MacStadium Knowledge Base

Frequently Asked Questions

Dedicated Macs
Private Clouds
Data Centers & Security
Networking
Storage
CI
Account & Billing
Company

Dedicated Macs

After I sign up for a dedicated Mac, what happens next?

After you create an account and select your Mac server subscription, then:

  • You are immediately provided:
    - Full access to your customer dashboard
    - Specific subscription information including your IP addresses
  • Then, a new provisioning support ticket will be created to track the release of your server
  • A new server will be provisioned for you according to your selection during checkout
  • You will receive instructions via email and the ticketing system in your customer dashboard with instructions for accessing the server

Due to the potential for delays, we recommend that all new users first subscribe to a Mac mini with instant availability to test network connectivity, latency, and the speed of the hosted Mac. 

If you selected a server with instant availability (e.g. a Mac mini running macOS 10.12), you will receive an email after subscribing containing the access instructions.

For custom orders (hardware, networking, or operating system), our technicians will begin configuring your server upon checkout. This can take up to 24 hours or longer in some cases of limited parts availability.

Can I change the OS on my server from macOS to Linux?

One of the benefits of the hypervisor is the ability to install multiple operating systems on one system. If your subscription is a Mac mini with quad core i7 CPU, you can run multiple virtual machines with various operating systems on the server.

In the past we installed the VMware ESXi hypervisor and created a Linux virtual machine by request. Due to the complex nature of installing Linux and the many variations available, we now offer the base VMware ESXi installation with no virtual machines included. Customers may install virtual machines on their own.

We don’t do any initial operating system customization. When you initially order a server with macOS on it, it's macOS on the bare metal Mac just as if you’d bought it at a store. 

macOS
Can I run a Daylite server on a hosted Mac?

Yes. With a server at MacStadium, you’ll have access to a dedicated Mac in a data center to host your Daylite server and can be online in a matter of a couple hours.

By taking advantage of external storage, you can setup automated Time Machine backups of your Daylite server to protect your data. Read more on our Daylite landing page.

Since you have control of the whole server, you can use it for other services, too. Along with Daylite, you can also host your website, file sharing, mail server, etc. 

Can I use a remote Mac for iOS application development?

Yes, our service is popular among individual developers and large teams developing apps for iOS. 

Certain forms of application development require that a physical iOS device is connected to emulate and test the application. This can be done over the wire (across the internet) using a USB over IP solution. One common solution that other customers have recommended is Eltima's USB over Network for Mac software

Can a hosted Mac server offer a virtual desktop at 4k resolution?

After some minor upgrades, a hosted Mac can make a great virtual desktop interface. By connecting a GPU enabler to the unused HDMI port, we can make the Mac believe it's connected to a display. This simple addition causes the Mac server to then enable GPU acceleration by emulating a display. New, high-definition display resolutions are then available for users connecting via screen sharing, VNC, or remote desktop.

By default, we include a fit-Headless GPU enabler on every new dedicated server. The GPU enabler we provide offers up to 1080p resolution. We have small and large customers who either send in or request that we custom order GPU enablers that can support up to 4k resolution or 4k plus high refresh rates. fit-Headless offers HDMI GPU enablers for this purpose.

Can you assist with the configuration of my Mac?

Our remote hands service covers basic hardware and OS setup to ensure that you can gain access to your Mac via remote SSH, VNC, or Screen Sharing. We are a fully-staffed service organization with technicians and engineers available around the clock - many of whom are highly trained on solutions which involve Apple hardware. 

If you need further, more-specific help setting up more detailed aspects of the OS or included software, we will try to help if we can provide guidance. But, MacStadium is an infrastructure services provider, and not an IT support organization. For this reason, we often refer more advanced support issues dealing with custom configuration of your OS or software to one of our partners who specialize in IT configuration and management.

Do I have root and admin access to subscription-based Mac servers?

For every subscription to a hosted Mac running macOS, we provide an adminstrator account and the ability to modify system-level files. Login as administrator to a Mac running macOS and you have complete control over the system.

SSH and VNC access are enabled by default on dedicated servers so you can access them from any device. It's no different than if the server were on your local network.

We do require that you follow the guidelines set in our Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy which you must agree to during checkout.

macOS
Do I need a VNC server installed on my Mac?

One of the more popular free VNC tools used by our clients, RealVNC, now offers their server product under the name VNC Connect. Customers often ask us whether they need VNC Connect on their Mac running macOS.

Apple’s macOS also includes a built-in default VNC server. We enable this for every hosted Mac running any version of macOS before releasing the server to a customer.

To connect to one of our Mac servers running macOS, you need a VNC client like the one RealVNC offers, VNC Viewer. VNC Connect is not required.

macOS
Does MacStadium offer a hosted iMac Pro?

Not yet, but soon! We're still finalizing some aspects of the offering, but an iMac Pro private beta starts soon. Sign up here if you'd like to participate in the beta or get updates about the iMac Pro as we prepare for release.

iMac Pro
Does MacStadium require a server edition of the Mac mini for colocation?

The quad-core i7 model Mac mini was previously available in a server variant with redundant disk drives and either the Server version of OS X (up until OS X 10.7) or a copy of the macOS Server application in versions 10.8 and newer. macOS Server can be purchased from the App Store.

However, Apple removed the server model from the product offering with the Mac mini update in late 2014. We still offer subscriptions of the quad-core i7 Mac mini with redundant hard drives or with a SSD. For CPU-intensive tasks, the i7 Mac mini is the best value. You are free to colocate any model of Mac mini at MacStadium. See related articles for more details about colocation.

Mac mini
How do I connect to my Mac the first time?

All Mac mini subscriptions are pre-configured to allow you to connect using the following methods:

  • macOS Screen Sharing: Open Safari and type vnc://192.168.1.186 (replacing the IP address with one provided in your install ticket)
  • VNC: Download your favorite free VNC viewer/client such as Apple’s Remote Desktop app, RealVNC, TightVNC or others
  • SSH Terminal: Use your OS’s built in terminal, or download a SSH solution for Windows like PuTTY to gain console access

Once you have connected to your Mac for the first time, you can install other common remote access solutions such as SplashTop, TeamViewer, or LogMeIn.

