Feeds

back to article Apple Mac OS X Server for Mountain Lion review

The cost of Mountain Lion Server is a fraction of what Apple charged for its server software just a few years ago, especially if you look at the old 'unlimited client' editions of Mac OS X Server. Then, the software alone cost as much as a new Mac. Now, it costs as much as a Hollywood blockbuster on DVD, and it’s far more useful …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Hmmmm

Mountain Lion server ....... Theres an App for that.....

1
0
Bronze badge
Mushroom

Re: Hmmmm

A server version of OS-X?! That's about as useful as fitting a cat flap to an elephant house...

0
4

Sadly

Unfortunately, IT administrators use their arcane niche knowledge to keep out the un-initiated. This goes against the ethos of the entire IT industry.

Go out and apply for a new job, tell them you have 'years of experience setting up and running OSX servers'. Big deal , so does Martha from accounting. No, no, no, 't will not do.

6
8
Silver badge
Linux

Re: Sadly

No. Laymen just like to pretend they're helpless rather than taking responsibility for themselves.

A lot of this stuff is pretty trivial. The boundary between what is and what is not a server is pretty arbitrary. That's especially true when your own "server product" offers very little and is just an extra app.

Stuff like file sharing is something that any Windows user from 1994 should be able to handle. The GUI for setting this up is terribly trivial and always has been.

If this product doesn't offer serious Mac-only services then you've really got to wonder what the point is.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Enterprises expensive loss?

1: Apple do not make servers and the OSX license does not allow it to be installed on non-apple hardware. Enterprise needs something that is a bit more solid than Dave running 5 workstations and running a backup to an external HDD

2: There is still nothing to touch Active Directory to make it easy for a small IT team to manage large numbers of users and workstations

3: Apple do not want enterprise customers. They have made it clear that they are only interested in the consumer market. As such I am surprised they are still bothering to release a server version of OSX

15
6
Silver badge

Re: Enterprises expensive loss?

This isn't for enterprise. This is for 1-10 person shops.

9
1

Re: Enterprises expensive loss?

1. A Mac Pro with a hardware RAID card to connect it to a RAID box and a Fibre-link card makes a pretty good server. 12 core Xeon & 64GB is enough for most jobs. OK, I know it isn't rack mounted, but there are a fair few servers available from other OEMs that aren't either.

2. Bull. Open Directory is better and easier than Active Directory.

3. Given that the Server version is one bullet point away from the Client, it isn't much to release the upgrade. And y'know, some people don't want to pay the MS tax. Unix with a nice GUI and a decent set of tools lets some businesses run lots of clients with little requirement for support (right now, my team supports ~250 clients per person). Not too bad for £14.

13
6
Bronze badge

Re: Enterprises expensive loss?

"2. Bull. Open Directory is better and easier than Active Directory."

'Easy' is what one is most used to. Do you mean 'simpler'?

'Better' means more suited to the given purpose; I doubt there are many situations in which existing Active Directory installations could be replaced with Apple Open Directory.

"3. ... y'know, some people don't want to pay the MS tax."

I don't see why it is inherently preferable to pay money to Apple rather than Microsoft.

Admire the passion of your arguments more than the content. It must be nice to love your tools that much.

8
5
Anonymous Coward

Re: Enterprises expensive loss?

re 1: It's not rack mounted, there is no lights out management, there is only a single power supply, it's massively over speced for a server and costs too much.

re 2: It is extremely unusual for companies small, medium or large to use a directory service which isn't MS' AD. It is the de-facto standard directory. Open Directory doesn't hold a candle to it.

re 3: The "MS tax" is paying for software which comes with a workstation/server (it's very unusual for Windows to come on a server). A proper server win/lin or UNIX is really quite different to a workstation, even Windows tends to be gui-less now with admin tools run on a client. There are many different settings and softwares installed which don't run on a client, in order to make the "client" a real, useful, server. Be very clear that the reason Mac OS server costs so little is that it's just a glorified client with a few bells and whistles. If you want that it's great, but don't confuse it's cheapness with getting a full, enterprise quality server OS.

9
6
Anonymous Coward

Re: Enterprises expensive loss?

"Windows 8" - lol

2
6
Bronze badge
Coat

Re: Enterprises expensive loss? Posted Thursday 30th August 2012 10:55 GMT Anonymous Coward

Your re 1: single power supply is the only valid point there, mate ... and yet, that can be overcome.

