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Apple To Discontinue Xserve

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the bad-day-for-X-names dept.

Apple 304

Toe, The writes "Apple has announced that they are discontinuing their line of 1u rack-mount servers. With their usual understated style, the announcement comes in the form of a box on their website and a transition guide (PDF) to their low-end Mac mini server or their now-more-powerful-than-Xserve Mac Pro server. Attitudes about the Xserve have ranged from considering it a token nod to enterprise to an underpowered wimp to a tremendous value. Apparently, the migration to Intel processors removed some of the value of clustering Xserves, leaving them somewhat overpriced compared to other, more traditional offerings. The odd thing is that Apple clearly has shown they have the capacity for enterprise, but rarely the will to take it on. So, does the discontinuation of their rack-mount mean they have abandoned enterprise for their post-PC offerings, or are they simply acknowledging that their products aren't gaining traction in the data center? Or do they have something else up their sleeve for next year?"

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304 comments

That's too bad... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136028)

It was the only way to look like a trendy douchebag in a datacentre setting.

Re:That's too bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136324)

yes, but nobody ever said, "Nice Rack!" to Apple.

Re:That's too bad... (3, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136454)

"It was the only way to look like a trendy douchebag in a datacentre setting."

Shit. Now I'll have to BE a trendy douchebag instead of just fronting.

Damn raised barriers grumble mumble fuck...

All cloud servers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136056)

They are moving all their servers to their new super datacenter.

It means Linux on the server and iOS on the client (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136080)

Apple sees the writing on the wall: the mainframe era is back, with Linux as the server and iOS devices like iPhone/iPad as the client. Non-standard servers running UNIX variants other than Linux are irrelevant. Although Apple struggled with 5% share for years it now wants to dominate the thin client market. My guess is that Apple will eventually abandon MacOS completely -- while interesting as an operating system, it is increasingly irrelevant, as is its more popular Windows cousin.

Re:It means Linux on the server and iOS on the cli (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136106)

Yep. Windows is totally irrelevant. That's why you see all those PC makers selling Linux boxes, and the number of Windows boxes decreasing, in every single store around the country. That's why most people know how to use Linux out of the box, and aren't completely befuddled when they don't see the start button.

Re:It means Linux on the server and iOS on the cli (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136188)

You're trolling, but you should probably know that mainframes and enterprise servers make up about 35% of total server revenues. Also, half or more of the remainder is windows Server.

Re:It means Linux on the server and iOS on the cli (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136338)

Except that these "thin" clients aren't really thin at all. Give it a couple years and there will be quad-core smartphones doing a whole lot of stuff that will boggle our minds. It's all about the data stream to and from these devices and more processing power on either end is a technology enabler, but especially so on the client.

Re:It means Linux on the server and iOS on the cli (0)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136510)

Except that these "thin" clients aren't really thin at all. Give it a couple years and there will be quad-core smartphones doing a whole lot of stuff that will boggle our minds. It's all about the data stream to and from these devices and more processing power on either end is a technology enabler, but especially so on the client.

Yes ... and no. Smartphones and their 'tablet' cousins will certainly become more powerful but there will be a lot of low-cost offerings that don't use the latest and greatest chips. The low-end PC market for devices that fill roles as thin clients, dumb terminals and the like will transition over to the hand-held, tablet or true thin-client worlds. Android, ChromeOS and other OS offerings will provide low-cost 'good enough' computing power and access for many roles. These devices will essentially become commodity items much like PC's are now.

I'd absolutely use low-cost thin clients in place of PC's for many requirements my clients have in warehouses, call centers, kiosks, etc rather than PC's. Web-based & network-based apps delivered via a web browser can do a lot. They can't really produce 'content' on the scale of a PC but they certainly work for data entry, look-ups, updates, etc.

Perception is reality (3, Insightful)

jhigh (657789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136088)

It would never dawn on me to use a Mac for anything other than the desktop. While I'm sure that they make perfectly capable server products, I would wager that the perception that Apple is primarily suited for making products that target the end user rather than the enterprise is a substantial hurdle for Apple. Frankly, I think that this is one of the hurdles that keeps Linux from being as widely adopted as a desktop platform. People hear *nix and, if they think anything at all, they think "server."

Re:Perception is reality (5, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136370)

People hear *nix and, if they think anything at all, they think "server."

Or they think "I know this!" and then check quickly for Velociraptors.

Re:Perception is reality (1)

kencurry (471519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136652)

People hear *nix and, if they think anything at all, they think "server."

Or they think "I know this!" and then check quickly for Velociraptors.

mods are asleep, this was funny. Good reference to you sir.

Re:Perception is reality (4, Insightful)

fusiongyro (55524) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136592)

I think you are on the right track, but you have cause and effect backwards. Apple strives to be a consumer company. I was confused by Apple's Xraid/Xsan and Xserve products, because they don't really fit in the same milieu. If anything, I wonder if offering Xserves and Xraids was just a way for them to kill harbored distrust of OS X inherited from OS 9. After all, OS X had some big hurdles to overcome from OS 9. Supplying even a couple universities with Xserves demonstrated that OS X and Apple in particular were making high-performance machines, a worthy continuation of their NeXT legacy, and dispelled any fears about inherited OS 9isms. So from this standpoint, the product line was a success, but it is no longer required.

