+ Post New Thread
Results 1 to 11 of 11
Mac Thread, Mac Mini as a classroom server ??? in Technical; Hi Folks We are thinking of setting up a classroom network with 25 iMacs using the Mac Mini with Snow ...
  1. #1
    roneill631's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Belfast
    Posts
    4
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    Mac Mini as a classroom server ???

    Hi Folks

    We are thinking of setting up a classroom network with 25 iMacs using the Mac Mini with Snow leopard. We hope then to give pupils their own unique accounts so that they can save there work in their private areas, TBH my knowledge of Apple set-ups are pretty limited tho I am willing and have to be willing to learn how to set this all up, so I am just wondering has any other schools or organisations tried the Mac Mini as a classroom server? and what would be the other benefits ?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    p858snake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Queensland
    Posts
    1,487
    Thank Post
    37
    Thanked 175 Times in 151 Posts
    Blog Entries
    2
    Rep Power
    50
    What do you have in the way of a network atm? Most people seem to have a mac server to handle the management of the systems (aka GP but for Mac) then just tie into their existing AD network for user accounts and storage.

  3. #3
    TomH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Nottingham
    Posts
    47
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
    Rep Power
    10
    What are the classroom mac's being used for is the key question ?

  4. #4
    roneill631's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Belfast
    Posts
    4
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0
    Mainly for Journalism students to type up newsletters produce podcasts, Music students to create short music files, Moving Image Arts pupils to produce short movie animation clips, the total amount of pupils going to be using the classroom will be no greater than 80 users, so I guess if they use the macs appropraitely there shouldnt be any bother although I am ready to be surprised. We hadnt any real major trouble last year when they were all stand alone, its this creating accounts for the students that I am really wanting to see if anyone else has tried it out in their institutions?

  5. #5
    TomH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Nottingham
    Posts
    47
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
    Rep Power
    10
    Its probably going to struggle to work with live home folder for some of that work, you could work with local home folders to retain the performance of the Mac's and then a push pull model to the Mac Mini server... but then you may as well just integrate them into AD to save you having to create separate user accounts and use the Mac Mini for lock down and some storage..

    You could script the dynamic creation of a folder (on the server) for each student that logs on and automatically mount this on there desktop with some work.. end users wont notice a drop in performance because they are still working local and you gain control over the mac's and presumably a standardised image.

    Tom

  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    West Bromwich
    Posts
    2,184
    Thank Post
    299
    Thanked 211 Times in 181 Posts
    Rep Power
    55
    I would probably look into forced local homes for the machines and then tell the students that any work they want backup up to be stored on the Server share/home dir. This will probably make things a lot easier in the long run. You can still lock down the users and allow access to the AD side of things using the Mac mini server. You just won't need to worry about the server having to cope with the AFP/SMB access for the home dirs. Apparently AFP requires a lot of RAM. It is for this reason our main server has 8GB RAM. We are finding now though that it seems that the CPU is not coping with the load

    Ours is an XServe xeon quad core 2.? with 8GB RAM. We could do with a new one i think.

    ^ What TomH said
    Last edited by HodgeHi; 16th August 2010 at 12:30 PM.

  7. #7
    TomH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Nottingham
    Posts
    47
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
    Rep Power
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by HodgeHi View Post
    I would probably look into forced local homes for the machines and then tell the students that any work they want backup up to be stored on the Server share/home dir. This will probably make things a lot easier in the long run. You can still lock down the users and allow access to the AD side of things using the Mac mini server. You just won't need to worry about the server having to cope with the AFP/SMB access for the home dirs. Apparently AFP requires a lot of RAM. It is for this reason our main server has 8GB RAM. We are finding now though that it seems that the CPU is not coping with the load

    Ours is an XServe xeon quad core 2.? with 8GB RAM. We could do with a new one i think.

    ^ What TomH said
    Hi HodgeHi,

    What sort of bandwidth are you putting through your server to load up the CPU's so much ?

    Especially with SL and the new servers i am finding AFP to be pretty efficient, i look after several sites with servers with 2 x 10GB aggregated links that are not hitting the CPU's limits but as you correctly say do chew through available RAM :-( Although finding storage to keep up with the network bandwidth is becoming more and more of a problem.

    Tom

  8. #8

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    West Bromwich
    Posts
    2,184
    Thank Post
    299
    Thanked 211 Times in 181 Posts
    Rep Power
    55
    Quote Originally Posted by TomH View Post
    Hi HodgeHi,

    What sort of bandwidth are you putting through your server to load up the CPU's so much ?

