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X-it the Xserve
November 5, 2010 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Apple Computers, creator of the worlds first Apple Computer Tablet and the worlds first Smartphone to go to space quitely announced today that despite 35% year over year growth, they are discontinuing the Xserve.

Are you running OSX server on for your enterprise ? Not to worry. You have until January 31 to upgrade to the last of the line. Other options include virtualizing the server, or using the Mini Server. With Java on OSX deprecated, no server side features of OSX Lion announced, and an Xserve Raid long since discontinued and outsourced, does this spell the end of Apple as a business computing player ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt (74 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Apple never made sense to me as a rack mounted business server vendor. It was always a neat idea to try throwing at clients, and they certainly had some fun Apple-ish touches to server maintenance, but on the whole... well.. I think they'd rather dominate the commerce, multimedia, and personal markets. They fit better there.
posted by cavalier at 8:08 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't really follow these things much, but I would expect that the Apple Computer company would be the creator of the world's first Apple Computer Tablet.
posted by phunniemee at 8:09 AM on November 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


And I forgot to mention, surprised it lasted this long. Again -- pretty, neat touches, but not many middle management types are going to spring for a 24U of XServes to accompany their existing HP/Dell/whatever racks.
posted by cavalier at 8:09 AM on November 5, 2010


Apple Releases New 'Server' Configuration of Mac Pro to Replace Xserve
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 8:10 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I believe that the name of the company has been changed to Apple.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:12 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's just "Apple" now. They dropped "Computer" in '07.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:13 AM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Damnit Shakes!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:14 AM on November 5, 2010


Just a few notes:

I have never heard the iPad described as an "Apple Computer tablet" before - probably because it's incredibly awkward - but ok :)

The 35% growth is about as unrelated to the Xserve product as, well, anything. That growth is based almost solely on their consumer notebooks and iMacs. Even if Xserves are selling well (which I doubt) they're generally a laughing stock even among very loyal Apple fans. This moves comes as no surprise at all.
posted by neven at 8:16 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


xServes are a nightmare. This was a great decision. If I could only have convinced my clients when I was in IT to discontinue their xServes as well.
posted by orville sash at 8:18 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm hoping that this announcement is a precursor to the availability of OSX Server in a virtualized package.
posted by machaus at 8:23 AM on November 5, 2010


There's no need to iPad your post out with unrelated links.
posted by yerfatma at 8:25 AM on November 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


Great, more excuses for the IT guys to laugh at my serious Mac work machine.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:26 AM on November 5, 2010


this sucks if you've bought into the management and directory features that OS X Server provides. by that, I mean you have a few XServes that run your Open Directory infrastructure and you control your installed Mac base with Apple Remote Desktop. and it sucks because, should you lose an XServe and can't get parts, you're looking at replacing your 1U server with something 5-12 times bigger. or going with a much slower Mac Mini. the question remains, though; how many places had installations big enough that this really matters all that much?

the XServe wasn't really all that competitive in the 1U market anyway. the things that make OS X awesome on the desktop and sell things like iMacs don't really matter so much when you may never hook a monitor to your computer, and if you've got a server app that'll run on OS X, you can likely run it on RHEL or Solaris or something else like that. other vendors do the hardware better, cheaper and with better support.
posted by mrg at 8:26 AM on November 5, 2010


On the bright side for Apple, they won't get nearly as much criticism about not using their own server machines when they open that shiny new server farm that is not run on Xserve systems.
posted by mikeh at 8:29 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


So what?
posted by sveskemus at 8:33 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would expect that the Apple Computer company would be the creator of the world's first Apple Computer Tablet.

Just a crazy coincidence. Lucky for them, though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:34 AM on November 5, 2010


does this spell the end of Apple as a business computing player ?

For servers, maybe, but servers are an area where commodity hardware shines, and that's just not Apple's strong point. On the user-facing side, however, Apple recently partnered with Unisys to sell more computers and services to businesses and government agencies.

