May 14, 2002
12:09 PM   Subscribe

Apple enters the server hardware market.
posted by alana (24 comments total)
Beaten to it by mere seconds! Here's what I was just about to post:

Xserve is Apple's first dedicated server since the ill-fated Network Server 500/700 (circa 1996-1997, ran AIX). It's a 1U rack-mounted server with up to two 1-GHz G4 processors, up to 2 GB of DDR SDRAM, and up to four 160-GB hot-swappable ATA/100 hard drives. Price: $2,999 and up. Targeted at the education, creative, video and biotech markets. (See reports on the introduction from MacCentral and Doc Searls.) You don't need one.
posted by mcwetboy at 12:12 PM on May 14, 2002

I was really hoping for a low-end version with a single processor and two drive bays. This is too much horsepower for most of the client-server Mac apps that I want to move to more stable hardware.
posted by machaus at 12:17 PM on May 14, 2002

I might not need one... but I sure as heck want one. Go Apple!
posted by spilon at 12:18 PM on May 14, 2002

Yes. Must get into high performance networking field. Must.
posted by jeremias at 12:34 PM on May 14, 2002

Looking at the site and comparing it to the linux machines I admin, it looks like they may have gotten it right.

(glance at my iPod)

... again.
posted by jragon at 12:35 PM on May 14, 2002

I was really hoping for a low-end version with a single processor and two drive bays.

They're also offering a single processor model with less storage:

I'm most interested in the admin software. Keen.
posted by ahughey at 1:02 PM on May 14, 2002

They're also offering a single processor model with less storage:

Ohhhh, I get it now. Then I change my statement. I want it to be cheaper.
posted by machaus at 1:28 PM on May 14, 2002

From the intro page: ...and the ability to boot up and run without a monitor.

Holy CRAP! You can run a computer without a monitor? That's... that's just insane!
posted by RylandDotNet at 1:33 PM on May 14, 2002

This is great news for us peeps in charge of running servers. Apple's lack of real server class boxes necessitated the switch to Intel based boxes of many applications, notably Filemaker.

Good news for Apple and strangely good news for me.
posted by Argyle at 1:53 PM on May 14, 2002

Don't forget though, by buying an Apple server, you may be paying more for the initial hardware, but you don't end up having to pay the Microsoft Tax.
posted by bshort at 2:02 PM on May 14, 2002

Would find this more cool if Apple was more serious about Java support. Does anyone know when/if JDK 1.4 is coming to OS/X?
posted by muppetboy at 2:09 PM on May 14, 2002

Since the majority of end users are still running 1.3 or 1.3.1, I don't see why you're so hot for 1.4, which has only been out for a few months anyway. Isn't your Java wish rather unreasonable?
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:41 PM on May 14, 2002

I write server apps and want a platform that's up-to-date for doing that.
posted by muppetboy at 2:56 PM on May 14, 2002

Um, the java support is notably better than many other platforms, and while I can see 1.4 as being very interesting as a vision of the future, I don't know anyone who runs a bleeding edge Java version for production -- in the past they have been very inefficient swap-junkies for me.
posted by n9 at 3:20 PM on May 14, 2002

I'm actually using quite a few nice 1.4 features (all of which I could easily back out, but don't expect to because 1.4 seems to work so darn well). BTW, many of these features I would use while developing even if I were targeting 1.3.X for deployment, simply because they make developing easier... things like exception chaining, assertions, better RMI stack dumps, etc, etc. Why make life harder than it has to be?

Even accepting a "break in period" for the JDK... why would I use Apple hardware? Any bugs in 1.4 should easily be fixed by the time I ship on Win32, Solaris or Linux, while the Apple platform will be what... a Beta!?

I love Apple's designs and their philosophy and would love to work with their hardware someday. Practially speaking, what Apple really needs to do if they want to get into the server market is get their hardware platform into the Sun Java release pipeline so it's released along with all the other platforms. I thought that was the plan for OS/X JDK some years ago, but it seems to have changed. It's totally beyond me why Apple and Sun can't cooperate better when they both benefit and they're literally 100 yards apart!
posted by muppetboy at 3:54 PM on May 14, 2002

As great as this is, i'd like to see 10K RPM scsi drives as an option with hardware raid 5. THEN it would rawk!
posted by inviolable at 4:49 PM on May 14, 2002

So, I've got friends running 768 megs of RAM on their Powerbooks, and they feel that's what it takes to get the job done, although it seems like a lot to me for what usually looks like a bunch of term screens and a browser. With that in mind as my exposure, does OS/X server version reduce resource demands for the window management, or reduce priority for resources for window management, or maybe run without window management, in case you really wanted to run it truly headless?

Seriously, I'm curious. Obviously a server has no need to be able to play a Superbit "Fifth Element" DVD full screen with DTS output. I mean, it's not supposed to be a workstation. We're moving to FreeBSD on Gigabyte 1U dual CPU servers, and I was attempting to make pseudo-direct comparisons between Apples and oranges.

Also, if Mac OS X Server v10.1 is $999 for unlimited license, and the cheap server is $2,999 with the unlimited license, that looks like somewhat sort of not outrageous hardware pricing, if you squint and like Apple a lot.
posted by dglynn at 5:13 PM on May 14, 2002

Screw Apple for diluting the term "X Server."
posted by shinybeast at 6:21 PM on May 14, 2002

mmm, yummy

pricing doesn't look too bad when you compare to similar hardware (like a compaq dl360, although those do have scsi, which i think these boxes are sorely lacking)

looks like the os x server software is thrown in for free, you can't save any $ by running linux on it instead...

dglynn, all versions of os x will run without the gui (i dont know a lot about the remote management stuff tho, prefer to do that in a terminal)
posted by sawks at 7:27 PM on May 14, 2002

you can't save any $ by running linux on it instead...

OS X server IS Linux. It's Darwin/BSD with a nice GUI wrap-around.

The file services on the old OS X server were all managed by a browser-based application. There's more features and control in this version of X Server, such as BIND, DHCP, etc. Also you have the Macintosh Manager, NetBoot, which allows you to boot all your Macs off a single server (like a dumb terminal but users have their own preferences stored in profiles, for desktop patterns and applications). Remote management likely still has a browser interface, and you can certainly manage it from a terminal.

Best part is that it's easier to set up and manage than anything I've ever used.

As for price, it's comparable to what a non-rack G4 system would cost, sans the Texas-sized storage capacity, buttload of RAM and a copy of OS X Server.
posted by schlaager at 9:11 PM on May 14, 2002

Darwin/BSD != Linux !!!

you can install linux on apple hardware instead of os x if you prefer, unfortunately you cant save $999 of the cost of an xserve by deselecting the os in the apple store :)
posted by sawks at 9:33 PM on May 14, 2002

ooo sexy

it doesn't stand a chance against 1u x86 on freebsd though. that's like 3 times cheaper.
posted by azazello at 12:33 AM on May 15, 2002

No, x86 is not cheaper. Not even close. Run the numbers yourself. Apple pretty much wins on price.
posted by benh57 at 3:30 AM on May 15, 2002

Benh57, I'd like to see some private mail from you defining how it's cheaper than x86 servers. because I don't see it. Near as I can tell, it's a $1000+ differential in price.

But, I'm willing to keep an open mind.
posted by dglynn at 10:02 PM on May 16, 2002

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