More IT directors should know what a capable and affordable solution Mac OS X Server is. While its small share of the server market seems to be growing, this is still a minor player, perhaps because many administrators don’t realize how seamlessly it works with Windows networks and PCs, or because they’re unfamiliar with the Macintosh operating system.
OS X Server is a robust and far-reaching server; it is largely a grouping of open-source utilities bound together, integrated, extended, and given a clear, intuitive graphical user interface. It provides excellent file management, user management, and print, Internet, and mail services for those looking to use it in a small-business setting, besides which it can be administered remotely and via a command line prompt. It’s also a capable Web site server, grouping together simple hosting, broadcasting, and streaming controls.
The server includes easy configuration for most basic small-office functions, such as mail protocols, file sharing, and print sharing. We did find a few significant omissions, though, compared with some of the other products in this roundup. Among these is a lack of Outlook integration, which would include calendaring and scheduling tools. In fact, OS X Server lacks centralized group planning tools, like meeting scheduling, instant messaging, and discussion forum capabilities. It also lacks a Web-based portal for users.
While OS X Server has a very friendly graphical user interface, below the surface its heritage to the Linux and BSD platforms is apparent.