FAQs

Basics of Service

What is colocation?

Colocation, colo for short, means that you place the Mac mini that you own in our secure data center. We supply power, bandwidth, and physical security allowing your Mac mini to be ‘hosted’ on the internet. You can access its desktop or its command line interface. You can use it for file storage, web & database hosting, an e-mail server, or some of the built in OS X Server tools such as calendar, address book, wiki servers, etc. Because the hardware is compatible with Windows and Linux you can configure it anyway you’d like before sending your mini to our data center.

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What is your uptime, guarantee, or SLA?

We always strive for 100% uptime. By uptime, we are measuring the data center having power and internet connectivity. Individual machines may see different uptimes when considering software updates, reboots, and occasional hardware/software issues.

We have a track record of 99.9% or better uptime. Most months we deliver 100% uptime. We track these with monitoring systems we have both inside and outside of our network. You can view our MKE1 Pingdom stats page and PHX1 Pingdom stats page which monitors a Mac mini, or view our sister company’s server history page. Some of those servers have been online since 2008. Keep in mind, the individual servers on those tests may have had issues causing downtime as well.

If a company says they actually deliver 100% uptime and have never had any type of outages what-so-ever, it is a marketing bullet point that is not based in truth. Many companies promise 100% uptime and provide SLA (Service Level Agreements) to guarantee uptime. Normally an SLA would promise a refund of service cost based on a percentage of the downtime experienced and documented by the customer. Most agreements put the burden of monitoring and proving downtime on the customer. Our Mac mini colocation plans are priced at a point where if we hit 99.9% instead of 100% uptime, the refund would be less than a dollar.

We guarantee that we will deliver the best possible service and customer support. We are driven to hit 100% uptime. We will immediately resolve issues that affect uptime. If you are ever unhappy with our service, contact us and we will make things right.

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What if I just wanted to try it out?

We offer 24 hour demo periods to potential customers to allow them to test out the service prior to signing up. Enter your details in the Test Drive form at www.macminivault.com/try and we’d be glad to get a demo setup for you.

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Is there a contract for colocation?

No. There is not a contract for your Mac mini colocation. We have 3 basic conditions that apply to cancelations:

  • Prorated refunds are given for service months paid in advance. The current month is not refunded.
  • There is a $20 shipping and handling fee to return your Mac mini to you.
  • If you purchased a Mac mini from us, we can not ship it to you until after 90 days of your order.

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Do I get a static IPv4 address?

Yes. Each Mac mini has it’s own static publicly accessible IP (IPv4) address. Additional IPv4 addresses are available for $1.99 each per month.

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Do you support IPv6?

Yes, we have multiple native IPv6 peers to the internet at both MKE1 and PHX1. Currently IPv6 is available for customers on our Core and Enterprise plans that are not using our Cisco firewall service. To sign up for ‘beta’ access fill out this form [Click Here].

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Do you offer DNS service?

We do offer DNS service on our DNS cluster. We can set you up with an account and enter your domains into a DNS zone management system. Contact us for more info.

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Do you offer Domains?

Customers can log into their client portal and use the ‘Domains’ menu to register, transfer, and renew domains. For the domain to be ‘live’ the nameservers for the domain will need to be set accordingly if you are going to host your own DNS, use our DNS cluster, or use a 3rd party service for DNS. Standard ‘.com’ domains start at $9.95/year.

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Do you offer SSL certificates?

We offer SSL certificates for $39.95/year. Open a support ticket to begin the process, we can assist with the CSR generation and installation of the certificates.

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Can I set reverse DNS names?

Yes you can. Just open a support ticket and we will update the reverse DNS records for your IP(s).

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Where do I ship the mini?

When you place an order we will provision an IP address and slot for your mini. You will receive an email with instructions on how to configure your mini and where to send it to. Please ensure the mini is packed safely and the package is insured with the shipping company.

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What about the Mac mini box/packaging?

We catalog and store the Mac mini boxes in a secure warehouse. If you send your mini in to us with it’s original box we will store it for you and use it for return shipping.

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Data Center (Milwaukee)

Is your data center secure?

Our Milwaukee data center is monitored by multiple IP video cameras and secured with programmable RFID badges. If a badge goes missing it can be disabled immediately. Each cabinet within the data center has its own RFID lock at both the front and back.

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Can I have physical access to my Mac mini?

Customers can schedule a visit to the data center by opening a support ticket. We can not allow customers in the cabinets, but we can power down your Mac mini and set it up at a workstation.

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How fast is the network connection?

All Mac minis located in our cabinets (model year 2010 and newer) are connected to Cisco gigabit switch stacks. Each gigabit switch stack has redundant fiber connections to redundant core switches which are a pair of Cisco 6509′s. All of our core switches are networked in a redundant high speed 10G fiber layout to our edge routers. You can test your network connection to our data center here.

Peak transfer speeds will depend on the connection at the other end of the transfer and the path it takes. Peak transfer speeds are only temporary and long term transfer rates are reflected in the ‘sustained’ transfer rates listed in our packages.

We have five different upstream BGP peers. AT&T, Cogent, Level 3, Time Warner Cable, and TW Telecom. We control our upstream connection with our own AS number (AS21554). Other companies may have colo space inside a huge data center with a lot of connections. However, if they do not run their own AS number and peering, it means they are getting a “blended bandwidth product” which uses a handful of random peers. Not the 30+ network providers that the data center has connectivity to. We build our network and connectivity to give great bandwidth (size of the pipe) but also low latency (responsiveness).

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Can I take a tour of your data center?

Certainly, we’d love to show you around. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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What is the level of redundancy?

Your Mac mini will be in a datacenter with it’s own dedicated power circuit backed up with Generac generators and N+2 UPS battery systems. Your Mac mini will be plugged into a Cisco Gigabit switch stack that is connected by fiber to two separate core switches (Cisco 6509′s) which each have multiple 10G fiber connections to our edge routers. Our upstream fiber connections enter at different corners of our business park. Our Mac mini colocation cabinets have redundant access to all of the fiber coming into the building. BGP routing ensures that if one connection goes down, traffic will move to the available connections.

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Data Center (Phoenix)

Can I move my Mac mini from Milwaukee to Phoenix?

Our Phoenix location is a great addition for our customers. Especially those with multiple Mac minis. If you wish to move an existing Mac mini from our Milwaukee data center, down to Phoenix there are two ways we can assist. The entire process is highly documented and streamlined so that it’s a smooth transition and downtime consists only of shipping lengths.

We have two options that vary by shipping lengths:
$50 – 5 day migration
$150 – Overnight migration

Open a support ticket to get schedule the migration process.

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When can I order colocation for Phoenix?

Our order form currently allows sign ups for our Phoenix location. Orders placed for PHX1 will be in a pre-order status until PHX1 is fully online. Current go-live date is March 10th, 2014. Pre-ordering by the end of February will ensure that your order is online ASAP in Phoenix. Use promo code ’50off2′ for 50% off the first 2 months of colocation service.

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Is your data center secure?

The Phoenix data center is monitored by multiple IP video cameras and secured with programmable RFID badges. To enter the data center space itself, you must pass through a three-way authentication man trap. The Mac Mini Vault space is placed in a locked cage within the data center space. The facility is guarded 24×7 by a trained security staff.

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Can I have physical access to my Mac mini?

Unfortunately we can not allow customers into the Phoenix data center space in order to work on their machines.

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How fast is the network connection?

All Mac minis located in our cabinets are connected to Cisco gigabit switch stacks. Each gigabit switch stack has redundant fiber connections to our core layer switches which are Cisco 6500′s.

Peak transfer speeds will depend on the connection at the other end of the transfer and the path it takes. Peak transfer speeds are only temporary and long term transfer rates are reflected in the ‘sustained’ transfer rates listed in our packages.

We have two different upstream BGP peers at PHX1. Cogent and TW Telecom. There are over 20 providers onsite that we can peer with as we grow our Phoenix presence. We control our upstream connection with our own AS number (AS21624). Other companies may have colo space inside a huge data center with a lot of connections. However, if they do not run their own AS number and peering, it means they are getting a “blended bandwidth product” which uses a handful of random peers. Not the 30+ network providers that the data center has connectivity to. We build our network and connectivity to give great bandwidth (size of the pipe) but also low latency (responsiveness).

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What is the level of redundancy?

Our Phoenix data center space is powered by (4) 10MW feeds from the local utility. This power is split off into a complete A/B configuration. The power is backed up by battery power and N+1 2MW Cummins generators. The facility is cooled by an N+1 chiller plant and N+4 CRAH units. Our upstream fiber connections enter at different corners of our business park. Our Mac mini colocation cabinets have redundant access to all of the fiber coming into the building. BGP routing ensures that if one connection goes down, traffic will move to the available connections.

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Can I tour your data center?

We’d love to show you around. Due to security and facility policies, we may only have limited availability for tours. We’ll make our best effort to find an opening that works best for you. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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Mac Mini

Is the Mac mini a good server?

Absolutely. Apple’s Xserve Transition Guide sites the Mac mini as their most popular server system. Because of its size and power efficiency we are able to offer enterprise level colocation at affordable rates.

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Do I need the Mac mini Server version?

No you do not. Server.app can be purchased separately from the App Store, or you can continue using the desktop version of OS X.

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How do I access my Mac mini?

When you sign up you will receive links for our billing system, bandwidth monitoring, remote reboot, and address for your mini. You will have SSH and VNC access to your Mac mini. VNC allows you to see your Mini’s desktop from the OS X screen sharing application or most VNC applications on Linux machines.

To access your Mac mini via SSH:
Open terminal on a Mac/Linux machine or download and open Putty on a Windows machine. With putty simply enter your IP address or host name and once connecting the console will prompt for a username or password. From a Mac/Linux machine within terminal, enter the follow command using your username. ssh username@hostname_or_IP, hit enter, accept the default keys notice if prompted, then enter password when prompted. For example, the command might look like ssh [email protected] or ssh [email protected]

If you need to access your mini from a Windows machine, we recommend using iRAPP RDP Server. iRAPP is purchased separately, from the Code Rebel. We will include directions on how to purchase iRAPP at a discounted price and what we need to have it installed. All the details will be included in the sign up e-mails.

Read our getting start page for an idea of the setup required to colocate your Mac mini.

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How do I access my Network Graphs and Remote Reboot?

The network graphs and remote reboot are a part of the billing portal interface. This is the same area that has your invoice/billing information. Log in here. Under the “Services -> My Services” section there will be a list of all your Mac minis. When you view the details of your Mac mini you will see tabs for the Network Graph and Remote Reboot features. Clicking through the tabs will display more information about your Mac mini including the network graphs and the remote reboot functionality as well as the download links for MAMP PRO.

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Do I need a domain name?

You will be able to access your mini by its IP address or by its server name (example.macminivault.com). We sell “.com” domain names for $9.95. You can connect your domain name from another registrar to your mini by pointing the DNS records to the IP address that you are provided.

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Additional Services? SSL? Spam Filtering?

We offer SSL certificates as well as spam filtering services. E-mail <http://www.privatedaddy.com?q=aiQIY2kkCVlvamJuWAU0Lg8Pa1tCalQ0M2o-3D_19> for more information.

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How do I backup my Mac mini?

We have a great blog post on a few methods that we recommend.

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Can I add an external hard drive?

Yes you can. There are some restrictions and there is an extra charge of $10 a month. For larger storage options please contact us for a quote. For more details on external hard drive information please click here. To add a hard drive to your colocated Mac mini open a support ticket.

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Can I add an SD Card?

Yes, customers can have an SD card inserted in their Mac minis for no additional charge. Simply send the SD card with your mini or contact support in regards to shipping it at a later time. If you do ship it with your Mac mini, please make sure to not send it while it is inserted (pack it separately).

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Can I run a video dongle?

Customers that require higher resolution or snappier video response can request to have a video dongle connected to their Mac mini at no additional charge. When the Mac mini senses a monitor is hooked up, the display properties will allow for higher resolutions and streamer programs like SplashTop will display faster frame rates.

Open a support ticket to request a video dongle and we’ll connect one for you.

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Can I upgrade my mini later?

Any of our upgrade services (RAM, Firewall, Storage, etc) are available at the same price that is listed on our signup page. To schedule an upgrade please open a support ticket.

