Apple’s new frontier: servers for the rest of us? by ZDNet's David Morgenstern -- Can Apple make servers as easy to use as Macs? That’s what the company expects with Leopard Server shipping on Oct. 26 alongside Mac OS X Leopard. What my server admin buddies all tell me is that the real power of Mac OS X is under the hood. The best way to access its Unix services, [...]
I believe Apple is already most of the way there. I have been running a Mac Mini with external USB drive under Mac OS X Tiger. The setup has been rock solid for 18 months since setup. I use it to share music, movies, photos and other documents across my home network. The level of management required has been minimal. The biggest difference we should see between Tiger and Leopard is in the ease of setup.
I am convinced that Apple can seize a piece of the server market. Their server software plays nicely with Windows, Linux and Mac machines. The Admin tools were relatively straightforward to use but I expect this to be an area of big improvement in Leopard.
I have used my Mini as primarily a media library. I would love Apple to configure a Mac Mini and external drive combination with Server software. This would make a great central media server. Couple that with the enhancements in Leopard at the client level and you have a powerful media server running Frontrow. Ideally I would love Apple to upgrade iTunes so that I can officially split my music collection so that I have my favorite tracks on my laptop and the remaining tracks on my media server and allow me to populate my iPod with music from both sources. I kludge this now by using a network share and drop the links to the music on the network share in to my iTunes library. If you configure iTunes to NOT copy music to your library automatically then iTunes creates the track in your library and points to the remote network share.
This type of Mini Server setup would work for both a home or small business. As it stands I believe I have a great combination setup. What I have recently done is configured Mozy, on my Mac Mini. It sits quietly backing up my media library and other critical documents from my server to the Mozy backup service on the internet. The peace of mind it brings is worth every penny.