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Mac OS X Server vs Windows 2008 Server

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi all,
I'm considering adding another Windows Server to our network (Windows 2008 Server); however, I like the fact that OS-X Server has Spotlight Server and a Wiki, but I heard that OS-X Server may have some serious problems and glitches especially with SMB or file-sharing for Windows. I'll be using this server for our graphics production department which is a mix of OS-X and Windows XP workstations, and I'll be adding to it a multi Terabyte rackmount Raid-drive.

Can anyone who is in the advanced Server know-how share some advice to weather I should continue with Windows Server or switch to OS-X Server and why so?

And this question is for Appleinsider, I've read some multi-part articles on this site about Spaces, Spotlight, and other Apple technologies which were breathtaking. Can you publish an article for OS-X Server vs Windows Server 2008, with real-life situations, bugs, plusses and minuses, etc.? That will be very useful for many people who are considering OS X Server, all the articles I've found on the Web were based on the manufacturer's product description and not on real-world scenarios.

Thank you.
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post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Hi all,
I'm considering adding another Windows Server to our network (Windows 2008 Server); however, I like the fact that OS-X Server has Spotlight Server and a Wiki, but I heard that OS-X Server may have some serious problems and glitches especially with SMB or file-sharing for Windows. I'll be using this server for our graphics production department which is a mix of OS-X and Windows XP workstations, and I'll be adding to it a multi Terabyte rackmount Raid-drive.

Can anyone who is in the advanced Server know-how share some advice to weather I should continue with Windows Server or switch to OS-X Server and why so?

And this question is for Appleinsider, I've read some multi-part articles on this site about Spaces, Spotlight, and other Apple technologies which were breathtaking. Can you publish an article for OS-X Server vs Windows Server 2008, with real-life situations, bugs, plusses and minuses, etc.? That will be very useful for many people who are considering OS X Server, all the articles I've found on the Web were based on the manufacturer's product description and not on real-world scenarios.

Thank you.

As much as I like OS X if given the choice to deploy Windows Server vs OS X in a heterogenous environment I'd probably go Windows Server 80% of the time.
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

As much as I like OS X if given the choice to deploy Windows Server vs OS X in a heterogenous environment I'd probably go Windows Server 80% of the time.

Thank you for your help, could you give me a some reasons to why you'd choose Windows Server 2008 over Mac OS X Server.
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post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

As much as I like OS X if given the choice to deploy Windows Server vs OS X in a heterogenous environment I'd probably go Windows Server 80% of the time.

Sorry but Windows doesn't imply a Heterogeneous environment.

A Heterogeneous environment would be a mix of OS X, Windows, Linux, various BSD derivatives, AIX and Solaris/OpenSolaris.

You would deploy based upon a designed planned of services that are on all platforms and work as billed.

From there you compare the Management Tools of either Windows Server 2008 vs. OS X Server and decided from there.

If you are starting with your main focus being Windows deployment with other non-windows systems involved, then it's not a Heterogeneous Environment--it's a predominantly Homogeneous Environment with certain services workable in other environments.
post #5 of 9
Thanks for that clarification mdriftmeyer

I'm assuming that this server would be used as a standard filesharing server.

What I like about WS2008 primarily is

1. Hypervisor support
2. Ability to run on lower cost server infrastructure...love the Xserve but it's on the high end now for a 1U server.
3. I love the Server Core features...I know what a "novel" concept to only install what you need.
4. Remote Access is likely superior.

5. Improvement in High Availability features.

With that being said I like the path of OS X Server and look forward to getting certified in it late 2008-early 2009. I think it's close and I hope Apple continues to accelerate the features and scope of OS X Server.
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post #6 of 9
Hi bloggerblog,

I am a long-time Mac user. I worked in several [hostile] environments and rarely had serious issues when using a mac. Like many other mac users, I am pretty loyal. If my bank does not support Mac OS properly, I change the bank, not the OS.

Adding a server, however, is a different beast. Mac OS Server will never be a drop-in replacement for Windows server. No matter what the features are, it needs knowledgeable management. The migration path should be well thought and all potential issues should be identified in advance.

I would recommend the following approach:

1. Make a list of all the services/features you plan to use. Divide them in 2 categories: Required and Optional.
2. Read the docs and google around to see if all required features are expected to work.
3. By a mac mini and Mac OS X Server license, or $500 Select membership account from Apple Developers Connection. The later provides Mac OS X Server serial numbers but they will expire after your subscriptions ends. You can get some discounts on hardware, however. Instead of the mini, you could use existing hardware (if available) or purchase iMac/MacPro or whatever you think could be transfered to other departments few months later, when you are done with testing. If the docs and Google suggests that you will cover the list of required features without major trouble, you could jump directly on the final hardware.
4. Install the OS and try to start all services you need and to set up your environment as required. Note that, when configuring servers and setup, you usually keep in mind what is technically possible. I mean, trying to replicate your Windows setup 1 to 1 may not be the best option. Take time to read about the stuff which may not be available in Windows, or is better implemented on Mac OS, and think about incorporating it into your environment. I will try to clarify my point with a client feature: if you are using Windows, you may never miss the file labels option, available in Mac OS. You may switch to mac and never give it a try. But, in many cases, if you start using it, you will find it very helpful. Another example: during the last few months I found several old-time Mac users trying to organize the priorities and deadlines for certain emails in Leopard's Mail.app by moving messages to different folders, flagging, launching iCal application to add an event etc. When I showed them how to make To Do items from the meal messages they were impressed. Apparently they never tried this themselves. These small things make your life easier. You should expect, however, that some nice little things you got used to in Windows, are not available on a Mac.
5. Take your time to carefully evaluate the problems and possible workarounds. Try to have a positive approach. Sometimes, the UI in Mac OS is pretty restrictive, and sometimes it tries to be more intelligent than you are, and this is annoying. In most of the situations you will find some "Option-click" or command line workarounds.
post #7 of 9
Don't you get unlimited client licenses for about 1000USD with OS X server? You might want to consider it if you are going to add more clients.

I personally prefer Linux over Windows and OS-X for acting as a server. The updates are much quicker and more bleeding edge --SAMBA for instance. But that is just the geek in me.
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by talksense101 View Post

Don't you get unlimited client licenses for about 1000USD with OS X server? You might want to consider it if you are going to add more clients.

I personally prefer Linux over Windows and OS-X for acting as a server. The updates are much quicker and more bleeding edge --SAMBA for instance. But that is just the geek in me.

What is your perferred disttribution? I'm thinking about tinkering around with a Linux server. Maybe if I get VMware certified I'll get a demo of ESX Server and go to town.
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post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

What is your perferred disttribution? I'm thinking about tinkering around with a Linux server. Maybe if I get VMware certified I'll get a demo of ESX Server and go to town.

I am using Fedora 7 64bit on a dual core intel box. The current release is Fedora 9 (includes latest kde and gnome environments). I will upgrade once I am done with my current project running on the Linux box. Linux lacks polish, but it is great at what it does after you manage to set it up right.
Most of us employ the Internet not to seek the best information, but rather to select information that confirms our prejudices. - Nicholas D. Kristof
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