On Apr 27, 2006, at 2:21 PM, Chad Leigh -- Shire.Net LLC wrote:

On Apr 27, 2006, at 3:10 PM, Mark Edwards wrote:

The Mac Mini is fast, small, quiet, and cheap. Why is it not a good cheap server?

I would only be concerned about the disk depending on what sort of server you are intending to have. I do not know but assume that they still use the laptop 2.5" drives which are not 24/7 rated. Probably doesn't matter for most home servers. Lack of storage space unless you start hooking up external drives. What sort of server are you intending?

I am actually thinking about using Mac Mini machines for IMAP and SMTP front ends using NFS mounted backend storage due to their size and low power draw. I can stick many of them in the same place that a 2U rack unit would go and with fans blowing data center A/C air across them there should be no heat issues and with the backend NFS storage, all the actual mail itself would be processed off-disk so the disks would basically get no work out...

Fair points, and granted its not exactly a robust powerhouse machine. But certainly enough for a non-critical web/mail server. The internal drive is definitely a potential weak link. Its indeed a 2.5" Seagate laptop drive.

That brings up an important point. I would want to hook up a USB2.0 or Firewire hard drive to the machine, either as a boot drive, a backup drive, or both (two drives). How is FreeBSD's support for USB or Firewire? Can one boot from these connections? Is it reliable enough for server use?

In any case, this is a significant upgrade from my current box, which is a Gateway Pentium Pro 180Mhz tower with 128MB of RAM and two IDE internal drives, running FreeBSD 4.11. Why such a box? Its relatively quiet, and it was free (from the garbage even). Its been running my web/mail for 4 years with almost no downtime though...


Mark Edwards

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