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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Adelaide, SA
    Posts
    22

    Question Mini server for a small business: any sysadmins around?

    I work for a small business, and we're looking at server solutions. I'm fairly tech aware and do software development, but well aware that setting up a server has quite a few gotchas.

    Basically, I'm looking for quotes on how much it will cost to get a macmini SL server up and running. We have about 30 users, mostly part-time contractors using windows machines.

    Our big deals are:

    1. file serving to desktops and subcontractor laptops
    2. backups
    3. remote access: SFTP, VPN

    Nice-to-haves:

    • calendaring
    • internal website hosting: wikis for staff and clients to use, for example
    • iphone

    There isn't much budget for ongoing maintenance, so we're looking for someone (we are based in Adelaide, but don't need you to be on-site) to consult on setting this up and then handing over for maintenance.

    I suspect there are people who have done this before... Email me if you are interested or know someone who may be right for the job!

  2. #2

    Default

    Not sure how good a SL server will be for Windows users. I'd recommend a Windows Small Business Server. You can get one cheap enough from Dell or HP through their websites. They usually go for around $500-$1000 depending on the config (drive types etc), and come with the SBS software and client access licenses. You can even get them with Exchange for not much more $ quite often.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Western Australia
    Posts
    1,407

    Default

    forget a mac mini and forget SL.

    Get a Windows Server.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    space
    Posts
    580

    Default

    +1 for a 'doze or linux server. Apple should not be promoting the MacMini as a small business server IMO.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Adelaide, SA
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Bad experiences? Cheaper? Easier to get it set up?

    Just curious.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Mini server for a small business: any sysadmins around?

    Quote Originally Posted by StLuke
    Bad experiences? Cheaper? Easier to get it set up?

    Just curious.
    It's just not the right tool for the job.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Reno & Melbourne
    Posts
    880

    Default

    OS X Server is more that capable of handling all the requirements you have. The Mac Mini will handle the Authentication and Services, but you should move your data off the internal drives.

    I really am bemused at the get windows or Linux comments...
    There are two major products that came out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX.
    We do not believe this to be a coincidence. Jeremy S. Anderson

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ellenbrook, WA
    Posts
    6,102

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by vecsty View Post
    OS X Server is more that capable of handling all the requirements you have. The Mac Mini will handle the Authentication and Services, but you should move your data off the internal drives.

    I really am bemused at the get windows or Linux comments...
    I was as well... and then I realised - he wants something that can be looked after cheaply and on an ad-hoc basis.

    OS X Server is easy to use, if you know what you are doing. Getting a OS X server admin on an ad-hoc, cheap basis is not so simple. Windoze admins are a dime a dozen.
     iPhone & iPhone 3GS, Macbook Pro 17" C2D 2.8ghz. iMac alu. 20" C2D 2ghz. iMac 20" CD 2ghz & Cube 450mhz. Website

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Western Australia
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    Default

    You've got a pile of windows users. Ultimately, having them talk to windows server, perhaps small business server or something with exchange, etc.. will be the ultimate. It's probably no cheaper to run such a machine over a Mac Mini, I just don't think a mac mini is a suitable workgroup server for a user-base of that size

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Adelaide, SA
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cybix View Post
    You've got a pile of windows users. Ultimately, having them talk to windows server, perhaps small business server or something with exchange, etc.. will be the ultimate. It's probably no cheaper to run such a machine over a Mac Mini, I just don't think a mac mini is a suitable workgroup server for a user-base of that size
    There's less than 10 on at any time: most staff are subcontractors with weird hours. Also, it's not all windows laptops either, with a few linux and macs as personal pcs.

    But yeah, point taken about the cost difference. Any Adelaide-based windows server admins hanging out here?

    <ducks>

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Carlingford
    Posts
    315

    Default

    There are many possible solutions for this based on the list of features required.

    Honestly having used all of them a Windows Server is easy to setup for this and cheaper for staff. Power usage would be higher.

    Our big deals are:

    file serving to desktops and subcontractor laptops

    Easily configurable on all options depends on choices.

    backups

    As far as backups go you would want a decent amount of storage if it is system Images else maybe 1tb NAS for documents unless you are wanting to back up to the Server Then

    remote access: SFTP, VPN

    Remote Access,VPN are quite easy to configure easy to do in windows server as well as in OSX server.


    Nice-to-haves:

    • calendaring



    • internal website hosting: wikis for staff and clients to use, for example

    OSX server for Wiki's else a Windows box with a number of possible options IIS and Sharepoint Or Apache and any number of wiks,blogs etc.

    • iphone

    Depending on what you are looking for either mail in Snow Leopard or Exchange 2007/10 as push support is enabled.


    All in All the basics are the same cost of windows hardware may win out in the long run but a mac mini should be easily able to cope with standard load as 30 users is not many. really it comes down to what you feel the company benefits most from.

    In all honesty I would run a combination if money allowed to guarantee the best performance of tasks.

    Staffing costs will be the deciding factor I feel as do most people.

  12. #12

    Default sl vs sbs

    Exchange is definitely a more mature product if calendaring and contact sharing is critical to what you need to do.

    SL server still doesn't work entirely as advertised while it's possible to share calendars it's a pain - especially if you also want it to work with an iPhone. Calendar and mail notifications to iPhone still doesn't work. By comparison Exchange works great with OS X client and iPhone - and obviously your Windows clients.

    Other than that all the other services under SL are very easy to setup and completely cross platform. I'm running around 4 email domains, imap, secure smtp, 7 websites - mostly php/mysql driven, calendars, file sharing etc etc. all pretty easy stuff - no load on the machine.

    The price of the mini server combo is pretty cost competitive and is easily capable of servicing the needs of 30 users or more than twice that many really.

    To compare, option up a baseline DELL server with 4GB of RAM, and 1TB disk and OS + licenses - remember to factor in the cost your additional CALs if you go with SBS, 30 users for file and exchange is not trivial expensive - there are no additional costs with SL and the mini (RRP $1399) and you can have as many users of any of the services simultaneously as you want.

    - james

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Outback Queensland
    Posts
    2,061

    Default

    There's a significant number of factors at play in making this sort of decision.

    Get it right and you'll have a great experience. Get it wrong and you'll be ripping it all out and spending the money over again inside 6 months.

    I'd suggest finding yourself a company that does this sort of thing in Adelaide and involving them in the decision process. Be up front about your desired outcomes (including 'manage it yourself') and see what they recommend.

    You could easily get 30 or 40 different responses from a forum like this and all of them would be valid based on the assumptions made by the responder and, possibly, none of them valid for your actual situation which is more complex than you can easily outline in a short post on a forum.

    (well, just my advice anyway)

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