Our New Server, Pt. 2

Picking up from where we left of yesterday with our new server configuration, today I'll talk about actually getting Leopard Server installed and running. 

Three Possible Configurations

When you first start up Leopard Server, you are asked to make a choice between three server configurations; Standard, Workgroup and Advanced. Standard is the most simple to configure--it gives non-server admin types the ability to get the server up and running quickly without getting into trouble. You can't do a whole lot of custom configuration in Standard mode, but you would have a hard time breaking it. Workgroup mode is more specialized, and would only be used if you had multiple servers on the network. Advanced is, as the name suggests, the most powerful mode and gives the user access to all the features. 

I initially set up in Standard mode, mainly because I wanted to get in and play around. Admin in this mode is done through a simple Preference Pane interface that is very easy, and very basic. I would guess that just about anyone who is proficient in the use of the Mac OS could get the server running in this mode.

Being a true geek, however, I wanted more control. It wasn't long before I made the one-time, irreversible switch to Advanced mode. And that's where my first troubles began.

Mistakes Were Made

Yeah, I'll admit it, I messed up the first configuration. Really, I was anxious to start playing with it, so I installed it and started configuration of the server before I had really decided how we were going to deploy it. I'll also say right up front that CPC's IT guru, Erik, was a huge help in getting everything up and running. 

When I first installed the software, the MacPro was still sitting on CPC's network, which tainted the initial configuration. Basically, it messed up the LDAP and Open Directory, which pretty much hosed my set up. I didn't figure that out until later, when I was going through some final set up. So, I re-formatted the drive and started again. This next part is actually impressive.

Set up, Part Deux

I went from a blank hard disk to a fully-functioning server in less than 4 hours. That's complete with all my user accounts set up (granted, there were only 11...), DNS, DHCP, file sharing, printer sharing, FTP, Open Directory, iChat and SMB access. And about 40 minutes of that was the installer running! Keep in mind my disclaimer from yesterday that I've never set up a Leopard Server before. Now that I've done it twice, I think I could cut the time in half. That's the real beauty of Leopard Server--it packs tremendous power into an interface that is accessible by mere mortals. 

While the server can be run an administered via the command line, the way the rest of us will access it is via two applications--Server Admin and Workgroup Manager. Server Admin does just what you'd expect, administer and configure the server. The basic process is to enable a service (say, AFP file sharing), configure it, and finally start it. It's very easy and intuitive, even if you're not an expert. Some services, such as DNS require some knowledge of creating forward and reverse DNS lookups, but that's relatively easy to figure out. 

Tomorrow we'll dive a little deeper and look under the hood.