From another standpoint, remember that Xserves were first brought onto the market was during the bubble, before "the cloud" was a thing. My first employer had an Xserve simply because he found the idea of managing it better than the idea of managing a hosted Linux server. Colocation was cheaper than paying for a managed server. For small business owners--particularly Mac software developers--it made more sense to them than learning how to administer Linux or paying another employee to do it. Familiarity is worth something.

Remember also the market conditions when Xserves were brought out. They weren't the only vendor selling their own weird Unix in a 1U. SGI, Sun, and HP at least were also selling their own servers running their own Unixes. The market was nowhere near as homogenized as it is now, and it was plausible at the time that OS X Server could become as important as the competition. It turns out people don't buy servers for the same reasons they buy desktops. That wasn't necessarily obvious five or ten years ago.

Re:Perception is reality (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136622)

It's somewhat self-fulfilling: people see linux as a server OS, so the time and money goes into developing that aspect of it, making it a better server OS; repeat ad infinitum. FWIW the only time I've actually seen macs in a datacenter does support this hypothesis: they were Mac Pros sitting on trays in the rack, being used for video processing. Apparently Xserves don't have enough space for drives or expansion cards to be worth the money for a job like that.

Re:Perception is reality (5, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136656)

It's not the 'ooo shiny' products that everyone knows Apple for, but their Server OS is quite good. As are some of their clustering capabilities.

After trying to setup a linux cluster, XGrid [wikipedia.org] is nothing short of Magic. It's a check box in a system control panel. You can let anyone use a computer or password protect it. Buy 1+ Macs. Check "Allow for use on XGrid" (and even set to only use when it's been idle). Anytime you compile something in XCode, all other available Macs will be used. No setting up which servers to use in a .distcc file.

Their Server OS [apple.com] is also pretty polished. I know the hard core command line junkies think that everything should be done with vi/emacs and only configured from there. But not everyone wanting to run a server has that expertise. If I had to suggest a server to a friend for a small home business. I'd suggest the MacMini Server. Mail, Web, Jabber, OS Updates, Time Machine, etc.

I suggest checking it out (not sure if they have the server OS setup in any Apple Store) before knocking it.

Re:Perception is reality (1)

generalhavok (1432165) | more than 3 years ago | (#34137126)

I second that. About a year ago, I was setting up a new Xserve, and I was configuring it, getting ready to take it to our data center and throw it in a rack. I work in an office with a bunch of Mac users, and everyone was walking by, saying "What kind of Mac is THAT?" It never dawned on them that Mac made servers too. To them, they saw a funky looking long, skinny machine that ran OS X.

Lion's Share Server (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136104)

OS X Lion Server will introduce the new "Lion's Share," and a new blade server appliance into which you can mount 9 Mac Mini's each with app store instant Lions Share server installs. Want AFP? Install Lion's Share AFP app on the mini. Want DNS? Install app store DNS app on another Mini! Roar! with Lion's Share!

No offense, but... (1, Troll)

Excelcior (1390167) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136108)

...it's Apple. Who cares? Since when did Apple mean anything but 'cute'? Hello Kitty stopped making servers. The world is feeling a tremendous loss.

Re:No offense, but... (3, Informative)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136368)

Starting an offensive statement with "no offense" doesn't make it less offensive. :p

(not that I'm offended)

Re:No offense, but... (1, Troll)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136372)

Apple, the largest Tech Company in the USA. Yeah, who cares!

Re:No offense, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136760)

IBM is substantially bigger.

Re:No offense, but... (3, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34137030)

IBM - Market cap of $182 Billion with $23.7 billion quarterly revenue
Apple - Market cap of $291 Billion with $20.3 billion quarterly revenue

Re:No offense, but... (2, Insightful)

Graff (532189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34137102)

IBM is substantially bigger.

Now there are many ways for measuring the size of a business but one widely-accepted method is market cap.

As of 11:57 AM EDT or so:

Apple's market cap [yahoo.com]: 291.57B

IBM's market cap [yahoo.com]: 182.11B

By at least one common measuring method you can see that it is Apple which is substantially bigger than IBM.

what's the point of buying Apple hardware (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136116)

If it is stored in a rack mount somewhere in the basement? I thought the point was that others could see the Apple logo and see how different (and better) you are.

OS X Server is a nice tool (4, Informative)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136120)

Xserve aside, OS X Server [apple.com] provides some very, very powerful tools. Many of them are based on open-source, but for the ~$1K price, a well-paid employee would be hard pressed to roll them all in less than $1K worth of time. And all these tools have no per-seat cost, unlike Microsoft solutions.

The question remains, of course, how seriously can people take OS X Server now that apple discontinued the Xserve?

