Upgrading to OS X Lion Server? Not so fast

Upgrading to OS X Lion Server? Not so fast

Summary: Apple's discussion board is lit up with posts from users that are suffering the consequences from upgrading to OS X Lion Server. Users are reporting bugs and crashing in Apple's server OS.


If you're considering upgrading to OS X Lion Server ($49 from the Mac App Store) you may want to wait a bit. Apple's discussion board is lit up with posts from users that quickly updated from Snow Leopard Server to Lion Server that are now suffering the consequences.

Users are reporting major SMB bugs and crashing in OS X Lion Server which renders it unusable on many networks. This thread in particular appears to be one of the worst. Here's a sampling of issues being reported:

I upgraded to lion server when it was released, since then i have been on the phone to Apple every day since. Have been instructed to restore back to snow leopard and upgrade to lion again, then spent 2 days trying to get mail working properly (mail was coming through a day late) once that was sorted all the services stopped working and this afternoon have been told by another apple engineer to install a fresh copy of Lion again!


Apple "simplified" server management.  This means that they eliminated most services from the Server Admin tool.  The only way to edit vertain settings (such as VPN) other than via Command Line in Terminal is through the Server (app), which only runs on 10.7 Server/Clients.  Then again, DNS is configured through the Server Admin, not the Server (app).  Anyway, two different places to change settings and one of them doesn't run on older clients.


Upgrading/migrating mail is not strightforward.  The documentation provided by apple is not 100% accurate.  Read posts about mail server storage location issues in this forum or you'll go crazy.


Issues I currently have... *Services turning on and off. -iCal -Address Book -iChat -Mail *Web / Wiki - Services practically nonexistent. I have reinstalled 4 times. I'm giving up for now, reverted back to SL Server.


Do not migrate to lion from a working version of snow leopard. I have reinstalled multiple times, attempted migrations multiple times and run fresh installs multiple times. I finally used my carbon copy cloner version to put everything back. It's working and steady after many late night and Hous of calls to apple tech support.


started out with missing graphs and status on server, then the mail server failed, then the web server didn't deliver pages... just to mention a view facts among other things.


It's been a nightmare. The Server tool is unusable. It is buggy as ****. User and Group assignments just up and dissapear. They are still present, but you can't see them from the Server Tool. The only way to manage them is to use the Users and Groups Preference Pane, which is a pain also, but at least it works.

The UI for setting permissions (yes, the standard Command-I interface), is screwed up also. It cannot handle simple tasks whithout failing. You never know what it its going to do. You add a group. But it doesn't take. You add it again. It might work. Hevean forbid you want to add a group, assign it read-write, and then apply to all subfolders. LOOKS like it works, but it doesn't. I confirmed this using the command line tools.

People that I've contacted say that the recently-released OS X Lion Server 10.7.1 update doesn't appear to fix many of the complaints. I also hear that Apple is blaming a lot of the Lion Server problems on third-parties.

Extra caution should be taken before installing a major operating system update on a server. Heed my partner David Morgenstern's warnings about Lion (it has issues with file sharingNASprintingFileVault, to name a few). Take your time on an upgrade of this magnitude and research everything on Apple's official support and discussion pages before taking the leap. Sweat the small stuff.

Obviously there are some happy Lion Server users out there (there has to be), I just thought that it was worth noting that the early adopter tax can be extra steep when servers are involved.

Are you running Snow Leopard or Lion Server?

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Operating Systems, Servers

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  • RE: Upgrading to OS X Lion Server? Not so fast

    After living with Lion on a MacBook Air and 2 iMacs from release through 10.7.1 update I have decided to keep Snow Leopard on servers AND workstations. I suspect Apple have hired the Windows OS team to handle this upgrade. We froze on Win XP and will probably so the same with Snow Leopard.
    The Lion changes to trackpad UI are logical and easily accepted by users, but they've crippled the Mail, iCal, Address Book and Finder apps. The grey icons are aesthetically pleasing, but not as readily identified by users.
    I remain a staunch Apple supporter, but this was an ill-considered move totally out of step with customer expectations. Hopefully, 10.7.2 might clean it up, or do we wait for 10.8 Tabby?
    • Why bring Microsoft into this?

      @boudd4 Your problem is with Apple, leave Microsoft out it. Learn to blame Apple when they mess up. 400 million licenses have been sold for Windows 7, many are enjoying it and giving it the praise it deserves. You can't put Windows Server 2008 R2 in the same category with Mac OS X server. Microsoft is a tested and proven platform used by hundreds of thousands of Enterprises around the world. Microsoft does thorough testing, host beta program, works with Technology Adoption Partners.

