Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am using MacBook (2008 model with 4GB max RAM).

I am planning to buy Mac mini (Core i7 Quad Core with Lion Server).

My aim to have a logical system with 12 GB (8GB with Mac mini + 4 GB in laptop) for running virtual machines on both Mac mini and MacBook and be able talk to each other.

I have the following questions:

  1. Can I connect to Mac mini remotely from MacBook? (Suggest the best way for this.)
  2. Do I need to buy any other hardware for the remote connection or I can do thru Wi-Fi available in both Mac mini and MacBook?
  3. What about the performance compared to direct and remote connections as it is vital for virtual machine communication.
share|improve this question
add comment

3 Answers

Can I connect to Mac Mini Remotely from Mac book?

Yes. You can use OS X's built-in screen sharing. It's a VNC-based application that ships with OS X. You'll need to enable it on your systems in order to use it. Open System Preferences -> Sharing. And make sure 'Screen Sharing' is checked. I recommend the excellent ScreenSharingMenulet -- sits in your menu bar and lists any Bonjour-enabled screen sharing hosts in a drop down when you click on it for automatic discovery and easy connection to shared screens in your network.

Do I need to buy any other hardware for the remote connection or I can do thru Wi-FI available in both Mac MINI and Mac book?

No additional hardware or software is required. You don't even need ScreenSharingMenulet -- you can find and connect to shared screens via Finder if you like.

You do say something confusing your question though:

My aim to have a logical system with 12 GB (8GB with Mac MINI + 4 GB in laptop)for running Virtual Machines on both Mac MINI and Mac Book and be able talk to each other.

You cannot tie the machines together using screen sharing. They won't present themselves as one logical, virtual device to any virtualization software with shared memory or CPUs or any such thing. They will act as completely separate machines, but they can be accessed, graphically, from one another.

If you're trying to tie the machines together to act as a single, unified "super computer" you need to look at much more complicated technologies than anything OS X ships with. Beowulf for clustering and something better than ethernet for inter-machine communication will be necessary like a fiber channel connection (and that will require more hardware).

What about the performance compared to direct and remote connections as it is vital for Virtual Machine communication.

It is difficult to give an answer to this question as it all depends on what you're trying to do when it comes to communication between the machines. On the remote access side of things: over my local wireless network the performance is decent if you use adaptive mode on the screen sharing application but it can get glitchy if you disable adaptive quality scaling. If my macs are all on wires on Gbit ethernet then non-adaptive scaling is quite good. Processes running within VMs on my Macs have good sustained throughput to the Mac's built-in ethernet and wireless network interfaces. Inter-process communication between VMs running on separate Macs is going to be completely dependent on your network and your processes -- impossible to give an answer that'll cover all cases I'm afraid. If you get more specific with what you're trying to do I could possibly answer this more succinctly.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Yes, you can connect remotely via VNC (Screen Sharing) and SSH. Both will work fine over Wi-Fi and you can create an ad-hoc network if you don't have an access point.

What sort of virtualization software do you intend to achieve this "logical system" with though?

share|improve this answer
add comment

It depends on which remote access. The easiest way to connect to a mac to other mac is "Screen Sharing and Remote Management". Just enable the screen sharing on both systems and then start screen sharing by using one of

vnc://ip-address/
vnc://machine-name-Main-Domain/

You can copy & paste any of these address in URL of Safari or Firefox.

Do I need to buy any other hardware for the remote connection or I can do thru Wi-Fi available in both Mac mini and MacBook?

Wi-Fi should work just fine. For increased speed (and reliability) I suggest to use ethernet wires like CAT5e etc. You can get 25ft ethernet for less then $20.00 on Amazon.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.