There has been loads of Apple news the past few weeks. With the WWDC just over, the new iPhone 4 being announced, the iPhone operating system renamed to iOS4, it being released in the next few days – it’s all been iPhone! (Well there was a bit of iPad in there as well – remember that one?)
There was however an update to the Mac Mini released this week and made available right away and it’s not really been talked about much.
The Mini is sometimes an under rated little beast but they really are solid and reliable workhorses.
I’ve done an installation of the second generation Mac Mini a couple of years ago for a tech support and sales team at a business of around 30 people and they’re still going strong. Better yet it cut down on all of the “I can’t print” kind of technical support that we had with the previous operating system.
The Mini also gets a lot of attention as media computer because they are unobtrusive in the lounge room and great for playing music and video. Here the new machine will be even more popular as it now comes with an HDMI port for connecting to the TV as well as an SD card reader to help you get those photos onto the machine quick smart.
There is however another purpose for the Mac Mini that should get more coverage and that is to use it as a small office server. This release is not the first time that the Mini has been pitched at the server market, it has now for a year or so been offered with OS X Leopard Server installed.
Apple however have stepped it up a notch with this release offering other options with the Mini like dual hard drives onboard (500 GB) and optional external raid storage.
So who’s going to use this kind of configuration?
Well it’s not going to support a massive number of users, for businesses that are up to around 10 users the mini will go a long way as a basic file server, mail server, network backup server (time machine) as well as providing all of the other features of Leopard Server like Wiki Server, Address Book Server & Mobile Access Server for all of those remote iPhone users.
All this with a start price of $AUD1399 is pretty reasonably priced as a small office server when you consider that all of the software you’ll need is included.
You don’t need to be a certified geek to drive it. All of the server functionality can be configured in a straightforward manner, some of the fancier things like VPN (connecting to the server from outside your network) are a little more tricky, usually due to the other hardware on the network (routers/firewalls).
If you’d like to read more on the new Mac Mini try some of these :-