Mac mini
How do I order multiple servers at one time?

If you are registering and have an immediate need for five or more machines, you will first need to verify your billing information before you can order them. 

After your registration is complete, you can either complete a single subscription or head into your customer dashboard to add additional machines to your account. If you would rather get five or more machines at once and you can provide the technical specifications for each Mac (or you need something not shown in the configuration wizard), open up a support ticket with the Other type and submit your request to our support team.

Special and Large Orders

For customers who add new subscriptions once a week or more slowly, the regular configuration tool is the best approach to spinning up individual machines as it gives our system the ability to instantly provision minis already staged.

Customers wanting a new machine or machines with the exact same software image as an existing subscription can have the source machine cloned to any number of other machines by opening a support ticket.  

Click here for more details on how to order multiple servers.

How do the different Mac computers compare?

We shared the following graphic in a blog post about growing pains to explain the different levels of dedicated servers available. While there are plenty of other use cases for each level of server, this is a baseline to develop your infrastructure environment.

Dedicated Mac Server Comparison

Keep in mind a private cloud can consist of any of the single dedicated servers in the graphic so price and performance can vary dramatically.

Is the Mac mini a good server?

With our custom rack infrastructure, remote hands capability, and network infrastructure expertise, the Mac mini is a viable server platform for any small to medium-sized business requiring managed Apple hardware running macOS in a data center. The Mac mini is an efficient and cost-effective server platform that performs very well with both Intel i5 and i7 CPU options. It holds its own against many other server platforms in its class, and while using less space with a fraction of the power footprint.

When Apple discontinued manufacture and sale of the Xserve blade servers, they published an Xserve to Mac mini transition guide sharing a positive opinion on utilizing the Mac mini as a server.

Mac mini
Is there macOS software to replace the popular web hosting software offered by Linux VPS providers?

Below are some tools that allow users to exploit the power and reliability of the Apple macOS platform, and still have the familiar *NIX-type experience.

  • macOS Server by Apple is available in the App Store for $19.99 and installs as an app and service within macOS. It includes a web server among other utilities.
  • MAMP / MAMP Pro is similar to Linux LAMP. “MAMP” stands for Macintosh, Apache, MySQL and PHP. MAMP can be installed on macOS 10.10 or greater and includes a friendly user interface.
  • MACPorts is a more advanced method that provides a command-line method of installing software packages under BSD to access thousands of ports and greatly simplifies compiling and installing open-source software on your Mac.
  • HomeBrew is the latest BSD/*NIX package manager for macOS, and is a great alternative to MACPorts.

The Mac is a powerful Intel-based hardware platform that can run any OS – not just macOS.

MacStadium offers VMware ESXi as a means to install all variants of Linux as virtual machines on a hosted Mac. This includes generic distributions like Debian, Ubuntu, and CentOS, as well as packaged distributions that include software like cPanel and Plesk.

macOS
I’m interested in a single Mac mini… what should I do?

The best option is to sign up online with a credit card - you’ll be up and running almost immediately. A dedicated mini will perform almost exactly like a mini sitting on your desk… just with more security, better uptime, and higher bandwidth. There is even a 24-hour trial so you can check performance and bandwidth.  

Mac mini
What are MacStadium’s proprietary Mac Pro upgrades?

Dual power, dual 10G ethernet, fiber channel (which allows you to access SAN in a cloud environment).

Mac Pro
What is instant provisioning and how long does it take?

Instant Provisioning is MacStadium developed technology that allows us to deliver ready-to-go dedicated servers to customers 24x7x365 within seconds of checkout.

When you complete checkout, an installation ticket is opened. If the requested server is available for Instant Provisioning, the ticket will be automatically closed by our systems and an email sent to you which includes your server's IP address and user login credentials (username and password).

We typically have 50-100 servers ready to go for Instant Provisioning. We strive to keep our most popular subscription models available for Instant Provisioning for both Pro (100Mbps) and Elite (1000Mbps) Hosting packages.

If you are requesting a server that has an OS other than macOS, you should be prepared to wait a couple of hours for the server to be custom provisioned for your request.

What is the difference between a dedicated server and colocation?

The majority of our customers choose traditional dedicated server hosting where MacStadium provides the server hardware and hosts it in our data center.

If you already own a Mac and wish for us to host it for you, you may use our Mac colocation service.

In both offerings, each subscription is required to pay a hosting fee each month which includes the Internet connectivity, custom rack space, power, remote management tools, remote hands support, and active DDoS protection.

There are many benefits to the dedicated server product offering, which include:

  • Instant Activation available to dedicated servers, so you can get started immediately. The latest version of macOS is available with no wait on our most popular Mac mini offerings.
  • MacStadium is 100% responsible for all maintenance on the servers. If your Mac has hardware issues, we cover 100% of hardware and labor costs.
  • You can change Mac models at any point during your subscription with no penalties; you’ll only need to pay any difference in price if upgrading.
  • When Apple releases new Mac hardware in the future, MacStadium will offer subscriptions to those models, and you can swap.
  • If you can’t predict the future (most of us can’t), then using our servers makes more sense than owning the hardware yourself.
  • Technology always depreciates. When you subscribe to a server from MacStadium, you don’t have worry about loss of value, shipping fees, or lost productivity time.
  • Businesses prefer to have an operating expense on the books vs. a capital expense for accounting reasons.
What’s the OLA on rebooting a dedicated Mac host?

Our operational-level (OLA) standard on a reboot of a dedicated Mac is two hours, though in most cases it is completed in less time.

Support
Why are coreaudiod and launchd in macOS using a high amount of resources?

Disclaimer: We are an infrastructure provider and can only offer a minimal amount of help for software issues. We can not  guarantee this fix works for all users or offer support for it. Please contact the software developer (Apple, in this case) for further help. We can also provide a list of vendors that we work with to support you.