    Especially with SL and the new servers i am finding AFP to be pretty efficient, i look after several sites with servers with 2 x 10GB aggregated links that are not hitting the CPU's limits but as you correctly say do chew through available RAM :-( Although finding storage to keep up with the network bandwidth is becoming more and more of a problem.

    Tom
    We have around 35 iMac clients (running 10.5.8) with networked-based accounts all running garageband and occasionally iMovie. We also have a trolly of 15 macbooks that connect over an airport extreme also utilising network-based accounts but these mainly just browse the web. And then we have a few machines around the school connecting via AFP and using networked-based accounts. The rest tend to be SMB access.

    The Home dirs are stored on an XRAID connecting to the server via a 4GB Fibre connection. I think the XRAID is the Slowest part of the system with the drives only being ATA100. As for bandwidth, I'm not sure. Looking at the graphs theres usually around 40-50MB going through?

    I will see if I can find a graph and upload it so you can see what I mean.

    We have just recently upgraded the server 10.6.4 to sort out a major problem with our AFP service slowing to a crawl. It seems to have helped but not completely removed the problem.

    We have upgraded the suite over this 6 weeks to see if this helps.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    West Bromwich
    Posts
    2,184
    Thank Post
    299
    Thanked 211 Times in 181 Posts
    Rep Power
    55

  10. #10

    3s-gtech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Wales
    Posts
    2,487
    Thank Post
    133
    Thanked 490 Times in 438 Posts
    Rep Power
    138
    We have a Mac Mini as the 'GP' server for our 17 Macs, does a great job - I don't really tax it though. Our AD controls the logins. I would recommend setting the discs in Linux software RAID before doing anything though - as standard the discs come with no RAID configured which is a bit silly for a server.

  11. #11
    AntonioRocco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    South Yorkshire
    Posts
    254
    Thank Post
    9
    Thanked 106 Times in 90 Posts
    Rep Power
    38
    Hi

    " . . . as standard the discs come with no RAID configured which is a bit silly for a server"

    Originally the MacMini "Server" came with both drives configured as a RAID 1 (Mirror). You don't need to do anything Linux as the built in Disk Utility will configure a Software RAID 0 or 1 for you. Most people would say the 'target' market for the MacMini Server is probably small corporate environments and/or businesses. The original configuration did not suit most people interested in utilizing the MacMini as their Small Business Server. Apple changed the configuration to two single drives as a result of 'feeback' from interested parties. Most wanted to use TimeMachine to 'backup' the System/Data drive to another drive. Most did not realise you could connect an external drive and use that instead. Makes more sense anyway. Additionally OSX Server in certain configurations is 'by design' meant to be an easier introduction to servers than what was and is used for more Advanced Configurations/Setups. Apple's Marketing's tag line at the time was "No IT required." As far as I know it still is?

    It's hard to imagine this Simpler Configuration/Setup being seriously considered when contemplating AD-OD Integration?

    Another way of looking at this is to utilize the two drive configuration in a slightly different way. You could download CarbonCopyCloner and configure a scheduled 'staggered' backup of the boot drive. For example every 2 days or a week or a time frame that suits. This can be useful as there is no restore on the platform. For example if you run Software Update and the latest patch or security update causes problems for what was a working server prior to the update you can easily rollback to a previous working state.

    I do agree with you though. It's silly to not configure at least a RAID Mirror for a Server. But I would not really describe the MacMini as a server. There's no redundancy for a start. You have to bastardize the power connector to work with a UPS and it's not the easiest thing to get into if there's a component failure. If you want a 'true' mac server you have to go with an XServe or a MacPro.

    If budget is the prime consideration and if all it's being asked to do is push out MCX a MacMini is a good alternative. As long as you're aware of its 'limitations' it will do the job.

    My 2p.

    Antonio Rocco (ACSA)
    Last edited by AntonioRocco; 27th August 2010 at 06:05 PM.

SHARE:
+ Post New Thread

Similar Threads

  1. Mac Server on Mac mini.
    By FN-GM in forum Mac
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 27th July 2010, 06:14 PM
  2. Mac Mini HDMI
    By DAZZD88 in forum Mac
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 22nd January 2010, 04:24 PM
  3. Mac Mini Wi-Fi
    By dagza in forum Mac
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 29th January 2008, 04:36 PM
  4. What do people think of the new Mac Mini
    By eastlondon in forum Mac
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 21st August 2007, 03:50 PM
  5. I love my Mac Mini
    By E1uSiV3 in forum Mac
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 8th December 2005, 07:37 PM

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •