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Relay FM: Flexible, Shared Remote Mac mini Access

Our Mac mini customers have some of the most interesting projects at MacStadium, using the small but mighty Mac mini to power their startup or development team. One such client is Relay FM, who harnesses the mini in a completely innovative way, and not just one way either! Read on and see just how Relay FM makes the most of their Mac mini

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About Relay FM

Relay FM is a podcast network covering a wide range of topics in technology, including programming, Apple, games, robots, rockets, audio, and much more. Founded in 2014, Relay FM has produced thousands of episodes across nearly 30 podcasts and has an audience of creative, curious listeners worldwide.

MacStadium and Relay FM have a long working relationship. MacStadium is a sponsor of Relay FM, and Relay FM is also a MacStadium customer.

Relay FM Team and Workflow

As a tech-savvy group, Relay FM has built its own content management system (CMS) to enable show hosts to create episodes and provide robust show notes easily. Called Neon and written in Ruby on Rails, it is a purpose-built, internally-used software to improve the quality of life for show hosts so they can focus on what’s important, making quality content.

Flexible, Shared, Remote Mac Access

Over the years, Relay FM’s cloud-hosted Mac mini has served a variety of purposes, and its use has evolved with the company. Because it is a dedicated machine with so much power, the mini has been used for multiple purposes at Relay FM. Up until recently, they used the mini to host live-streamed audio with Icecast.

The simplicity of the macOS interface and automation capabilities made the setup of processes faster and more familiar to the all-Mac team. Having a GUI with VNC meant flexibility and simplicity of management.

Most remarkable is the use as a file management system—the Mac mini serves as a central repository and source of truth for show files. The mini is used in parallel with a file sharing service (Dropbox). Because it has a super-fast internet connection provided by MacStadium, files are synced almost instantly. Combined with Time Machine and Backblaze, it serves as a revision control system for audio editing, saving editors in a pinch and avoiding the need to re-record a show because of a lost or botched audio file.

Working with MacStadium

“That’s what’s cool about having macOS in the cloud - it can be basically anything you need it to be,” said Stephen Hackett, co-founder of Relay FM. “You can mix command-line tools and GUI applications, and the Mac is head-and-shoulders above everything else in that regard. Plus, I can use the same applications I use on my desktop as on my server.”

“MacStadium has been fantastic—anytime we’ve had a hardware issue it has been handled not only quickly, but professionally. What I like about it is because it’s a niche thing, I’ve been able to work with support staff and say ‘I’ve got a Mac and it’s doing these things’ and we can solve the problem together as opposed to other places where you open a ticket and it’s kind of a black box. And when it’s a machine that you rely on every day, that kind of back and forth communication is important and something that I’ve always appreciated.”

In Good Company

One of the things that all MacStadium’s customers have in common is the need to have access to Mac hardware in a cloud-hosted environment. Relay FM is no different; they were looking for more than just a Mac - they needed a Mac in an enterprise data center. With data centers in the US and Europe, MacStadium can spin up either a single Mac mini or a large private Mac cloud in a location near you. Chat with us to find out more.

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