We found a confirmed solution with the help of a customer:

"I figured out what the problem was in case you all are seeing this in other places. The bluetooth daemon had crashed. I'm not sure why that made coreaudiod and launchd go crazy, but the fix is this: 

$ sudo launchctl unload -w /system/library/launchdaemons/com.apple.blued.plist 

If the daemon crashes you may see a message like this: /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.blued.plist: Could not find specified service. Next, run this: 

$ sudo launchctl load -w /system/library/launchdaemons/com.apple.blued.plist 

Once blued is running properly, coreaudiod and launchd both settle down."

macOS
Why won’t Java install on my hosted Mac?

Java looks for an actual display plugged into the Mac mini in order for it to install without error. However, none of the Mac servers in a data center environment like at MacStadium have physical displays connected.

As a solution, we have verified that installing a GPU enabler dongle — which we include as a free add-on to all Mac subscriptions — will convince macOS a display plugged in. This allows Java to install without error. Other benefits of the GPU enabler dongle including performance improvements and increased resolutions are noted in our blog.

Mac mini

Hosted Private Clouds

Can I host non-Mac hardware with you as well?

Keep in mind that you can run any OS on Mac hosts!  However, if you have a lot of non-Mac workloads, we can also add HPE Blade infrastructure to your environment.  Many customers use this for Android builds and testing.

Cloud Architecture
Can I scale up or down?

You can easily scale up by sending us a ticket to add more capacity. Normal turnaround is less than 5 days, which can also be made faster by providing advanced notice.  Our minimum resolution for upgrades is 30 days. For downgrades, we require 60 days notice.

Cloud Architecture
How can I get free VMware ESXi licensing?

VMware provides a free version of the ESXi hypervisor. Acquiring a free license only requires creating an account in the VMware Download Center. Once you are logged in to their portal, you have access to a free license key to use ESXi indefinitely on a single server.

We pre-install ESXi on a hosted Mac with a 60-day trial license before providing you access. You simply have to apply the license key acquired from the VMware Download Center to your ESXi installation.

It’s important to clarify that this only applies for our dedicated Mac servers. It cannot be used with our hosted Mac private cloud solutions. The free license has restrictions that make it incompatible with a cluster of servers and the necessary additional VMware software we install for management and automation.

VMware
How do I manage VMware ESXi from my Mac?

While there’s no native desktop application on macOS for managing ESXi like Windows has, there are plenty of alternatives. Check out our article on the topic Managing VMware ESXi With just a Mac.

In 2016, VMware began including an Embedded HTML5/javascript host client for managing ESXi in vSphere update 6.0U2. Meant to connect to and manage single ESXi clients, it’s a great solution for users getting started with a dedicated Mac running VMware at MacStadium.

If your Mac is running a version of vSphere older than update 6.0U2, please open a support ticket to discuss with our engineering team how you can upgrade your existing server to the latest version of VMware and begin using the host client from your Apple Mac computer.

VMware
How do I manage VMware ESXi from my Mac?

While there’s no native desktop application on macOS for managing ESXi like in Windows, there are plenty of alternatives. Check out our article on the topic: Managing VMware ESXi With just a Mac.

In 2016, VMware began including an Embedded HTML5/javascript host client for managing ESXi in vSphere update 6.0U2. Meant to connect to and manage single ESXi clients, it’s a great solution for users getting started with a dedicated Mac running VMware at MacStadium.

If your Mac is running a version of vSphere older than update 6.0U2, please open a support ticket to discuss with our engineering team how you can upgrade your existing server to the latest version of VMware and begin using the host client from your Apple Mac computer.

VMware
Is there a control panel to create and manage multiple macOS virtual machines on one machine?

VMware ESXi can do this. VMware ESXi is a hypervisor for deploying and serving virtual machines running many different types of operating system. Utilizing Mac hardware is the only way to legally virtualize macOS.If you choose to have VMware ESXi installed on your Mac server, you’ll have access to a powerful management layer for virtualizing on Mac hardware. 

In the past, it was only possible to manage ESXi from the command line or via a desktop client installed on Windows. In early 2016, VMware began including an embedded HTML5 based VMware Host Client that allows users to connect to and manage a single server running ESXi for the management of host resources and virtual machines. There is no extra cost to use this tool, and it's included in all new installs of the latest version of VMware on Mac servers at MacStadium.

VMware
Should we use resource reservations in VMware?

By using resource reservations, you may be artificially limiting yourself from taking advantage of the full capability of your environment. Techniques like oversubscription can no longer be fully utilized when using resource reservations.

When using resource reservations (even if on just a single virtual machine out of many), VMware will apply the lowest common resource reservation to all VMs. For example, if VM A has x resource reservations and VM B through VM E don’t have any resource reservations, VMware will apply x resource resolutions to all virtual machines.

If your cluster is healthy and has plenty of resources to share between virtual machines, we recommend disabling resource reservations. If you are constantly seeing issues with insufficient resources to your cluster as a whole, you should increase the number of hosts in your cluster or decrease your workload.

VMware
What components are included with every Mac Pro in a private cloud?

When part of a private cloud environment, each Mac Pro includes the hardware, MacStadium upgrades, hosting, and VMware. In addition to the Mac Pro(s), each cloud includes a firewall, vCenter, IP block, SAN (or internal drive), and a cloud bundle discount.

Cloud Architecture
What is covered in the price of a private cloud?

All of our cloud environments are highly secure and hosted in Tier III and IV data centers. We add patented technology to each Mac Pro.  We monitor and maintain all hosted hardware.  You get access to 24/7 expert Mac networking support.  You get a dedicated account manager that can help you with any issues.  You get unlimited bandwidth.  

Cloud Architecture
What is the best environment for me?

Most of our customers choose a private cloud. A hosted private cloud has the most flexibility, scalability, security, and performance. We also offer individual dedicated Macs if you do not need the scale of a private cloud.

Cloud Architecture
Why am I getting a VMware alert about the Data Service container running low on heap memory?