      Apple didn't do its due diligence with this product. Maybe if they actually hired the Windows OS Team, they would have released a better product.
      • RE: Upgrading to OS X Lion Server? Not so fast

        @adacosta38 [i]Learn to blame Apple when they mess up.[/i]

        That's not in the RDF field guide. When all else fails... blame Microsoft.
      • My goodness, feeling a bit defensive, are we? The poster

        was making a valid and humorous comparison in that Lion feels like the kind of substandard product we've come to expect from Redmond.
      • T, FTFY

        @baggins_z: [i]...was making a valid and humorous comparison in that Lion feels like the kind of substandard product I've erroneously come to expect from Redmond.[/i]
      • @ye

        You've already demonstrated your intellectual dishonesty by claiming an OS that distorts font shapes on its display is just doing things "differently." So pretty much anything you say from this point forward is meaningless.
    • RE: Upgrading to OS X Lion Server? Not so fast

      @boudd4 [i]I suspect Apple have hired the Windows OS team to handle this upgrade.

      I remain a staunch Apple supporter...[/i]

      Now that's funny.
    • RE: Upgrading to OS X Lion Server? Not so fast

      Buy a real server product and quit playing with toys.
    • There do seem to be a lot of idiotic interface decisions

      and twitchy behavior. I went up to Lion, then back down to SL. Then back up to Lion. Lion has a few things I do like, but it is the first Apple operating system since System 7 that has made me feel frustrated and exasperated in every day tasks. I do feel at times like I'm using Windows and suffering the famous death by a thousand paper cuts Microsoft products are so famous for inflicting upon its users.
      • Welcome to popularity, Apple

        @baggins_z When Apple only had a few users, it was easy to please all the Mac geeks. Now its becoming a mainstream product, just like Windows, and just like Windows, it has to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Windows would be great if it only had to appeal to enterprises, or only to home users, or only to artists, or only.. you get what I mean. Apple is no longer the artsy OS, it has to be all things to all people, which means it will no longer be awesome at being smooth and fun. Welcome everyone.
        A Gray
    • RE: Upgrading to OS X Lion Server? Not so fast

      There goes your "it just works" crap. I was at a Mac training a week or so ago and a few of the iMacs crashed in a room with such a small number of them as 16.
    • RE: Upgrading to OS X Lion Server? Not so fast


      The fact is Windows server doenst have any of those problems and offer much much much more fonctionality.

      Apple know nothing about server side computing. Apple is good only for small device like IPod.

      If u need real muscles for you server then pick the real stuff Windows server or Linux entreprise.

      So typical of Apple users, to blames others for their own incompetence.
      • RE: Upgrading to OS X Lion Server? Not so fast


        That was called sarcasm SylvainT. It's not his fault you don't get it.
        As for your claim about Windows and Linux being real muscles, you forget that OS X IS Unix, Windows and Linux are Unix want-a-be's. OS X and Linux share many of the same open source apps like Apache, Samba, OpenLDAP, TomCat, CUPS, etc. to name some. Many were written for Unix first and ported to Linux.
        AD is MS's bastardation of X.500 which came from Unix. Exchange is MS's bastardation of X.400 which came from Unix. MS's file sharing (SMB) came from IBM, to name a few.
        I'm not saying Windows isn't a good server platform. MS has had about 19 years to harden the Windows NT platform. Apple has had 12 and OS X was more stable than NT in the beginning. And it's not like Windows servers never had their share of problems.
        That being said, I am disappointed in Apple in their quality of work on Lion Server. I'm sure they will iron it out.
    • It's less than 3 months old!

      @boudd4 OS X Lion Server is less than 3 months in the public.

      I usually wait 3 months for all the bugs to be ironed out, maybe you should consider that next time.
  • There is no 'issue' with OS X Lion Server

    You're just holding it the wrong way!!

    • RE: Upgrading to OS X Lion Server? Not so fast



      I knew someone would say it....
    • OMG so original!

      • RE: Upgrading to OS X Lion Server? Not so fast

        @macadam - sorry that is SILL funny.
    • Like

      @iTeaBoy We need a like button on these posts
      A Gray
  • RE: Upgrading to OS X Lion Server? Not so fast

    Anyone in a production environment, no matter the OS, would be damn foolish to run any new version of an OS without waiting for a dot3 or dot4 update unless you want a new job.