How To Automate, Connect, and Manage Multiple Computers On Your NAS
What do I mean by “Headless Mac Mini”?
A “headless” computer system is just one without a local terminal/display (or “head”) plugged into it, along with no keyboard, mouse, etc., for interacting with the machine. “Headless” computers aren’t systems you sit down and use like traditional desktop workstations. You access and run them remotely—often over a local area network. For example, you might control a headless server through a web-accessible control panel or graphical desktop over the network with a solution like Remote Desktop or VNC.
You’ll see the term “headless” pop up in a variety of different contexts, but it always means the same thing. “Headless Linux” refers to a Linux system without a monitor and keyboard. A “headless Minecraft server” is a computer without a monitor and keyboard running a Minecraft server. Instead, you connect to the server over the network through another computer.
What’s the Point of a Headless Server?
Not every computer system needs a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Many computers are servers designed for remote access. Data centers are full of “rack-mounted” computers, packing as much computing power into as small a space as possible. They’ll save space, electricity, and money by not connecting each server computer to a separate monitor.
Headless systems aren’t just for data centers. For example, you might host a media server on an old computer lying around, letting you stream media from any device on your local network. Once you have the media server up and running, you can remove the media server computer’s monitor, keyboard, and mouse—and access it over the network. You can keep your server PC in a closet and control it without sitting in front of it. You now have a headless server.
These systems can be controlled and managed remotely without the peripherals getting in the way. If there is a reason you need a monitor and keyboard with a headless server—perhaps for troubleshooting a problem—you can always connect those peripherals when you need them.
For example, Gartner estimated Google had around 2.5 million servers in its data centers around the world back in July 2016. Those are largely going to be headless servers—Google doesn’t need 2.5 million monitors and keyboards, too.
Here are links to software and websites mentioned in this Insight:
- Arq Backup – “Backup software for Mac or Windows PC.”
- Screens – “Control any computer from your Mac from anywhere in the world.”
- DaVinci Resolve Project Server download – To download the Project Server, from the link, scroll down on the left side labeled “Latest Downloads” and look for “DaVinci Resolve Project Server”. As of this article’s publishing, the Project Server’s latest version is 18.1.1.
- HDMI “Dummy Plug” Dongle – Any HDMI Dummy Plug Dongle works, but double-check the resolution. I’m linking to the dongle from Amazon that I use.
- Any Desk – “AnyDesk’s high-performance Remote Desktop Software enables latency-free Desktop Sharing, stable Remote Control and fast and secure data transmission between devices.”
- Team Viewer – “Connect to any device, at anytime and centrally monitor and manage your IT with the world’s most trusted remote access and support solution.”
- Automounter MacOS App – “Intelligently managing your NAS servers and shares, ensuring your shares and files are always accessible and ready to use.”
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- Resolve Remote Rendering: Setting Up A ProRes ‘Dongle’ – Working on a PC but need to render ProRes? In this Insight, learn how to set up Resolve remote rendering & use a spare Mac for ProRes renders.
- Virtualizing Your Networked Resolve Database Server on Linux – Learn how to install and configure Postgres database servers in a Linux virtual machine across an internal network for DaVinci Resolve.
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