Apple Releases New 'Server' Configuration of Mac Pro to Replace Xserve

That's kind of a joke, though. Beyond the fact that it can't be (easily) rack-mounted, why on Earth does a server need a high-end graphics card with 1GB of RAM? Obviously some servers offload computations onto the GPU, but having it selected by default is a bit silly.
posted by jedicus at 8:35 AM on November 5, 2010


I would expect that the Apple Computer company would be the creator of the world's first Apple Computer Tablet.

We're talking about this, right?
posted by octothorpe at 8:38 AM on November 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Eh if you use OSX server and it continues to be even roughly supported you can just virtualize it and who cares who builds the hardware. Seems to be at least somewhat functional in ESX and I know it works fine in non-ESX vmware-server and -workstation.
posted by Skorgu at 8:38 AM on November 5, 2010


They wouldn't have cancelled xserve if it had 35% year over year growth. That's their mac sales over all.
posted by empath at 8:42 AM on November 5, 2010


AFAIK, virtualization is NOT an option, since you aren't allowed to run OSX on non apple hardware.
posted by empath at 8:43 AM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


what
posted by XMLicious at 8:44 AM on November 5, 2010


(the "what" is in reaction to the news, not to anyone's comment)
posted by XMLicious at 8:45 AM on November 5, 2010


"Apple Computer Tablet" sounds less like a term for the iPad and more like a piece of kitchen equipment to me.

"Having trouble determining how much fruit you need for your recipe? Try our new patented counter-top Apple Computer Tablet! Never again worry that you used too few apples or too many, with the Apple Computer Tablet, you can rest assured that whatever you are making will have exactly the right amount! Available now!"
posted by quin at 8:53 AM on November 5, 2010


Wait, not only is the "replacement" Mac Pro Server not rackable, it has a stupid default graphics card, it doesn't have redundant power supplies, and no SAS or hot-swappable drives. WTF?
posted by kmz at 8:53 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't really follow these things much, but I would expect that the Apple Computer company would be the creator of the world's first Apple Computer Tablet.

Yeah, that first "worlds first" is basically a preview fail. Which is funny, because it's my first FPP and must have proofread it like 10988 times. But, thats why I work in IT and not as an editor.

Back on topic, this signals, once again, that Apple is simply not committed to supporting business users. The management tools were rudimentary but usable on an all OSX network, and all but nonexistent on a heterogeneous network. For example, getting an OSX machine to reasonably and reliably authenticate to Active directory is a measure of luck and stubbornness. I have other complaints, but this isnt the place.

It's unfortunate for me, in particular, because I manage a (mostly) Apple shop and now have to figure out a new way forward. Apple's Secrecy Fetish is the most annoying thing about doing business with them. To just come out of nowhere and do something like this doesn't give me the warm fuzzies going forward.

I'll be migrating our servers off to Linux and Windows, and the workstations... well, back to Dell or HP or Lenovo. I'm done dealing with Apple.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:56 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't care. Thanks for making me don't care.
posted by mr.marx at 9:03 AM on November 5, 2010


I'm wondering if someone could whip up a script to determine the percentage of people who jump in an Apple-related thread to say they 'don't care'
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 9:08 AM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Which is funny, because it's my first FPP and must have proofread it like 10988 times.

I do this all the time. It doesn't matter if I read it a million times, I am simply incapable of seeing the error until I hit post.

Hate that.

posted by quin at 9:09 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, not only is the "replacement" Mac Pro Server not rackable, it has a stupid default graphics card, it doesn't have redundant power supplies, and no SAS or hot-swappable drives. WTF?

The reason I'm buying Xserves is to support Podcast Producer/Xgrid. And in that case, a nice graphics card can significantly boost encoding. In face, even though Podcast Producer v1 runs on 10.5, it wouldn't run on G5 Xserves because they lacked a graphics card.

But yeah, your other points are giving me some heart burn right now. Redundant, hot swappable power supplies have proven useful in our center. Need to move the server onto another circuit because one failed/is undergoing maintenance? No problem!

Hot swappable drives are also great. Although honestly I can probably get around it in most cases. Replacing the drive is small compared to the time I spend copying data around.

