Currently Being ModeratedJun 7, 2012 4:24 PM (in response to pdillon)
Yes server can be configured to just run file services. But you should think through the use of AFP being exposed to the public internet. You may want to consider also setting up VPN and then the users can connect securely. Or you can look at WebDav services.
But yes, OS X Server runs only the services you enable. And only the services you permit through your firewall will be accessible to external users.
Currently Being ModeratedJun 9, 2012 9:33 AM (in response to pdillon)
If you really want to learn more about OS X Server, I highly recommend the Apple Training Series books at Peachpit Press.
You can get either an eBook, or a real book.... or both. They're very well written. OS X Server works much better on an office LAN. Hosting an Apple file share over the internet can be done, but you're always going to have to deal with connection speeds when connecting from outside of your office network. You'll need a very fast internet connection that includes a very fast upload speed. Of course, you're always going to be limited by the slower connection. If the users are at home on a 3Mb/s DSL connection, and your server is attached to a 20Mb/s data connection, the users will download only at 3Mb/s, not 20.
I suggest that you don't make your own system a server. If you shut it down, users can't get into it. My rule about servers is that they should NEVER be someone's personal workstation. You should invest the money to do this right. For a small office, a Mac mini does a great job. For a larger one, a Mac Pro loaded up with RAM and lots of storage is a better choice. ALWAYS deploy a good backup solution. Time Machine is good, but CrashPlan Pro would be even better.
Currently Being ModeratedJun 12, 2012 7:33 PM (in response to pdillon)
Dropbox is not just file sharing. It allows users to keep local copies of everything on their workstation and then sync them when the machine is on the internet. That syncing is not trivial. As mentioned AFP is not a prefered protocol due to security weakness. So you want to do VPN or WebDAV.