I'm running a bunch of OS X servers, one of them (the only one not running on SSDs) is continually giving me grief with super sluggish performance due to mds running crazy. I have disabled spotlight on this (and all other) servers by both adding every connected disk to the spotlight exclusion list, and by manually switching it off like so:
sudo mdutil -a -i off
Turns out that various updates and other shenanigans the fruit vendors are throwing at us are reinstating spotlight, changing the privacy settings and wreaking all sorts of havoc on an otherwise healthy environment.
A similar issue I've encountered with the build_hd_index program, which for reasons not well understood, indexes all files on the disk, triggered by remote desktop connections (yeah… seriously, WTF!?). This one I've dealt with by chmod -x'ing the executable, so it can't even start it.
So my thinking was to do the same with mds. But I'm not brave enough… does anyone have some substantive information on what exactly all I'd lose by crippling mds?