Mac OS X Server: Understanding the three types of servers |
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Mac OS X Server: Understanding the three types of servers |

In this movie we’re going to discuss the distinction
between the three different server styles. I have received so many
questions from people about this, and I know that this is one of the things that confused
me the most whenever it first was exposed to what Apple was going to do
with Leopard Server. So let’s get right into it. The distinctions are actually
not that hard to get; it’s pretty straightforward as long as you to have the right information
at your hands. So first we’ve
got to start with what they give you as an explanation. So Standard they say is a
simplified configuration ideal for standalone servers. That’s absolutely true. It leaves out a couple of details, but
we’ll get to that. Workgroup, as easy-to-use setup ideal for
departmental servers in an existing network. Existing network is the
critical part of that sentence, and we’ll talk about that in a moment. Advanced, a flexible configuration ideal for
Advanced deployments. And I’m going to tell you a little more about
what that means. The other thing I’d like to point out is this
cool little graphic at the bottom here. This tells you what types of services are
available to you by default, when you’re managing this kind of service. So this is Standard. This is Workgroup. Now, I’d like to point out that these are
the things that are available by default in Workgroup, but
during the setup process, you can choose all of the services that you see here, as well. So realistically, these two
are kind of the same thing, with one little difference. We’ll talk about that in a moment. And here’s Advanced. These are all of the services
that are available under Advanced. And there’s actually even more than this,
so there’s lots of cool stuff available in Advanced too. And Advanced is really, I think, the most,
well as it says, flexible. And I think the most powerfull
configuration that you can use, in that it can do more. Okay? In that power comes with ease-of-use, certainly
Workgroup and Standard are equally powerful, just in a different way. A Standard server is a stand-alone server,
but it has its own local open directory, and its own local DNS that you can’t configure. It’s doing it 100% for you in the
background, there’s no indication that it’s going on in your interface in Server Preferences. It provides you with simple
server administration, using the Server Preferences application. And it gives you these services that you see
here. So that is what Standard is. so a Workgroup server is network connected,
and in fact it’s dependent upon external open directory and DNS,
yet it still provides simple server administration using the Server Preferences application. So when it says here that
it’s ideal for departmental servers, what it really means is that it assumes that you
are a departmental server. And even
if it’s not necessarily departmental, it assumes that your server is being deployed on an existing
network that already has some sort of directory structure set up,
and that already has DNS setup. So, they’re assuming that you’re going to
go to your DNS administrator, and maybe your open
Directory Administrator, and you’re going to say, “Hey, I need to know
what all your authentication information is, so that I can have my
server connected to your open directory master, and so that I can import users and groups,
and so that we can be interactive.” That’s what they’re assuming with a Workgroup
server. Like I said before, the Workgroup server really
has the same services available to it that a Standard
server has. The really big difference is Standard is entirely
self-contained, and Workgroup is pulling its information from another server. Now Advanced. It’s the most flexible and full-featured server
type. It has all of the Advanced toolsets that are
available to you for use, except for Server Preferences, So that’s why I said Advanced
toolsets, because the server preferences are not available to you if you’re
using an Advanced Server. The thing is that it has a higher learning
curve, and the threshold of knowledge for administration
is much, much higher than it is if you are going to make your server a
Standard or Workgroup server. So who’s the best audience for these? In my opinion, a Standard server is a fantastic
server for a small company that just needs to do basic File Sharing. Maybe they want to have a Web server and they
want to share calendars. Maybe they want to do some instant messaging
too but really, what you’re going to probably find
more commonly is that you want to do File Sharing, you want to do Web services, maybe
have a local intranet server. You want to backup all of your Leopard computers
to a centralized location. So that gives you your time machine backup
locally here, and you want to do some shared calendaring. Smaller companies
probably don’t want to do their own mail, but if they do it’s capable of doing it too. So that makes this a really nice
well-rounded server deployment for that type of situation. Workgroup servers, well Apple has it really
down here. I think that they’re really great for departmental
servers. If
you’re setting up a server, you want to set something up that perhaps the actual IT department
