management iconThis is by no means intended as a detailed review but more to record my overall impressions of Lion Server pre installed on a Mac Mini.

At first glance Lion Server would appear to do all the things that a SMB or home office user might want. Mail, Web, DNS, mailing lists, wiki and so forth. Unfortunately it doesn't do these things as well as the available alternatives.

The intent of the Mac Mini Server is clearly to hide the complexities of Unix administration behind a friendly looking app. I spent several days trying to get it to run my DNS and a simple mailman list server (taking over a number of archives from another server)

DNS falls way short of what's needed because you just can't add anything but the basic record types unless you manually modify the files - which then get overwitten bu the friendly app.

Mail is also apparently easily scrambled by a change of domain name. I was unable to get to a working configuration after changing the domain name. A reinstall looked like the only option.

As a result of this using mailman was a bust.

Frankly Lion Server is a great disappointment. It does a range of tasks but it's let down by poor configuration tools and fails to deliver the simple interface that its target market is looking for. Services like AWS, Google Apps and DynDNS, while not direct competitors, are so much better and cheaper in the areas they cover that it would be foolish to travel this route.