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  1. #1
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    Thinking about Mac OS X servers

    I would like to get into Mac hosting in the near future. I don't see many os x hosting companies as of yet. I figure the want and need for this might grow quite a bit in the next year or two.


    /me hugs his new ibook

  2. #2
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    Well, the reason there is not a lot of them i guess lays in hardware pricing. Virtualy no discount data centers offer leased OSX servers, and the cost of hardware is prohibitive to most entepreneurs I guess.

    I am currently looking into colocating one xserve box and one mac mini [yep ]. It is definetely a niche market worth looking into.

    Love my iBook too
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  3. #3
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    thanks for the reply kufel !

  4. #4
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    There are companies that allow you to lease Mac Mini's as servers - search around on HostingTech.com for the article they published on this. I would definately encourage you to go for this market...

    If you can find a control panel.
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  5. #5
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    I'm not sure I see the point of OS X hosting, I mean on the desktop its lightyears away from FreeBSD which is based on the same OS layer, but in the case of a server neither you nor your customers can take advantage of the desktop, it's all remote which means the easy-to-use part should be on the client's machine (that's where they should switch from Winblows to Mac OS X), and on the server itself it's about stabillity and speed, in which I don't know of OS X being better than FreeBSD. And AFAIK for FREEBSD you get way more s/w.

  6. #6
    Question;

    What does Max OSX offer that linux or windows can't?
    Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.

  7. #7
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    1. Tons of out of the box features
    - security
    - ease of configuration and managment
    - tons of useful services included [tiger]

    ^compared to plain installs of >insert *nix distro here< or windows

    2. Access to quite a niche of mac users or developers looking for mac osx hosting


    Granted its not popular in server environment, which is not surprising since osx still has comparatively low market share. But offers a lot of possibilities using *think different* approach.
    There is no magic. There are only onions.
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  8. #8
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    FreeBSD has a much better security record than Mac OS X, despite the much larger user base, so security is a feature that OS X has only over Winblows (and maybe over Linux), but not above all competing OSes. As to the rest, I can well imagine those tools are as cool to use as the desktop OS, but I'd have to see them for myself before being able to say whether they give you a real advantage over something like Webmin for system administration or cPanel/Plesk for webmasters.

    p.s. The Mac mini is a lot more powerful then most people seem to realize, it's not a toy but a real computer despite its cute looks.

  9. #9
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    I woould agree somewhat on Freebsd, however I would say that it has much more advantage over Redhat and fedora installs as well being included by bulk on all those discount providers like managed/tp/sm/ev1 - those guys sport dozens of compromised boxes at any given time [yeah i speak from experience].

    Originally posted by RambOrc
    I can well imagine those tools are as cool to use as the desktop OS, but I'd have to see them for myself before being able to say whether they give you a real advantage over something like Webmin for system administration or cPanel/Plesk for webmasters.

    p.s. The Mac mini is a lot more powerful then most people seem to realize, it's not a toy but a real computer despite its cute looks.
    You are right on both counts, server admin on osx 10.3 and 10.4 using remote access is COOL LIKE HELL, and mac mini serves as an intranet server at my office easily handling 85+ users, their calendars, office mail appointments and company blogs. Had to add some more ram though, hoipe to upgrade it to full blown dual cpu xserver soon. Just for fun.
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  10. #10
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    I'm most familiar with the RedHat line so I'm using that, but I never doubted that FreeBSD is superior in terms of stability and security. Since OS X is based on FreeBSD, I can well imagine it's more secure than Linux in general. Regarding the OS X server admin tools, is there a demo or trial version so I can see them for myself? I'm curious.

    p.s. my Mac mini has the lower clocked CPU and "only" 40 gigs HDD (no way I could ever fill it anyway) and none of the wireless stuff, but it's got 1 gig RAM. Maybe that's just because I know what I'm doing and don't listen to marketing.

  11. #11
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    I use RedHat also on our cpanel servers, nothing wrong with the system per se, but a bas einstall requires comparatively lot of initial securing and locking down. Blah we can do this all day. Any system can be secure as long as its administered responsibly.

