11 Replies Latest reply: Dec 4, 2009 9:58 PM by mbean
dsidaway Level 1 Level 1
I'm looking at picking up a mac mini to use as a file/web server and I was hoping someone could point me to a discussion or article on how to get started. Here's my wish list:

• run the mac mini headless (what is the best way to maintain the mini - screen sharing?)
• connect a Drobo for mass storage and serve files via the mini to an imac and MBP
• enable ftp access
• use the mini as a simple web server (mainly for testing)
• use the drobo as my time machine backup for the MBP and imac
• use as an itunes server

any ideas or advice is appreciated!

Mac Mini, Mac OS X (10.5.7)
  • Euchre Level 4 Level 4
    The mini should work fine as a file server. I'm not sure about the capabilities and compatibilities of the Drobo in some of your desired operations. Hopefully someone else can chime in on that.

    For headless operation, Screen Sharing can work very well as it's quite simple and will allow (with the proper configuration - easy to set up) full control of the mini remotely, with the full desktop. If you do wish to use this and want to reduce your bandwidth use on your LAN, turn the graphics down on the mini substantially. If you are comfortable with command line access, there are even more options that will offer even less LAN traffic - but not as rich an interface or ease of access.
  • Mindbend Level 1 Level 1
    I am looking to do the same thing, but I'm a bit concerned. According to this site, installing Leopard Server from DVD won't work directly on the new Mac Minis:


    Can anyone confirm or refute this? It looks like a giant pain to install Leopard Server otherwise.
  • Euchre Level 4 Level 4
    You do not need to run Leopard Server in order to perform most (if not all) of the file serving operations the original poster lists. From what I see in that thread, it's not a big problem to just do an upgrade install of Leopard Server if you really wanted to. No mini is going to come with Server installed anyway, and doing an upgrade to Server wouldn't be all that big of a deal if it were even necessary.
  • dsidaway Level 1 Level 1
    What are the advantages of running Leopard Server? If we don't run Leopard Server, how easy is it to set up FTP access to the mini?
  • Euchre Level 4 Level 4
    FTP access is as simple as a checkbox in Sharing in System Preferences.
  • Mindbend Level 1 Level 1
    Can you explain briefly what you mean by "upgrade install" of Leopard Server? Are you saying I can upgrade to Leopard Server from Leopard non-server? Is so, how do I do that?
  • Euchre Level 4 Level 4
    To upgrade from normal Leopard to Leopard Server, insert the Leopard Server DVD while fully booted into Leopard. It should launch and offer to perform the upgrade to your existing installation of Leopard.
  • Scott Kendall1 Level 2 Level 2

    I am using my Mac mini exactly as you are describing. here is my setup

    Mac Mini C2D 1.83Ghz
    3Gb RAM
    80Gb HD (internal)
    1.5TB Drobo connected via FW8000 to FW400

    Applications running 24/7 on mac Mini server:

    MacOS X server 10.5.7
    Drobo Dashboard
    Indigo (Home Automation)
    Simpli Server (Music Server)
    Super Duper!

    My system is running headless (using ARD for connection) and I setup a sharepoint (on Leopard Server OS) to point to a folder on the Drobo to enable it as a Time Machine backup and all 5 systems in my house backup to the Drobo Folder that I specify.

    The Mac Mini itself gets backed up to the Drobo. I also have a FTP, QTSS, Web, AppleTalk, NFS, Netboot services all running on my Mini.

    The Mac mini works perfectly as a headless server... as a matter of fact, I just purchased the new 2009 Mini to replace it so that I will get FW800->FW800 to the Drobo, and 802.11n support (so that my iMac and MacBook can backup to the Drobo with a 270Mb connection vs. my hardwired 100Mb connection)
  • abtpawi Level 1 Level 1

    are you using the Drobo as file server storage? My Drobo – connected by a DroboShare via Ethernet to my Gigabit Network – appears to slow down my system a lot! Drobo seems to be sleeping often and it takes ages to wake up every time I save a file to it.

    How well is the Drobo performing in your environment?

    Best, Pascal
  • Lee Hodgkinson Level 1 Level 1
    My setup at work is a PowerMac G5 Dual 1.8 with a 80gig HD with Leopard Server, Drobo with 4 TB drives connected via Firewire 800 and another 1.5 TB drive for Time Machine Backup of my files on the Drobo. Also the network is Gigabit with Cat6 lines.

    The only thing the PowerMac is doing is File Sharing to 5 Macs (no windows sharing). The Drobo doesn't powerdown since it is always being accessed for Sharing. I think yours is slowing down because it isn't hooked up to a Server Computer directly.

    I have no complaints with this setup. Also every night/weekend and month end there is a backup to the main servers of just the files that are sharing.
  • mbean Level 4 Level 4
    If you want the ability to have RAID 5 or 6, dual ethernet ports, internal support for up to eight 2.5" SATA hard disks or SSD plus very low energy usage you may want to check out the AMUG QNAP SS-839 Review: http://www.amug.org/amug-web/html/amug/reviews/articles/qnap/SS-839/

    For the file sharing, iTunes service and web server functions requested in this thread, the QNAP SS-839 does a great job. The built in RAID 5/6 redundancy with support for up to eight internal disks means you don't have to strap an extra box to it and if you desire external storage there are dual eSATA ports on the SS-839 for fast backup and expansion capability. The Mac mini only has a single FW800 port.

    As an energy efficient server with 8-drive bays, I think the SS-839 provides several interesting advantages over a Mac mini server.