Monday, 8 November 2010

Adieu XServe

I'm sorry too, XServe
Another move from Apple. XServe, the Apple-based server rack, will no more shipped from january 31 2011. It's a big delusion. I always dreamed to work on a XServe with Mac OS X Server. I was so curious to test its power, the usual tight integration between hardware and software and its user interface.
Will Apple exit from the servers makert? I don't know: is still possibile "convert" a Mac Pro or a Mac Mini into a server installing Mac OS X Server and this document shows how to do. Probably, they're just cutting unnecessary hardware. But, as you can read, to have the same power of a XServe you need from 3 to 30 MacMini; obviously, a MacPro is a bit bigger than a XServe.
In few words, Apple admits its big-iron line is no profitable. Apple is great for the client, but sysadmins with really big requests, still prefer to work with IBM or SUN servers with GNU/Linux or Solaris. Well, «this is business» (citing Lance Vance).
But, let's reflect: a Mac Mini costs 600€ and it's ready to work out-of-box if you install Mac OS X Server. Ok, it's not powerful as a SPARC T3-1 Server or a "home-build" server with GNU or *BSD, but for a small company whom needs a mail server, file server and a SVN it's enough. With the same price you can purchase another Mac Mini as "backup unit". If there's a system fail, with Time Machine it's easy to restore all services in an hour. Ok, it's not enough for a medium or big company. But there are more small companies and some of them already use Apple solutions. Apple isn't interested to face IBM or Oracle on the big-servers battlefield. But these small companies, with 8-20 employees, can't buy (and aren't interested) on big-irons: a Mac Mini or a Mac Pro are more affordable than a Blade Server and easier to configure and to mantain than a GNU/Linux or *BSD.
So, is this the end for Apple's servers? Who knows? Market is a strange beast. Maybe we'll see clusters of Mac Mini; maybe Mac OS X will allow to "assemble" some Mac Minis into a single system; maybe the Mac Pro will become an "ibrid" (iBrid?) between a big client and a medium-sized server. Let's see. I hope we'll enjoy the show.

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