OTOH, it makes a really nice home server, if it is a bit over-powered and pricey for that application.

Re:OS X Server is a nice tool (3, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136436)

Not to mention the build quality on those things was just unbelievable, where I work we have somewhere in the range of 30 or so XServes currently and have had a total of over 50, and I think we have had 1 die. One even went airborne and fell about 3 meters and other than some of the metal getting bent its perfectly fine. Meanwhile on the flip side we have had about that many Dell servers and the fuckers break at least 5x as much as the XServes.

Re:OS X Server is a nice tool (2, Funny)

lag10 (667114) | more than 3 years ago | (#34137002)

One even went airborne and fell about 3 meters and other than some of the metal getting bent its perfectly fine.

What do you in your datacenter that would result in a server becoming airborne?

What is Apple using in those new data centers? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136136)

seems like an obvious question.

No big loss (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136140)

I think the only people who got these things were Mac Fanboys. Don't get me wrong, I like Mac. But I would never have recommended Apple Servers in a business settings.

1. You are stuck on one platform. It is like getting a Sun Solaris platform but worse because apple never really had a strong enterprise department.

2. You didn't get any real extra functionality over a Linux/BSD even Windows servers.

3. There is 0 fore-site on what will happen for the next version. What new features. Apple is too closed

4. You had limited options. So that means you are paying for stuff you don't need

5. Limited server tools. Sure the Apple stuff is good but you need that one extra tool that apple doesn't support.

Like Apple or Hate Apple, it really isn't a good server platform.

Re:No big loss (5, Informative)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136232)

> 1. You are stuck on one platform. It is like getting a Sun Solaris platform but worse because apple never really had a strong enterprise department.
They're Intel boxes. Run whatever OS you want on them.
Also, they're UNIX, so run whatever software you want on them.

> 2. You didn't get any real extra functionality over a Linux/BSD even Windows servers.
Setup times are far less time-consuming than Linux. Per-user cost is far less than Windows.

> 3. There is 0 fore-site on what will happen for the next version. What new features. Apple is too closed
Absolutely true, and a real deal killer in the enterprise.

>4. You had limited options. So that means you are paying for stuff you don't need
Somewhat true, but the Xserve is 1u. Most of the options are externalized.

>5. Limited server tools. Sure the Apple stuff is good but you need that one extra tool that apple doesn't support.
Then install it. The Xserve is UNIX. Also, most data centers have more than one machine, and hardly any have all the same brand throughout.

>Like Apple or Hate Apple, it really isn't a good server platform.
Well, they still make servers, just not rack-mounted ones.

Re:No big loss (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136468)

1) so pay more money to run a different OS? That's a stupid business move. You simply paying extra money for an Intel box.

2) Set up times are not faster then Linux. Assuming both have the equivalent skill set experience.

3) Apple is more 'open' in this regard then they are with their other customers.

5) see 1.

Re:No big loss (3, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136528)

When Apple first moved to Intel the XServes were actually VERY price competitive with Dell and HP and whatnot. The problem is that eventually interest waned an Apple let the refresh cycles get longer and longer and less spectacular when they were refreshed.

Re:No big loss (1, Insightful)

remus.cursaru (1423703) | more than 3 years ago | (#34137072)

> 2) Set up times are not faster then Linux. Assuming both have the equivalent skill set experience. What the hell? It's an "one time only" job.

Re:No big loss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136568)

> 1. You are stuck on one platform. It is like getting a Sun Solaris platform but worse because apple never really had a strong enterprise department.
They're Intel boxes. Run whatever OS you want on them.

Then why are you paying the markup for Apple hardware?

Also, they're UNIX, so run whatever software you want on them.

Again, why, then, the markup for Apple hardware and an OS? You can run the same software on a far cheaper OS and hardware.

> 2. You didn't get any real extra functionality over a Linux/BSD even Windows servers.
Setup times are far less time-consuming than Linux. Per-user cost is far less than Windows.

Setup time is one-shot and can be effortlessly replicated across servers if you've got that to deal with. The Windows part of your statement is... well, that's Windows, so I'll give you that.

> 3. There is 0 fore-site on what will happen for the next version. What new features. Apple is too closed
Absolutely true, and a real deal killer in the enterprise.

Agreed.

>4. You had limited options. So that means you are paying for stuff you don't need
Somewhat true, but the Xserve is 1u. Most of the options are externalized.

True, but that still doesn't give Xserve an advantage, per se, over many other 1u, external-options servers.

>5. Limited server tools. Sure the Apple stuff is good but you need that one extra tool that apple doesn't support.
Then install it. The Xserve is UNIX. Also, most data centers have more than one machine, and hardly any have all the same brand throughout.

But, again, if we can just install whatever software we want and it all works the same and it's all just as good and we already have server solutions with other, cheaper hardware makers, why would we want to pay the markup for Apple hardware?

Re:No big loss (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136570)

Then install it. The Xserve is UNIX. Also, most data centers have more than one machine, and hardly any have all the same brand throughout.

