Opinion: Mac Pro server vs Mac Mini server for JSS and file shares

Contributor II

Hello, I'm looking for opinions and your experience. I’m going to be moving my existing JSS from a single, older silver Mac Pro server to either new Mac Minis or trashcan Mac Pros. Any opinion on the Mac Mini vs Mac Pro server? The server will likely only be running the JSS web app and file shares. A separate server will run MySQL. Is the Mac Pro overkill?

Have you found the trashcan Mac Pro to be more reliable than the Mac Mini or is the Mini more reliable?Also, what about disk storage? Just go with internal drive and/or use some sort of external thunderbolt raid, like the Promise Pegasus or V-Trak.


Valued Contributor II

How many clients?

Contributor II

@RobertHammen, right now only about 300 but planning for more and more as time goes on.

Contributor III

I used Mac Minis to set up something like this a few years back, and they were fine. Also used small Promise RAIDs for storage. Sonnet makes a couple case solutions that makes them more rack-friendly, if that's a need.

The Pro would be great, and maybe necessary if you have a large environment, but it seems like overkill - especially since the database is running elsewhere. I might choose the Pro if it were more like the old ones, with multiple disks & RAID options, but since the trashcans don't do that then it's not really a benefit.

Valued Contributor III

Without knowing whether you have a relevant VM infrastructure this may be a pointless post of mine, but having started our JSS on a Mac mini server, we found it was good and held up well, but with a native install on any piece of hardware, we found it wasn't terribly scalable with growing needs. I wish Apple would let admins virtualize the Mac OS on non-Apple labeled hardware legally as I am more comfortable administering from a Mac server. I would love to virtualize macOS Sierra Server without restriction.

That being said we moved our JSS to a VM running Windows Server 2012R2 and it has been going well. The benefit of taking it off the Mac mini was simple scalability. If I need to throw three more processors at the server to help during peak times, we can, more RAM as needed, done. I can have more high speed space added to it with a few clicks...same deal. Want a backup, snapshot it (though continue doing traditional backups simply to give yourself options).

If you can virtualize I will note it's helped us go from a 200 iPad, 200 Mac deployment to a 4000 iPad, 400 Mac deployment much more simply.

That being said, a well configured Mac mini server helped us manage about 500 iPads, 200 Macs before we gave up and went virtual if that helps.

Valued Contributor II

Last year we went from a single 2009 xserve to dual trashcans (mysql and jss separate) plus a mini as a DMZ server.

We also started doing 1-2 minis for remote sites to build/cache/software update/deploy, with some scripts to keep stuff synced.

Macmule's article is a great resource for using mini's.