You are able to perform software updates, you are responsible for the costs associated with those upgrade. While software updates are possible without any assistance by us, please schedule your upgrade to make sure that we can hop in ASAP if needed. You can schedule that by opening a support ticket.

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Can I run a different OS?

You can run Windows or Linux on your Mac mini. We have expert staff on hand for Windows and Red Hat based Linux distributions. We will always try to assist you with your Mini, but colocation support primarily focuses on network connectivity and power for your unit.

As an alternative, you can virtualize Windows or Linux on top of OS X for the best mix of environments. Please contact us for more information.

For more information on alternative OS installations view this page.

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What if a new Mac mini is announced right after I order?

If a new Mac mini is released within 30 days after you either sign up for a rent2own program or purchase a mini from us, you have the option of swapping out your Mac mini to the new model. Just open a ticket within seven days of the new machines being released and we’ll get the process started.

Unfortunately 99% of the time we will not be able to image your current machine’s disk to the new Mac mini. When Apple releases new hardware the new hardware has a special OS build and the current standard OS release will not boot on new hardware. The special build includes drivers and extensions that are specific to the new hardware.

Here is an example:
- Current OS X version is 10.8.3 with a build number of 12D78
- A new Mac mini model is released, it comes preloaded with OS X 10.8.3 – build 12F03
- 10.8.3 that is loaded on a 2012 Mac mini can not be imaged to a 2013 Mac mini model
- The current 10.8.3/12D87 will not boot on the new hardware
- An OS update 10.8.4 with a build of 12F35 is released
- 10.8.4 will boot on any supported hardware released before it’s release
- 10.8.4 that is loaded on a 2012 Mac mini can be imaged to a 2013 Mac mini model

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Do you have a referral program?

Yes we do! We’ll give current customers two (2) free months of colocation for every new customer that signs up to colo a Mac mini. There is a referral code box on our signup page, if someone enters in your Mac Mini Vault # we’ll add a credit on your account to equal two months of your current plan. Your Mac Mini Vault # is the prefix of your server name and the name that we use to reference your Mac mini. For example, if your welcome email and invoices say “a123.macminivault.com”, your Mac Mini Vault # is “a123″.

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What happens when I leave Mac Mini Vault?

There are no contracts, your service will be canceled with a prorated refund*Refunds are given for months paid in advance. Your mini will be shipped back to you at a cost of $20*Shipments within the Continental US for transportation. International shipments will be quoted prior to shipping. Even if you purchase your Mac mini from us, it is yours to keep. It will be shipped to you in its original box with all documentation, discs, and cables. We can not ship purchased Mac minis during the first 90 days after the signup date.

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Do you take older style Mac minis?

Yes we do. Recently we built a rack dedicated to colocating the pre-2010 Mac minis. To sign up visit our Classic Sign up page.

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Do you take X Serves?

Yes! All our colocation is done within secured 48U APC cabinets – even our Mac Minis! We will colo a X Serves however you’ll have to contact us for a custom quote.

View our Custom Solutions page for more information.

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Can I run multiple Mac minis for load balancing, etc?

View our Custom Solutions page for more information.

Contact us with your needs and we can work out a solution for you.

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MAMP PRO

How do I install MAMP PRO?

Log in here. Under the “Services -> My Services” section there will be a list of all your Mac minis. Click ‘View Details’ to display more information about your Mac mini including the network graphs and the remote reboot functionality including the download links for MAMP PRO (located on the downloads tab).

Open a support ticket to request a MAMP PRO serial number. Note, your serial number and installer package will only work on the Mac Mini Vault network.

After installation set your MAMP PRO to “Live” by using the File -> Reset to Factory Settings menu, and select Live. You can also disable/re-enable the built-in Apache from Lion Server from the Tools menu.

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Rent2Own

Do you rent Mac minis?

We rent current model Mac minis. These are new units with factory warranties. We store the original packaging as well. After 12 rental payments, the machine is then owned by the customer.

We believe that the ‘colocation’ business model offers the most benefits to the customer. The rent2own program allows customers to have a tangible asset once completed. If for any reason you no longer require colocation service the Mac mini that you own has value and is yours to repurpose or sell.