Yet even AIX has proper package management these days.

If you verge away from "Provided by Apple" software, you are essentially doing things the BSD way: building things from ports. This is stupid. It's akin to going to the Five and Dime shop and picking up things at random to redo your roof.

Well, they still make servers, just not rack-mounted ones.

And that is fundamentally different than a workstation, how? These days, it barely makes sense to buy "servers" unless they're rackmount with redundant PSUs. The cost to do so is too high due to the potential repercussions of failure, and the necessary density of a rack. Aside from the Xserve, there's no (apparent) Apple option for redundant power supplies: you're telling me you're going to run a server on hardware which has no redundancy for the most commonly failing component?

Re:No big loss (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136342)

Plus the very limited support options. Sure, if you live in downtown Seattle, Denver, or whatever your bigger city is, then you're fine. But if you're 30-40 miles away, suddenly same-day support goes away-- just because Apple doesn't have enough shops in the field. I can guarantee your Dell, HP, IBM rep will have the server up and running before the Apple guy even shows up at the door.

Re:No big loss (1, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136364)

2. You didn't get any real extra functionality over a Linux/BSD even Windows servers.

If you ran Mac Desktops, OpenDirectory was a very handy way to manage them, OS X Server also has the tools to deploy images. Yes, you can run OS X Server on MacPros and now Mini's but neither really fit in if you already have a server room set up.

Limited options? You got the whole thing, OS X Server with unlimited licenses for $1000, cheaper then Enterprise Linux or Windows.

Limited Server tools? Have you ever actually used OS X Server? It has it's tools for every server daemon that ships with it.

It's only no big loss because Apple didn't want to create an Enterprise division, but if you ran OS X desktops then OS X Server was a pretty good investment.

Re:No big loss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136418)

I think the only people who got these things were Mac Fanboys.

Yep, when Virginia Tech built a supercomputer out of Xserves for a much cheaper cost than anything else at the time, it was really just a bunch of Mac Fanboys wasting money on useless computers.

Please, oh wise one, enlighten us with more of your technical wisdom.

Mac Mini as a replacement? Seriously? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136176)

I can't believe they're suggesting that a Mini is a replacement for a server. They'd be better off suggesting a MBP as a replacement. Is their ad campaign going to be "One tenth the performance at one third the price"?

At least the Mac Pro offers the same performance level as the Xserver.

dom

Re:Mac Mini as a replacement? Seriously? (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136282)

My impression has always been that the Mac mini is intended for the home user.

Lots of people now have many computers (and other devices) in the household. It would be nice to have one ring to rule them all.

Re:Mac Mini as a replacement? Seriously? (2, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136334)

If you read the PDF, you see they don't hide the fact that the Mac mini server is a lot less powerful than the Xserve. If you currently use an Xserve but use only about 1/3 of its power, you can cut your electric bill (power for the computer and power for the AC) by switching to a Mac mini server.

Re:Mac Mini as a replacement? Seriously? (1)

emt377 (610337) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136632)

I can't believe they're suggesting that a Mini is a replacement for a server. They'd be better off suggesting a MBP as a replacement. Is their ad campaign going to be "One tenth the performance at one third the price"?

At least the Mac Pro offers the same performance level as the Xserver.

dom

A Mac Mini can do many things just fine. I know a place that uses a Mac Mini to manage four Epson 10800 printers and a Lightjet. It runs three different RIP servers. It clones itself to an external drive daily and backs itself up with TM to the same drive. If it were to go belly up (and it probably will, eventually) they replace it with another, boot it off the external drive and restore the last 24 hours, or most of it, from the TM incrementals. While it runs they can clone it back to the internal drive. It has no display but is entirely managed using screen sharing. If the Mac Mini supported target disk mode they could get rid of the external drive entirely and just keep the spare as a bootable backup in TD mode.

Re:Mac Mini as a replacement? Seriously? (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136884)

If the Mac Mini supported target disk mode they could get rid of the external drive entirely and just keep the spare as a bootable backup in TD mode.

The Mac Mini supports target disk mode. Take a look at the list of supported computers on this Apple Knowledge Base article:

How to use and troubleshoot FireWire target disk mode [apple.com]

Re:Mac Mini as a replacement? Seriously? (1)

pympdaddyc (586298) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136958)

I can't believe they're suggesting that a Mini is a replacement for a server. They'd be better off suggesting a MBP as a replacement. Is their ad campaign going to be "One tenth the performance at one third the price"?

At least the Mac Pro offers the same performance level as the Xserver.

dom

So you'd prefer that hobbyists buy a $3000 Mac Pro instead, and then you'd come to Apple's defense when people complained about the price of their servers saying "yea but think how ridiculous it would be to sell a low-end server", right?

Re:Mac Mini as a replacement? Seriously? (1)

kaszeta (322161) | more than 3 years ago | (#34137040)

The bizarre thing about the Mac Mini Server is that it's a $1000 hardware box, that if you want to upgrade the OS on it, a new version of OS X Server will cost you $500.