From a customer: 

I keep getting the following alert: >> The Data Service container process is running low on heap memory (> 90% utilized).
Is there anything we can do about that?

This VMware alert can be ignored. It’s a known bug with no known resolution and is cosmetic only. It has no impact on the performance of your VMware cluster.

VMware

Data Centers & Security

Can I visit MacStadium data centers?

You are welcome to request a visit to our facilities either before you are a customer, or during your subscription period to learn more about our services and solutions. Open a ticket or give us a call to arrange your visit.

We’d also love to host you at our headquarters in Atlanta to talk about large-scale solutions and tour the facility. Our sales engineering team is available to schedule a visit at your convenience.

Locations
How secure are MacStadium data centers?

There are global-standard security practices in place at all MacStadium facilities to make sure your servers and data are always safe from unauthorized access. We’ve also worked with many large customers to develop custom, isolated environments with enhanced security within our existing solution to meet the requirements of their internal security policies.

Your intellectual property and customer data is protected from unauthorized access at MacStadium. Read more about our data centers and security practices.

Security
What is Mac colocation?

For decades, large corporations requiring always-available computing and data storage resources have housed their computing resources in secure data centers to ensure maximum uptime and availability of their equipment and information.

If you have computing equipment hosted in a data center, then it is stated that you are co-locating your equipment in that facility (colo and colocation are the recognized terms). By hosting your Mac at MacStadium, it will always be available for you to access remotely via screen sharing, VNC, or command line interface from anywhere on the internet.

Many of our clients use their Macs for game servers, web hosting, database hosting, off-site backup, email hosting, or any other applications typically run on macOS.

You can also use your Mac as a Windows server, BSD Server, IP PBX, or any other variety due to its industry standard Intel-based hardware platform.

What kind of servers are hosted at MacStadium?

We are serious about our infrastructure, and have made significant investments to ensure that MacStadium facilities are the best Mac hosting solutions available.

Mac mini

We have premium seating for both new style Mac minis (2010 – Current) and older style Mac minis (2009 or prior).

Each patented, proprietary rack in MacStadium data centers holds 460 Mac minis contained with all cabling, power management, and network infrastructure.

Mac Pro

We’ve designed a custom enclosure and rack mount system to house the 2013+ cylindrical Mac Pro.

Learn more about our rack solutions that allow us to rapidly scale private cloud environments on our data centers page.

Xserves & HP BladeSystem Servers

Besides our main dedicated server and cloud offerings for the Mac mini and the latest-generation Mac Pro, we can host Apple’s rack-mounted Xserve line. We also offer traditional HPE blade infrastructure for organizations with a desire to house all of their services in one enterprise solution.

Custom Solutions

If you have a special project, please give us a call! We specialize in custom configurations (like consolidated hybrid cloud environments and isolated cages). Our engineering team loves to work with customers to create bespoke enterprise solutionsCall our sales engineering staff today to learn more.

Where are MacStadium data centers located?

We have data centers in Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Silicon Valley in the US, and Dublin, Ireland, and Frankfurt, Germany, in Europe. You can read more about our data centers here.

Locations
Which location should I choose?

When choosing a data center to start a subscription, keep in mind the geographic locations of all those attempting to access the server (that could mean you, your team, or your customers). If low latency is important, the closer the servers are physically, the better your connection quality will be.

Here is a set of IP addresses, one for each data center, to test latency or perform a trace route:

Atlanta
208.52.190.1

Dublin
208.83.1.1

Las Vegas
207.254.73.1

Locations

Networking

Can I connect to a hosted Mac from behind my office firewall?

If need to create a private connection between your office and a hosted Mac or private cloud at MacStadium, we provide two types of firewall access.

We offer access to our managed, shared firewall for $50 per month. Engineers at MacStadium will consult with you or your IT experts to configure and maintain your subscriptions behind this firewall. Our managed, shared firewall solution is built on Cisco ASA hardware.

Our top-level solution is a dedicated firewall or pair of dedicated firewalls from the Cisco ASA 5500 series. This solution will initially be initially configured by our network engineers before being turned over to you to be self-managed by you or your IT staff. We’re happy to assist with future configuration if you’re unfamiliar with Cisco ASA solutions.

With the Cisco ASA platform, customers commonly configure solutions such as these:

  • Create a permanent VPN tunnel between corporate office Local Area Network and servers located at one of the three MacStadium datacenters.
  • Enable ports for remote access to allow remote users to VPN into their MacStadium servers.
  • Establish extensive firewall policies, protecting and securing their servers from the internet as needed. This is often preferred over software firewall policies which are placed directly on the servers. Managing a firewall at the network level in front of your hardware is easier to configure and troubleshoot when multiple servers are involved or when many locations are being connected.

Some of these solutions are only available with the dedicated hardware option. Our sales engineering team can further explain your options.

Firewalls
Can we securely connect to our MacStadium servers by whitelisting the public IP addresses?

Do you need secure remote (SSH, SFTP, etc.) access to or from your MacStadium servers to machines at a third party provider like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure?

Your public IP addresses are yours to use and are not shared. Once assigned to a subscription or account, they are not used for any other purpose. You’re free to whitelist those IP’s on your remote AWS, GCP, or Azure servers for remote access to your MacStadium dedicated servers and/or virtual machines.

Does MacStadium provide DNS services?

We offer complimentary DNS domain hosting for your Mac via a web interface known as ‘ISPConfig’. With this interface, you can setup DNS zones and create/edit zone records.

MacStadium engineering can setup a reverse DNS PTR record for your machine at no cost. This is essential if you are hosting a Mail server or something similar with your Mac.

Please open a support ticket for DNS record change requests.

You can also find more information about DNS zone maintenance here.

DNS
How can I enable file sharing between multiple dedicated servers?

We can either place your dedicated servers in a PVLAN community where your IP addresses would not change or setup a dedicated VLAN with a new, dedicated subnet. The PVLAN option is free. With the dedicated VLAN you would have to pay per month for the size subnet you desired.

You can open a support ticket to have either option configured.

How fast is the internet connection?

