I also have a couple of large FireWire arrays, but they are louder and mostly off.
    An external eSATA will be used for CarbonCopy cloning of the OS Disk.
  19. jeyf, May 19, 2019
    Last edited: May 19, 2019

    jeyf macrumors 65816

    Jan 20, 2009
    mac mini would be the obvious choice but:
    -high initial cost
    -old case design that tends to over heat
    -mini doesn't lend it self to maintenance or upgrades

    you may consider running a home firewall on a micro ITX box.
    Yes not mac but could be linux / pfSense?

    I just bought a new NAS box:
    -Qnap & Synology are both off shore companies. Not 1st language english so setup more difficult than expected. Keeping my setup simple as possible i may have locked out future expansion.
    -I am concerned about the new NAS box security. You would think it to be a closed firmware situation but it seems to call home.
  20. dimme macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    I have considered a nasty in the past, but I keeping coming back to a mini with OS X. I run iTunes and flex plus other services and programs. I don't use OS X server anymore because of the butchering Apple has done to it, thankfully there are 3rd party solutions out there.
  21. osxster macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2012
    I’m using a 2012 i7 quad core MacMini as a server and a 2009 xServe as a workstation! I use a High Point 6328 Thunderbolt Raid controller to control a NetApp DS4246 24 drive SAS expander on my MacMini, I stopped at High Sierra in it.


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20 September 2, 2017