The types of public facilities where we might expect to see Macintoshes include schools , libraries, and, as Mac OS X becomes more widely adopted, research labs. These public facilities range from small, relatively unadvertised clusters of machines to large, 24- hour facilities.
Regardless of the type of environment you're planning, the most important machine in your facility is the server machine. This machine is best kept in a location separate from the rest of the facility, perhaps even on a different floor, or if your network is fast enough, in a different building. Access to the server room should be granted to as few people as possible. At the very least, it should be on its own key, separate from the building master.
You may want to consider keeping the server in a room with a pushbutton combination lock, or with some sort of keycard access. You may want some sort of alarm system for it as well. Because the server room is not likely to have a person monitoring it, you may also want to consider installing video surveillance equipment. If you're building a small lab on a shoestring budget, the semblance of video surveillance equipment may be all that you need; several vendors provide fake security cameras for those who can't afford the real thing. (See Table 2.1 at the end of this chapter for vendors of both real and fake video surveillance cameras and time-lapse security VCRs.)
Keep backups of the system in a location different from the server room. At the very least, keep them in a different room; preferably, keep them in storage at an offsite location.
If you don't keep your server machine separate from the rest of the machines, you run the risk of malicious users more easily being able to access data (such as the userid and password NetInfo map on your machines) by physically removing it from the server than if they only were able to attack the server over a network.
The best location for a public lab varies, depending on how public it is supposed to be and what space is available in your building. You may not want to have the lab on the ground floor because the ground floor may seem too easy to access for the casual, malicious user . On the other hand, your building policy may restrict general public access to only the ground floor, so that casual visitors aren't given the opportunity to see and start thinking about what may be in the rest of your building.
Regardless of the location, the room should be large enough to accommodate the number of users you anticipate having. Make sure users have enough space to comfortably work, and make sure that they're not encouraged to sit so closely together as to be able to snoop on each other's screens by the arrangement of your hardware.
No matter what type of computing facility you have, make sure you have adequate or, preferably, considerably more than adequate air conditioning. After spending money on the hardware and software, there is little point to letting the equipment fry to death.