Regardless of the MacStadium hosting plan you subscribe to, every Mac subscription includes a dedicated ethernet port with either 100Mbps on the Pro Plan or 1000Mbps (1 Gigabit) on the Elite Plan. We do not cap, throttle, or restrict your utilization and both plans take advantage of symmetric connections. Read more about connection speed.

How is bandwidth usage calculated?

For dedicated servers, we provide complimentary real-time and historical network usage graphs at the port and network edge in your customer dashboard. Usage is calculated hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly for you to monitor in real time.

If you are on a bulk plan with many servers under a single invoice, we can not guarantee access to the network usage graphs.

Customers with private cloud environments will not have access to the network usage graphs in their customer dashboards. Instead, we will provide complimentary access through Logic Monitor to track usage on all available resources in your environment.

How secure is the connection to servers at MacStadium?

MacStadium’s engineering team has spared no expense in providing a variety of standard and optional, premium security measures. Read more about our firewall options and our security practices.

Firewalls
Is network traffic throttled?

We do not throttle or groom network traffic in any way. Whether your servers are on the Pro or Elite hosting plan, you’ll get full 100Mbps or 1000Mbps, respectively, upstream and downstream.

All connections are also by default wide open. We do not block any ports on servers at the time of configuration.

What is a PVLAN/VLAN? Can I have one configured for multiple data centers?

As a best practice and for network stability, it is recommended to limit layer 2 size to a single geographical location. A PVLAN or VLAN is a layer 2 configuration. Layer 2 does not and can not extend between data centers.

When customers are in different data centers they should be able to inherently communicate between each other like any two servers on the internet. Public internet connected servers will not be able to see each other as if they are on the same LAN segment.

What web service can I use to check the speed of my server?

We recommend using beta.speedtest.net. It’s an HTML5 version of the popular speed test tool by Ookla.

We’vealso tested other services like speedof.me in our data centers and have seen issues with accuracy and consistency based on the tool as well as the internet browser used (e.g. Safari vs. Chrome).

We have also written about speed tests in the past. In our blog, you can review our Hosting Elite Gigabit Speed Test and Hosting Pro 100Mbps Speed Test benchmark videos.

Why can't my servers talk to each other?

If you have multiple servers at a single MacStadium data center and wish for them to "see" each other without touching the public internet, a Private VLAN (PVLAN) or Virtual LAN (VLAN) can be created to enable this. Open a support ticket and our engineering team will explain the options based on your current account and subscriptions.

By default, dedicated and colocated servers are not able to communicate or “see” each other on the layer 2 network within a single MacStadium data center. This is to isolate  customers from one another and facilitate security.

Why do I get DNS resolution errors on my NAS?

If you’ve added a NAS subscription to your account, you may get errors that look like this:

“The system has detected that your DNS server cannot resolve host, and some applications might not work properly. Please go to “Control Panel > Network > TCP/IP” and check if the DNS server and default gateway is correct. You may contact your ISP (Internet service provider) for the DNS server information.”

There’s no need to panic as you can safely ignore this error. This is happening because in its current configuration, the NAS is not exposed to an outside internet connection. You can set this error to not alert in your NAS settings.

DNS
Why do I have recurring issues connecting to my colocated server running an older version of OS X?

There is a network issue related to ARP in OS X which causes significant packet loss in redundant Cisco Networks. If you are running OS X 10.9 or 10.10 on a Mac mini colocated with us, this issue needs to be patched in the OS X networking stack. You can find a tool in your customer dashboard  that allows you to check the status of and apply the patch at any time.

Click here for a step-by-step tutorial.

Why is there a unique hostname on the IP address for my subscription based server?

If you receive a server with an IP address that has an existing hostname, please get in touch with us via a support ticket to have it removed or if necessary replaced.

PTR records are a complimentary, manual service we offer to customers. Individual IP addresses are re-used and assigned randomly at MacStadium. If you are a new customer and the IP address for a server you’ve subscribed to has a hostname on it, then the previous user of that IP address may have manually requested a PTR record added to that IP address. This is rare, but still a possibility.

Storage

Can I add SAN storage to a Mac mini?

No. We do not support SAN storage on the Mac mini. Mac minis are not equipped to handle the network and bandwidth requirements of SAN storage. The Mac mini does not meet our hardware requirements due to not being included on VMware’s compatibility list and because it lacks internal bus throughput.

If a SAN is not a viable option, we also offer two other high-capacity external storage options. You may add a subscription add-on or colocate a 2.5” BUS-powered hard drive up to 4TB in size (either USB or Thunderbolt). We also have a dedicated NAS option up to 25TB that is connected either directly to a server (depending on space and I/O port availability) or via the local network.

SAN
Can I add SAN storage to an existing server?

If your existing server is a Mac Pro running VMware and you wish to add SAN storage, this is possible. We’ll need to take the server offline for a short period to present fibre channel connectivity to it. There is no additional labor cost when adding SAN at a later date. Available add-ons for your server are accessible within your customer dashboard under the Add-Ons tab within the details of your subscription(s).

If you have a Mac Pro server running an operating system on bare metal (macOS, for example), we can’t provision SAN storage for it. Due to the configuration and storage type, the operating system is unable to connect to and manage SAN storage.

SAN
Can I add an external hard drive to a server?

Yes. We currently offer external hard drives starting at $10 per month per drive. You can add up to two dedicated 2.5” external 1TB (1,000GB), 2TB, or 4TB USB 3.0 bus-powered hard drives for your Mac. With an external drive attached, you can have a simple, robust backup, and/or expanded capacity solution. You can partition the external 2.5″ drive(s) as you like via the operating system on your server. Available add-ons for your server are accessible within your customer dashboard under the Add-Ons tab within the details of your subscription(s).

Backup

We recommend making one partition at least the same size as the internal drive in your Mac and then have it clone each night using either the included macOS Time Machine backup tools or a third party tool like SuperDuper! which allows you to boot from the external drive right away in the event of a failure or other disaster on your internal drive. The remaining space can be used as a secondary partition to use as you desire.

