Installing Mac OS X Lion Server

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Installing Mac OS X Lion Server

Installing Mac OS X Lion Server
Server App is used to perform basic server administration. Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

You can install OS X Lion Server as an upgrade to an existing OS X Lion client, or you can purchase it along with the OS X Lion client and install them both in one fell swoop, using the Customize button found on the first screen of the Lion install process.

In this case, I'm using the upgrade to an existing OS X Lion client option, as I imagine this will be the path most users will take when they decide to add Lion Server to their networks.

What We'll Cover in the Installing OS X Lion Server Guide

This guide will give you detailed instructions on how to purchase and install OS X Lion Server as an upgrade to OS X Lion. We will even take a quick look at the Server admin tool that's included with the OS X Lion Server upgrade.

What we won't cover here are detailed instructions on using the Lion Server admin tool; we also won't configure any of the Lion Server services. But don't worry; we'll cover those items in their own guides.

By breaking the Lion Server guides up, you won't have as many pages to read through when you're only interested in perhaps one or two of the available services. Also by breaking the guides up, we can give each service that Lion Server provides more in-depth coverage.

With that out of the way, let's get started on installing OS X Lion Server.

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Purchase and Download OS X Lion Server From the Mac App Store

Purchase and Download OS X Lion Server From the Mac App Store
Lion Server is available for the surprisingly low price of $49.99; this includes a full installation of Lion Server. Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

OS X Lion Server is available from the Mac App Store. In order to access the Mac App Store and purchase and download applications, you must be running OS X 10.6.8 or later. For this guide, we're going to assume that you're using OS X Lion and can make the purchase.

Purchasing OS X Lion Server

Lion Server is available for the surprisingly low price of $49.99; this includes a full installation of Lion Server. Although sometimes referred to as an upgrade, it is only an upgrade in that you are upgrading the OS X Lion client to a full server configuration, or you are upgrading an older OS X Server installation to the newest version.

For $49.99, you receive an unlimited client license that provides many basic services that are useful for home or small offices, as well as many advanced features that can help you create a robust server for your business or educational institution. You can find a full list of the services that OS X Lion Server includes here:

OS X Lion Server Technical Specifications

Lion Server is available in the Mac App Store. Once you make your purchase, the Lion Server application will download to your Mac and install itself in the Applications folder, with the name Server. It will also install the Server icon in the Dock and in Launchpad.

If the Lion Server application starts up, or you were overly curious and started the Lion Server application by double-clicking on its icon, you should immediately quit the application. There are a few housekeeping chores to perform before you start the actual installation and configuration of OS X Lion Server.

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Getting Ready for a Clean Install of OS X Lion Server

Before You Install and Configure OS X Lion Server
The server has a manually assigned IP address to ensure the address never changes, and the primary DNS settings point back to the server IP.

Before we begin installing and configuring Mac OS X Lion Server, it's important to understand that these instructions are for individuals who are creating a new install of Lion Server. If you're attempting to migrate from an earlier version of OS X Server, there is quite a bit of preparation you need to perform first. Consult Apple's migration guide:

Lion Server - Upgrading and Migrating

If you're installing a fresh copy of OS X Lion Server, with no existing server data to move or migrate, then you're all set. Let's get started.

Pre-Install - What You Need to Do

There are a few bits of housekeeping to take care of before we double-click on the Server app we downloaded in the previous step. First, you need to make sure your Mac's network is configured correctly. The Lion Server app will use your current Mac network settings during the configuration process. You should confirm that the settings for IP, DNS, and Router are correct.

DHCP Server

You may want to change the IP type being issued by your DHCP client (usually your router) from dynamic to statically assigned. Static IP assignment is preferred for a server since any change in the assigned IP can cause your server to stop working. Consult the manual for your router for instructions on how to assign a static IP address to a connected device.

An alternative is to have your router use a static DHCP assignment for the Mac you're going to use for the Lion Server. Essentially, this tells the router to reserve a specific IP address for your Mac, and always assign the same address to your Mac. In this way, you can leave your Mac's current default DHCP-based network configuration unchanged. Once again, check your router manual for instructions on setting up static DHCP assignments.

DNS Settings

You may need to change the DNS settings for the Mac that you will use as the server, and the DNS settings for your router, depending on how you plan to use the server. If your plans include directory services using Open Directory and LDAP, then you will need to change the DNS settings to point to your OS X Lion Server as the default DNS node for your network.

If, on the other hand, you just wish to use your OS X Lion Server for basic needs, such as a file server, Time Machine destination, iCal and Address Book server, or web server, then you probably don't need to change the DNS information.

We're going to assume that you will be using OS X Lion Server in a small home network, or a small office, and that you only need to run basic services. If your needs include any service that uses Open Directory, LDAP, or other directory services, then you should look at the documentation for using the advanced services of OS X Lion:

Lion Server Advanced Administration

Continue on to Using the Server App.

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The Installation and Configuration Process for OS X Lion Server

The Installation and Configuration Process for OS X Lion Server
The Server app will download all of the necessary server components, and then begin the configuration process for each component. Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

With the pre-configuration housekeeping out of the way, it's time to start the installation and configuration process.

  1. Launch the Server app by clicking the Server icon in the Dock, or by starting up Launchpad and clicking the Server icon in Launchpad.
  2. Since this is the first time you have launched the Server app, the Welcome screen will display. Click the Continue button.
  3. The Server license terms will display. Click the Agree button,
  4. The Server application you downloaded from the Mac App Store doesn't contain all of the components necessary to turn your Mac into Lion Server, so the installer will connect to the Apple web site and finish downloading the rest of the Server applications. Click Continue.
  5. Provide your administrator account username and password, and click Continue.
  6. The Server app will download all of the necessary server components, and then begin the configuration process for each component. This is done automatically, and it's why we needed to do a bit of housekeeping before we fired up the Server app. When the process is complete, click the Finish button.
  7. With the installation and configuration complete, the Server app will appear in its standard server administration dress, showing a two- or three-pane interface for you to set up and control the various OS X Lion services.

If you have administered a previous version of OS X Server, you may be taken back by the simplicity of the Server app. The Server app is more akin to the Server preference pane available in previous generations of OS X Server. Like the older Server preference pane, the Server app is designed for basic administration, and should be able to serve the needs of most home and small business users who want a Lion Server that's easy to set up and maintain.

If you need any of the advanced features, they are still available by downloading the Server Admin Tool 10.7. The Server Admin Tool provides the familiar Server Admin, Workgroup Manager, Podcast Composer, Server Monitor, System Imagining, and Xgrid Admin utilities.

We will cover Server Admin Tools 10.7 in a separate set of OS X Lion Server guides. For those of you who plan to use OS X Lion Server for a home or small office server, you can start out using the Server app, which we will cover in its own set of user guides.

With the basic installation and configuration of your OS X Lion Server complete, it's time to move on to our separate guide to using the Server app to administer your OS X Lion server.