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Apple kills off Xserve server range

Apple kills off Xserve server range

Apple's rack-mounted Xserve range was never a success, and the company has announced its retirement.

Apple has admitted defeat in the server market, officially announcing the impending death of its Xserve rack-mounted server range.

In a support document posted to its website, Apple states that it is 'transitioning away from Xserve,' and 'will not be developing a future version.'

The machines, shiny brushed aluminium units running Apple's Mac OS X Server, were never a particular winner in the market. The Xserve range was sold at a significant price premium over competing x86 server ranges from Dell, HP, and others, and while there was no denying its aesthetic appeal Apple missed a key point: servers are traditionally hidden where nobody can see them.

While the Xserve will continue to be an option for customers until the end of January 2011, after that point it will cease to be. Those customers looking for an Apple-based server alternative are pointed to the Mac Pro workstation and Mac Mini small form factor lines, which are available running Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server.

For customers who have already purchased an Xserve, Apple has confirmed that it will honour all warranties and extended support contracts for up to three years from the date of original purchase, stating that 'customers can rest assured that Intel-based Xserve systems will continue to provide useful service during and after this transition.'

Are you surprised to see Apple admit defeat in the enterprise market, or more shocked that the company ever had a server line in the first place? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

29 Comments

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Psy-UK 5th November 2010, 15:39 Quote
I never knew Apple even made servers.
mi1ez 5th November 2010, 15:52 Quote
"The Xserve range was sold at a significant price premium over competing x86 server ranges from Dell, HP, and others, and while there was no denying its aesthetic appeal Apple missed a key point: servers are traditionally hidden where nobody can see them."

Sums the whole thing up really. I'm not surprised at all.
schmidtbag 5th November 2010, 16:00 Quote
so does this mean that apple won't be working on osx server anymore? this will be a disappointment since apple JUST allowed virtualbox to use osx server in it and now they might ditch it, so what are we left with?

if apple stuck with PPC, their servers would do soooo much better. x86 is not ideal for servers, its too limited. ppc, sparc, and cuda are the best for servers.

what shocks me is how bit-tech says apple's servers are too expensive. for an x86 server, yes i'm sure its immensely overpriced, but ibm servers are RIDICULOUSLY expensive. but, ibm's servers are a lot more reliable.

i'm not really sure why apple bothered to make servers, because as far as i'm aware, osx server still uses the same basic desktop that regular mac has, it just doesn't have the same programs. that basically means you get an os spending a lot of resources on the GUI, which doesn't matter. i'm sure mac's servers are also a lot more restricting than linux or even windows servers.

the really interesting thing is, what will apple be using for their own servers if they stop making their own?
perplekks45 5th November 2010, 16:05 Quote
If you'd read it properly the article answers your question:
Quote:
Those customers looking for an Apple-based server alternative are pointed to the Mac Pro workstation and Mac Mini small form factor lines, which are available running Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server.

And how come you think Apple's servers are reasonably priced? While we migrated file servers at my former job some people asked us to evaluate Apple's offering as well. We had a good laugh and moved on.
liratheal 5th November 2010, 16:08 Quote
Good riddance.

Needlessly pretty boxes.
Er-El 5th November 2010, 16:11 Quote
At last.
StoneyMahoney 5th November 2010, 16:24 Quote
The Xserve wasn't actually too badly priced and, when paired with an Xraid, was an excellent file server. We used several of them at the publishing and design firm I used to work for. Not that I'd recommend them for any company that wasn't heavily Mac based to start with. And all our webservers were 1U HP boxes running Linux (which our developers kept calling Blades, bless 'em).

Skip forward to now and the Xserve has been discontinued for years, Apple is pushing Xsan and the Mac Pro is far more capable than the Xserve. Goodbye redundant product. Xserve, you will be missed. Just not for long.
bowman 5th November 2010, 16:37 Quote
Such a shame they didn't introduce ZFS in Snow Leopard. That would have given them a great edge.
sb1991 5th November 2010, 16:46 Quote
Perhaps purchasers of servers have a bit more sense than apple's usual customers?
Unknownsock 5th November 2010, 17:14 Quote
Honestly who isn't surprised here?
Fabou 5th November 2010, 18:12 Quote
@sb1991 +1
Anyway Apple market is clean looking system you can't really tweak, it kinda fell the opposite of server market.
fodder 5th November 2010, 19:16 Quote
Having worked for a manufacturer in pre-press publishing systems, I have seen a lot of companies using servers who are primarily mac based. Very very few used mac servers and those that did were some of the most frequent support calls. Aside from being more expensive than the equivalent competition, they were unreliable and too closed. A file server should do just that, serve files, in an efficient, open and easy manner. Mac servers didn't like anything without a mac badge really.

The worst case of this was one customer who lost ALL their work (TB of the stuff) because when a windows machine was updated with some patches it decided not to let the client complete the changes to it's files on the server, thus borking the lot. Silly apple.
kempez 5th November 2010, 19:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
what shocks me is how bit-tech says apple's servers are too expensive. for an x86 server, yes i'm sure its immensely overpriced, but ibm servers are RIDICULOUSLY expensive. but, ibm's servers are a lot more reliable.

I'm sorry, but IBM servers are expensive and not hugely reliable. The rediculous thing about them is the licensing model IBM have. It's about £15k per CPU license last time I checked!

I know, because we've had a P Series sitting in our data centre with hardware sitting there not being used, despite us needing capacity. Absolutely rubbish.

Worth saying that we're replacing these with Windows X86 servers that are hugely cheaper and massively quicker.

Not bothered about OSX servers, but it's a shame with Apple's reputation for producing stable software that they didn't think a little more about their server pricing and design.
digitaldunc 5th November 2010, 20:43 Quote
I noticed the sneaky BSG reference in the subtitle :P

Apart from that, not really much to add... if they're as closed platform and as expensive as their other products it's not really surprising.