Colocation

We can also colocate your own external hard drive as long as it meets our size and power requirements. Colocated 2.5” external hard drives can have USB or Thunderbolt connectivity and must be bus-powered.

Can I use internal SSDs instead of SAN storage?

Yes, but there are some things you should know.  The bandwidth on internal SSDs is great, and it’s a cheaper option, but there are some serious limitations/considerations you should be aware of. There is no redundancy with internal SSDs.  If a drive dies, it’s dead and all information is lost.  If you use internal SSDs you lose the ability to do resource pooling - each VM must run on a single host and the associated internal SSD. This also prevents you from running hosts in an HA configuration on large clouds.  With internal SSDs you are limited to 1TB/host.  Our small cloud bundles use internal SSDs by default.

Internal Storage
What RAID configuration is used in the 2xHDD Mac mini configurations?

By default, Mac minis with RAID arrays are set to RAID1. That means the pair of drives are mirrored for availability.

If you’d like a different RAID configuration at the time of your order, please open a support ticket with your request.

Our support staff can also handle custom requests. One popular, virtualization-focused option on the Mac mini with quad core i7 CPU is removing the RAID array and replacing one of the disks with an SSD. The user can then install VMware ESXi on the SSD with a few high-performing (or all) virtual machines while using the remaining HDD for low-performance virtual machines and/or backup.

RAID Disclaimer

RAID in any form is not a backup! RAID provides availability or speed based on the format. If you lose a disk in a RAID1 array, you have another disk available to rebuild the RAID array after adding a new disk. Other forms of RAID offer lesser or greater amounts of availability by way of parity. The standard RAID levels page on Wikipedia is a great resource for learning more.

What does Pure Storage do?

Pure Storage provides super high performance all-flash arrays.  They are highly reliable with built-in redundancy so you never experience data loss.  In addition, they have unparalleled throughput capabilities and built-in hardware encryption so your information is always secure.  We find that this level of performance is important for cloud customers doing Mac CI/CD.

Pure

Continuous Integration

How does MacStadium help with continuous integration (CI) projects?

iOS and macOS developers practicing CI/CD require dedicated Mac hardware to build and test their apps. We provide this service for everyone from individual developers to growing startups and Fortune 100 organizations.

Whether you want to get started with Jenkins on a single Mac mini, manage multiple Mac servers running a Buildkite agent, or deploy a hosted Mac Pro private cloud running VMware for large-scale CI and CD, MacStadium has a solution for all iOS app development and testing needs. 

We can provide a cluster of Mac servers, SAN storage and a managed firewall -- everything you need to create virtual machines to test and build on for CI. Our cloud solution is highly scalable and redundant.  

Account & Billing

Can I change dedicated server type and options?

One of the great features of our dedicated server offering is that you may change models at any time. Contact support and make a request to change to the new model type.

When possible, we will migrate your data free of charge but there may be downtime depending on hardware configuration. Billing will stop for the old server and start for the new server without penalty.

When applicable, you can also add or remove options like additional RAM, external storage, firewall, etc. within your customer dashboard under the Add-Ons tab within the details of your subscription(s).

Changes to dedicated servers submitted to support via either method are managed via a work-order ticket and completed at the first available time (usually within an hour or two).

Account
Can I change hosting plans?

Yes, we can move your Mac mini from one hosting plan to the other at no cost to you. This only applies to the Mac mini, since the Mac Pro is available solely on the Elite+ plan.

Customers may login to their customer dashboard and open a support ticket to request this change.

A change of hosting plans requires physically moving your server to a new rack slot. Your server will experience minor downtime during the move. Within your request ticket, we’ll work with you to reduce downtime via scheduling.

We will prorate your hosting charges that month based on the number of days your server spends on each hosting plan.

Account
Can I get a copy of MacStadium's IRS Tax Form W-9?

A signed copy of MacStadium’s Form W-9 for IRS tax purposes is now available on our legal page. Please email billing@macstadium.com if you have any further questions.

Billing
Can I get better pricing for a longer term?

Yes! A 24-month term includes a 5% incentive, while a 36-month term includes 8% incentive.  These do not apply if your environment includes hardware components that require a 36-month term (e.g., dedicated SAN).

Pricing
Can I order additional IP addresses for my subscriptions?

For $2 per month per IP, MacStadium offers individual, public IP addresses.

To configure a second IP address in macOS, follow these steps:

  • Within System Preferences select “Network” and click the “+” button in the bottom left hand corner.
  • Under the “Interfaces” drop down, choose “Ethernet” and provide a name (you’re free to choose the name, eg. Ethernet 2). This will allow you to configure a second IP address under the new interface you created.

Another use for multiple IP addresses is when running VMware ESXi on your hosted Mac. When you start a hosted Mac subscription running VMware ESXi, it includes one IP address for public internet access. But, you’ll need to order more if you wish to build virtual machines that are publicly accessible via the internet.

We also offer large IP address blocks. A block must be ordered via support ticket. These make sense if you have a cluster of servers or virtual machines and need consecutive IP addresses.

Account
Can I pay with PayPal?

We accept PayPal with a pre-payment of three (3) or more months of service. Please open a ticket with the billing department to setup your payments using PayPal.

Billing
Can I pay with an invoice?

Yes. However, we do require payments of at least $1,000 for invoicing.  If your monthly price is less than that, you can still receive an invoiced payment by pre-paying for one or two years.

Billing
Can I use FileVault on my Mac?

Because FileVault requires that a user must login before the Mac connects to the internet, it's not possible since the Macs are located in our data center racks and customers connect remotely.

If you enable FileVault, you will lose access to the Mac upon the first reboot. Our support agents will have to wait for FileVault to fully encrypt the drives before we can un-encrypt them again. The entire process can typically take between 48-72 hours.

