Feeds
90%
Mac Mini with Snow Leopard Server

Apple Mac Mini with Snow Leopard Server

The Xserve alternative?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Review With Apple’s Xserve now discontinued, the only two Mac servers available are the Mini and the Mac Pro Server. The Mac Mini is Apple’s lowest-cost computer yet in its more expensive server incarnation it dispenses with the optical drive of its desktop sibling, instead opting for a second 2.5in hard disk.

Mac Mini with Snow Leopard Server

Apple's Mac Mini Server: no optical drive, but two 2.5in hard drives inside instead

The server price hike has it in third place behind the basic MacBook as cheapest Mac. Yet the Mac Mini server squeezes two 7200RPM 500GB hard disks into its tiny case, along with a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo. In comparison, that means the CPU is about 11 per cent quicker than the desktop’s 2.4GHz chip, and the disks are faster.

The machine comes pre-installed with Mac OS X Server 10.6.3 on one of its hard drives, while the other is left empty – so if you want to mirror them, you’ll have to reformat and reinstal. However, it is possible to do this without reinstallation if you can boot from the System DVD and use the Disk Utility. However, there's no optical drive, so you’ll need to resort to the Mac’s drive sharing option or use an external USB DVD drive. Alternatively, start up the Mac Mini in Target Disk mode, hook it up to another Mac using Firewire and configure it that way.

Evidently, the Mini isn't your typical server box. There's no internal expansion except to replace its pair of 2GB DIMMs with up to 8GB. It has a single Gigabit Ethernet port, plus 802.11n wireless and Bluetooth, so it's not going to be a network gateway, either. What it is ideal for is as a small workgroup server or even rackmounting, as shown with its predecessor here. At 197mm square but just 36mm high, the box is tiny, inconspicuous and virtually silent in operation – it puts out just 14 dBA and uses 85W of power.

Without any more configuration than adding a few user accounts, it offers centralised storage, Time Machine backup facilities and workgroup email. Even a set of default shared volumes are set up automatically, with the Time Machine backup volume placed on the empty drive. A Firewire 800 port allows reasonably quick external storage to be attached, which can be added to by daisychaining or with a Firewire hub – either way, it’s certainly more flexible than using eSata.

Mac Mini with Snow Leopard Server

No eSata, but Firewire 800, USB 2.0 and SD card slot options

In its Snow Leopard guise, OS X Server is only available as an unlimited client licences version, at an official price of £408 – so the £220 price premium of the Mini Server over the slower £600 base model is not too bad. Previously, the unlimited-clients edition of OS X Server was twice the price of the ten-client version, so Server 10.6 is considerably better value. It also adds a number of new features, including a 64-bit kernel and the new Address Book Server. As for what functions you might want to serve, well, OS X Server has most bases covered there.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.