Inside Apple's new Mac mini Server

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  • Reply 21 of 176
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by spgennard View Post


    My personal thoughts are Apple missed a beat by not adding some kind of "Time Capsule lite" in the package as it would have made it real "Home Server" stomper..



    I don’t see how that would be a viable product. I guess you could use the Ethernet port to connect it to the cable/DSL modem, and turn on Internet Sharing to make it a WiFi router, but you loose the 1000BASE-T switch. Then you only get HDDs spinning at 5400RPM for the price of $999 while the Time Capsule for the same capacity and only 30% of it’s cost spins at 7200RPM. For 50% of the Mac Mini Server’s price you can get a 2TB HDD, still spinning at 7200RPMs. I don’t see the benefit, even without considering the loss of range and dual band networking.



    What I would like it a taller Time Capsule with more drives, actually using a stripped down version of OS X for a robust experience in the vein of MS’ Windows Home Server. That is something I could sink my teeth into.
  • Reply 22 of 176
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,423member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by spgennard View Post


    That makes sense, so I guess it comes down to the fact the little machine needs bigger/more reliable drives to support a time capsule feature or two... and at this point the price point is completely blown away... so Apple just could'nt do it for the price.



    Ahh well... I can always dream...



    I think you're right on target with what you want and the only thing preventing it from happening is we don't have the filesystem that can manage the small block data. If you're a "glass half full" guy you will take the announcement that Sun's ZFS filesystem is no longer a candidate for Apple as "well Apple must have something better that they will go with.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lunga View Post


    While I applaud their effort in trying to mix things up, this really doesn't seem like it has a lot of potential. This thing would have little value as a business solution (no redundancy) and for a home solution. But hey I thought the MacBook Air was a terrible idea and it's selling.



    So do you have to get the "Server version" without Snow Leopard Server?



    Lunga ..while the two drives included don't come in a RAID 1 configuration it's pretty easy to set that up for boot drive redundancy. I think the ideal setup would be have a Mms with RAID 1 boot drive and then store files on an external NAS.
  • Reply 23 of 176
    dbcdbc Posts: 4member
    I see a lot of posts nattering about various comparisons to other products. But who can compare it to what they are actually doing right now, today? Let me give you some data.



    For years now, I've been running a home file server with many of these features. It is a Gentoo linux box. RAID mirroring, and real, rotating back-ups to off-line storage. Samba shares. An IMAP mail server. Group calendaring for iCal using webdav. It's all possible, but it takes dedication, a lot of research, and is by no means turn-key. It's not a simple "to-do" -- it's a lifestyle. The client pool consists of OS 10.4, 10.5 machines, Linux machines, and a couple of motley XP machines. The only thing I want that I gave up on implementing is VPN.



    From the spec sheet, this box looks very sweet. I could use one of these and an Airport extreme to get everything that I have now, plus all the VPN functionality that I want. And if it all works as advertised, it would only take a couple of hours to set up and test. Click for iCal, click for Samba. I'm sure IMAP would take some config files -- now I use fetchmail to pull mail from POP3 accounts and requeue the mail to my IMAP server -- it's not clear how you would do that with Apple's product. Backups with Time Machine, which in my experience is the slickest back up solution ever, and I've taken backup seriously for years and have a stack of obsolete tape units to prove it.



    Of course, the Devil is in the details, and the detail to worry about is what happens if you wander off the reservation? How hard would it be for me to configure mail requeueing with fetchmail? How hard would it be for me to move over my git repos and get a git server running? Or any other funky server process? Those are the questions that I want answered.



    So anyway, it sounds like it could save me bundles of time. As a contract developer, I have a hard number for what an hour of my time is worth. At $999 for the server, and, what is an airport, $250?? anyway... that's a no-brainer. If it all works as advertised, it's an outstanding bargain. And I'm no Apple fan-boi, I just want a solid, easy to maintain Unix. Apple, for the most part, has it.



