[box type="tick" style="rounded" border="full"]Download the Using Apple OS X Lion Server at Home eBook Now

If you’ve been enjoying our Using Apple OS X Lion Server as a Home Server series, then make sure you pick up a copy of the accompanying eBook. You’ll find additional chapters and information on using OS X Lion Server to power your digital home that won’t be available here on the site, and with all of our walkthroughs available in one convenient document (ePub or PDF), it’s far easier to install and configure your server without having to click backward and forwards to the website.

Buy Using OS X Lion Server at Home – £14.99

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[box type="info" style="rounded" border="full"]Articles in this series…

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Come close, because I’m going to tell you a secret. Having owned and used a number of Windows PCs for years at home – desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablet and media centers – they’re on the way out. In fact, most have already been replaced by Apple Macs. For a variety of reasons, that I won’t go into in this particular post, the various Dells and HPs are now in storage. My wife and I are using MacBooks as our primary mobile computers and the office has an iMac.

We’ve made the switch.

Not fully. There’s still the mini-HTPC under the TV which runs Windows 7 – Media Center + Media Browser is still a fabulous combination for consuming media, and I’m not sure Plex can knock that combo off its perch – yet. To be fair, it started as an experiment – one which I fully expected to be short-lived. There’s bound to be pain points. After all, no one makes Mac software, do they?  But you know, here in 2011, they actually do – and anything that must run in Windows? Well VMware Fusion is simply pheomenal.

It’s not that Windows 7 is bad – it’s actually very good as a cleaned up edition of Windows Vista. But having closely followed the innovation coming out of Redmond in the last ten years, and having adopted most of it, the world’s now a different place. Different personally – I have a one year old running around, and a second baby imminent – and very different too from a technological and sociological standpoint. Microsoft simply haven’t kept up with the times in a way that’s meaningful to me today. I no longer have the time to dig into registries, work through multiple layers of dialogs of varying vintages and tweak obscure settings just to get stuff to work – sure, it’s still necessary for my work here at WGS, but at home with the wife and kids, I need to juggle my time and that means tech needs to just work. Windows 8 may be a great shift for the company, and the geek in me is interested in seeing whether it’s truly a great leap forward or a healthy serving of catch-up. But from what I can see right now, there’s little to keep me in that ecosystem on the client side.

So, it was time to get a Mac. Whilst I generally find Mac vs PC debates excruciatingly dull, here was my own personal debate evaluating the switch. Cost effective? No. Is the family happy? Yes. Decision made.

So, we’re officially a mixed OS household, which has led to our production Windows Home Server 2011 machine being used predominately as a file server for entertainment and docs, plus a remote access portal from time to time. Oh, and that HTPC running Windows 7 never misses a backup. But despite claims to the contrary, and the best intentions of the developers I spoke to during the development of the platform, Windows Home Server 2011 is not Mac friendly. There’s no out of the box backup/Time Machine support (and heaven knows what’s happened to third-party support here), there’s a LaunchPad which at best is extraneous, at worst, interferes with elements of the OSX Lion upgrade, and ultimately offers very little, if anything, extra that you can’t achieve natively with OSX connecting directly to the server over the network.

So, Windows Home Server 2011 is doing fine in its reduced role, but the lack of ability to easily back up the Macs to the Server via Time Machine is annoying. QNAP have Mac and PC Support sorted. Synology, Drobo too. Microsoft….? Yes, I’ve seen the walkthroughs online on how to script your way to some kind of compatibility – but we’re back to the theme of hacking around to get things that should work smoothly to… well, work smoothly.

This week I received a timely tweet from a reader, Nicolas De Roo (@NicolasDR_), interested in understanding how Apple’s new OS X Lion Server platform would shape up as a home server. He wrote:

Terry, any chance of a review of the new Server “function” in Apple’s Lion? I’d like to see how it compares to WHS 2011. Lion’s $50 price point may have made MS lower WHS prices. Curious to see differences in value and possibilities.

Sounded to me like a great idea for a feature series here at We Got Served. I’ve no experience whatsoever with OSX Server, and what I’ve read online in the past suggests that running an Apple Server anywhere (never mind in the home) is borderline grounds for sectioning – why fly in the face of an industry-standard platform such as Windows Server 2008 R2? So, I went over to Apple.com and checked out the OS X Lion Server website.

lionserver 300x195 Using Apple OS X Lion Server as a Home Server (Part 1)

 

 

 

“The server for everyone”, eh? Sounds a little familiar. Okay, it’s qualified underneath by the terms “home office, businesses, schools and more”. Does that include (non-business) home use? Could OS X Lion Server be a valid competitor to Windows Home Server 2011 and the current set of increasingly attractive and capable Linux NAS servers out there. People need to know! (Well, Nicholas and I do for a start, maybe you too…)

So, join us over the next few weeks as we deep dive into OS X Lion Server to see how it measures up to the latest home server platforms out there. We’ll take a look through it’s features, hardware and software installation, ease of configuration and assess where Apple’s server platform is headed. Can Cupertino pull off the same ease of use and simplicity on the server that they’ve delivered on the desktop (and notebook, and tablet, and phone?) We’ll also assess OS X Lion Server’s suitability for the home – whether you’re in a fully Appled-up environment, Windows all the way, or like me, a mix of both. Should be fun.

So, whilst I’m getting things set up at this end, let’s open up the debate. Have you looked at OS X Server as a viable home server solution? Tried it out? What do you consider to be its strengths and weaknesses compared to Windows Home Server 2011 and NAS Servers from the likes of Synology, QNAP and others?

[box type="tick" style="rounded" border="full"]Download the Using Apple OS X Lion Server at Home eBook Now

If you’ve been enjoying our Using Apple OS X Lion Server as a Home Server series, then make sure you pick up a copy of the accompanying eBook. You’ll find additional chapters and information on using OS X Lion Server to power your digital home that won’t be available here on the site, and with all of our walkthroughs available in one convenient document (ePub or PDF), it’s far easier to install and configure your server without having to click backward and forwards to the website.

Buy Using OS X Lion Server at Home – £14.99

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