Your re 2.

Anecdotal, sorry.

Your re 3.

You clearly do not have a clue what you're talking about, go back to your mouse and sh..t ..p, let real men talk. I mean seriously, you are the guyz that make Microsoft laugh all the way to the bank paying 4 to 8 times what you should be paying, and all that for alpha-quality software. What you're criticizing is all the open source tools like apache, mysql, Bind etc - you know, the stuff that makes the internet work, not crash, like your primary domain controller (sorry, old outdated joke, I know) ... but what are you doing in IT anyway?

When it comes to database servers, please, Windows is a pile of crap, don't get me started on file/print servers, please, even for Windows clients ... The only so-so stuff they do in a server room is Exchange ... unfortunately, for that, you have to cough up tons for AD and it does not work well with other platforms ... I know, webmail has come a long way, but still ...

In today’s world you wanna use the right tool for the right job .... I could not live without sed, awk, vi, ...., and proper ksh terminals - I know I can get them on Windows as well, but they never work right there, not even on cygwin ... besides, Windows Update stinks, and that affects the whole platform.

Grabbin' coat, on me way to the pub ...

4
9
FAIL

Re: Enterprises expensive loss? Posted Thursday 30th August 2012 10:55 GMT Anonymous Coward

@hans 1 - Hello, hello? The year 2000 wants it's Windows 2000 servers back. Mate, I love my opensource tools as well, but you're spouting utter nonsense and clearly haven't been near a well managed Enterprise Windows installation for a very long time, if at all.

7
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Enterprises expensive loss? Posted Thursday 30th August 2012 10:55 GMT Anonymous Coward

@Hans, good rant, completely wrong in every way, but good rant non-theless.

2
0
Bronze badge
Mushroom

Re: Enterprises expensive loss? Posted Thursday 30th August 2012 10:55 GMT Anonymous Coward

Did you just get out of a Delorian?

Windows Server as a fileserver outperforms ANYTHING on the market: http://www.storagereview.com/xio_demonstrates_15gbs_throughput_with_windows_server_2012_and_commodity_hardware

As does SQL Server 2012:

http://www.storagenewsletter.com/news/connection/qlogic-sql-server-2012-temenos-x-io

http://www.onwindows.com/Articles/NEC-sets-SQL-Server-2012-benchmark/6687/Default.aspx

http://collaboration.itincanada.ca/index.php?id=17377&cid=327

Also worth noting that SQL has had fewer security vulnerabilities than any other major database product every year since 2002....

4
5
Anonymous Coward

Re: Enterprises expensive loss? Posted Thursday 30th August 2012 10:55 GMT Anonymous Coward

Different audiences.

1 - small shop, doesn't have the IT resources - grab a Mac box, install server and it's pretty much clinking bits of GUI to get the basics up. It is still about a gazillion times easier than the equivalent MS or Linux setup - the latter simply because of the GUI (webmin is a good stab in the right direction, but Apple's usability focus does show through).

Show me how fast you can do this with MS, and at what cost - I doubt you'll beat the Apple product (which also hammers the eternal "Apple is expensive" - yes, the hardware. Not the software.

2 - Enterprise level - I'd use a Linux server if possible. Not because I'm a Linux fanatic, but because it (a) serves Windows and Macs alike (that's what the idea is of Open Standards), (b) costs less, especially in terms of resources required to keep it safe (it needs at most a patch "1st of the month") and (c) requires me to get someone who knows what he's doing. And as a Unix derivative it's easier to link in with big irons as well.

Oh, and before you start talking about AD, that's a pretty poor (and proprietary) extract of proper LDAP (which is, let's not forget), an extract of X500. If you *really* want scale and control, AD can't hack it either. Oh, and as for industrial LDAP, 389 is a pretty awesome directory server. But I will agree with you that you will need expertise for that, as opposed to the Open Source dir server in the Apple server product.

The most interesting aspect of the Apple server product is that it is edge-to-edge Open Source - that's why it is so cheap, yet robust enough to let lose on the great unwashed without too many worries about support costs. I like that, I like that a *lot*

1
0
Bronze badge
Mushroom

Re: Enterprises expensive loss? Posted Thursday 30th August 2012 10:55 GMT Anonymous Coward

Not true. Linux has a much higher TCO for everything except as a web server. The support licensing costs for Linux are also much higher than Windows Server. Linux distributions also have roughly ten times as many security vulnerabilities to evaluate compared to Windows server

Your comments about AD are just clueless. It goes way beyond LDAP.