    Before anybody slags on this box, go try to duplicate the functionality in some other way at any price.
  • Reply 24 of 176
    [QUOTE=hmurchison;1507588]I think you're right on target with what you want and the only thing preventing it from happening is we don't have the filesystem that can manage the small block data. If you're a "glass half full" guy you will take the announcement that Sun's ZFS filesystem is no longer a candidate for Apple as "well Apple must have something better that they will go with.



    I think Apple have this under control or at least are planning for something, as they are already recruiting in this area, so I think they have it under control...



    re: http://jobs.apple.com/index.ajs?BID=...&CurrentPage=2
  • Reply 25 of 176
    roos24roos24 Posts: 170member
    On August 28, the day it became available, I purchased OSX SL Server, and I had my MacMini sitting ready with a clean hard drive, with a 1TB external HD for back-ups. The goal was (and is) to set up a small home office network, with two websites, a number of email clients, etc.



    So I wasn't too happy to see Apple come out with a similar but better equipped set-up, but oh well, too late now.



    Today, I am still struggling to get it going. I must honestly say that I don't have any kowledge or background (education) in computer science, but I had hoped to get it going with some help from Apple for example and searching the Internet.



    Not so.



    The information that's available is of limited use, and mostly written by and for people with extensive knowledge of server software.

    Even worse, Apple support bluntly told me to stop trying to set it up and have a consultant come over to do the job. After I heard their prices, I decided to keep trying myself.



    So what I need and what I am hoping to find someday is a step-by-step instruction manual that shows the appropriate screen shots, what to enter where and why, and what can happen if you enter the wrong information (usually those step-by-step manuals only show the ideal situation: "Enter x and continue to the following screen". However, after doing that, my computer says "invalid entry". For the manual, this doesn't seem to be a possibility, which renders it useless from there on). I pre-ordered the book mentioned in the main article, but I won't hold my breath that it will be the answer to my needs. Just know that I will not give up and eventually will run my own OSX server!
  • Reply 26 of 176
    dbcdbc Posts: 4member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CanWire View Post


    A comparison of hardware is all that is required, the software can be gleaned from the internets for free. For 500-600 dollars you can get a very nice computer to use as a server, and all the software and licenses required.



    Lets try to get one in less than 2 minutes....



    okay for an OS you can use any linux, Ubuntu server edition sounds appropriate, or you can put Samba on any other. Price = 0



    for hardware, lets just grab a box which is equivalent, cheap, and upgradable....



    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16883103220



    dual boot with linux to keep the pretty vista

    throw a couple more harddrives in if you need it.

    if you need to scale up, another pci lan card, and maybe a full raid sas card.... lets see the mac mini do that.... Price: 429



    total price: 429

    for a thousand dollars you can build a beautiful computer.

    That was about 1 minute of browsing.. this advertising is thin.



    And have you done it? How much of your time did it take? How much of your time do you spend keeping the system patched and up to date? At what hourly rate do you bill out your time? I have actual numbers for all those questions, and it makes this server box look pretty good.
  • Reply 27 of 176
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,423member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Roos24 View Post




    Today, I am still struggling to get it going. I must honestly say that I don't have any kowledge or background (education) in computer science, but I had hoped to get it going with some help from Apple for example and searching the Internet.



    Not so.




    This is why I don't get the comparison with Windows Home Server. OS X Server has an abundance of services and features and it's not easy to setup and get running. It's "relatively" easy because the same issues/decisions you make for OS X would have to be done on Linux or Windows as well.



    Roos24 keep at it ..once you get it done 80% of what you've configured would apply to other server setup as well.
  • Reply 28 of 176
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Myth.



    Who actually lives up to their roadmaps?



    Intel cancels chips and Microsoft changes as well. If anything Apple's paucity of desktop and laptop models actuall increases their effectiveness because they have about the most stable platform you can get. Great for system imaging.



