1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply on Feb 22, 2016 4:18 PM by Handri

    Mac Mini as server?

    WBullard

      I'd love to know if you have had experience using Mac Minis to host FileMaker Server, espeically if your user load is heavy (>50 users?) We are looking into the possibility of using MacMiniColo.net which provides colocation services of MacMinis from their facility in Las Vegas. Has anyone else done this?

       

      Thanks,

      Will

        • 1. Re: Mac Mini as server?
          TimDietrich

          Will --

           

          Yes, and yes!

           

          We're now running two minis - one running FMS11, and another running FMS12 - on Mac Minis that are hosted at MacMiniColo.net.

           

          The Minis are amazing. They're inexpesnive, powerful, and reliable. I'll be happy to share the specs of the Minis that we're using - just drop me a line.

           

          As for MacMiniColo.net, their service has been terrific. It really is as easy as they make it out to be. Just send them your server, they'll plug it into their rack, and you're ready to go.

           

          As for the load, the minis seem to handle it with ease. I've got clients running some rather intense apps - on both the 11 and 12 servers. I've also got one that is doing Web integration, where their Web site is getting heavy traffic - and the Mini hosting that database is doing it with ease. (The Web site itself is over at SquareSpace.) We've had no downtime in the past 90+ days that we've been up and running with this configuration - and I sure hope I haven't jinxed that now!

           

          Anyway, I hope this helps.

           

          -- Tim

          • 2. Re: Mac Mini as server?
            DavidJondreau

            I used MacMiniColo a few years ago and found their service to be great.

             

            You can use a mini as a server, but running 50 users scares me some that's pretty heavy use for a mini. Why a mini and not a virtual server with through a reputable hosting provider?

             

            A couple things to consider...If the box fails, will the client be okay with the downtime to get a new one in place? Who will handles OS and server updates?

             

            I'd strongly recommend an external drive to keep copies of your backups (we did that with MMC) and an offsite service like Mozy, as well as the services of dynDNS to enable a quick switchover in case of emergency.

            • 3. Re: Mac Mini as server?
              PointInSpace

              I used MacMiniColo a few years ago and found their service to be great.

               

              You can use a mini as a server, but running 50 users scares me some

              that's pretty heavy use for a mini. Why a mini and not a virtual server

              with through a reputable hosting provider?

               

              A couple things to consider...If the box fails, will the client be okay

              with the downtime to get a new one in place? Who will handles OS and

              server updates?

               

              I'd strongly recommend an external drive to keep copies of your backups

              (we did that with MMC) and an offsite service like Mozy, as well as the

              services of dynDNS to enable a quick switchover in case of emergency.

               

               

               

              Note that we offer virtual OS X servers, if you're looking for that

              operating system.  They are back-ended to dual 4gb fibre channel linked

              Promise VTrak SANs, with RAID-10'd SAS drives, for ultimate performance

              and data reliability.

               

                   - John

               

              --

              • 4. Re: Mac Mini as server?
                sumware

                It's hard to say how Mac Minis would handle 50 users without knowing much about your databases and other services such as web publishing, ODBC, etc.

                 

                Mac Minis are good. Put SSDs in them and they go pretty fast.

                 

                But keep this in perspective. They don't really compare to server class computers maxed out with all of the hot bits. But then they don't cost anywhere near as much, making them such good value.

                 

                Rob

                • 5. Re: Mac Mini as server?
                  taylorsharpe

                  Depending on your databases, I would say 50 simultaneous users is pushing things on a Mac Mini. But since you are not on a LAN are are accepint of WAN speeds, then probably it would work fine. First, I assume this is a Mac Mini SERVER with the i7 processor.  If not, then no way.  The advantage of a beefier system than a Mac Mini is having more cores to spin off the various threads by individual users.  No user can have more than one core, but if you have lots of users, having more cpu cores lets you handle these threads much better.  I would say get yourself a fast hard drive, which could be internal SSDs or maybe an external Promise RAID over Thunderbolt.  Databases really prefer fast data access and the slow standard spinning 2.5" drives that Mac Mini's come with aren't up to the speed. 

