11 Replies Latest reply: Aug 12, 2012 8:58 AM by appleassist156
capaho Level 4 Level 4 (3,650 points)

I was disappointed by the dumbing down of OS X Server in the shift from SL Server to Lion Server.  I have been reading various reviews of ML Server and the impression I've developed is that ML Server has taken OS X Server from dumbed down to imbecilic.  Some reviews have gone so far as to say that ML Server is just a server lite add-on pack for ML.  I can't find a single review that takes ML Server seriously for professional use. 

 

Does anywhere use it for anything other than a home server?  Is it suitable for business or professional use or is it in such a state that it is nothing more than just another consumer toy from Apple?

  • 1. Re: Is ML Server Suitable for Professional Use?
    consiglieri_swe Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    I think it all depends on what you want from the server. Its all a matter of price versus performance. We have used os-x server for a number of years and have not really had any particular problems and find it a better buy than Microsoft...but then on the other hand we dont have that many requirements and are less than ten users. I've also read the reviews complaining about how somethings have disappeared. Mountain Lions version of Server App contains pretty much what I want to do or need to do (that's not to say the complaints arent justified). If I might need something particular withe regards to mailserver then I can always do it via commandline.  But to answer your question - it's not just another consumer toy from Apple - it works well at what it does. If it meets your needs is another question. I like the fact that you can compile linux/bsd software on it.

  • 2. Re: Is ML Server Suitable for Professional Use?
    capaho Level 4 Level 4 (3,650 points)

    If you compare SL Server with ML Server, however, the Server Admin tool was really taking OS X Server in the right direction for professional power users.  Of course, you can manage any linux or unix server from the command line if you wish, and sometimes that's the best way to get something done, but professional GUI tools make a lot more sense these days than having to resort to the command line for every task.  It is particularly ironic for Apple to remove GUI functionality considering how committed they are to GUI. 

     

    Apple doesn't seem to understand the difference between simplified and simplistic in their quest to repurpose OS X Server to become a seamless part of the iCloud/iOS world.  There are many of us out here who do business in a much larger world than that.

     

    I switched from running leased Linux servers to running my own Mac mini servers following the release of SL Server because they were a cost-effective server-in-a-box solution that made more sense at the time.  I was disappointed in the change of direction they took with Lion Server and I am appalled by what I've seen with ML Server.  I will have no choice but to return to Linux servers when it comes time to retire these minis. 

     

    It's a pity that something so promising was abandoned so quickly.

  • 3. Re: Is ML Server Suitable for Professional Use?
    Kevin Neal Level 2 Level 2 (480 points)

    I think people are just a bit too harsh and even snobby when it comes to OS X Server, I've been using a Mac Server since Leopard in a small business setting (18 users ), I think ML server is just as capable as any version that i've used for what we use it for, but that all depends on what you need from it.

  • 4. Re: Is ML Server Suitable for Professional Use?
    capaho Level 4 Level 4 (3,650 points)

    Of course, it will function as a server, but if you look at the level of control you have over the server with the provided admin tools now compared to even Snow Leopard Server it's moving in the wrong direction.  Servers are complex and keeping them safe, stable and secure in a world filled with continuous assaults from cyber criminals requires robust tools.  The pretty but simplistic iOS design Apple is moving everything to is simply going in the wrong direction for a server.  Furthermore, the ongoing lack of support for modsecurity in OS X server is nothing short of irresponsible. 

     

    Experienced system administrators who are committed to OS X will be able to administer them from the command line, but people who don't understand servers won't be able to manage them safely and effectively with the simplistic admin tools that are included with ML Server.  Apple is living in a fantasy world when it comes to their server concept.

  • 5. Re: Is ML Server Suitable for Professional Use?
    iToaster Level 3 Level 3 (660 points)

    sorry (or should that be sadly) but I agree with capho, osx server is not the all purpose powerhouse it once was. sure you can configure things via the command line but once you've done that you can't go back.

     

    the list of removed features is getting longer and longer

    streaming server gone, podcast gone, xgrid, gone,dhcp gone, webmail gone, out of office notification gone

    server admin gone

     

    imo you can't be both a home server and a business server it just doesn't work.Both have quite different requirements and levels of expertise and expectations you can't be all things to all people

    at this point it's quite plain what direction Apple are moving.

     

    sure you can get those removed features back with some work, hoping the next update doesn't blow your hard work away.

     

    SL server it was easy and quick to check on servers remotely via server admin either from another mac

    or with iphone app now your stuck with using ARD or vnc

     

    I guess your commitment comes at a heaver and heaver price when your actually more worried what the next version of OSX server will bring instead of being excited. wondering if or how your going to work around whatever has been removed. these days it's more of a case of looking to find out what's been removed less about what's been added.

