Like the client version of Lion, Lion Server is now a download from the Mac App Store, and as with Lion client this means that there are some changes in the installation process.

A server upgrade install from Snow Leopard Server is performed the same way as a client upgrade install - fire up the App Store, download the installer, and let it do its thing. If you’re running the upgrade from a Snow Leopard server, the App Store is smart enough to prompt you to buy the Server app if you haven’t already. You can also convert any Lion client install to a server install by downloading the Server app from the App Store, and then running it - it will download and install some additional components, and the next time you reboot your Lion client, it’ll be a server instead.

Don't make fun of my test server, okay?

Upgraders should note that OS X Server upgrades tend not to go as smoothly as their client counterparts, and the App Store reviews for Lion Server indicate that this hasn’t changed - if you haven’t already backed up all the data that’s important to you (including a full-disk backup of the hard drive, if you can), make sure you do it before you upgrade. I would recommend doing a clean install if you can, but your mileage may vary - just know that the more you’ve customized Snow Leopard Server, the more likely the upgrade is to break something.

Interestingly, Lion Server removes Snow Leopard Server’s requirement that the software be installed on a desktop Mac system - if, for whatever reason, you want to use a laptop as a server, you can do it without any workarounds. I would generally recommend against this except in light-use or home-use scenarios, since slow-spinning 5400 RPM drives and higher heat are going to give you less-than-stellar performance in workloads that require lots of disk usage - the ability to install Lion Server on a laptop is more useful for remote management of a desktop server, which we’ll talk a little bit about in the next section.
Introduction and the Server Admin Tools
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  • ex2bot - Friday, August 5, 2011 - link

    Upgrading OS X is not much of a pain, as Repo says. Plus, it's practical to skip at least every other upgrade. So, upgrading every four years (2 + 2) at $60 isn't a big deal and the improvements are worth it.

    I especially appreciate Expose', Time Machine, Spotlight, and Quick Look and use them regularly And every Mac user has benefitted from Quartz GL (uses 3d graphics card to speed up screen draws).. There have been myriad "invisible" or subtle improvements as well. See Apple's "Mac OS X" section for details.

    Four years between OS upgrades is not bad, as I said. Longhorn was supposed to come out about 4 or 5 years after XP. Microsoft just had eyes bigger than its stomach and it was delayed. But Windows 7 was worth the wait. Especially features like the display compositor + aesthetically pleasing UI + improved security (and no more yellow speech bubbles popping up all the time)

    Automated System Process
  • ex2bot - Friday, August 5, 2011 - link

    BTW, Expose's successor is called "Mission Control."
  • Sahrin - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    a reduction in advertising, if you guys are going to do all these paid reviews for Apple.
  • Johnmcl7 - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    It's getting a bit of a joke these days that anything with the Apple badge will get a news article, preview, in depth review the moment it's out dwarfing everything else which barely seems to get a look-in. I get that Anand likes Apple stuff and if I don't I should go elsewhere but I like the non-Apple reviews when they do occasionally get published.

  • ex2bot - Friday, August 5, 2011 - link

    It's no joke. Check Anand's mailbox some time*.


    *Crazies, please don't mess with his mailbox.
  • ex2bot - Friday, August 5, 2011 - link

    I know for a fact that Apple employees stuff money into Anand's mailbox*. Lots and lots of money. They use $20s and $50s straight from Jobs' car, who burns them to light his cigs.

    Currency Calculating Mac Fanbot

    * Anand, I don't really believe this. I was kidding, as I'm sure you've figured out. Actually, I'm sure they are $100s, not $20s and $50s. After all, he's a Billionaire.
  • the_engineer - Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - link

    Thanks for this great in-depth look at Lion Servers new & continued functionality, I learned a lot reading this. However, I'm still very confused at where XSAN fits into the picture. As a storage power-user I've used software Linux raid, semi-hardware windows raid (Intel, Highpoint), and I've lately dabbled into ZFS because it seems like it's really got everything I could ever want as far as straight storage capabilities are concerned (I'm running a raidz6 with 6 750GB drives currently running on Nexenta). I'd really like to put Lion Server on a mac and install a generic SATA card and add 6 3TB hard drives and do a great big raid5 in a mac pro, but am very confused as to whether or not this will work. I was very hopeful that Lion Server would integrate 'software' RAID5 or similar functionality, but it's not clear anywhere whether it does this or not. Simply put, Do I still need to buy a dedicated raid5 card to have a redundant array of inexpensive disks on a mac or am I missing something still?

    -Looking for a great user experience AND a ton of redundant storage
  • HMTK - Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - link

    Why not set up a NAS with iSCSI or NFS ?
  • the_engineer - Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - link

    LONG story short, geting a deidciated NAS box means spending more money than ought to be necessary at this point (I have an i7 desktop and a core2 desktop, both capable of running Lion, Windows, FreeBSD, you name it... Just fine, as well as plenty of vanilla SATA ports & cards available). I'm Trying to weigh all purely software options available to me, with ZFS/BSD sitting on top of the heap for storage features but OSX sitting on top of the heap from a usability standpoint. The longer I look at it the more likely I am to end up running one huge 20-drive ZFS based NAS under FreeBSD but was trying to avoid getting to this point.
  • HMTK - Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - link

    If you put it on the network you can access it with all decent OS's. I've got a little HP mini proliant just for that.

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