ImageWe recently had a customer send in a Mac mini for their business data retention. I asked him to share a bit more with me to share with other customers.

In summary, he told me that because of the recent FRCP (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) changes, he knew his company needed to be better about keeping full archived of all their email. It’s not enough to have nightly backups to disk or tape. He said, “What if I received an email from a customer and then delete the email. By the time the nightly backups run, that email will have come and gone. We needed something more thorough.”

He told me that in their mail server, they have the option to send all mail to a specific address. This would include all mail coming to their users, as well as mail that is sent from their servers. They decided to send a copy of all mail to macmini@businessdomain.com. Then, on the Mac mini they have in our data center, they have an account in Mail that is set up with POP retrieval of that email address. So everything is downloaded from the server and stored on the Mac mini in our data center. He also has that Mac mini cloned to an external drive here.

He said that there are a lot of other options out there for archiving mail, but he chose this option for three reasons.

First, the mail will be stored on their own hardware so they know it’s available and no one else has access to the email history.

Second, Using Mail.app gives you the benefit of spotlight searches. One of the new rules according to the FRCP is that the data should be searchable so quick and easy retrieval is possible for civil litigation.

Finally, he chose this way so hid email archives would be in a different physical location than his email server. He didn’t want his email server to also act as the archive to avoid loss from fire, theft, etc.

He also uses the Mac mini for archiving iChat transcripts in a similar way.

If you’re a business owner, it’s become quite critical to pay attention to data retention. Google has provided two great white papers on the FRCP changes and how best to align your company with the new guidelines. (I’ve made both available in a zip file here.)

ImageAt WWDC, ask they announced that the next version of OS X would be 10.6 Snow Leopard. Rather than add new features, doctor they would really upgrade performance and ability. They also offered some detail on Snow Leopard Server which sounds great. Here are a few of the highlights I liked:

  • Snow Leopard Server follows up with the next major release of iCal Server, asthma which includes group and shared calendars, push notifications, the ability to send email invitations to non-iCal Server users, and a browser-based application that lets users access their calendars on the web when they’re away from their Mac.
  • Snow Leopard Server brings unrivaled support for multicore processors with “Grand Central,” a new set of built-in technologies that makes all of Mac OS X Server multicore aware and optimizes it for allocating tasks across multiple cores and processors.
  • Mail services have been enhanced to include server-side email rules and vacation messages.
  • Introducing the first open standards-based Address Book Server, Snow Leopard Server makes it easier than ever to share contacts across multiple computers.
  • Snow Leopard Server uses 64-bit kernel technology to support breakthrough amounts of RAM — up to a theoretical 16TB, or 500 times what is possible today.

All of these sound great…especially for those of use who enjoy Mac mini servers. Packing even more punch in the Mac minis.

(link to article)

ImageComputerworld has put together a short walkthrough on setting up Leopard Server with a Basic install.

“Leopard Server, the newest version of Mac OS X Server, sports many new updated features. One of the most innovative is a new interface that simplifies server setup and management. This new interface is designed primarily for small businesses or small workgroups within a larger organization that need server functionality but don’t have the resources to hire a full-time systems administrator.”

If this sounds like it could be of use to you, head on over for the text and photo walk through on how to get everything set up and running. You can read it here

Following is a guest post from a Robert Schmid, a Macminicolo customer. If you have a tip on running a Mac server and would like to share it, please let us know.

ImageI setup my first Unix server in 1997 on a Mac Quadra 840AV. It was great way to rehabilitate obsolete macs. My biggest problem then was spam. My war on spam continued for the next several years until I finally got it under control a few years ago. For me, mail filters are not a sufficient answer to spam. It needs to be stopped on request, not after your bandwidth has been wasted. I finally found two very important strategies for stopping spam – greylisting and wildcard addressing.
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