Apple server is Open Source? That's news to me. Must be why OS-X has over 1700 known security vulnerabilities then....

0
6
Silver badge
Linux

Re: Enterprises expensive loss? Posted Thursday 30th August 2012 10:55 GMT Anonymous Coward

> Your comments about AD are just clueless. It goes way beyond LDAP.

All of the Microsoft marketing materials make AD sound just like LDAP.

If there's more to it than that then you certainly helping clear anything up.

Although the main problem here is "fitting in". So it really doesn't matter how good AD is supposed to be if you are supporting a bunch of Windows machine. It's like how msoffice will always be best at reading a word document.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

ok...

I'll just see what my datacentre management team say when I propose installing mac mini machines into a rack... Hmmm...

4
4

Re: ok...

Sure. Just point them in this direction:

http://www.macminicolo.net/facility.html

A successful business based on rackmounting Mac minis!

8
6
Anonymous Coward

Re: ok...

A Mac mini can never be a datacentre suitable machine:

No front to back air cooling

No proper rack mounting

External "brick" power supply (IIRC)

Single power supply

No lights out management

Consumer grade disk

Only a single disk

No expandabillity

Only a single Ethernet port (don't suggest adding a USB Ethernet port) meaning no nic teaming, iSCSI, dedicated backup LAN or heartbeat network for clustering.

No Fibrechannel

I could go on... The pro workstations aren't much better as a server and they also cost an enormous amount of money compared to a DL360 or the like. Apple need to allow people to run Mac OS and particularly Mac OS server in a VM, if they are going to insist on not producing server hardware.

11
6
Unhappy

Re: ok...

Yep, shame they canned the XServe...

3
0

not perfect but....

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/rackmacmini.html?utm_source=mactech&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=rmm300

0
0
Meh

Re: ok...

Yes, Mac mini left a lot to be desired, while it fixed a few on its path

External "brick" power supply (IIRC) - Fixed last generation

Only a single disk - There is a dual drive version, could be made into RAID too

No Fibrechannel - Yes, with an adapter

0
0
Bronze badge
Meh

Re: ok...

@AC Thursday 30th August 2012 09:47 GMT

I thought I was going to stay out of these comments, until I read yours...

******************************************************************************

"No front to back air cooling" - True, but it only runs at 12W idle and 85W max (41BTU/h 290BTU/h) with 2 two 500GB/7200 RPM HDDs.

"No proper rack mounting" - Several manufacturers make rack kits. You can even have them built into 1U racks with cooling etc. http://www.sonnettech.com/product/xmacminiserver.html

"External 'brick' power supply (IIRC)" - False, the Mac mini has had an internal power supply for the last 2 years.

"Single power supply" - True, although how many power supplies have you had fail in the last few years?

"No lights out management" - True, but there are 3rd party fixes (I have no personal experience here).

"Consumer grade disk" - True, but of a reasonable quality - I have had many "enterprise" grade disks fail too.

"Only a single disk" - False, Dual 500GB/750GB (7200-rpm) hard drives, and SSDs if you want.

"No expandabillity" - So? How about Thunderbolt?

"Only a single Ethernet port (don't suggest adding a USB Ethernet port) meaning no nic teaming, iSCSI, dedicated backup LAN or heartbeat network for clustering." - Instead of USB Ethernet I would suggest a Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt connector - Or even a Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter @$29:00.

"No Fibrechannel" - If you need fibre channel to link to a SAN you could use the Promise SANLink Fibre Channel adapter. Or for a faster connection than standard Fibre Channel, you could use their 12TB 6 disk RAID with 2 x 10Gb/s channels to give you >800MB/s.

******************************************************************************

From "The Apple Xserve Transition Guide, November 2010" http://www.apple.com/xserve/pdf/L422277A_Xserve_Guide.pdf

"Perfect for small business and workgroups of up to 50 people, a single Mac mini can run the full suite of services that Mac OS X Server has to offer. For a larger number of users in a business or education environment, a single Mac mini can provide a single service. " It suggests that a Mac Mini should support up to:

File sharing - 100 concurrent uses

Mail - 100 concurrent users

Web - 800 concurrent users

Calendar - 800 concurrent users

Directory Services - Up to 10,000 user records in database, Up to 10,000 authorizations/minute.

