Wed 21 Sep 2005
The Mac Mini as Server
Category : Technology/MacMiniAsServer.txt
I switched over to a Mac Mini as the server for this web site yesterday. It's the 80 GB, 512 MB RAM, 1.42 GHz version, with the Combo drive, Airport Extreme, Bluetooth, and a built-to-order modem.
I've just tested that Tiger's built-in shared fax feature works. That's why I wanted that modem. We can fax through the Mini from anywhere in the house. And I've checked that I do get all in-coming faxes forwarded to me via e-mail, too.
The Mini has been running great. It's so quiet, and it's about one-tenth or one-twentieth the size of the old G4 PowerMac that it replaces, so it'll probably also consume a lot less power.
The Mini is running OS X Tiger 10.4.2 with all the security updates. I wanted to see how fast I could set things up and move everything over. Mail was the easiest, probably because Postfix Enabler has been used so much that it should just work by now. Same with DNS Enabler. And WebMon had PHP, SSL, and WebDav set up in seconds. So, basically, most of the services that I'm running - web, mail, DNS, FTP, WebDav, shared iCal calendars, the fax server, the PHP-based PayPal interface - they were all set up in minutes.
It took a bit more time to copy the IMAP folders over. And the MySQL database containing the user names and serial numbers for Postfix Enabler.
We did hit one problem, though - I found that SSL doesn't start up automatically on reboot for the Apache web server - I have to manually stop and start Apache for SSL support to take effect. This didn't happen with Panther, so it's probably something to do with Tiger, and it'll be something to look into.
The performance of the Mac Mini is good. So good that I suspect it was causing us some new timing problems with our PayPal interface. We've had to do some re-programming to sort that out. So that was what actually consumed most of the time in the migration.
I love this Mini. It's great value for money. It's the way to go for small businesses.