The following choices are your options for how our technical support staff disables FileVault on your hosted Mac:

  1. Open a support ticket as soon as possible. If you’re in a free trial period, we can take this server offline and get you setup with a new server so you don’t waste the free trial period waiting for this server.
  2. If this is a server you’ve been using for a while and you don’t wish to start fresh, let us know and we’ll pull the server to our workbench. From there, we’ll keep track and when encryption completes, we’ll start the decryption process. Afterwards, we’ll get the server back in the rack and let you know it’s available again.
Support
How can I get additional support managing my Mac environment?

When your request for support is beyond the scope of what MacStadium provides, we recommend getting in touch with one of our suggested IT partners. They all are familiar with MacStadium and Macminicolo products.

Support
How can I reactivate my cancelled Mac subscription?

In order to reactivate a Mac, log into the MacStadium Portal and select the previously deactivated subscription. To do so select the Actions button on the right of your subscription overview and select Reactivate from the drop down menu. A ticket will be automatically generated for our engineers to execute and you’ll be notified once your Mac is accessible again. You can find more information here.

Account
How do I add more team members to my account?

Using the MacStadium customer dashboard you’re able to add multiple team members to your account and apply user-specific permissions to them. This allows you to grant access only to certain parts of the customer dashboard. For example, you could add someone of your accounting department to your account and only allow them to see accounting related parts of the dashboard.

If you would like to add another team member to your MacStadium account please first log into your customer dashboard. Once you’ve done that locate the silouette of a person in the top right corner and select Team Member. From there you can add a new user using the New Team Member button in the top right.

Required items for you to fill out are:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Role

The Phone Number field is not required to be filled in.

Once you’ve added your team member to your account, our system will send  an activation link  to the specified email address allowing them to set a password for themselves.

Account
How do I configure my Mac for colocation prior to shipping it to MacStadium?

Please refer to the colo configuration guide.

Please follow the directions as described, and then ship your Mac to the MacStadium location listed in your install ticket.

Support
How do I end or cancel my subscription?

You don’t need a lengthy contract to take advantage of Mac hosting at MacStadium. We bill on the anniversary date of your subscription each month for the next 30 days of service.

If you ever decide to leave MacStadium, you can do so through your customer dashboard. To cancel a single subscription, open its details, click on the Actions dropdown, and then click Cancel. If you have multiple subscriptions and want to cancel your account, please submit a support ticket. This can be completed at any time for any and all subscriptions you no longer wish to use. When you cancel a subscription, the server is taken offline and all data is destroyed.

If you cancel your subscription before the end of your current service period, we do NOT refund any amounts already paid for service in the future. In accounting terms, we don’t prorate services at MacStadium due to the man-hours required to return used hardware to inventory for re-use.

If you own the Mac on the canceled subscription (because you shipped it to us as part of our colocation service), we will return your server to you after verifying the shipping address and speed of shipment requested. Our billing department will charge your payment method on file the actual shipping amount to close out your billing.

You’re always welcome to return at any time with the same account.

Account
How do I request changes to a billing master subscription?

All changes to an account while on a billing master must be submitted in a ticket. That includes any form of upgrade or downgrade to your services. Read more about the process here.

Billing
How do I share my account details in a support ticket?

The simplest solution is to add them in the support ticket via our secure web interface. For additional security, we have also added a checkbox labeled Contains Sensitive Information which prevents the text being sent in your ticket note from appearing in any plain text emails - you and your team members must sign in to the customer dashboard to view the message.

You are also free to change the credentials after we are done assisting you. 

If you are uncomfortable leaving that information available in an archived ticket (we can’t erase them), there are web services that can provide one-time, password-protected links to your sensitive text. Below are just a few of the options:

MacStadium does not endorse the use of these services (we are confident in the security of our ticketing) but understand your desire for secure transmission protocols. Please thoroughly researchthe technology, terms and conditions, and privacy policy of third-party web service when considering sharing your sensitive content with them.

Account
How do volume discounts work?

Customers typically pay full price for each host until reaching 50 hosts. After that, volume incentives start to kick-in at different tiers, which vary based on the type of hosts, the term, etc.  Only hosts above the volume tier have a reduced price (e.g. host number 50 would be full-price while host number 51 could be eligible for reduced pricing). Specific price tiers are determined uniquely for each customer, but can reach up to 10% off at high volumes.

Pricing
I accidentally turned off VNC on my hosted Mac. What do I do?

If you inadvertently turn off VNC / ARD on your hosted Mac, you can re-enable it through a console connection via SSH (which MacStadium turns on by default on all subscription based Mac servers) with these instructions:

  • If you are accessing the hosted Mac from a local computer running OS X, you can click on Spotlight, and type ‘terminal’. Once in terminal, execute the command: ssh 192.168.1.200, where the number sequence is the IP of your hosted Mac.
  • If you are on a Windows based PC or other local workstation, download a Telnet/SSH client such as PuTTY, and connect to the IP of your hosted Mac.
  • When prompted, enter your administrator-privileged username and password (the account you use to access the remote Mac).
  • Once logged in, you can execute the following command at the prompt to re-enable VNC (where it says mypasswd, insert your desired VNC Password):
sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -activate -configure -access -on -clientopts -setvnclegacy -vnclegacy yes -clientopts -setvncpw -vncpw mypasswd -restart -agent -privs -all

You can now close your terminal/SSH window, and attempt to re-connect via your VNC / ARD client as normal.

Support
I need about X concurrent VMs. How much will that cost?

How large would each concurrent VM be?  Would they be running 100% of the time or just occasionally?  Would you be spinning up single-use (AKA ephemeral) VMs or running static VMs to mimic bare metal hosts?   Assuming 2 cores and ~8GB of RAM, you’d be looking at $150-$200/VM in our cloud bundles. You can get even lower as you continue to scale up.  Of course, those prices are for concurrent VMs running at 100% capacity.  Because we provide dedicated private clouds, you get all the benefit of thin provisioning, so if a VM isn’t using its full set of allocated resources it will give them back to the pool.

Pricing
I need my servers to have pre-installed software. What do I do?

