Most of these features go well beyond the needs of individual users setting up a home server or small business. However, many are employed in Mac-only and mixed environments at schools and larger organizations. Given the price, many organizations may well explore these features, perhaps first as pet projects and later for daily real-world use.
As with Snow Leopard Server, Apple is likely to make it easy for organizations needing basic services to become familiar with Lion Server through its simpler administration tools, while at the same time opening the door to expanded use if needed or desired. This could mean home users or educators, who could easily create classroom servers of their own. This could lead to further adoption of both Lion Server and related Apple technologies.
On the other hand, the move could make Lion Server seem like a hobbyist platform. He has been a Computerworld columnist since and is a frequent contributor to Peachpit. Faas is also the author of iPhone for Work Apress, Beyond the basics Providing the basics is fine, but what about going beyond them? These include the ability to: Act as a SAN controller. Provide granular client management.
Manage network home directories and sync those directories with portable Macs. Create and manage automated podcast capture, production and hosting. Offer advanced integration options with Active Directory.
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Provide secure remote access options. Profile Manager also offers easy access to all of the mobile management features that Apple makes available in iOS. All of that can be configured and update on the Mac running Mountain Lion Server or from any web-capable device. Simply put, for many organizations, Profile Manager alone is easily worth the cost of Mountain Lion Server and the hardware to run it.
Administrators and users can create wiki sites for sharing company and project information as well as for project management and updates.
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The service provides basic document tracking and, most importantly, file versioning — a feature that ensures previous versions of files can be recovered if needed. A revision history feature shows the changes made to file and documents as well as to wiki content. For iPad users, the wiki service offers some very powerful features. It has an iPad-optimized view for mobile use.
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It also includes WebDAV access, which means that users can jump straight from looking at a document to editing it using one of the iWork apps. All-in-all this often overlooked feature hits a number of business technology needs: document and basic project management, company and departmental resource archives and guides, social interaction between members of a team or an entire company, and a way to capture and preserve institutional knowledge.
The process is simple, straightforward, and allows users to apply managed profiles and security certificates quickly and easily. All of this can be accomplished without a single call to IT. If a company has a web-based help desk system, it can also be integrated into the portal. All of this combines to offer smaller organizations the ability to easily and inexpensively build a feature set that is usually only found in larger enterprises.
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Profile Manager and the self-servicing portal make iPhone or iPad configuration and management pretty simple and foolproof. As does the editing capabilities that link iOS devices to the wiki service. That means that Mac and iOS device users can be sent real-time notifications of new messages, changes to centralized contacts, and calendar events including invitations and changes to events.
The service runs through the same push notification system that Apple uses for iOS devices and Macs running Mountain Lion. A server can also be configured to alert an administrator, IT professionals, or other staff members in the event of certain problems. That eases the process, reduces the chance of unauthorized access, and it allows monitoring of Wi-Fi use.
A calendar helps wiki group members stay informed about important dates and milestones.
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Wiki Server 3 brings even more ease of use and control to your wikis. Use Wiki Server to host a website or wiki where your users can add content using the new Page Editor. Your wiki includes a document repository where users can upload, preview, and download files to their computers, making sharing and collaboration a breeze. People Browser lets you discover and share information outside a wiki.
And automatic email notifications let users know when a page has been updated or when new comments have been added. So multiple people can access the same calendar to add events or update meeting details. You can also create a shared to-do or reminders list whose items can be prioritized and marked as completed by anyone with access to the shared calendar. Mail Server 3 Mail Server 3 includes new features that enhance client services. With attachment searching, users can search the content of message attachments stored on the server.
Mail Server includes a new webmail service with a modern web design. It supports rich text and HTML messages, multiple languages, drag-and-drop message management, and threaded message listings.