These figures were based on the old Mac Mini with 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3,Two 500GB 7200 HDDs - The new ones have a 2.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, and can be specified with 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM. Apple claim that the new ones are significantly faster (Java Server SPECjbb2005 - 3.2x faster;

AFP Server AFPBench - 2.8x faster).

I have many years of scars from this stuff including running, managing and writing software for VMS, PDPs, DG-Nova/Eclipse, SPARC/Solaris, HP-UX, DOS, Novell, Windows NT from 3.1 & Windows Server /applications (and SBS), Linux and OS X. I have some enterprise experience, having been directly responsible for all of the IT needs of a group of 450 scientists and engineers; and was also charged with technical/scientific input to another 50,000+ seats in that business. I have also written shrink-wrap software; and managed, sold and configured systems to many small businesses. What is your real hands-on experience, or are your comments based on bias?

My take is that several Mac minis would be OK for up to, say, a hundred users - Although I would recommend that you have a couple of spares. Bigger than a few hundred users could be a problem...

0
0
Silver badge

Use a NAS

I think if I wanted to recommend a no-brainer device for workgroups and small businesses I'd say just buy a NAS. Might be different if someone just happens to have a spare Mac running the latest version of the OS laying around, but if not, buy a NAS.

3
5
Bronze badge
Meh

Come on people!

Of course the author may be being a bit silly with his enterprise comment, but this is clearly not seriously aimed at anything of the sort. It IS aimed at small business who already have a few Macs on a small LAN who have maybe outgrown a NAS, and want to get in to shared mail and other services. Hence the bargain basement price: it's not about raking in money but about providing a service to existing Mac users that might just steer them away from defecting to other non-Apple alternatives.

16
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Come on people!

Outgrown a NAS - which is likely to scale better and far better hardware redundancy?

As for shared mail etc - maybe its time they looked at Office 365 instead?

1
8

Re: Come on people! @AC

Outgrowing a NAS: NAS does not do multi-partions and granular permissions that well, and there is the issue of throuput, and £ per mb costs of that scaling. And the amount of shared apps on NAS's is limited and generally not that well featured.

Shared apps: Not everyone wants to load "mission critical" info or services into the cloud, and there is the cloud performance issue of some services which don't necessarily scale that well. And there's the cost...£14 for an truly unlimited, local, always on, secure services vs one that's in the cloud and will probably cost you £14 *per month*?

6
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Come on people! @AC

@Silverburn - NAS doesn't just mean a little thing on your desk with a couple of disks. NAS goes all the way up to NetApp style arrays with 100s of TB, and they do handle NTFS ACLs, or UNIX style permissions perfectly well.

3
1

Re: Come on people!

Maybe it is time to look at the pricetag on Office 365? And not everybody wants to store his mail somewhere else.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Come on people!

The bargain basement price is because all they add is a few pretty gui tools to the bits of FLOSS that is either hidden or withheld in the basic OS. It was never very hard to turn on or upgrade the included servers and install the bits that weren't included if you didn't mind using other admin tools but you also didn't have artificial limits on the number of users. Now for £14 you get most of the software and a UI that matches the rest of the OS, it's probably worth it if the stuff is kept up to date.

0
0
Silver badge
Linux

Re: Come on people! @AC

I think someone said something about Mac Server being for 1-10 person offices.

You're unlikely to outgrow a NAS appliance with such a puny office.

1
1
Bronze badge
Mushroom

Re: Come on people! @AC

LOL, perhaps you want to tell NetApp, the NAS market leader, that NAS doesnt do those things? They would be rather surprised seeing as NAS products have done all those things well for at least a decade....

0
1
LDS
Silver badge

Can you virtualize an OSX server on non OSX hardware?

With most server moved to VMs, and no real server hardware from Apple, it's no surprise they release some already existing BDS pieces for a cheap price. Beyond a small office already using Apple products only there's really no reason to use it.

3
2

Re: Can you virtualize an OSX server on non OSX hardware?

Beyond a small office already using Apple products only there's really no reason to use it.

I'd be very surprised if there was.

2
1
Happy

Not half bad

Last weekend I replaced my 10 year old iMac with a basic model Mac Mini - purely with the intention of using it as an iTunes server as my MacBook HD is too small. Then decided to get the Server app for a play...

Not half bad... hung a couple of usb HDs and now running file sharing, Time Machine and Wikis. OK it's only for those on my network at the moment - but looking at opening it up to a couple of colleagues so we can pass large files.