$500 to update a $1000 computer? That's more than a bit odd.

Re:Mac Mini as a replacement? Seriously? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34137088)

Actually one of Apple's largest enterprise customers use Mac Minis. A bunch of colocation sites also buy a ton of Mac Minis. This is the motivation behind Apple introducing the Mac Mini OS X Server edition.

I have a couple of Xserves and they are okay. They are a little too deep for some of our racks so they stick out a little in the rear. We much prefer the Mac Pros because of its power. I think anybody using 1U cpu racks will probably be better served with a something other than a Xserve anyway. If you need OS X server, you more than likely can get away with using Mac Minis. Otherwise, you need more power than you'd be better off with a Mac Pro anyway. You'd probable save a little power by letting a single Mac Pro replace a couple (or more) Xserves.

Xserves wasn't priced well enough to be between an Mac Mini and Mac Pro. Apple just looked at its numbers and made a inventory decision. Apple did this a couple of years ago when they started selling third party raid assemblies instead of Xraid.

Not to mention, you can get a 1U rack that can accommodate 4 Mac Minis for only $57. For the price of a single Xserve, you can get 3 Mac Minis and spend an extra $57 to put it on the rack. It may even not stick out of the rear.

Why is this odd? (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136218)

"The odd thing is that Apple clearly has shown they have the capacity for enterprise, but rarely the will to take it on."

Concentrating on certain sectors isn't odd. Doing a bunch of things, but not doing them well isn't a good thing. Lots of businesses do this.

But if memory serves, the reason they were in this business were to support creative types that needed this type of product for media production. It wasn't that they wanted to be in the enterprise sector. They wanted to be in the media creation sector, which especially before their current resurgence was their main area.

Re:Why is this odd? (3, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136670)

The move would make sense if Apple were a car company(ha! car metaphor ftw!) Discontinuing one line of a car company's models has almost 0 effect on the other model that company makes. However in computing, esp. with a company like Apple, it's actually a different beast. While the XServe may not have had many sales by itself, it really was an enabler for companies to move more stuff towards the mac(and by extension iOS devices). Apple's biggest strength really has been that they are a one stop shop for your entire computing ecosystem. You can move your company to Apple, and while you will pay a little bit more for the hardware, the fact that Apple has designed the whole ecosystem(hardware, software etc) to work with eachother means that you will save money and time when it comes to support. However recently with the discontinuation of Java and now the XServe Apple is really saying, "We are a gizmo company. We make other stuff, but if it isn't gizmo related we really don't care'

The knock-on effects of this decision are going to be pretty bad for Apple. Apple was finally making inroads in the enterprise, only to do something as stupid as this. Not only that, companies now have 0 faith in the future of Apple. They have shown time and again that they have 0 problems discontinuing product lines/platforms on a whim. How is a developer supposed to plan anything when Apple can just cancel it? Are we really supposed to put our reputation with our customers(which translates into our livelihoods in a lot of circumstances) in Steve's hands when he has shown 0 qualms about discontinuing products at a moments notice? You can bet that any sysadmin/architect who convinced their boss to buy XServes in the past couple months is so is worried sick about how said boss will interpret this news. And you can be sure as shit that said sysadmin won't be nearly as enthusiastic about Apple products in the future. I know I'm not.

Steve is destroying the very thing that made him big in the first place, and I wonder how much longer Apple will even be around. They seem to be putting all their eggs in the consumer products basket, and there is a long line of companies that don't exist or are a shell of their former selves who went down that exact same road. AAPL will be at 0 before decades end unless someone stops Steve, and probably even if they do. I'm waiting until WWDC when Apple reveals Lion to short AAPL big time.

Xserve looked nice, but was way overpriced... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136226)

...you could spec a similar Linux based server way cheaper, with better support. Apple has NEVER been serious about the business market.

If you don't like your own food... (3, Insightful)

1984 (56406) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136238)

Well I guess that answers the question about what *didn't* go in that big new data center.

In a previous life several years ago we looked at buying 300 of them to run Yellow Dog (yes, several years). They were nicely engineered units, but Apple clearly wasn't series about enterprise sales. They offered a kit of spare parts for field replacements, but not much beyond that.

Re:If you don't like your own food... (2, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136558)

I worked with a client this summer that was dumping an install of about 20 X-Serves for a Windows based server environment. They have a substantial Mac user base and it seemed like the right idea at the time, but the experience was pretty awful.

They said the directory server never worked right and there were a bunch of other glitches, some of them I think hardware-based. It was a big deployment and they even had Apple involvement but it never worked right.

Re:If you don't like your own food... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34137148)

Well, there goes my argument that "at least they were good if you have a Mac desktop based business". Back to the fanboy fortress of a solitude for a group brainstorming session!

Re:If you don't like your own food... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136698)

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple were running a bunch of IBM/Dell/HP rack servers, with OS X on the frontend servers, and the database backend servers running something more capable (Linux, AIX, whatever). TCO for the hardware is undoubtedly lower than their own hardware (though, I suspect they might have been able to leverage the fact that they actually don't have to pay an external body), and the software maintenance on a DIY webstack that nobody else uses is a real pain in the ass.

