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Networking Macs


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Help! Our firm is going to be relocating and we are going to a true server system. Right now we keep projects on individual computers and link to one another. We will have about 22 computers with atleast 3/4s running Vectorworks. All Macs. We are located in coastal Alabama and have not been able to find anyone local who can set us up. We have been doing all our computer stuff while trying to also work on projects. We don't have a trained computer geek (IT) in office and fitting in troubleshooting with project deadlines that cann't be missed is driving everyone crazy. Please let me know how others have handled this situation. We can probably find someone trained in Mac networking if we search 3 or 4 hours away, but are concerned with the time issue. If something isn't working now, it gets looked at immediately.

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Like the Hitchhiker's Guide says, Don't Panic.

I work at a 10 person firm and when I got here it was the same localized mess. We were even using USB keychains for file exchange. So I got the firm to upgrade to an Xserve. You don't need any specialized training or technical knowledge to set it up. You can have file sharing out of the box within 30 minutes and things will be twice as fast

If you plan on just file sharing, you don't need anything powerful. If you plan on having user accounts, email, web serving, etc. then consider something more powerful.

You'll probably want to get the Xserve because it comes with OS X Server and it's fast. Get big hard drives for it - you'll fill them up faster than you think. Make sure your network router and cabling is minumum 100 mbit. Consider 1000mbit and or wireless routers if you guys have laptops. Get your ISP to do DHCP, if you don't have it already. You shouldn't have to spend more than $3,000. We got it under $2K, but that's because the G4 Xserves were on sale. I assume you have a backup solution? When you get the server, you'll want to have either a remote location for backup, or another old computer with big drives/tapes/etc in a safe location.

email me at roman_pohorecki@yahoo.com - I can help you out on the details.


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Yep have to say we have been using OS X server for about 4 years now. Low trouble nice an easy to look after. Even done several upgrades all in house so we are now sitting at 10.3.

We're running on a G4 tower supporting about 20 users in house, best advice i can give "Lots of Memory" that and makes friends with your apple centre guys see if one of them might help with install and a bit of training.

As above Networking, use good cabling wire back to central location and it may seem odd but buy and use one more hub than you need, sure it will look like you have lots of free ports but the hubs will be the equipment that gives you the most troulbe, and will spread the traffic.

UPS even if it only gives 10min power to server and hubs, will saves lots of issues to with unexpected power event.

We run mainly Email, file sharing, which was really easy to set up, although email did take a bit of work with ISP and the ADSL box at our end. Basicely filesharing was set up nice and quick and every thing else was done as needed over time.

So much so we have print services, VPN and in house onlt web server for photos and calenders, running only recently as they became useful.

Hope that's helpful, any questions just post here or PM me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As it happens standard OS X only allows 10 users at a time to connect to any single machine. Also that ten is really only 9 as it includes itself as one user. I think OS X server is your only choice. We made the same move in our office and ended up getting a certified technician to set up our mail etc.... Its not to hard after you have been handheld once..!

Regards and good luck...


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