Our key IT setup is currently overseas so as a workgroup server for the three of us it looks like it could work well!

10
0
Thumb Up

Re: Not half bad - update

Thanks to the article's author - now set up the No-IP redirect... now my colleagues can join in my fruity server offerings!

4
0
jai
Silver badge

Server != Enterprise

Just because it has Server in the name, doesn't mean this is exclusively for Enterprise.

As people have said, it's a very cheap, very easy way to provide server type services for the home user and the small business team. Yes, there's more feature-full ways of doing it, but equally, they require a greater level of knowledge and maintenance attention, possibly a dedicated person. This provides a way to bring server functionality into your home or office without a large cost of hardware, software and hiring someone with server experience.

13
0
Meh

SMBs?

I have yet to come accross an SMB running 10 or so Macs! Pricing for SMBs is critical, 10 Windows Laptops/Desktops is a damn site cheaper than 10 Macs/Mini-Macs/Mac laptop things!

But i can see a use for those who exclusively Mac machines (See this weeks Open and Shut) at home who want something a bit more indepth..

0
2
Stop

Re: SMBs?

Speaking from personal experience, and once you factor in support costs, nothing is cheaper than a Mac setup. The up front capital expenditure is higher - but that up-front expenditure is quickly recouped in lower support spend.

7
6
Go

Re: SMBs?

I guess there is always a first for everything....

But i do object to the TCO argument of Mac's vs PC's. On the whole it is BS speaking from my experience..

2
1

Re: SMBs?

Hmm. Do you actually have any experience though (other than 'I read it somewhere')?

0
1

Re: SMBs?

Does a career spanning more than a decade count?

0
1

Re: SMBs?

No. Not necessarily. In this case, only if your career includes extensive use of Mac OS X Server. If, on the other hand, you've never used Mac OS X Server in anger then you're no more qualified to discuss its merits than am I to discuss whether the Rocketdyne F1 is a better engine than the Kuznetsov NK-33.

3
1

Re: SMBs?

I've seen Macs deployed "in force", i.e. from 15-500, at firms specialising in art, law, design, public utilities, architecture, publishing, advertising and even High St retail. Whether it's just a few desks or 500, Mac support teams are ALWAYS smaller than their Windows counterparts, on a per user basis.

3
1

Re: SMBs?

Whoah there... I thought we (specifically you and i at this point in time) were discussing the merits of Mac's in statups/SMB's vs PC's and the TCO of Mac's vs PC's and not the usability/suitability of Mac OS X server (of which I will admit I have limited exposure too)

My career does include extreme use of Windows Server platforms, UNIX (more specifically SCO) and Linux. In terms of client side its much of the same with the inclusion of OSX and thus Mac's... I have also been involved in start ups and SMBs...

OS X Server could be constructed with the use of Voodoo and Whitchcraft for all i know... But my point was about SMBs and TCO....

2
0
Silver badge
Linux

Re: SMBs?

Nonsense. Macs are more expensive and they aren't cheaper to operate. The support options for Macs also gravely lag behind the options available from PC vendors. A PC can quietly do it's job until it's costs have been amortized and you are ready to discard them.

"Support costs" if any are driven by helpless types that are going to be bothersome regardless of what OS you're using.

1
2

Re: Jedidiah

You may want to actually get some facts, or better still experience of supporting Macs alongside Windows, to form your opinions on.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/apple/tco-new-research-finds-macs-in-the-enterprise-easier-cheaper-to-manage-than-windows-pcs/6294

Yes, the individual machines are more expensive for the initial purchase. But because; the Server is set price for unlimited seats (even in the old days when it was £500), the Macs tend to last longer due to better build quality and finally, support calls tend to be fewer, means that the TCO is better.

Even if the business doesn't invest in dedicated technician staff (and few do), there are plenty of Support Providers who will cover the hardware.

0
0
Bronze badge
Mushroom

Re: SMBs?

Yes, There is no argument. In 99% of enterprises PCs will be much much cheaper to provide the same services to....

0
2
Bronze badge
Mushroom

Re: SMBs?

Then for an enterprise, price in access control, remote access agents, software distribution, auditing / log reports, endpoint control, remote control integration to helpdesk system, auditing, software licences, cost of the hardware, etc....Macs are MUCH more expensive as the tools are all niche, and the hardware costs much more.

.

1
3

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.