Would a mini work for my small development team and household needs?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by okboy, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. okboy macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2010
    Detailed version:

    Hi, I just started developing with my brother in an office. I've realized sharing files (over the network or over user accounts) has been a little tricky. I'm wondering how a Mac Mini (early or late 2009) could help us share and collaborate on files, host things for our off-site team members, perhaps handle Git stuff (I don't know it well).

    Since we will both be sharing 2 machines (2 Macbooks), I would also be keen on a way to log into my account on either machine. But my worry is about taking the devices mobile and having them be mostly useless. Maybe there is a way to keep the files stored locally on the MacBooks as well as on the server, and just have them sync when possible? Or at least leave 1 or 2 local accounts on each Mac with at least iCloud stuff available.

    Also, I had a NAS that had some great features, like a Download Station. I could download large files while I was away from home or had my computer asleep. I know I can do this by VNC/Screen Sharing to the Mac Mini (it won't have a monitor most of the time), but what made it really convenient with my NAS was I had a browser plugin that let me right-click files and select "Download with Download Station (NAS)". My questions is, how many plugins and apps are available like this for me to communicate with the Mac Mini in such a way? (Perhaps web-based/remote Transmission control would work, anything else?)

    Lastly, I currently stream a lot of things from my Macbook to my AppleTV. Sometimes this mean I transcoding things as well. The problem here is that my Macbook gets tied up on these tasks and I can't close my computer while doing either. I'd like iTunes to run on the Mac Mini Server. I can use iTunes remote to control it, I guess. But can I also share an iTunes library amongst 2-3 computers? Currently I store my iTunes Library on my Time Capsule, so can multiple iTunes access the same library without problems?

    Any insight appreciated.


    • If I get a Mac Mini + Server can I use one user profile across two machines? Can I use those machines mobile?
    • Can I keep iTunes running on it but manage it remotely/share the library across machines?
    • Are there many app/plugins to manage the device and do certain tasks?
    • What's the best way to let users on the network share files through it? And users outside the network?
    • Anything else it can be useful for in this situation?

    I originally posted this here (off-site reddit link).
  2. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Yes a mini would work perfectly for you.

    You can setup selfhosted GIT for sharing, but the way GIT works is storing all the files on your computer to keep it mobile, then it updates changes to a repository.

    Use the mini to setup a local server for development and file sharing. You can also setup the mini as a www server if your ISP allows it with your current account ( you may have to upgrade to a business account to stay within their policies ).

    Yes you can use 1 profile across two machines ( but I'm not 100% the way you may need - apps, music, movies, documents, ect all get shared via your icloud account. You can also layer accounts, that way you can login to your personal icloud account and download angry birds, then log back into your business account.

    I'm not sure how to use iTunes this way, but I believe it will work. I've used iTunes radio, Pandora, Spotify so much that I only have a few 100 songs currently 'loaded' into iTunes.

    Share files by setting up a local webdav or SAMBA. Then you basically mount the shared folders and they appear as if you have added another folder to your folder structure. Just click, drag and drop just like you normally do. The 'cool stuff' is all hidden.

    PS I currently use the mini as a file server and have two local 8core tower web servers running ubuntu. ( They sadly miss their Solaris, but ubuntu hasn't been bad at all ).
  3. okboy thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2010
    OK, it sounds like from your response that I can do what I want to do.

    One question is, what kind of software, setup, router, machine model do I need to do this?

    And are there any neat guides on setting it up?
  4. drpeanut macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2009
    If your trying to run a server at your house you'll want a good business-class router. Something from SonicWall or Cisco would work for you. I use a pfSense BSD router and it has all of the features I need.

    Once you really start using this server you should consider hosting it at a datacenter. You'll get full wire speed (100mbps / 1000mbps) to the 'net and help when you need it.

    Check our www.macminiworld.net. Probably more important than the facility is the support staff you can lean on.



  5. blhoward2 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2012
    If you're pushing more bandwith than a good home router can handle, you should offload to a data center. A business-class router is overkill in so many ways.

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