    Without roadmaps, businesses are less likely to invest. If they want to support these servers and then Apple ups and cancels them because they aren’t selling enough, then they are screwed. Businesses need that accountability and other vendors offer it, in writing. Apple will never heavily crack into business with Macs and Xserve as long as they keep this consumer focused mentality. I don’t think this is a problem for Apple, it’s just a different business model.
  • Reply 29 of 176
    clexmanclexman Posts: 209member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    If we're comparing the Mac mini server (Mms) to a WHS box then it's easy to see why the mini server is more money.



    1. Mms supports RAID WHS only allows you to duplicate folders.

    2. Mms supports a Mail server with Push (using Dovecot & Postfix) WHS has no mail serving

    3. Mms support a Calendar server WHS does not

    4. Mms supports Directory Services WHS does not

    5. Mms supports web serving with Apache WHS does not



    6. WHS does not offer anything like Netboot, NetInstall and NetRestore.

    7. WHS does not offer anything like Portable Home Directories

    8. WHS doesn't have a VPN, DHCP, NAT, Radius or Mobile Access Server





    A Mac mini server running Snow Leopard server is not comparable to a anything running Windows Home Server if you're looking at a featureset that a business needs. The WHS systems are toys in comparison. There's a reason why they are $500.



    Actually WHS does do many of these things.



    1. It does do RAID & also allows you to do selective mirroring through software.

    2. Can be added

    3. Can be added

    4. Can be added

    5. Is a web server



    6., 7., & 8. I don't know what those things are, but I do know that I can access my WHS from my blackberry to download files. It also works with the iPhone & Windows Mobile. I also stream movies over the internet when I'm traveling from my WHS.
  • Reply 30 of 176
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,423member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Without roadmaps, businesses are less likely to invest. If they want to support these servers and then Apple ups and cancels them because they aren?t selling enough, then they are screwed. Businesses need that accountability and other vendors offer it, in writing. Apple will never crack into business with Macs and Xserve as long as they keep this consumer focused mentality. I don?t think this is a problem for Apple, it?s just a different business model.



    The problem is that businesses "think" they need these roadmaps for planning but your typical IT expenditure is on a 36 month or longer cycle. If we look back 36 months ago no one knew or would be planning on Nehalem beating Opteron servers. Or the impact of smartphones. Hey though I understand their position ...I'd rather know than not know.
  • Reply 31 of 176
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by clexman View Post


    Actually WHS does do many of these things.



    What are these many, but not all, things? It doesn?t do RAID, you have to get that from HW RAID, though I prefer that.
  • Reply 32 of 176
    clexmanclexman Posts: 209member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by swim2383 View Post


    Dan you're tiresome to read. Instead of naming your articles things like "Inside Apple's new Mac mini Server" it should be called "Why Windows Server products suck compared to the new Mac mini server... a rant by Dan"



    I'm reading an Apple specific site. I am already convinced not to buy Windows products so stop lambasting them and tell me about what I want to know about - the new Mac mini. Your primary audience are Mac fanboys so write an article about MACS and not why Macs are better than Windows PCs because I'm already convinced.



    I agree!
  • Reply 33 of 176
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,423member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    What are these many, but not all, things? It doesn?t do RAID, you have to get that from HW RAID, though I prefer that.



    Here's a blog posting from the WHS team explaining their objectives.



    http://blogs.technet.com/homeserver/...echnology.aspx



    Quote:

    Those same geeks, when encountering Windows Home Server for the first time, often ask the question "Why doesn't Windows Home Server use RAID?". The simplest answer is RAID sucks as the basis for a consumer storage product. But, my PR team would rather I not say it in such a negative way. Instead, they want me to say something positive like:



    "Windows Home Server is a consumer product that provides an amazingly powerful yet super-simple to use solution to centralizing a mutli-PC household's storage. Windows Home Server includes a new, revolutionary storage technology we call Windows Home Server Drive Extender that kicks RAID's butt."



    Also here is a comprehensive list of WHS add-ins



    http://whsaddins.com/





    I'd rather have everything coming from one source. With Snow Leopard Server I know that the Apache version works and I know that iChat Server works with the other components of the OS. Add ins are nice but hell I've seen add-ins wreck the stability of Office 2007...I'm a bit loath to put them on a product I expect to be up and reliable.
  • Reply 34 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    What are these many, but not all, things? It doesn?t do RAID, you have to get that from HW RAID, though I prefer that.