What about Lights-Out-Management? I've really started to enjoy this feature. Just last month I had contractors kill power to a building (you tell me it will be 6am - noon, then kill it at MIDNIGHT? WTF). Ping the LOM interface enough and the server boots right back. No need to even get dressed.
posted by sbutler at 9:11 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


OS X Server - the operating system - isn't deprecated, and Apple has been pushing the Mini Server bundle hard for a while now. We've been using one in our office for a year. It's rock-solid. An XServer would have been all kinds of unwieldy overkill, and we had nowhere to put it.

As far as virtualizing OS X Server, you can do it, as long as the host system is also OS X. Which is kind of awkward right now. Maybe Apple will be announcing a change in that policy in January, when the XServer is discontinued. Maybe not. You don't know. I hate how Apple plays close to the vest at times like this, because it's hell to plan around, but they won't willingly drop a market cold, not when it's an opportunity to provide infrastructure behind newly tapped markets.

Calling this an abandonment of the business sector is kind of like claiming McDonald's is abandoning the carnivore market when they discontinue the McRib. Look at what else is on the menu.
posted by ardgedee at 9:12 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ohh, and virtualization is less than useful if I had to run it via VMware Fusion or Parallels on Mac hardware. I won't even consider it as viable until we can run it on our existing VMware Server/ESXi infrastructure. Get with the game, Apple.
posted by sbutler at 9:13 AM on November 5, 2010


WTF is up with the FPP? Its like something I'd write while high. First tablet PC? I think the first tablet PC I used was an XP machine from 5 or 6 years ago. Also, there's no company called "Apple Computers." They are now "Apple, Inc." They care so much about their computer division that they dropped it from the name. Oh and no smartphone has been in space. Excalibur Almaz has been in space as many times I have - zero. I can tolerate some fanboyism, but three BS Apple claims in one FPP?
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:18 AM on November 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


I also enjoy my Apple Computer Tablet. And my Apple Computer Cellular-Technology Mobile Telephone. And my Apple Computer Compact Computer Machine Box.

Now I must drive my Toyota Automotive Camry 4-Door V6 with Leather Interior, Gray.
posted by Edison Carter at 9:22 AM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


octothorpe: "I would expect that the Apple Computer company would be the creator of the world's first Apple Computer Tablet.

We're talking about this, right?
"

Nope, this!
posted by mkb at 9:23 AM on November 5, 2010


getting an OSX machine to reasonably and reliably authenticate to Active directory is a measure of luck and stubbornness.

Yeah, what the fuck, Apples Computering? Why can't you authenticate Apple Computer Active Directory?
posted by Edison Carter at 9:23 AM on November 5, 2010


One reason Apple is successful is because they keep their product line pruned. Xserve was never very profitable for them, so now it's gone and those hardware engineers have more time to devote to other projects.

(Pogo_Fuzzybutt - please put more care into crafting front page posts. I'd point out that Apple has never been called "Apple Computers", but really the FPP has so many other weird defects that I shouldn't even get started.)
posted by w0mbat at 9:24 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hear through the grapevine that Apple's discontinuing XSan as well, although that's only a product they licensed from Quantum, so it may not go away completely.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:36 AM on November 5, 2010


(Pogo_Fuzzybutt - please put more care into crafting front page posts. I'd point out that Apple has never been called "Apple Computers", but really the FPP has so many other weird defects that I shouldn't even get started.)

Don't do that.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:39 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I must have missed the announcement about our new mod. Congratulations, shakespeherian.
It is a pretty poorly worded post.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:45 AM on November 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


I hear through the grapevine that Apple's discontinuing XSan as well, although that's only a product they licensed from Quantum, so it may not go away completely.

Several of my colleagues have been migrating away from Apple's Xsan assuming that it's just a matter of time before they kill it off entirely. Given that ZFS support got disappeared from Snow Leopard and they killed off the Xserve Raid, it's probably not a bad guess.

For my part, I went with an enterprise storage solution from another vendor (HP/Lefthand) and although iSCSI support in OSX is .... not as robust as I'd like, it's been working pretty well.

As for FPP commentary, I appreciate constructive criticism. I have a MeMail address. Or, you know, whatever.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:48 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a sensible business decision for Apple, I think. I have an XServe and I thought it was pretty well-executed, although I really REALLY didn't like the way it mounted in the rack - you screw the top of the case into the rack, then slide the actual machine into the case if I recall correctly.

