One of the best sources of Mac server hardware is an old Mac you already own.
The computer in the living room: setting up a Mac mini media center | Macworld
My first two Mac servers were both hand-me-down Power Macs. Once I got a fresher model, the old one went in the closet and served me for a few more years as my server.
You can put an old iMac, Mac mini, or even laptop into service as a server with little or no financial investment. Also, a lot of software and hardware is designed to work with computers, not storage devices. Apple is constantly upgrading OS X, and most modern hardware comes along for the ride. Apps are constantly being updated to take advantage of new features.
My home weather station came with some weird Java-based software that was never updated and worked horribly; I was able to easily replace it with a much better piece of native Mac software. Embedded systems like NASes are harder to update and can be abandoned by their makers after a short time in favor of newer models. In the mids I co-wrote a book about using Mac OS as a server, so the moment I could have a server in a closet in my house, I did it.
In the early days I used it as a web server for InterText , my fiction magazine. I used FileMaker to build a few web databases, including a home-built app that let me run a fantasy football draft before there were web-based tools that let you do that. In the end I gave up and switched to Gmail for all of my mail, not because MailShare let me down, but because the sheer volume of spam connections to my mail server were swamping my slow DSL connection. Plug for an occasional podcast sponsor: Over the years all of those uses fell away, but new ones replaced them.
In the early days, that meant thousands of MP3s.
Children of the revolution
I also store a lot of large archival data sets—old podcast projects, mostly—on my server. With real-world advantages?
- Three reasons to run your own Mac server.
- How I use my home server - Six Colors.
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Now I put it to use for software development, for doing some automated builds of an open-source package I helped author. Agreed with Tomorrowful. Mine drives my TV.
The computer in the living room: setting up a Mac mini media center
Is yours an old one or a new one? I have an older one that also has the DVD drive, which makes it handy to reduce the number of separate electronics sitting on the media stand. Very handy.
- Reasons to use a Mac server.
- Why have a home server?;
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- Anyone using Mac Mini as a home server? | MacRumors Forums?
- 4 reasons why you should run your own Mac server, and 4 reasons why you shouldn't | Macworld?
- Dealing with discs;
- Historically speaking.
- mac and cheese chicago truck.
Thirding the Plex idea. It's the only device connected to my 32" TV in my living room.
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