    Of course you have to set up raid through hardware...
  • Reply 35 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CanWire View Post


    A comparison of hardware is all that is required, the software can be gleaned from the internets for free. For 500-600 dollars you can get a very nice computer to use as a server, and all the software and licenses required.



    Lets try to get one in less than 2 minutes....



    okay for an OS you can use any linux, Ubuntu server edition sounds appropriate, or you can put Samba on any other. Price = 0



    for hardware, lets just grab a box which is equivalent, cheap, and upgradable....



    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16883103220



    dual boot with linux to keep the pretty vista

    throw a couple more harddrives in if you need it.

    if you need to scale up, another pci lan card, and maybe a full raid sas card.... lets see the mac mini do that.... Price: 429



    total price: 429

    for a thousand dollars you can build a beautiful computer.

    That was about 1 minute of browsing.. this advertising is thin.



    This is such a bullshit post it's not even funny.
  • Reply 36 of 176
    demenasdemenas Posts: 109member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post


    This all sounds great however, how much of it really works? For example, Leopard's Time Machine Server fails to reconnect the server drive after a client's computer goes into sleep mode. Much of OSX Server sounds really good on paper but performs lousy in real life.



    It doesn't matter to the author, he of "Roughlydrafted" fame, who uses up 2/3 of every "Apple" article to attempt to tear down Microsoft any way he can.



    I'm a little disappointed to see him getting more press here at Appleinsider. (Such as the story about Microsoft and the Sidekick restore situation, where he based a whole story around guesses from an "expert" not involved in the recovery at all.



    Steve
  • Reply 37 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    It's basically a stop-gap measure on Apple's part that seems a little over-priced and under-engineered for its task compared to HP's offering. Yes, it's got a faster processor than the HP but in all other respects it seems to underperform it.



    It's not competing against Windows Home Server products. There are no consumer facing features in OSX Server that a standard OSX Client install lacks. File sharing is obviously the single biggest thing you'd want from a home server -- in which case a $200 G4 tower would be completely sufficient or if you want to get fancy a $600 Mini without OSX Server. The Mini Server may evolve into a consumer product someday but right now it's really targeted at small offices or home offices that are primarily using Macs. Think of the average small startup or consulting business with 5 or 6 employees in a cramped little office. A home user with many Macs could probably benefit from some of the features however they are not designed with consumer friendly GUIs so it would definitely be a power user tool at that point.



    This product is basically a reflection of Apple's improved Mac sales. As you add more computers server based authentication, management, storage, backups, etc become more important.
  • Reply 38 of 176
    demenasdemenas Posts: 109member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    Good question. Snow Leopard (even the NON-server version) certainly has far better backup software included than Windows Home Server does.



    It does? Windows Home Server will backup all clients automatically at times you choose, and even WAKE UP machines that are asleep (which have wake on LAN capabilities).



    WHS also does de-duplication and will only backup a file once, no matter how many machines it resides on.



    Vendors like HP add additional capabilities like Amazon S3 backups automatically and even Time Machine target computability.



    Steve
  • Reply 39 of 176
    demenasdemenas Posts: 109member
    [QUOTE=hmurchison;1507572]If we're comparing the Mac mini server (Mms) to a WHS box then it's easy to see why the mini server is more money.



    Mms supports RAID WHS only allows you to duplicate folders. {/QUOTE]



    MMS supports RAID?



    Steve
  • Reply 40 of 176
    demenasdemenas Posts: 109member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Myth.



    Who actually lives up to their roadmaps?



    Intel cancels chips and Microsoft changes as well. If anything Apple's paucity of desktop and laptop models actuall increases their effectiveness because they have about the most stable platform you can get. Great for system imaging.



    It's not a myth that business wants roadmaps, period.



    Steve
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