    As far as OSX server demos, apple.com offers only screenshots, and vague at that, best way would be to visit a local apple store w/ business center, they have some osx server demos setup so you can play around with live system.
    There is no magic. There are only onions.
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  12. #12
    Sounds good, I would like to see something like this in the future.

  13. #13
    Originally posted by kufel
    1. Tons of out of the box features
    - security

    Not really...

    - ease of configuration and managment
    To a very basic level

    - tons of useful services included [tiger]
    Jabber Server? Installable from ports on freebsd
    What else is there?


    ^compared to plain installs of >insert *nix distro here< or windows

    2. Access to quite a niche of mac users or developers looking for mac osx hosting

    There is no valid reason for a mac user or developer to require a mac for hosting. WO is deployable on Solaris, Windows and Mac.

    There is no web serving software only usable on a mac.

    There is no point running OS X Server in a hosting environment, other than the hardware.

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by nreilly
    Originally posted by kufel
    1. Tons of out of the box features
    - security

    Not really...

    - ease of configuration and managment
    To a very basic level

    - tons of useful services included [tiger]
    Jabber Server? Installable from ports on freebsd
    What else is there?


    ^compared to plain installs of >insert *nix distro here< or windows

    2. Access to quite a niche of mac users or developers looking for mac osx hosting

    There is no valid reason for a mac user or developer to require a mac for hosting. WO is deployable on Solaris, Windows and Mac.

    There is no web serving software only usable on a mac.

    There is no point running OS X Server in a hosting environment, other than the hardware.

    Gee, thats very elaborate.

    Looks like you never actually managed or worked on OSX servers.

    "not really" ?
    Average time a script kiddie could hack an out of a box redhat/centos/fedora box is probably couple of hours
    - tons of unneeded services running and not locked down by default
    - no strong firewall configured
    - added security holes of control panels if installed [mostly cpanel I guess]]

    just to list a few most common..

    which as for osx during last two year I never seen that happen, and i've seen about 50 production osx servers for one of my employers deployed with minimal security tweaks done WEEKS after deployment.

    As for "no valid reason"
    You obviously did not notice how a lot of mac community feels abot mac platform, when it comes down to software capabilities there may be not. But being a mac user is not all about pure logic.
    That aside. there is a lot of fucntionality built-in in osx servers for both adminstrators and users that is useful and there definetely is a niche, as your experience seems to be down to hearsay or reading brochures you present no valid points whatsoever, based on your arguments there is no point really running any server os software.

    Mr Gates is that you? I know we can run apache and mysql and tons of other oss ports on Win platform so there is no point runninig any *nix based software wahtsoever. Yaay.
    There is no magic. There are only onions.
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  15. #15
    Originally posted by kufel
    Gee, thats very elaborate.

    Looks like you never actually managed or worked on OSX servers.

    "not really" ?
    Average time a script kiddie could hack an out of a box redhat/centos/fedora box is probably couple of hours
    - tons of unneeded services running and not locked down by default
    - no strong firewall configured
    - added security holes of control panels if installed [mostly cpanel I guess]]

    just to list a few most common..

    which as for osx during last two year I never seen that happen, and i've seen about 50 production osx servers for one of my employers deployed with minimal security tweaks done WEEKS after deployment.

    As for "no valid reason"
    You obviously did not notice how a lot of mac community feels abot mac platform, when it comes down to software capabilities there may be not. But being a mac user is not all about pure logic.
    That aside. there is a lot of fucntionality built-in in osx servers for both adminstrators and users that is useful and there definetely is a niche, as your experience seems to be down to hearsay or reading brochures you present no valid points whatsoever, based on your arguments there is no point really running any server os software.

    Mr Gates is that you? I know we can run apache and mysql and tons of other oss ports on Win platform so there is no point runninig any *nix based software wahtsoever. Yaay.
    Apple doesn't run any unecessary services? Bonjour? ASIPADMIN?
    The script kiddies attacks generally don't work because they are dependant on linux and i386. Once shell code for macs become a little more common place, the canned exploits will start to have mac payloads as well.