                   

                  One of my clients is using the MacMiniColo in Las Vegas right now and so far it is working just fine, but they just started using it and are only starting out with a few clients on this server.  So I can't tell you the experience of having 50+ on MacMiniColo, but so far everything they have promised they have delivered on.  We are using the same server for other services too including email, DNS and some minor web hosting, none of which are heavy loads.  If you want to get the best FileMaker Server performance out of your Mac Mini, then don't run other services.  The one we are running right now at MacMiniColo just has the standard slow 2.5" drives and an external drive for Time Machine.  So far we are quite happy with them.  Previously we had used WorldCloud to just host the database, but we prefer hosting the whole server for various other reasons like implementing the other available services. 

                  • 6. Re: Mac Mini as server?
                    jcull

                    Do you have any experience with clients using a current Mac Pro for FMP server?

                     

                    The mac mini SATA flash drive can top 550MB/s. Compare this to Mac Pro PCI Express flash which can manage 1,250MB/s.

                     

                    The Mac Pro is more $$ - just not sure if it is worth the investment

                    • 7. Re: Mac Mini as server?
                      jcull

                      Do you have any experience with clients using a current Mac Pro for FMP server?

                       

                      The mac mini SATA flash drive can top 550MB/s. Compare this to Mac Pro PCI Express flash which can manage 1,250MB/s.

                       

                      The Mac Pro is more $$ - just not sure if it is worth the investment

                      • 8. Re: Mac Mini as server?
                        wimdecorte

                        jcull wrote:

                         

                         

                        The Mac Pro is more $$ - just not sure if it is worth the investment

                         

                        More than the Mac Mini you mean?  If you are tempted to buy a new Mac Mini as your FMS: don't bother.  The new ones only have two cores and that is really not enough for any type of decent solution with a decent load.

                         

                        If money is tight, go find a refurbished older Mac Mini or the previous version of the Mac Pro.

                        • 9. Re: Mac Mini as server?
                          jcull

                          We currently have a 2012 mac mini server i7 with solid state drive...this model has the 4 core

                           

                          Just looking to see if anyone has any experience going with a Mac Pro (6 Core) PCI Express Drive (2014 model)

                           

                          You noted the "previous version of the Mac Pro" - any reason vs buying new one (Mac Pro) or just a cost consideration?

                           

                          We will invest in the Mac Pro about $6K IF we can find any testings or confirmations noting a superior performance vs the 2012 mac mini - just trying to get a reference point.

                          • 10. Re: Mac Mini as server?
                            wimdecorte

                            jcull wrote:

                             

                            You noted the "previous version of the Mac Pro" - any reason vs buying new one (Mac Pro) or just a cost consideration?

                             

                             

                            Just cost, you seemed to indicate that $$$ was an issue.  Possibly also just bang-for-the-buck.

                             

                            For $6000 I'd a real Windows server.  It is going to be superior as a pure server than the new Mac Pro.

                            • 11. Re: Mac Mini as server?
                              wimdecorte

                              jcull wrote:

                               

                              We will invest in the Mac Pro about $6K IF we can find any testings or confirmations noting a superior performance vs the 2012 mac mini - just trying to get a reference point.

                               

                              That's a little dangerous because the only real test is your solution.  Anybody else's solution is going to be different and may tax the solution differently.  Also the real test is under load.  If it is not tested under load then the results may be anecdotal and may not hold up when under load.

                              • 12. Re: Mac Mini as server?
                                jcull

                                All true....

                                 

                                We are also researching server options with NEC and Snap.

                                 

                                We were trying to stay with Mac as our whole office is running mac's - about 30 work stations

                                 

                                This would be used just as a dedicated server.

                                 

                                Just "Really Hard" to get ANY reference point on any type of server with Filemaker as everyone has different applications and needs and wants.

                                • 13. Re: Mac Mini as server?
                                  Mike Duncan

                                  I agree with Wim. Unfortunately, Apple has exited the server hardware market, so if you need features like redundant power supply, secure 1u rack mount enclosure, etc, etc... then you have to look elsewhere or possibly piece it together yourself.

                                  • 14. Re: Mac Mini as server?
                                    Charlie_Cole

                                    I can say from my experience is we have had good performance using a mac mini as a server.  We have about 50 users both WAN users and LAN users and we have not seen any problems.  We are running a fairly complex database with lots of graphic files and images.  The only thing that I would be concerned with is the NIC card being overloaded.  So far we have not experienced that yet.  I have a couple of clients that are using Mac Mini's as well with no problems.

                                    1 2 Previous Next