isn’t going to administer. Maybe you’re the superuser that is in charge
of a small group of artists, or designers, or writers, or some other group
of people that need services, but don’t want to interact with the IT department. Or maybe the IT department in your
organization isn’t friendly to that kind of thing. So Workgroup server can be really fantastic
in this type of a asetting because it’s got that connection
to the company wide directory services. So that means that you’re not
responsible for those directory entries, you’re not responsible for those user records, those
group records, the directory administrator is. So it allows for that centralized offering
of user account stuff, but you’re still getting your own server,
and you’re getting a Apple server that’s really easy to administer, on top of everything. So again, this is going to be
really great for a company that needs to do a–maybe a local intranet server, maybe you’re
going to do something like that. File Sharing
services. File Sharing is what most folks buy a server
for in the first place. So, being able to do File Sharing with
this thing is great. Having your own File Sharing server that’s
not part of a Windows server some place, or you know,
sitting on a controlled resource that someone else is locking down control of. This gives you full flexibility, so that’s
really cool. Again, it gives you the shared calendaring,
and it gives you that one location to backup all your Leopard clients. So
if you’ve got a bunch of laptop users, for example, you can provide a network-based backup
destination, so that all of your people can just, whenever they plug
in, whenever they’re on the network, on an hourly basis their systems are getting backed
up. That’s very powerful. That’s
fantastic. Advanced servers are for everyone else. If you want to do any of the services that
are only listed in this box, you really should be doing this on an Advanced
Server. Some of these things it’s possible to get
a Standard or Workgroup server to do them if you want to do something
that’s not officially supported by Apple. But I cannot recommend that you
do something that’s not officially supported by Apple. It’s just not a good idea. There are a lot of good reasons for that,
but I can give you one really good reason and that
is that every time Apple updates its software, they depend on knowledge
that you’re not doing something outside of the realm of what they’ve recommend that you
do. So, whenever they’re going
to release a software update, they’re testing against known configurations. If you’ve done something that’s totally off-the-wall,
they will not have tested against that, so you become the guinea pig
at that point. If you’re comfortable being the guinea pig,
go for it. If not,
stick with what Apple is said is a supported configuration. So that would mean that you’d be putting out
an Advanced server. As you go through this class, you’ll notice
that a lot of the class content is done on Advanced services, using an
Advanced Server. I’ve shown how to do all the services that
you can do with Standard and Workgroup, but you’ll notice
that there’s a lot more content there, for the Advanced Servers. And that’s just because you can do a lot more. Now that you know the difference between Standard,
Workgroup, and Advanced, you can do the preparation that you need to do
in order to make the best possible decision about what is right for you. Once you’ve decide what is right for you,
the best way to use this class is to watch your type
of server in sequence. If you want all of the movies in this class
in sequence, it’s going to be very confusing
because you’re going to be bouncing around from server type to server type, within each
section. The best thing to do is to choose a server
configuration track, and follow that track throughout the class. So if you’ve decided now that the Standard
server is the way to go for you, then watch this class all the way through
based on the Standard services. If you’ve decided Workgroup is right for you,
watch Workgroup. If you decided that Advanced is right for
you, watch all the Advanced ones, and be sure that you watch them
in order. We’ve built these classes so that they go
in the order of dependents of services. So for example, we put DNS
first, because the DNS service for an Advanced server anyway,
is utterly critical; you must have that set up properly before things will start working
well. So the first thing we
taught was setting up DNS. The second thing we taught was setting up
the open directory master. If you set those two things
up in order, you’re going to have a much better time going through the rest of the classes. So go in order, because there
are a lot of things here that are dependent upon things that came before them. We’ve done our best to tell you what
prerequisites are, and there are a ton of prerequisites. Each service has certain things that must
be done before it will work properly. So, that gives you
a bit of an idea of where we’re going here. Let’s get started.

One Comment

  • SergSpace

    Do you know where is the Server Assistant in Snow Leopard Server located? I know that it should be accessible from Finder > Applications > Server > Server Assistant, but it's not there.

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