Adding a server to your home network or business network usually ends up with you calling the IT guy. You will also need a space for storing the server rack or server computer. Apple seem to provide a solution for this need, their new Apple mini with Snow Leopard Server. It is a small but yet powerful device that will be sufficient for most of your needs unless you are planning on intense database activity.
Apple mini’s server version comes up with dual 500 GB Serial ATA hard drives. Those hard drives used be offered as 5400 rmp which can be considered a low speed for a server hard drive. Now Apple offer the hard drives at 7200 rpm which provides the speed that will be sufficient for your needs. Apple also provides a RAID software which has the option of RAID 0, RAID 1 and if you plan to connect external hard drives you can also use RAID 1 0. RAID 0 can boost up the performance of your hard drives but you will be with out a safety net. So I would suggest if you are planning to use RAID system with your Mac mini, you would like to use RAID 1 as it will mirror the hard drives so that you will have increased redundancy. Apple mini also comes up with a nice processor power. Intel Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz with 3 MB on-chip shared L2 cache will provide you the computing power you would need with your server. Another thing new about Apple Mini Server is that now it is offered with 4GB of 1066 DDR3 memory. This is an okay amount for a server but if you like to upgrade your memory and speed up your system, Apple Mini supports up to 8GB. That option can be very useful for small business networks as it will increase the performance on loaded systems dramatically. Apple Mini Server comes up with a 256MB DDR3 main-memory shared graphics NVIDIA GeForce 320M. Some may give a pause when they see “main-memory shared” but there is nothing to worry, this is a server computer 99.9% of the time you would not need a screen connected to it.
Another thing to consider is that Apple Mini Server comes up without and optical drive to provide the second 500GB hard drive. This is not a big problem really as Apple Mini can mount optical drives through out the network and you can even install operating systems that way. This feature was introduced with Macbook Air and it looks like Apple is utilizing it pretty well with its new products. Apple also has a external optical drive that you can hook up with your Mac Mini, but then again your server will be in a network so this will be unnecessary. Talking about network, this little guy comes up with pretty much every communication option available right out of the box. It has Airport Extreme 802.11 n Wi-fi Wireless networking compatible with its predecessors. It also has Bluetooth 2.1 + Enhanced Data Rate as well as one 10/100/1000BASE -T Ethernet. Only problem I see with the connection options is that, Mac Mini only has one Ethernet port which you would like to have a couple at least for redundancy in a server machine. However it should be okay for a small business or home use which Mac Mini is actually aiming at.
Overall, Apple once again provide the market with a small but handy computer which is almost perfect for small business and home networks. You can use Apple Mini Server for web hosting, e-mail server, pod-casting, e-mail sharing, file sharing and many more activities that you would like on a server.It has software ready for those options all you need is couple of clicks. Supporting SSH, it is easy to reach the server from anywhere in network securely and easily. Finally, I would highly suggest this product if you are planning on starting a small network either at home or work but don’t know how to start it. This is a great product for you as it has user friendly interface where you can set up everything.