    Also, there is a lot of new software on a mac that is ripe for exploiting. Is launchd written well? What about their implementation of jabber? What about their intergration of authentication methods into Open Directory? Is it all secure? Are you willing to trust all this new technology in an exposed environment?

    As for the firewall that comes with the mac, its set to allow all from all by default.

    There are two mac communities. The ones who are fans, and the ones that choose the best tool for the job. The fans don't care about any potential negative. The other will choose the best tool, which for web hosting, is not a mac.

    Now, I wouldn't suggest Windows for web hosting either. It would be far worse than a Mac, but I wonder why you think I was suggesting that.

    The only platforms I host on today are Linux and FreeBSD, and I can wave the 'No security problems' flag as well.

    I also have quite a few OS X Server boxes accessable externally, but the only ports ever open are 22 and 1723.

  16. #16
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    How can you run an http server with port 80 being closed?

  17. #17
    Originally posted by RambOrc
    How can you run an http server with port 80 being closed?
    You don't.

  18. #18
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    So what relevance are your experiences to this topic? Seems like you never actually used an OS X server for what everyone else on this topic is talking about (webhosting).

  19. #19
    Originally posted by RambOrc
    So what relevance are your experiences to this topic? Seems like you never actually used an OS X server for what everyone else on this topic is talking about (webhosting).
    Because it's not suited to that environment.

    Prior to 10.4 you were only able to host mail for one set of mail boxes. You could use multiple domains, but all the mail was delivered to the local user.

    The apache configuration GUI is fine for internal websites for a company, but if you're planning on managing many different sites for different clients, there are far more efficient options available.

  20. #20
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    Well, here's Apple's take on the web hosting side of OS X Server: http://images.apple.com/server/pdfs/...g_TB_v10.4.pdf
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  21. #21
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    Originally posted by kufel
    1. Tons of out of the box features
    - security
    - ease of configuration and managment
    - tons of useful services included [tiger]

    ^compared to plain installs of >insert *nix distro here< or windows

    2. Access to quite a niche of mac users or developers looking for mac osx hosting


    Granted its not popular in server environment, which is not surprising since osx still has comparatively low market share. But offers a lot of possibilities using *think different* approach.
    hello, what kind of technology offer by Mac OSX that is not being offer cheaper on Linux or Windows?

    Linux - Apaceh/MySQL/Perl/PHP/Python

    Windows - IIS/MS SQL/Access/ASP/ASP.net

    Mac OSX - ??

    thank

  22. #22
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    btw, shouldn't security based on the admin skill? if you have a Mac OSX admin with a so-so skill, you can still get hack. there is not bullet-proof OS out there. there s no unhackable system either. anyone clam their OS is unhackable is a fool. admin skill is what's important, not hardware nor software.

  23. #23
    Originally posted by jt2377
    hello, what kind of technology offer by Mac OSX that is not being offer cheaper on Linux or Windows?
    [snip]
    Mac OSX - ??
    Applescript and Objective C Web Objects.

    It has a few other things like the Quicktime Streaming Server and associated admin stuff as well for what that is worth.

  24. #24
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    While I can see a niche for mac-fanatics, I don't think it would generate enough business for you besides a handful of developers who are going to use the few apple advantages (objective c objects, quicktime streaming, etc as mentioned above). Not to mention mac's are much more expensive than a mid-quality hosting server.

  25. #25
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    Originally posted by gentooRIT
    While I can see a niche for mac-fanatics, I don't think it would generate enough business for you besides a handful of developers who are going to use the few apple advantages (objective c objects, quicktime streaming, etc as mentioned above). Not to mention mac's are much more expensive than a mid-quality hosting server.
    agree, Mac OS X may be too expenisve to even offer for only few features that very few people will use.

    i won't trust software/hardware to be secure. i rather trust a skill admin than unhackable software/system.

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