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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  • the_engineer - Thursday, August 4, 2011 - link

    Indeed, and that's the plan, assuming nothing else I like more comes along. I was really sort of tantalized by the possibility of software RAID in OSX, and still haven't been able to get a straight answer on it. Currently it is looking like it's a no go. Reply
  • tff - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    As a home user, I've been frustrated by the inability to have two users edit a shared calendar in OS X/iOS without using 3rd party software.

    How would it differ using Lion server to accomplish this rather than Lion and iOS 5 clients using iCloud?

    Typical Mac home user- iPhones, iPads, Mac laptops.
    Reply
  • Omegabet - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    You can install server.app on a client. Just copy the app over from the server. The first time you launch it, choose connect to a server. It will then run server.app from your client. Otherwise it will upgrade lion to the server version. This was recommended in the apple documentation (can't remember where though). Reply
  • qiankun - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    One instance I found frustrating is that non-HSF+ volumes like NTFS and exFat cannot be accessed from other computers using SMB or AFP. You can add the volume to the file sharing list, pick whatever protocol you like, but when you try to access it you'll get an error. Same thing applies to the bootcamp partition.

    I like to use NTFS or exFat on external drives, for simple fact that whenever needed you can simply disconnect them from the mac server and plug into a PC. I know there are software that allows reading HSF+ partitions on windows, but it's not installed everywhere, very unlikely if you want to use the drive on a random computer you or your friend uses.
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    Windows Home Server. That's all I have to add. Reply
  • justinf79 - Friday, August 5, 2011 - link

    WHS isn't even in the same league... Reply
  • rs2 - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    I've used a number of different wiki solutions, and the one included on OS X Server is a toy compared to most other popular wikis. There's just no comparison between the OS X wiki and something like Confluence or MediaWiki. Reply
  • gamoniac - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    At first glance, this looks impressive, given the price tag and the myriad of features provided. However, the author should note the huge maintenance costs of this at best rudimentary product. Anyone who has used Apache or IIS 7 knows the Lion web server is years away from catching up.

    What good is a cheap product if you have to to spend, say, 40 hours, trying to get something to work. The TCO is too high even at $10/hour, and even for home users.
    Reply
  • gamoniac - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    PS: Good article nonetheless. Thank you AT. Keep them coming! Reply
  • repoman27 - Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - link

    What's good about a cheap product with a myriad of features is that if even one or two work as advertised out of the box, it was worth it. If not, you're only out $50. I configured Snow Leopard Client on a MacBook Pro to work as a NetBoot / NetRestore server because I happened to find that functionality useful, and although it was trivial to do so, I'm perfectly inclined to shell out the $50 for Lion Server going forward rather than monkey around with another client version.

    In general, you're right though, it's stupid to cheap out on a capital expenditure and then spend an order of magnitude more trying to get someone who knows what they're doing to make it work.

    Really, though, who doesn't spend at least 40 hours setting up a new server for the first time?
    Reply

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