What I do find surprising is that products with inherent disadvantages like this repeatedly make it to market in the first place.
bobwya 5th November 2010, 21:33 Quote
hmmm shiny
digitaldave 6th November 2010, 00:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
s
as far as i'm aware, osx server still uses the same basic desktop that regular mac has, it just doesn't have the same programs. that basically means you get an os spending a lot of resources on the GUI, which doesn't matter. i'm sure mac's servers are also a lot more restricting than linux or even windows servers.

the really interesting thing is, what will apple be using for their own servers if they stop making their own?

they are still making osx server, just not this hardware, will still be available to order but in a mac pro or mac mini.

osx server is just osx with less gui and more server admin stuff, the main selling point for the mac mini server is unlimited seats, it costs not alot more than microsoft sbs with say 25 cals but you get unlimited cals and the hardware to run it.

most biz are use to exchange and outlook though, so not as easy to configure or as flexible as sbs, blackberry enterprise server as a example doesnt work with mac osx server, its a comprimise thing really, if you know what you are doing and have users who also know what they are doing osx server does almost everything and is very stable, if you have users who dont want change or cant be bothered making a comprimise then sbs still wins hands down.
antiHero 6th November 2010, 12:59 Quote
We use an Xserve at work as DC and print server. Love the admin panel, hate the setup!
To get them running the way you want is a pain in the back, but when they run they run good.
Biggest problem is the switch from AD to OD and the way samba works
general22 6th November 2010, 14:33 Quote
Unsurprising, nobody would use Apple servers over a *NIX/Windows box unless you had a bunch of Mac clients anyway. Looks like its time for those using Xserve to switch away from Apple for their servers.
Phil Rhodes 6th November 2010, 16:39 Quote
Now please make a Mac Pro that will fit in a rack - for all the people who'd like that, not just server admins. Yes, yes, I know, there's sporadic availability of rack conversion kits for them, but for pete's sake...
digitaldave 6th November 2010, 23:26 Quote
I should also mention the xserve hardware is mega loud, really high pitched fans whining all the time, not something that could be considered even remotely bearable for anyone without a server room to lock it away in out of earshot.
schmidtbag 6th November 2010, 23:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitaldave
I should also mention the xserve hardware is mega loud, really high pitched fans whining all the time, not something that could be considered even remotely bearable for anyone without a server room to lock it away in out of earshot.

uh... have you ever been in a server room? because even the smallest server rooms sound like you're standing 50ft away from a commercial jet engine
DarkLord7854 7th November 2010, 06:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitaldave
I should also mention the xserve hardware is mega loud, really high pitched fans whining all the time, not something that could be considered even remotely bearable for anyone without a server room to lock it away in out of earshot.

All servers are loud..

We have a bunch of XServes and Dell servers sitting in our rack at work. Main reason is the client systems are primarily Mac, which work exceedingly well with OSX Server.

They're not terrible servers, hardware and price is better than what they stuff in the consumer products.


The idea of putting a 2 Mac Pros in as a 12U shelf-mounted setup like Apple suggest in their migration guide is quite ridiculous though. I'd much rather stuff 12 1U servers in that space.
Nikumba 7th November 2010, 15:59 Quote
kempez - How about you compare like for like eh??? The p-series is a mainframe style box often running OS400/AIX/Unix. If you look at the IBM server range that is on the same range as the x-serve then you will find they are on par with the market eg HP, Dell, IBM pizza box servers all tend to be in the same price bracket

schmidtbag - I am sure you are thinking of the mainframe style boxes which are stupidly expensive, I should know we have 5 of them in work.

Kimbie
schmidtbag 7th November 2010, 23:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikumba
kempez - How about you compare like for like eh??? The p-series is a mainframe style box often running OS400/AIX/Unix. If you look at the IBM server range that is on the same range as the x-serve then you will find they are on par with the market eg HP, Dell, IBM pizza box servers all tend to be in the same price bracket

schmidtbag - I am sure you are thinking of the mainframe style boxes which are stupidly expensive, I should know we have 5 of them in work.

Kimbie

yes that was what i was referring to
Andy Mc 8th November 2010, 09:15 Quote
Across all 3 Datacentres at work, we only have a grand total of 2 of these that customers have co-lo'd. Yes they look nice, but to be honest some of the Sun kit looks better.
Also we have a lot more of the google search appliances co-lo'd too. It's odd walking throught he dc to see a Bright yellow 3u box with the google logo splashed across it.
kempez 8th November 2010, 10:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikumba
kempez - How about you compare like for like eh??? The p-series is a mainframe style box often running OS400/AIX/Unix. If you look at the IBM server range that is on the same range as the x-serve then you will find they are on par with the market eg HP, Dell, IBM pizza box servers all tend to be in the same price bracket

We have IBM 'pizza box' servers too, we've got over 1200 servers of different descriptions sitting in our data centre.

I was making an example of how bad IBM's business model is *shrugs* it's just true.

Our technical guys are under-impressed with IBM's offerings in general tbh. Not that I'm not technical, but they're the guys working with them every day.

IBM needs to get themselves up to date, especially software and GUI design (a bit OT, but meh).
Farting Bob 8th November 2010, 14:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kempez
I was making an example of how bad IBM's business model is *shrugs* it's just true.
If making many billions of dollars in profit each year is an example of a bad business model, show me a good one!
kempez 8th November 2010, 20:14 Quote
Yeah bad for customers I maybe should have said.

We certainly won't be buying from them again.
1-0-1 9th November 2010, 13:42 Quote
About time - their server line never offered any real advantage from the likes of DELL, HP, IBM etc. What on earth was their idea anyway with the servers?
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