Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server

Following the release of Snow Leopard, we take a closer look at Apple Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server

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Apple Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server
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Pros

  • Powerful, user friendly interface

Cons

  • For best results clients should be running Mac OS X 10.6 (though it still supports Windows PCs well)

Bottom Line

We found Snow Leopard Server to be a powerful but simple to use server solution, with the stability and power of Unix, topped with an intuitive interface familiar from Apple’s accessible Mac OS X client operating system. The adoption of open standards, along with a focus on technologies that well support the company’s expanding iPhone platform and media lab technologies, provides useful advantages over competing products. Snow Leopard Server’s extensibility and attractive pricing system alone may seal the deal, especially in education, publishing and media creation settings.

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Computers on the local network are setup as Users of the server, allowing them to access a shared Address Book, iCal and File Shares, as well as use a local version of iChat. This uses the open Jabber protocol, so staff can IM inside the network without having to use any external server. A mail server is included, allowing you to bring your email service in-house, and now including server-side rules

Also new is a Wiki Server. With this, users can create and contribute to personal and communal web pages, helping the sharing of information around a company or institution.

Even more focused on education markets is the new Podcast Producer 2 feature. Hidden in the Utilities folder of all regular Snow Leopard Macs is the Podcast Capture app, introduced in Mac OS X 10.5, which lets users easily create audio or video podcasts with multiple cameras and screen recording. The edited content is uploaded to the Mac server, which takes care of rendering and processing each project into a final downloadable podcast.

The iCal Server uses the open CalDAV protocol to format and manage data, and users can access and edit calendars from any modern web browser. For remote access, Snow Leopard Server supports VPN with L2TP/IPSec tunnelling, allowing workers to securely access a private network from beyond its internet router.

This new Apple Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server supports Windows PCs well with email, calendars and address books all available to networked PCs through a modern web interface; and Macs additionally through built-in apps such as Mail, iCal and Address Book. For best results though, clients should also be on OS 10.6 to take advantage of easier configuration options.

Other key features of Apple Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server for sysadmins include System Image Utility, to build unified OS images for rolling out in a Mac-based network, and Workgroup Manager for managing policies and preferences for client computers on the network.

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