Like the client version of Lion, Lion Server is now a download from the Mac App Store, and as with Lion client this means that there are some changes in the installation process.

A server upgrade install from Snow Leopard Server is performed the same way as a client upgrade install - fire up the App Store, download the installer, and let it do its thing. If you’re running the upgrade from a Snow Leopard server, the App Store is smart enough to prompt you to buy the Server app if you haven’t already. You can also convert any Lion client install to a server install by downloading the Server app from the App Store, and then running it - it will download and install some additional components, and the next time you reboot your Lion client, it’ll be a server instead.

Don't make fun of my test server, okay?

Upgraders should note that OS X Server upgrades tend not to go as smoothly as their client counterparts, and the App Store reviews for Lion Server indicate that this hasn’t changed - if you haven’t already backed up all the data that’s important to you (including a full-disk backup of the hard drive, if you can), make sure you do it before you upgrade. I would recommend doing a clean install if you can, but your mileage may vary - just know that the more you’ve customized Snow Leopard Server, the more likely the upgrade is to break something.

Interestingly, Lion Server removes Snow Leopard Server’s requirement that the software be installed on a desktop Mac system - if, for whatever reason, you want to use a laptop as a server, you can do it without any workarounds. I would generally recommend against this except in light-use or home-use scenarios, since slow-spinning 5400 RPM drives and higher heat are going to give you less-than-stellar performance in workloads that require lots of disk usage - the ability to install Lion Server on a laptop is more useful for remote management of a desktop server, which we’ll talk a little bit about in the next section.
Introduction Server.app and the Server Admin Tools
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  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    Given the shift in corporate policy from being Blackberry focused to adopting other smartphone platforms including iOS, I think most CTOs would take a look at OS X Server if only for the easier iOS device management features. I don't really see it replacing existing Windows servers though, particularly since Apple doesn't sell dedicated server class hardware anymore. Reply
  • quakerotis - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    This is simply not true. OS X Server has been for us a very good performer, both in stability and ease of use. B3an, you must be speaking anecdotally because I am not a fanboy. There are many server technologies to choose from. this is one of the better ones. Reply
  • diskrete - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    As an IT manager for a small company, I would definitely use Lion Server to manage Macs and iPhones.

    It in no way replaces existing Windows/Linux infrastructure. But recycling a Mac mini to use for managing Apple devices? Absolutely. It’s worth it just for the ability to create machine-based 802.1X profiles.

    IT today is not about standardizing on one platform, it’s about using the right tool for the job.
    Reply
  • sligett - Thursday, August 4, 2011 - link

    Unix isn't a server platform anyone in their right mind would use?

    There are thousands upon thousands of small and medium businesses as well as schools that are hostage to expensive windows "experts" that have put a Windows server in their business. The client can't do a thing with the server without the expensive help of the expert. You don't see that as a viable market?

    So many people speak out on the Internet as though "I can't use this" is equivalent to "no one can use this".
    Reply
  • erple2 - Thursday, August 4, 2011 - link

    To be fair, any infrastructure that's put in place by an "expert" tends to continue to have to be maintained by another expensive expert. Non-techies have problems with Macs just as much as non-techies have problems with Linux, or Windows machines.

    BTW, I've found that the mac "experts" that have put a mac server in their business are also very expensive to hire back for help.

    There are some very very nice manageability features that OSX Server buys you that aren't all that simple to implement by relative novices in other environments...
    Reply
  • cwatt - Monday, September 26, 2011 - link

    Ha ha, you are really ignorant! I am currently rolling this out to a big organization and this article is a really big help.. BTW ... those inferior products are actually extremely good quality and very easily managed and a lot more secure than other platforms... You should not let your opinion get in the way of your judgment, you should make the best decision based on the environment not because you are a fanboy or you randomly hate really good products! Reply
  • blueeyesm - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    I have to agree that managing iOS devices using OS X Server is probably their only ace in the hole. The rest of what this offering serves can be replicated/managed better under Linux. That being said, if Apple wanted to be really smart, they'd help their community devise methods in which to enhance a shopping experience, or other interacive experiences with an iOS or tablet device.

    That is, until cloud computing becomes the de facto standard and Apple ceases to offer a server or client to download, you just are expected to do everything via iTunes/iLife Cloud edition.
    Reply
  • badjohny - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    With its drop in price, and ability to install on any mac, I would love to see apple take OSX server and shape it into a WHS for mac. It looks like all or many of those things are available in OSX server, but the ease and convenience of using a WHS is unreal. Push the Home server aspect of OSX server and really make a use for it in a standard home. itunes server edition, Apple TV media server, IOS update manager, Shared home calendars, email, and family based websites come to mind. These are all things that It can currently do, but they all need some "apple magic" to make them very powerful and at the same time very easy for anyone to setup. Apple could easy include a option in the setup of a mac to have it search your network for a server. If it finds one have it ask if you want to enable the features. They could even leverage the icloud system and have it linked by your itunes account. They all the data could sync through the icloud service. enter your apple ID and your client is setup to use your server instantly.

    They could even make a personal iCloud options. Every picture/video you take have it saved over to the server also.

    I understand that OSX server is a niche item in big business. Apple should admit defeat in enterprise setups and push server to a more person level. Have it compete with windows SBS and WHS but make it have the apple easy of use. They have a real product here, but like most home server options it seems to be more of a niche item.
    Reply
  • Ratman6161 - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    Basically Apple does not make or sell server grade hardware. Sure, if you look on their online store you will find a version of the Mac Pro that calls itself a server and comes with OSX Server installed. But there are a variety of things about it that make it not enterprise ready and more suited to small business or home servers. If Apple really wanted to be in the enterprise market then what they would absolutely have to do is to allow it to run as a virtual machine on all the major virtualization platforms. For example where I work we are a VMWare shop and no server software is coming in our door that will not run on VMWare Esx server.

    Its my theory thought hat they have no intention or desire to compete in the enterprise server market. If they did, there would be no reason for a price drop as most businesses in that market place would not have blinked at the $499 price or even the $999 price - both are a drop in the bucket compared to all the other costs associated with a data center. No, the price drop to me definitely signals that its their intent to be in the small business and home server market.
    Reply
  • HMTK - Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - link

    You're right, Apple does not have anything that could even remotely be called server hardware.

    There have been rumors that Mac OS can run as a vm on vSphere 5 (if you're ok with the licensing). If true you could run it on real servers and real SANs and use nice features like high availability. The only show stopper is probably licensing but I would think that is VMware were taking the trouble of making OS X run on their hypervisor they would have a deal with Apple.

    AFAIC Max OS X Server would be interesting only for managing iOS devices.
    Reply

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