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Can I upgrade a rental Mac mini?

Certainly. The same memory and SSD upgrades are available, if the customer cancels service prior to the 12th month any rental and upgrade fees are forfeited and considered strictly rental fees.

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What if I cancel early?

Customers can cancel at any time. Our colo service is month to month and there is no commitment to the rental program. Any rental fees paid are non-refundable. There are no ‘buy-out’ options. The Rent2Own program is only available when the machine is colocated in our data center.

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What if I just wanted to try it out?

We offer 24 hour demo periods to potential customers to allow them to test out the service prior to signing up. Enter your details in the Test Drive form at www.macminivault.com/try and we’d be glad to get a demo setup for you.

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Are there any fees? (Interest/Setup)

There are no fees as a part of our Rent2Own program. You simply pay for the colocation service and the 1/12th the cost of a Mac mini each month. After the 12th month only the colocation service will be invoiced.

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Why does the order form say “One-Time”?

Our ordering system doesn’t handle the rent2own items as subscriptions. We manually tell the system the duration and number of payments. Because of that the order form treats the rent2own items as one-time charges. In fact that charge is the first of 12. The next 11 will automatically invoice for the 1st of the month along with the colocation service.

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Can I run an alternative OS?

Sure thing! Any of our alternative OS installs are available. The $50 initial charge for the install still applies to rental Mac minis.

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Why am I receiving a Payment reminder when I have a PayPal subscription?

There are two possible answers for this:
a) PayPal Subscriptions can only be setup in our billing system for recurring services, not rent2own payments or other non-recurring charges.

The reason this is done is that if you setup the payment for the full amount including the rent2own payment, the automatic transfer would continue for the full amount even after the 12th Rent2Own payment had been completed, thereby creating a building credit balance on your account.

b) When you setup your PayPal subscription, it was for a different dollar amount than your service currently is which may be caused by additional IP’s being added to your account or other services such as a firewall, external HD colocation or other services being added.

This could be determined by looking at the current invoice and seeing the amount of the credit which was applied to the invoice from the PayPal subscription you currently have setup. If that is the case, you will have to cancel the current subscription and setup a new subscription for the new amount or you can manually log in and pay the balance owed when the invoices are generated.

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What if a new Mac mini is announced right after I order?

If a new Mac mini is released within 30 days after you either sign up for a rent2own program or purchase a mini from us, you have the option of swapping out your Mac mini to the new model. Just open a ticket within seven days of the new machines being released and we’ll get the process started.

Unfortunately 99% of the time we will not be able to image your current machine’s disk to the new Mac mini. When Apple releases new hardware the new hardware has a special OS build and the current standard OS release will not boot on new hardware. The special build includes drivers and extensions that are specific to the new hardware.

Here is an example:
- Current OS X version is 10.8.3 with a build number of 12D78
- A new Mac mini model is released, it comes preloaded with OS X 10.8.3 – build 12F03
- 10.8.3 that is loaded on a 2012 Mac mini can not be imaged to a 2013 Mac mini model
- The current 10.8.3/12D87 will not boot on the new hardware
- An OS update 10.8.4 with a build of 12F35 is released
- 10.8.4 will boot on any supported hardware released before it’s release
- 10.8.4 that is loaded on a 2012 Mac mini can be imaged to a 2013 Mac mini model

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Storage Vault

How is Storage Vault connected?

Currently we use a FireWire 800 connection but as new technologies become available (such as thunderbolt) we will strive to offer the fastest connection available for your mini.

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How much useable space is there?

The advertised volume sizes are after the RAID array is created. Your usable space is just slightly less than the advertised volume size.

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Can I use a Storage Volume on multiple minis?

No, because this is direct-attached storage it will only connect to one mini. You can share the volume between machines by using file sharing though.

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What happens when a hard drive dies?

Within 1 business day of being notified of a malfunctioning drive, a new drive will be installed and your RAID will automatically rebuild. Your RAID can suffer a single drive loss without losing any data.

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Is there a contract for Storage Vault packages?

We require a 12 month contract for our Storage Vault packages.

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Support

What if I need a reboot?

