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Six Reasons to Upgrade to OS X Lion Server

Most BYTE readers know that Apple has released OS X 10.7 Lion in July for $29.99, exclusively through the Mac App Store. Bet you don't know that Apple's OS X Lion Server is also selling at a decent price -- under $50.

That price is a lot less than the $499 that Snow Leopard Server used to set you back.

Now that price wasn't the terrible deal it sounds like now. Snow Leopard Server lets you have an unlimited number of clients attach to your server. Compared to other server operating systems, that made it a steal.

Now you get all that for under $80 with Lion and its Server add-on. Talk about a bargain.

Price isn't a good reason to buy anything, though, so here are my top six reasons why you should consider upgrading to OS X Lion Server.

1. Recycle an old Mac or build your own Mac Mini Server.

If you have an old Mac or Mac Mini lying around, consider turning it into an OS X Lion server. Breathe new life into any Mac that meets Lion's basic requirement: an Intel Core 2 Duo or faster processor. That means practically any recent Intel-based Mac should work.

2. Sharing Files With Your iPad

OS X Lion Server has one trick up its sleeve that really excites me. If you enable WebDAV, you'll have wireless file sharing with your iPad. That means that you'll be able to access, copy, and share documents from applications -- especially Keynote, Numbers, and Pages.

3. Enjoy Your Own Blog or Wiki Host

OS X Lion Server allows you to create and host your own web sites or wikis. Wiki Server 3 makes all of this easy by giving you more control than ever. Access the new Page Editor and customize your wikis, and use the document repository to upload, preview, or download files directly to their own computers. The new navigation bar lets you switch between your server's home page, My Page, Updates, Wikis, People or Podcasts.

4. iCal Server 3

OS X Lion Server introduces version 3 of iCal Server. It lets anyone maintain schedules, appointments, and to-do lists. Share all of this with your family, friends and colleagues. No more family or business scheduling conflicts. Everyone will have access to the shared calendar, to-do lists and reminders.

5. Mail Server 3

You'll be able to run your own e-mail server with OS X Lion Server. Setting up and configuring the email server just doesn't get any easier. The new version of Mailer Server adds attachment searching for all standard file formats, including both iWork and Microsoft Office documents, as well as PDF files and even QuickTime videos. It also adds a new webmail service featuring a modern web design while supporting rich text and HTML messages, multiple languages, drag-and-drop message management and even threaded message listings.

6. Profile Manager

Then, there's Profile Manager. This gives you several quick ways to set up and remotely manage computers running Lion -- and also iOS devices. These are all the tools you need to effectively manage user accounts, security policies, configuration of system settings and so on. The best part: Now you're able to remotely lock or wipe lost or stolen devices from a central control panel.

Based in Houston, David Martin is a technologist at BYTE. Follow him @David_W_Martin or email him at

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