I don't think this means that Apple has "given up on the enterprise" - they've just come to the sensible realization that they'd never get the core IT functionality of the enterprise. Lots of companies are buying Apple for some slice of end-user functionality.

I do feel kind of sorry for the one company I've worked with that's exclusively using Apple servers (and desktops) - when we brought in a Linux x86 application server for their public web site, they looked at it like it was sullying their perfection.

Wait, no, I guess I don't feel sorry for them. Carry on.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:49 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Congratulations, shakespeherian.

Thanks! My first act is changing my name to 'Important Guy.'
posted by shakespeherian at 9:52 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


We're talking about this, right?"

Nope, this!


Let's all get on the same page, por favor. THIS is the first Apple tablet.
posted by dbiedny at 9:55 AM on November 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Apple : enterprise :: water : oil
posted by howling fantods at 9:55 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple is moving to the cloud to do battle with Chromium OS. The future of computing devices as interfaces to your data permanently backed up in the cloud is arriving sooner than I had thought, and businesses are on board for dumping half of their IT department. Whoever comes up with a vendor managed appliance that mirrors your enterprise data on your local network for quick access, and automatically streams backups to distant server farms for redundancy and remote access is going to win the enterprise sector, hands down. The only places left for fully in-house IT are going to be Fortune 100 companies and anyone who can't do it for legal/security reasons.

XServe RAID was retired a few years ago, and now XServe, to which I say good riddance. Last I checked they were still charging $700 for a hotswap 2TB, with no option to purchase just the carriage.

Besides that, Open Directory and their implementation of Dovecot are total dogs. I never thought I would prefer digging through .confs in linux to a GUI, but Snow Leopard Server is a miracle worker in that respect. The new Mac Mini servers are awesome little hardware devices, especially with the internal power supply, but getting over 20 clients using their vanilla server software really inspires self-harm.
posted by notion at 10:02 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wonder how this will impact our office. We have 200-300 Macs (newspaper, so lot of graphics/publishing going on) and about the same amount of PCs. We do have quite a few Xserves. I'll have to ask the IT guys if this means anything to us.
posted by azpenguin at 10:06 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


The server business is a whole different dogfight than desktop & consumer where Apple's strengths don't make as much of a difference. Plus I dunno how well OS X Server plays in a virtualized data centre and if you're not working with virtualization then you're just not a player in the DC.
posted by GuyZero at 10:08 AM on November 5, 2010


Personally, I think their timing is off a bit. Probably won't kill them, but I think they're about 1 to 2 years early on this move.

Case in point: I know of a number of local businesses that rely on Apple servers to run their LANs. Those businesses (mostly ad agencies) are in no way moving to the cloud anytime soon, and if they were Apple would have nothing to offer them there. (Really, what have they got that's business-ready? I really don't get that part. Unless they've got some secret stuff that's going to emerge from the closet in the next 2 months - which means businesses won't buy it because it's too new -- I'm just not seeing it.)

What I expect to happen is some enterprising consultants and OSS vendors to move into the breach with server tools designed to run on OS X workstations, or Linux builds & boxes customized for providing service to networked Macs.
posted by lodurr at 10:09 AM on November 5, 2010


what I'm saying is geared at smaller businesses. "enterprise" -- I don't know about that. I do know that Amazon uses a shitload of Xserves in their cloud.
posted by lodurr at 10:11 AM on November 5, 2010


So just replace the rack-mount hardware with non-rack-mount hardware. That makes sense!
posted by smackfu at 10:19 AM on November 5, 2010


I thought the first Apple Computer tablet was the Newton.
posted by Slothrup at 10:38 AM on November 5, 2010


Re Java: I suspect that we will see similar messages about deprecating Java from IBM, as well.

Is AIX destined to not be a Java platform? Unlikely. See, the world is heading toward using OpenJava for the reference releases, and Java 7 is likely where this will start, to some extent.

We will probably see that Oracle picks up OS X as a reference platform, using OpenJava 7 and the OS X specific tweaks Apple has given back to the project.