All our service plans include a control panel for remotely rebooting your Mac Mini. If you are having any difficulties you can open a support ticket.

The network graphs and remote reboot are a part of the billing portal interface. This is the same area that has your invoice/billing information. Log in here. Under the “Services -> My Services” section there will be a list of all your Mac minis. Click ‘View Details’ to display more information about your Mac mini including the network graphs and the remote reboot functionality.

Please Note: You should ensure the proper configuration is set within the Energy Saver System Preferences. Make sure that ‘Wake of network access’, ‘Restart automatically if the computer freezes’, and ‘Start up automatically after a power failure’ are checked. We also recommend setting a ‘Start up or wake’ schedule outside of our free hands-on support. If the machine is awake and running there will be no issues, if the machine is accidentally shut off or put to sleep it will come back online.

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What level of support is included?

We have 24×7 e-mail support available through our ticket system and telephone support from 8am to 5pm CST at 800-862-5965. We will support the network and power connections to your Mac mini. We will attempt to assist with any software problems, however software support is not inherently included with colocation.

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What is “hands on” support?

If you are unable to access your mini we will provide free hands on support during 7am – 5pm CST on normal business days. There is a $150 charge for emergency hands on support outside of 7-5 on business days. Hands on means we will physically plug a monitor, keyboard, and mouse into your mini and get it back up for you. Repairing hardware that is not covered by our perpetual warranty is available at an additional charge.

Most things can be handled by a remote reboot, but things like disabled networking, bad firewall rule, or a hardware failure can not be fixed by a reboot.

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How does the emergency “hands on” support work?

If you require hands on support (physical monitor, keyboard, and mouse connected to Mac mini) outside of our free hands on support please open a support ticket. The support ticket should include all the information you have on the possible current state of your Mac mini and any recent changes. We’ll also need to confirm user credentials and if there is important data that may need to be backed up. In order to expedite the process include a phone number and a sentence that states that you authorize the emergency hands on work and accept the $150 per incident charge.

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What if my Mac mini suffers a hardware failure?

Our Enterprise level colocation includes access to a Emergency Loaner mini in case of hardware failure. You can use the Emergency Loaner mini if your machine is being serviced locally. To reduce downtime we commend using live cloning software such as SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner. The clone can be placed on an external hard drive or on the secondary hard drive of a Mac mini Server. We can boot the Emergency Loaner mini off your cloned drive. If you do not have a clone of your hard drive you will have to configure the Emergency Loaner mini temporarily as your unit is being repaired.

Our Enterprise colocation plan also includes a Perpetual Warranty on hardware that was purchased from us (including the Rent2Own program). Any hardware repairs are done free of charge. If the unit is not repairable a mini with the same or better specs will be provided.

We can service your Mac mini with our Apple Authorized Service Provider. There is a $20 transportation fee and any repair costs would be charged if outside of warranty. We can also send your unit back to you. Any time we ship your Mini there is a $20 transportation fee.

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How soon can my Mac mini be online?

If you have purchased a Mac mini when ordering your colocation service, we will have your Mac mini provisioned within 48 hours. If you are sending us your Mac mini, it will be provisioned within 24 hours of receiving your package. We do strive to complete deployments in much shorter timeframes than those, more recently we have been deploying machines within hours.

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What is the “Emergency Loaner mini”?

Our Enterprise colocation service includes a service where we will deploy an emergency loaner mini to you at no additional charge. This can be used if your machine suffers a type of failure that would prevent it from being online in a short amount of time. Normally we are able to repair and rebuild machines very quickly and this service isn’t required — but the option is there just in case it is needed.

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What is the “Perpetual Warranty”?

Customers that are on our Enterprise colocation service plan and have either purchased a mini from us or have participated in the Rent2Own program will have all hardware repairs covered free of charge. This applies to current colocation customers that have originally signed up with the Enterprise plan. Hardware upgrades purchased from Mac Mini Vault such as RAM and SSD drives are covered as well. If a repair is not possible another machine will be deployed for you at the same or newer specs of your current machine. This warranty is for hardware and labor only, no software warranty is implied and data loss is not covered. Be sure to backup your mini so that your machine can be restored to its previous state.

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