Cool things to do with a Mac mini server hosted in a datacenter?
July 14, 2013 10:59 PM   Subscribe

I recently got a Mac mini server hosted in a datacenter in order to host my CRM server, and now I'm wondering what other useful things I can do with it.

I use Daylite for my CRM, and I'm interested in productivity apps, automation apps (like Keyboard Maestro, Hazel, etc.), archival apps like DEVONthink Pro, etc. Software used for collaboration and/or group chat would be cool.

I've installed OS X Server on it in hopes of someday transferring some of my domains over to it, but haven't totally got that figured out yet (extra credit points for tutorials on transferring a domain to a hosted OS X server, and getting MySQL/PHP apps running on it). I mention this in case any of the apps you may recommend require a domain or a web server.

Any cool apps you can recommend that benefit from a sync server I can install on my hosted Mac mini?
posted by ferdinandcc to Technology (6 answers total)
In addition to running your own Apache or nginx server, you can also run your own jabber server (ejabberd is available via homebrew) for IM/chat. (I've never used OS X server, just MAMP and, more recently, homebrew to do Linuxy things on my Mac. "The OS X" was is sometimes confusing to me.")

Offsite backups with either rsync or CrashPlan (the software is free, you just pay to use their servers, which is optional).
posted by Brian Puccio at 4:24 AM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can also host your own mail server pretty easily, it appears, if you don't like Gmail or others randomly handing over your e-mail metadata to the NSA for processing...

Web service is a little more complicated, because "it works" is different from "it works correctly and can safely be exposed to the public Internet." "it works" is VERY easy to accomplish. The latter requires some better familiarity with things.

Basically you should find a sysadmin familiar with OS X and develop a relationship to help you manage and provide ongoing support. There's probably a little work involved in getting stuff set up initially, so expect that you will need to spend a little money. But ongoing support might be as cheap as a case of beer now and then.
posted by jgreco at 5:53 AM on July 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you guys. Hosting a mail server is definitely something I'm interested in (not for NSA reasons, just for control over my own data as well as hooking SMTP up to my mailing list, which I've heard Google frowns upon and can deactivate us if we send too many emails in a short burst. Up until now, I've used MailChimp, but I'd like to start using my own local service so it'll automatically add the records to our Daylite database).

I'd also like to install RoundCube on the server since I have some experience skinning it and it'd be fun to have that freedom again.
posted by ferdinandcc at 6:01 AM on July 15, 2013

As a professional sysadmin (including mail) for many years, I can say that when I first saw Mac OS X Server, I was both impressed that Apple had managed to make a usable mail system, but also a bit distressed about some of their implementation choices (a bit feature-shy).

I suspect that an admin who is actually familiar with OS X Server will have a much better idea of which directions things can safely be modified/extended/etc in. As a UNIX guy, it all seemed a bit fragile and house-of-cards-ish to me, but that was likely because I didn't have a good grasp of the overall design. I much prefer deploying things from source, which (when you do it my way) involves actually making design decisions and understanding how it all fits together, not just playing a giant game of Pick-Up Sticks with bytes instead of wood.

Good luck to you.
posted by jgreco at 12:55 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Host OwnCloud?
posted by notyou at 2:05 PM on July 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh, OwnCloud sounds cool.
posted by ferdinandcc at 9:40 PM on July 15, 2013

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