With dozens or hundreds of dedicated servers, it would be both difficult and time-consuming for us to release dedicated servers running clean operating systems. Instead, customers find it’s beneficial to setup one machine in their pool of Mac servers with the exact configuration needed. Many of those customers save time for themselves and our staff by creating a template machine for cloning their most used tools or a specific subset based on the expected use of the machine(s) to be deployed.

Once given the okay to start the bulk server cloning process our support staff will take that machine offline and begin cloning. Once the customer validates the first cone is successful, we'll continue the process. After manually setting a new network configuration per server, we can deploy the new bundle of machines to meet the customer’s needs.

Support
Is there a fee for starting a subscription?

Dedicated Servers

No. We do not charge any kind of setup fee, neither for Mac minis or Mac Pros that are available instantly nor for hardware configurations that aren’t.

Private Clouds

Yes, we do charge a one-time setup fee for our private clouds.

  • Small Private Cloud: $249
  • Medium Private Cloud: $249
  • Large Private Cloud: $299
Pricing
What does the remote hands service cover?

MacStadium provides free live chat, email and phone support 24x7x365. Our free remote hands service is available 24x7x365 without hidden fees. Refer to this article for more details about what services are provided.

Support
What if my Mac "locks up" or needs a reboot?

If your Mac locks up or becomes unavailable, you should first use the Power Management ‘Hard Reboot’ feature included with every dedicated server subscription at MacStadium via your control panel. Click a subscription, then click the Actions button, then Hard Reboot.

By clicking this button, a signal is sent to an APC-switched PDU power outlet dedicated to your Mac in our data center. The APC PDU will drop power for a few seconds and then restore power. Read this tutorial for more information about rebooting and scheduling a daily self-power via operating system settings.

Support
What is a billing master?

For customers with a large number Mac servers, it’s far easier to combine your monthly expenses on one statement than to bill you for each subscription individually throughout the month. We offer a billing master subscription to cover this situation.

A billing master subscription combines all of your subscriptions and their components into a single placeholder subscription so you receive a simplified and bundled billing statement that makes account management much easier. This allows us to bill you once per month for all of your subscriptions, even if you add servers or add-ons at different times throughout the billing period.

Read more about billing masters.

Billing
When do volume discounts start?

We offer discounts starting at 50 hosts or more.

Pricing
Where can I access my invoices?

Invoices for your individual subscription(s) are available in your customer dashboard in PDF format under the Billing tab within the details of your subscription(s). Each subscription has its own statement. For large numbers of servers, please get in touch with the billing team to discuss options for condensing billing statements.

Billing
Where do I ship my Mac for colocation after I signup?

The current addresses for our data centers appear on our Contact page.

A MacStadium account and colocation subscription are required before shipping a server. You may combine multiple colocation subscriptions in one shipment if each is labeled with the respective subscription number. This number is found in the subscription details - just click on the subscription in your customer dashboard to view it.

After shipment, please update your install ticket with the tracking number of your shipment. We can keep track and provide you with the best estimate for when your server is online in our data center.

Before shipping, please review our colocation configuration guide.

Support
Why was my credit card declined during the signup process?

At MacStadium, we make use of fraud protection services that use multiple layers of security to identify and stop fraud before it happens. These measures are in place to help ensure the security of our network and the best possible experience for our customers. Because of these additional security measures, it's possible that your credit card transaction could be flagged by the system during signup, even if the credit card is valid. If this happens, please contact us via phone, chat or open a ticket in your dashboard. Read more about this topic here.

Billing

Company

How can I become a MacStadium partner?

If you are a consultant and/or ACN and wish to have your name added to our partner directory, please get in touch with us at hello@macstadium.com with the subject line “Partnering with MacStadium.”

Partners
What about Apple’s EULA?

The End User License Agreement (EULA) for Apple  legally and explicitly binds the installation and running of the operating system to Apple-labeled computers only. MacStadium customers will always be in full compliance with Apple's EULA, whether via hardware protocols or proper configuration of VMs.

Contracts
What are the major benefits of MacStadium?

MacStadium is the only provider of enterprise-class Apple Mac infrastructure as a service. We work with DevOps teams, iOS developers, and development tool providers and partners to create scalable and secure Mac infrastructure that is simple to manage and configure.

Customers turn to MacStadium when they...

Are frustrated with managing Macs in house
Need to scale their Mac infrastructure rapidly and easily
Are ready to take Continuous Integration seriously for their iOS/macOS builds
Want to secure, optimize, and customize their CI tooling
Need to reduce build times and provide developers a better experience 

Our patented, proven combo of technology and expertise lets us deploy Apple’s consumer hardware in a scalable, enterprise-class cloud.  We do this by combining Mac Pros, custom upgrades, super-fast SAN, and a variety of virtualization technologies into flexible solutions that we can fit to your exact needs.  

Case Studies
What does MacStadium do?

MacStadium is the only provider of enterprise-class hosting solutions for Apple Mac infrastructure. Whether you need to deploy a hosted private cloud for large-scale CI/CD or just need a single Mac mini to test your iOS app, MacStadium has a solution for all of your Mac hosting needs.

Company History
What is the minimum contract term?

Dedicated Macs are offered on a month-to-month basis. There are no yearly contracts unless you have worked with our sales team to develop a custom solution.

Our private clouds typically carry a 12-month contract term except when certain components are present (dedicated SAN, non-standard Blades, etc.).

If you’d like to pay for multiple months or a year and are interested in discounts for committing to an extended subscription, please open a support ticket with our billing department.

If you are currently in a trial with a Mac mini, at the end of the 24-hour free trial period you’ll be charged in full for your first month of service. You’re subscription can be canceled at any time, but we do not prorate for unused time if you close your account before the end of a billing period.

Contracts
What is the primary use case of MacStadium hosted infrastructure?

Organizations leverage MacStadium's Mac Infrastructure as a Service offerings for multiple reasons. Some (but not all) of those follow:

  • Want to spend less time managing infrastructure
  • Need to build more consistent CI/CD processes
  • Have to catch issues sooner
  • Must deliver better applications, and do so faster
  • Must meet stringent security requirements

 

Case Studies