Alternatively, I'd not be surprised if they were their own biggest Xserve customer. If that's the case, I'm not surprised at all that they're discontinuing the line: due to produced numbers, it's undoubtedly quite expensive for them.

One major enterprise use (2, Interesting)

benwiggy (1262536) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136340)

People often forget that Macs are heavily used in publishing, advertising, graphic design. I work at a company that must have 500 Macs.

All our Macs have network user profiles, which are stored on ... a Windows box. And it's a complete pain in the arse. Loads of problems, all blamed on "Active Directory"

We used to used Xserves to host the accounts, and everything worked fine, but the IT boys only know Windows, so the Xserves are sitting gathering dust.

Considering that the graphics and print business basically kept Apple in business in the dark years, this is a crappy way of supporting Mac in the workplace.

What with the FisherPrice look of 10.7, I'm really worried about the direction that Apple's taking.

Re:One major enterprise use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136388)

The lack of knowledge surrounding your IT Staff makes me sad. OS X Server can be implemented pretty seemlessly into Active Directory if done correctly...it just rarely is.

Re:One major enterprise use (2, Insightful)

hellraizer (1689320) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136836)

That my friend is one of the greatest problems with Mac/Linux adoption, IT boys are affraid of loosing "power" and are not willing to learn anything new. I speak as a IT boy who supports both Mac and linux servers, but I learned to loose that fear and jump right in . I find it to be much easier to maintain a OS X server or a linux server than to maintain Windowze ....

Apple + smart people? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136348)

Really? They have just got to the point that they realise they can't fool smart people in to buying their over-expensive hardware when other companies probably offer the same specs at less than half the price.

Nobody wants to pay for stupidly expensive and overly-pretty server hardware. They want something that works and can be thrown in a backroom somewhere, probably never to be seen unless there is a serious error. Even if it looked like fecal matter, if it was cheaper, i would go for it.
Apple can't compete with other companies at those levels unless they Think Differently. But selling something that was just bare-frame and board? Steve Jobs would have 10 heart attacks at the thought. And by that, i mean all 10 of his hearts.

I will probably get modded as a troll, but it doesn't negate that statement.

Xserve sales pitch. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136366)

Several years ago a friend of mine was pitched Xserve by someone from Apple. His impression was that the salesman wasn't trying very hard to promote the servers and wasn't speaking to the points he cared about. The pitch seemed to boil down to Xserve is great because Macs and OSX is great.

Even if he could have convinced management to spend such a big premium over other solutions the company would now be faced with equipment that's been discontinued, and knowing Apple, wont be supported for long.

Re:Xserve sales pitch. (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136724)

knowing Apple, wont be supported for long.

Which is precisely why nobody wanted to buy Apple products for servers. Either you go with OSX and are OK for a couple years, or you install Windows, a virtual engine, or Linux, and don't mess with that shit until the hardware is internally EOL'd.

Hackintosh rack server? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136380)

Not that any enterprise involving rack servers would bother risking it, but theoretically doable?

Re:Hackintosh rack server? (1)

ahankinson (1249646) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136472)

Theoretically, yes. But why? OS X Server can be virtualized now. If you want to run OS X server to manage your Mac network, run it in a VM.

Re:Hackintosh rack server? (1)

4pins (858270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136644)

Theoretically, yes. But why? OS X Server can be virtualized now. If you want to run OS X server to manage your Mac network, run it in a VM.

But if a company is trying to do it right...

permits OS X Server to run in a virtual machine (VM) as long as each VM is stocked with a different license and the physical system is Apple-made

source [pcworld.com]

Re:Hackintosh rack server? (2, Insightful)

anti-human 1 (911677) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136618)

I would say good luck getting OSX to drive your HP's SCSI array, or your Dell's quad-port NIC.

Compatibility lists are always your friend in the land of hackintosh. You might be able to do something with 3U or 4U generic cases. Support would likely go out the window too.

The world is a better place. (0, Offtopic)

Domini (103836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136402)

Frankly I only ever *used* X11 to run terminals.

Good riddance to X and Gnome... never liked either. They are the reason most people using Linux/etc. think GUIs are crap (they've never learned to use a proper GUI).

I love the command-line, but I can really get by pretty well navigating and working on either Windows or OS X GUIs. The closest I've had to a good consistent experience on Linux was KDE.

Linux has always been a very good server environment for me, and never, ever a great client. Ubuntu has come a long way to try and change that and I applaud any (albeit questionable) changes they make.

Nothing here is fact, only my personal experience as well as my experience trying to help several non-tech savvy family use Linux, Windows and OS X. For them I recommend OS X, whereas I use OS X and Windows clients.

So what? (5, Interesting)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136404)

The Xserve has been largely redundant since Apple discontinued the Xraid. When you pair them up they make great file servers, the publishing company I used to work for loved them (yup, that's right, there *are* people for whom Apple servers make sense, go home haters).

