Performance with the Mini server is good for a small business, but it's no barn-burner. With the 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo chip and 4GB of 1066MHz RAM, it can easily handle basic services for a few-dozen computers without buckling. Although you could theoretically support even more users, I'd suggest that you limit the number to no more than maybe four dozen users. I'd also be hesitant about using it to host corporate Web sites for the Internet at large.
But for internal use by a small number of people, the Mini server does really well for its size and price.
The Mac Mini server is a well-priced solution for small businesses. It can scale up to a point as a company grows or its business needs change, but it really isn't designed to take the place of a more powerful server in a larger business or enterprise environment. That doesn't mean it's limited in features; it offers the same services as a top-of-the-line Xserve, albeit on lesser -- and less expensive -- hardware. The ability to handle basic functions like file and printer sharing or to run a small intranet, intraoffice IM server, or any of the other services that Mac OS X Server offers, makes it an ideal product for small offices, design firms, schools, and retail shops.
Ryan Faas is a freelance writer and technology consultant specializing in Mac and multiplatform network issues. His most recent book is "The iPhone for Work," published by Apress. You can find more information at www.ryanfaas.com and can e-mail Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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