That's what I'm reading in the tea-leaves, anyway.
posted by clvrmnky at 10:47 AM on November 5, 2010


I'll be migrating our servers off to Linux and Windows, and the workstations... well, back to Dell or HP or Lenovo. I'm done dealing with Apple.
Is data centre space that tight that you'd requip the entire company with Windows rather than make room for a couple of Mac Pros or a few minis?
posted by bonaldi at 10:52 AM on November 5, 2010


Is data centre space that tight that you'd requip the entire company with Windows rather than make room for a couple of Mac Pros or a few minis?

Modern DC design is driven less by space - many not-quite-brand-new DCs have lots of empty space - but is driven by:

- electricity supply; many DCs are literally pulling the max # of ams physically available to them, even if they have physical space
- heating & cooling
- management tools

Xserves don't virtualize and thus you can't optimize the MIPS/watt (or whatever measurement you want to use) like you can with 'real' DC hardware. Also, you need to have every single box in the DC on a single unified management platform. There's no place for one-offs in the DC.
posted by GuyZero at 10:58 AM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do know that Amazon uses a shitload of Xserves in their cloud.

Really? Do you have a cite? I'm not denying this, but I am quite surprised. I'd love to know more about it.
posted by GuyZero at 10:59 AM on November 5, 2010


damn, editing, the max # of amps.
posted by GuyZero at 10:59 AM on November 5, 2010


The Xserves are the best looking servers out there. It doesn't matter because almost nobody will ever see one, but they sure are pretty. After long hours in the dullest of data centers it can be a nice surprise to come upon something which isn't a blank gray box that makes fan noise and has an LED.

Sun has some good aesthetically designed servers too, but I'm afraid of what Oracle will do to that.
posted by Hoenikker at 11:05 AM on November 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


- management tools

Yeah, this is the scary bit. You mean we have to fly someone to the data center to administer the one Mac Pro? That's not how these things work nowadays.
posted by smackfu at 11:14 AM on November 5, 2010


From what I've seen, this is no particular loss -- OS X is just not a very good server OS. The microkernel architecture doesn't seem well-suited to high-throughput, low-latency applications. And the native filesystem (HFS+) is terrible, both slow and unreliable. In pretty much every benchmark you could name, Linux beats the pants off OS X on similar hardware.

There was room, I suppose, for a friendly server OS with great management tools, but the ones they provided were never wonderful. The server software itself tended to be best-of-breed from the open source world, with a slightly GUI-fied admin interface. But if you wanted to do anything advanced, you had to go to the command prompt anyway, so most of that advantage was blown.

Basically, the only time XServes were really good was for a OS X-based business just big enough that a Mini wouldn't keep up, but not big enough to need advanced features. I could see some print shops fitting that profile, for instance. But XServes cost a hell of a lot more than equivalent machines from competitors, and didn't really offer software that was any better, so that one tiny niche was about it, and certainly not enough to keep a big company like Apple happy.

Making the XServe work truly well would have taken some major engineering time -- at the very least, they need work to streamline the Mach microkernel, and a new filesystem. That new filesystem could be years away yet -- they seem to have dropped ZFS completely, and writing something from scratch is not for the faint of heart. Modern filesystems are frighteningly complex. And the system needed a TON more work on integration with Windows and Linux.

It's pretty obvious that Steve would rather spend resources going after the handheld market. I can't even really argue with the decision -- from a dollars invested to dollars gained perspective, I think he'd be dumb to do anything else. But it's a shame he didn't want to fund both things at once, because the back-end infrastructure work to get the system better-suited to the enterprise would likely have trickled back into the consumer goods later on.

I'd dearly love a mainstream OS with ZFS. That would be a killer feature.
posted by Malor at 11:19 AM on November 5, 2010


On the one hand, this is an announcement of a decision by Apple. On the other hand, it's a declaration that an Apple product is an unsalvageable failure. That's a combination that'll give some folks aneurysms trying to figure out what their fanboyism demands.
posted by kafziel at 11:23 AM on November 5, 2010


There's no place for one-offs in the DC
Yes, but we're talking about pogo's DC here, which is already all Xserve. The mini uses considerably less power and puts out much less heat than the Xserve, so it's all win there. The LOM is limited to "will restart after power loss", but it doesn't sound like he's talking about BigCo with all-remote centres anyway.

