The Servers in Lion Server that Enable User Collaboration - dummies

The Servers in Lion Server that Enable User Collaboration

By John Rizzo

Lion Server isn’t one server, but more than two dozen servers. You turn many of them on and off with a few mouse clicks. Here’s a quick look at the services on a Lion server that will help your users collaborate with one another.


File server

The file server may be all that some people need from Lion Server. File servers provide folders that everyone on the network can see. You can also limit access so that some people can’t get into certain folders.

Mac OS X Server provides file sharing via the Mac-native Apple Filing Protocol (AFP), which is Mac only, and Microsoft’s Server Message Block (SMB), which Windows and Linux clients use. Lion Server also provides the webDAV protocol for iPads. It’s also used by Time Machine to back up Macs.

Address Book Server

Address Book Server enables users to share both personal and group contacts with the Mac Address Book or a CardDAV-compatible client.

iCal Server

Users on the network can schedule events, book conference rooms, and view one another’s calendars. People can send an invitation to a meeting that includes an agenda and then can accept the invitation.

The iCal Server keeps track of who is inviting whom and what the group schedules are at any point in time. iCal Server works with the iCal calendar on Mac OS X, as well as with some open source software supporting the CalDAV standard. Lion Server adds a few things to iCal Server, including enabling multiple users to share To Dos.

iChat Server

Instant messaging isn’t just for mobile phones. Users of Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux (as well as iPhones and other handhelds) can have a virtual meeting by using iChat instant messaging. The server supports audio and video, as well as file transfer. Users can access persistent chat rooms that are always there. The server also stores each user’s account info so that a user can iChat from any computer.

E-mail server

The Lion Server e-mail server has been revamped. Mail Server 3 now enables users to search the content of files attached to e-mail that is stored on the server. This search works for Microsoft Office and iWork files, PDF files, and others. Also new is the ability to provide webmail service with drag-and-drop message management.

As a full featured e-mail server, Mail Server blocks spam and e-mail that contain viruses from reaching users’ desktops and can make e-mail available from a web browser.

Podcast Producer

Podcast Producer is actually a set of software that automates the capture, creation, and distribution of video and audio. You and your users can record a lecture, training video, or student project, and Podcast Producer automatically adds, encodes, renders, and compresses titles and other elements based on your criteria. Podcast Producer automatically publishes your recording on a website or via iTunes. Windows users can also get into the action.

Wiki Server

Part of the web server functionality is the automatic creation of a full-featured wiki — a website that users can edit from their web browser. In your organization, you can use wikis as a group collaboration tool for projects or brainstorming.

Users can edit text, add hyperlinks to web pages, upload photos and documents to share, and then review the history of the changes that have been made and revert to earlier versions. Wikis automatically update to tell readers what changes other users have made.

The Wiki Server is also blogging software. Blogs in your organization are great for posting status updates and reports. Like blogs on the Internet, the Lion Server blog feature has a space at the bottom for users to post comments.