This is an excerpt from We Got Served's latest home server eBook, Using OS X Mountain Lion Server at Home. To buy the full edition – available in PDF and ePub editions for computers and mobile devices, head over to the We Got Served Store.
Like many technology users out there, having owned and used a number of Windows PCs for years at home – desktops, laptops, netbooks, tablet and media centers – my household is now full of Apple Macs, iPhones and iPads. We’ve made the switch.
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, I was surprised to find that they actually do – and anything that must run in Windows? Well VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop are simply phenomenal for running Windows software on the Mac in a virtual machine.
Windows 7 was (and is) a decent operating system – one that I’m happy to use in a workplace scenario, but I’ve found Windows 8 to be difficult to pick up – it has some great features and may work well in a tablet context with a touchscreen. But slamming together two user interfaces – the Metro touchscreen interface with its Live Tiles, and the regular desktop has not been successful. We’ve been mostly Mac now for a couple of years now, and we’re very happy with the switch.
I say mostly Mac as we’re officially a mixed OS household. Dig around and you may still find a Windows 7 PC being used for work, a couple of Android based mobile devices and, like many households, we now stream to Connected TVs with Ethernet ports – in our case, we plumped for Samsung Smart TVs.
Those of you who have read my website, We Got Served, will know that even in today’s Cloud-supported world, a home server is an essential piece of kit to store, share and protect your data. From backing up your computers, to sharing documents or other files and streaming music, video and photos to device around the home – a central storage hub for your important digital stuff is a must-have addition to any modern home.
If you’ve read up on this stuff, you’ll know that Microsoft’s Windows Home Server is now no more – replaced by the more expensive (and small business focused) Windows Server Essentials 2012 – neither platform worked well with Apple devices, however. Network Attached Storage is also an option – devices from Synology, QNAP, ASUSTOR and Netgear do a great job for both Macs and PCs. But what about Apple?
For years Apple has released their own OS X Server product, alongside the client editions you’re more familiar with. Up until the last release, OS X Mountain Lion Server, the software would have cost you many hundreds of dollars (or pounds if you’re in the UK, like me). But last year, Apple made a huge change to its pricing structure, and you can now upgrade a standard Mac to Apple’s Server software for just $19.99/£13.99 – the cheapest server software around by far, unless you’re happy to try Linux.
Okay, it’s qualified by the terms “business, home office or schools”, so Apple aren’t necessarily advertising OS X Server as the perfect home server – but can it do the job?
So, join us as we deep dive into OS X Mountain Lion Server to see how it measures up to the latest home server platforms out there. We’ll take a look through its 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 Mountain 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. It’s going to be fun!
So, whether you’re a dedicated tech enthusiast, a fan of all things Apple, or you’re simply looking for a solution to store and share all of your digital stuff around the home or beyond, we’ll show you how to get OS X Mountain Lion Server up and running and you’ll be enjoying the benefits in no time at all.
Using OS X Mountain Lion Server at Home Chapter List
- Choosing Your Hardware
- OS X Mountain Lion's Features
- Installing OS X Mountain Lion Server
- The Server App
- Network Configuration
- Users and Groups
- Managing OS X Devices With Profile Manager
- Managing iOS Devices With Profile Manager
- File and Folder Sharing
- Create a Shared Family Address Book With Contacts
- Create a Shared Family Calendar
- Setting Up Messages
- Backing Up Your Macs to Mountain Lion Server With Time Machine
- Backing Up Your PCs to Mountain Lion Server
- Access Mountain Lion Server From Anywhere With VPN
- Create and Host Websites, Blogs and Wikis
- Access Your Server via FTP - NEW
- Managing Your Mail With Mountain Lion - NEW
- Managing Mac Updates With Software Update - NEW
- Manage Mac App Store Updates With the OS X Caching Service - NEW
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