Malor's right that there really wasn't ever much point using them as web servers or the like, but if you *do* have an all-Mac office life is vastly more pleasant with OS X Server on the backend than it is trying to do it with Linux/Windows. The mac mini is fine for that option, though, so the Xserve really did have to go.
posted by bonaldi at 11:27 AM on November 5, 2010


Basically, the only time XServes were really good was for a OS X-based business just big enough that a Mini wouldn't keep up, but not big enough to need advanced features. I could see some print shops fitting that profile, for instance. But XServes cost a hell of a lot more than equivalent machines from competitors, and didn't really offer software that was any better, so that one tiny niche was about it, and certainly not enough to keep a big company like Apple happy.

There are a lot of small businesses out there—print publications like magazines, newspapers, custom-publishing ventures, etc.—that have exactly this setup. Apparently not enough of them to keep Apple happy, and probably their numbers are still decreasing. But it's a real shame that Apple's discontinuing the one product that would seamlessly (albeit with a few reboots here and there...) handle the needs of that particular niche.

Hmm...like azpenguin, I'm off to see whether the new server my company's migrating to happens to be an Xserve. Wouldn't that be a bitch?
posted by limeonaire at 11:40 AM on November 5, 2010


Yes, but we're talking about pogo's DC here, which is already all Xserve.

Which is itself a one-off in the world of DCs. I mean, sure, I bet it's great and it probably works fine, but DCs are like midwestern agriculture - monoculture. Three crops (wheat, corn, soy AKA Windows, Linux, weird IBM shit), one set of management best practices.

The Xserve is the organic amaranth of the DC world. A great product, but no one knows what to do with it.
posted by GuyZero at 11:46 AM on November 5, 2010


Is data centre space that tight that you'd requip the entire company with Windows rather than make room for a couple of Mac Pros or a few minis?

It's more than that - lack of hot swap drives means you have to down the box and take it apart to swap out drives. That presents its own problems - was drive 0 on the top or the bottom ? Where did I put that stupid mounting screw ? That sort of thing.

Add in the lack of LOM, redundant power, etc etc. It's just not an attractive option even leaving aside the huge foot print.

As for the mini - well, it's a joke. Sure its fine if you have a couple of users in some sort of SO/HO thing. But for anything real ? No way.

But the main problem with Apple is that if they reserve the right to say "that way of using our stuff to do your business ? well, we're not doing that anymore. As of now. Kthkbye." and they do this with some frequency. Sure, other vendors do phase-outs, but not like this.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:01 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some good thoughts on this from The Lonely Sysadmin, which you should all be reading anyway.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:47 PM on November 5, 2010


Add in the lack of LOM...

Apple broke LOM on a number of XServes with a firmware update. I manage one right now that is hit-or-miss on whether the LOM responds at all. Support was useless.

I had high hopes when I first installed one - the GUI tools looked awesome, then I actually tried to use them, for any purpose, and they crashed, or output the wrong values. Basic stuff.

Like someone said above, the only way around most of the problems is to drop to a command-line, which, if you're doing that, why the fuck not just have a Linux box?
posted by odinsdream at 2:57 PM on November 5, 2010


I would be SO HAPPY if OS X were available on EC2. I develop software that has to work on Windows, Linux, and OS X, but I can't afford to keep an up-to-date Mac around for proper testing (grad school, I have to pay for my own hardware). If I could rent a virtual Mac for the same price as a Windows VM -- currently $0.14 an hour -- the Mac versions of my software would be much better, and I would be much less stressed out!

(And that seems like a fair price, since Windows Server is now $650, while OS X Server is just $500.)
posted by miyabo at 3:00 PM on November 5, 2010


Some good thoughts on this from The Lonely Sysadmin, which you should all be reading anyway.