Seeing as how there's nothing you can do with an Xserve that you can't do with a Mac Pro, the only difference is the rackmounting. Considering the way forward is Xsan, that's completely optional now even if all your storage is rackmounted. The SAN controller can be on the other side of the building as long as your fibre reaches it.

Nice as it was, goodbye redundant product. You'll be missed, but not for long.

Re:So what? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136504)

Rack mounting, redundant power supplies, hot swappable drives(mac pros may have hot swappable drives, but good luck swapping them out when they are racked), better cooling, (probably less power too due to a weaker video card, but I don't know that for sure). The list goes on. The mac pro is not a drop in replacement for the XServe.

Re:So what? (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136668)

Mac Pro pluses: More expansion card slots, extra hard drive bay, optical drive bays.

Considering the larger heatsinks, fans and better zoned cooling in the Mac Pro, can't say I can see any way the Xserve has better cooling. Graphics card power is so a non-issue - idle power difference between the two gpus is negligible. Rack mounting isn't exactly a benefit, shelving units are cheaper than racks.

Which leaves the redundant power supply as the only real benefit of an Xserve.

Re:So what? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136730)

But shelving units don't have cooling like racks have cooling. Also you left out hot swappable drives, a huge deal if you want real reliability. If you have your XServe drives mirrored and a drive starts to go, you can just pop it out, pop a new one in, and the drive will start rebuilding. All without powering off your machine. Trying to do that with mac pros in any real concentration is going to be a pain in the ass.

Re:So what? (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136782)

Whoops, missed a bit off there. Twice. Note to self: don't play Plants vs Zombies while commenting on /.

The whole benefits / no downsides bit it from Apple's point of view.

*calls fail on self*

Re:So what? (1)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136994)

The Xserve has been largely redundant since Apple discontinued the Xraid.

It's not like there aren't other options. Apple promoted and sold a Promise RAID unit as a replacement, and the guys who were on the former Xserve RAID team formed a new company [activestorage.com] to make and sell a unit that is a worthy successor to the Xserve RAID in capability and appearance. I haven't had the chance to play with one yet but I understand they're pretty nice.

~Philly

Fraggin Great (1)

sir lox elroy (735636) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136518)

Well Looks like I will be working more on rolling out more Linux servers to replace the functionality of the XServes. What is next, no more Mac OS X Server? And the replacement options kinda suck. Mac Mini, great that will not work very well for remote home directories, redundant arrays, etc..., or the big honkin Pro, 1U vs 12U, can I have my rack space back please? Luckily there are some very good Linux packages out there that support Mac very nicely for a lot of this, Netatalk, OpenLDAP (Gee where did Mac get theirs), NFS, etc... I really did like Time Machine for ease of use, but I will find something for Linux, or create my own based around rsync. My boss has been an Apple fan for years, decades really, but at this rate Apple is attempting to disillusion all of the small companies like us whose computer infrastructure is majorly Mac, with some as in our case Linux servers. Between this, the Mac App Store and where it looks like that might be going, Java, and Flash/Adobe argument, it looks like Steve is getting a little, OK, a lot more arrogant, and driving quite a few of us away with it.

Re:Fraggin Great (3, Interesting)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | more than 3 years ago | (#34137168)

I really did like Time Machine for ease of use, but I will find something for Linux, or create my own based around rsync.

Having had problems sorting a Time Machine replacement out under Linux, I installed FreeNAS on a spare box - just add and configure the drives, select the option to run a Time Machine server, and you're away - I was very impressed with the ease of use.

New Pro Variant (1)

smartyculottes (1190069) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136546)

Looks like they now have a "server" option in the MacPro line . Just what we need - less 1U servers and more 6U servers (that don't rack mount and foul air flow).

Support was the biggest problem for Apple Servers (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136594)

Apple's hardware support was abysmal for their servers. And by support, I'm not talking about drivers, I'm talking about their ability to fix a broken system.

I've called Apple to get parts for failed Xserves, and they have taken WEEKS to ship for systems covered under applecare. They also think it's entirely fine to tell you to bring an Xserve in to an authorized repair center. I mean, *what?*

Just because a server is available in a 1U form factor doesn't mean it's an enterprise system. You can't support enterprise hardware the same way you support iPods.

Up their sleeves? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136620)

I just wonder. I don't understand how a company flush with cash would ignore such a huge market. Jobs has not been bashful about snapping up the consumer market and swatting down the competition. But then to ignore, actually shy away from the server market... that doesn't compute in my data banks.

Re:Up their sleeves? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136780)

that is why they are flush with cash. they ignore the low margin server market for the high margin hipster douche-bag market.

That's why Apple is doing so well (1)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136856)

I don't understand how a company flush with cash would ignore such a huge market.

The phrase "Know thy self, and to thine own self be true" springs to mind. The business graveyards are littered with the carcasses of companies that didn't understand their own strengths and weaknesses, didn't understand what made them great and where they would fail. Jobs knows the DNA of his company.