     

    The time is fast approaching when I have to consider moving from mac, not a very pleasant thought for a large 100% mac shop. I suppose a lot of other admins must be facing the same decision. . it still feels like a kick in the teeth after all those years I spent preaching how great OSX server was.

     

    Perhaps I'm just to old school in this cloud, IOS world were everyone wants you to use their servers and not your own and I'll go the way of the 3.5 " floppy and the 5.25" disk drive. A breif entry in the wikapedia history of computing when instututions owned, ran, and managed their own networks and servers

  • 6. Re: Is ML Server Suitable for Professional Use?
    Kevin Neal Level 2 Level 2 (480 points)

    You make some fair points, and I agree with a lot of what you say. It is really annoying when things are taken away for no logical reason. And I also agree that the writting has been on the wall that one day we will not be able to manage our companies using a Mac Server, I just personally think you still can with ML server, though I have doubts wether I will feel the same this time next year.

     

    We bought the last xserves before they disappeared to extend the time we could continue using a mac server, but sooner or later they will drop support for xserves possibly within the next 2 years ( based on the fact that many 2007 macs lost support with ML )

     

    For us though, Mac OS X server has always needed a combination og GUI and Command Line to get it set up exactly how we want it. And you can use the Server app on a remote computer to connect to and administer the server, so that functionality is not lost completely (as long as server app is managing those services)

     

    I guess we will need to start investigating using a linux server for the services that OS X server may drop in the future, and run OS X server alongside for things that it does well

  • 7. Re: Is ML Server Suitable for Professional Use?
    capaho Level 4 Level 4 (3,650 points)

    iToaster wrote:

     

    imo you can't be both a home server and a business server it just doesn't work.Both have quite different requirements and levels of expertise and expectations you can't be all things to all people

    at this point it's quite plain what direction Apple are moving.

     

    Sad but true, Apple can't stay committed to a course long enough to make it worthwhile for a business.  It's only been two years since I fully made the switch from Linux servers to Mac mini servers running Snow Leopard Server, and now I am already in a position where I have to find replacements for the minis when they need to be retired.  Mountain Lion Server is simply unacceptable. 

     

    Apple apparently wants iPhones, iPads and Macs to be seamless iCloud/iTunes devices to which they will provide the content via the iTunes and Mac App stores.  They seem to be fully committed to the consumer market and content to leave the business market to Microsoft and Linux.

  • 8. Re: Is ML Server Suitable for Professional Use?
    capaho Level 4 Level 4 (3,650 points)

    Kevin Neal wrote:

     

    I guess we will need to start investigating using a linux server for the services that OS X server may drop in the future, and run OS X server alongside for things that it does well

     

    I have started looking into fanless PCs running Linux as replacements for my Mac mini servers, perhaps Fit-pc, Zotac or similar.  Once I find something with the hardware specs I like I'm going to set up a test system.  My intention is to replace the minis with fanless PCs running Plesk on top of Linux if I can find suitable hardware.

  • 9. Re: Is ML Server Suitable for Professional Use?
    laurienzo Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I switched from CentOS to Snow Leopard Server 2 years ago.

    I thought OSX Server was easier and more robust to handle.

    I design websites with propetary email server, php, mysql mostly.

     

    I am thinking to switch back to a CentOS or Ubuntu and Virtualmin software to administer everything from remote.

    Much much better and simpler.

  • 10. Re: Is ML Server Suitable for Professional Use?
    capaho Level 4 Level 4 (3,650 points)

    I leased dedicated servers running Linux for about twenty years before I switched to these Mac mini servers.  I didn't run my own servers in the past primarily because of the cost of connecting them to the Internet, but now with high-speed fiber optic lines available in my area, running my own hardware is more cost-effective than before.

     

    When I decided to buy the mini servers I set up my own network infrastructure to accommodate them.  It's more than just disappointing that Apple abandoned OS X server so quickly as a serious server alternative, it turns out to have been an expensive mistake for me to have trusted Apple with my server needs.  They change directions too often to be reliable for running a business on.

     

    I have a lot of experience running Plesk on Linux, so I will return to that once I find suitable hardware.  Fanless, low-power PCs look promising in that regard.

  • 11. Re: Is ML Server Suitable for Professional Use?
    appleassist156 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Considering that ML Server gives you VPN, Mail Services, Web Server, DNS, Backup, FTP, and a whole bunch more for less than £15 with an unlimited number of seats / liscences i would say that its an extreamly good deal, for me the VPN alone warents the cost.