From the link:
Desktop virtualization is dominated right now by Microsoft Windows, mainly because the only other viable desktop OS vendor, Apple, couldn’t care less. If they started caring imagine what they could do in the enterprise desktop space.
I would be on this so goddamn fast. I am dreading our deployment of Windows 7 desktops. It's going to be absolute shit. Why do it? Because we don't have any alternative. Virtual OS X desktops would kill.
posted by odinsdream at 3:01 PM on November 5, 2010


> Several of my colleagues have been migrating away from Apple's Xsan assuming that it's just a matter of time before they kill it off entirely. Given that ZFS support got disappeared from Snow Leopard and they killed off the Xserve Raid, it's probably not a bad guess.

I don't see XSan going away, Apple sells a ton of hardware through it, since you get a ton of collaborative value out of the product. This smells of someone higher up deciding they don't want to deal with XServe anymore and killing the product, since Xsan sold tons of xserves (and made apple some decent chunk of change for the time it took). I've set up some big ones.

What I would see is them pulling the Promise move, going with approved hardware for their os x server model, since things like OD and podcast producer do add value to Apple's hardware in the education sector. I've had colleagues who've done entire college rollouts of Podcast Producer because it is simply the fastest way for a college professor to get their lecture notes merged with their video and out to the students. Those students who could get their content easily on their Apple iPads/iPods/iPhones.

OS X Server as a product is reasonable, they don't have the support or engineer resources to make it as mature a product as Windows SBS, but it does have some nice tie ins. Don't even bother trying to use it for a mailserver however, just suck it up and buy Kerio, you will be much happier anyway.

I would hope that there is a soon to be released new Mac Pro form factor that would allow for it to lay on it's side in the server rack without having to resort to an angle grinder to make it fit, along with hot swappable PSU's (Which would work anyway in the larger Mac Pro configurations I've setup for high editing / compositing situations). If that is the case, what this really shows is that Apple doesn't have a fucking clue on how to market or work with Enterprise business customers in anyway. As posted to the mac enterprise list:

"So you expect us to put a product in our secure data center that comes from a company that will just up and out of the blue cancel an entire line of critical hardware with no explanation, no guarantee of hardware or software support and no path for upgrades."
posted by mrzarquon at 3:01 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Virtual OS X desktops would kill.

I'm not seeing the value is virtual os x desktops, especially if you mean just virtualizing the instance of windows so it is hardware independent. I mean, terminal services for OS X would be pretty sweet, but as someone who just completed a Windows XP to 7 migration, and got to deal with all the sticking points, the problems that you would have in the windows world don't really exist on the mac platform, in situations where virtualization would come in handy anyway.

OS X already has a very coherent hardware abstraction layer. You can boot a mac mini off an xserves hard drive, and 99% of the system will just work. If you need to migrate a user, you can just copy their /Users folder and the DSlocal stub containing their account information (which Migration Assistant will do for you) to their new machine. Everything else is pretty much tracked and managed by default inside the users home folder. I've carried my home folder, mail, settings and everything, between 5 computers this last year alone.

Hell, if you have the right management utilities, you can do an in place netboot (a great use for a xserve) and upgrade from 10.5 to 10.6 without touching the users data on the disk, so they sit down and login to their workstation one day and magically are running the latest OS.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:08 PM on November 5, 2010


OS X is the worst OS in the world for remote usage. I could cram 10 RDP or X connections in the bandwidth of one remote Snow Leopard session. I doubt any virtualized solution with thin clients would be anywhere close to feasible.

Steve demands shadows and eye candy. No exceptions.
posted by notion at 3:19 PM on November 5, 2010


I'm not seeing the value is virtual os x desktops, especially if you mean just virtualizing the instance of windows so it is hardware independent. I mean, terminal services for OS X would be pretty sweet

Sorry, to clarify, I mean Terminal Services for OSX - i.e., centrally hosted environments which end-users can log into and use, perhaps via thin client.
posted by odinsdream at 3:22 PM on November 5, 2010


> Steve demands shadows and eye candy. No exceptions.

Have you played with Aquaconnect? It does terminal services over RDP, instead of VNC with special sauce, which is what OS X's built in 'screen sharing' does.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:42 PM on November 5, 2010


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