As for the server market, it's pretty clear that servers have become commoditized. Apple is aiming to make money from how they use servers, not from servers themselves. Jobs also seems to understand better than anyone in the computer industry that while business computing used to dictate where the industry went, the opposite is now true. Dominate the consumer market, and you'll make inroads in the business market.

Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34136860)

Mac OS is a perfectly capable OS for a server, but Linux is better in pretty much every single way for servers, and easier to keep up-to-date. So you end up installing Linux on it anyway. At that point, you have to ask: why did I buy a Mac? The Mac hardware is ok, but nothing special and pretty expensive. The only reason to buy a Mac these days is for Mac OS.

I can totally understand taking someone's used desktop Mac and turning it into a server. You've got already got the machine, presumably the desktop user upgraded to a newer Mac, so use the old one for something. But almost nobody is using an xserve for their desktop, so there's few initial sane uses for the machines to have.

So I bet Apple wasn't selling very many of them. Anyone who bought an xserve to use as a server was making a mistake, and people eventually learn from their mistakes. And anyone who bought an xserve to use as a desktop (that sounds kinda cool, in a way), was very rich and very niche (far beyond the typical Apple fanboi). So who bought 'em?

Also, in my (admittedly very limited, only used a G5 not x86) experience, xserves are just weird enough to be inconvenient. "Oh, we don't get a quite perfectly-working fan control or sensors? Bummer."

The real solution... (1)

jerquiaga (859470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136878)

Would be for Apple to let us virtualize OS X server on our existing (insert VM platform of your choosing) clusters, instead of requiring Apple hardware. I had an Apple rep tell me the other day that they have that requirement because the experience is better on their hardware (when talking about a server that sits in a rack that you never look at). What a joke.

Aw, Dang... (1)

generalhavok (1432165) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136926)

As someone who's job it is to be a server administrator for two Xserves, and systems administrator for our corporate network of Mac workstations, this news saddens me. No longer can I throw my title out as "Mac Server Administrator" at geeky parties to the amusement of my friends who work on Linux and Windows servers. Seriously though, the Xserve will be missed, at least in my organization. Unlike many Apple products, they aren't toys, they were designed for the enterprise and had many useful functions. They are extremely useful to me, running FileMaker Databases, providing NetBoot services for imaging Mac workstations, hosting AFP file shares, and when connected with a rackmount RAID array, make for a very nice backup server (Time Machine!). Also, the OS X Server software is really a great server OS, a fully Unix certified OS that also provides many other innovative and useful tools. Sure, I can do most of what I do on a different server, but, damn, Apple just makes my job so easy! RIP Xserve, you will be missed, at least by this Systems Admin.

Apple just made a deal with Unisys (0)

zonker (1158) | more than 3 years ago | (#34136988)

Perhaps there is more to the deal with Unisys [unisys.com] than previously reported [google.com]. Maybe this is what Unisys is getting out of the deal? Probably not but still fun to speculate.

Sad, but expected (2, Interesting)

dFaust (546790) | more than 3 years ago | (#34137008)

This is typical of post-iPhone Apple, unfortunately. If you look at pre-iPhone apple, they had their hands in a number of places and were making some cool stuff. This is one example, but look at their various other pro and/or creative tools. They had some small but interesting ones such as Motion and Aperature. They also had tools like Final Cut Pro, which swept the NLE world, and Shake, which when they bought Nothing Real (creators of Shake) was taking over the high-end compositing world and was used in many of the big movies that needed heavy visual effects. They also bought Silicon Grail, makers of Chalice and RAYZ, niche high-end compositing apps that were moving up in the world.

And then they realized they could be FAR more profitable selling phones and without fanfare have slowly but surely left all of their little niche markets behind. They convinced companies to switch their infrastructure over to Macs to use their amazing tools, and then just leave them high and dry. I get that it makes business sense, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, as I'm sure it does to many of the companies that dumped huge amounts of money into their products.

Enterprise is not a strategic direction for Apple (1)

magbottle (929624) | more than 3 years ago | (#34137050)

If you watch the D8 podcast (or the stream) of Steve's interview with Walt Mossberg (nearly two hours long), he explains why the enterprise market is not of interest to Apple. And you get the impression the disinterest is long term.

Even if you don't like Steve Job's or Apple, it is fascinating to seen the man think and respond.

Watch that, then watch the interview with Steve Ballmer (and Ray Ozzie). The contrast between Jobs (and Ozzie) to Ballmer is.....definitive.

Dropping OS X (1)

allenw (33234) | more than 3 years ago | (#34137180)

To me, this is just more evidence that they will be dropping OS X and moving to iOS for all devices over the next five years. If they were to introduce a new Xserve now, I suspect that the support date is past whatever EOL date they have in mind for OS X. What is essentially an appliance OS won't work for what are technically meant to be back end servers except for very limited applications. The people who buy the most Xserves (HPC, etc) do not fall into that category.
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