[X-Servers] Mac mini server?

Simon Forster simon-lists at ldml.com
Thu Dec 10 01:39:10 PST 2009

I've been stoically ignoring this debate - despite the fact that I'm considering going a similar route myself shortly. FWIW, my approach would be:

On 9 Dec 2009, at 22:07, Wing Wong wrote:

> Considerations:
> - max out the memory

Hmm. Take under advisement. Server tasks tend not to be too memory intensive. A couple of GB should be fine - and Mac Mini Server comes with 4GB RAM as standard.

> - add an external hard drive(or two) for RAID1 reliability. A second
> external for backups.

I'd sit it on top of a Drobo Storage Array Firewire 800 <http://www.storagesupplies.co.uk/iqs/dbitemid.1208/sfa.view/data_robotics.html>. Probably boot from the internal drive but all data would reside on the Drobo - but for complete portability, maybe boot from the Drobo too? Undecided.

> - Secondary USB->100/1000 adapter for network fault tolerance, in case
> the built in network port goes belly up

Nah. The Mac Mini is a disposable item. If it plays up outside of its warranty period, buy a new one.

> - USB->serial or remote KVM(vid/keyboard) into the box

Nah. Screen Sharing. Comes with every modern Mac and after the initial setup, you stick it all in a corner and forget about it. Occasionally log in for software updates or trivial admin but basically plug-in and forget!

My biggest debate at the moment is whether to go for the server version or the normal desktop versh. At the moment we've got a G5 Xserve roaring away running Mac OS X Server 10.4.11. Probably we'd be better served by getting a Mac Mini and Drobo rather than trying to update a product which effectively is end of lifed anyway (it wont run the latest Mac OS). Killer for me will be migrating all the mail server components to a new machine. If upgrading is (almost) as simple as it is for upgrading Mac desktops, (boot in firewire mode, plug in and go) then the server version is worth the extra. Otherwise I'll manage the process manually on a Mac Mini Desktop and use the excellent Macports package manager to keep key parts of the OS up to date.

So my question is: How easy is it to migrate from one version of server to another version running on a different Mac? The docs I've found (Migrating from Mac OS X Server v10.4) suggests that "Server Assistant" will migrate all my settings for me. However, I'm not so naive as to believe all Apple's documentation. Anyone care to chime in?



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