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VMware vSphere 5 to add cloud virtualization support for Mac OS X Server

post #1 of 34
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The upcoming release of VMware's vSphere 5 virtualization platform is reported to include guest OS support for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, indicating new options for enterprise use of Apple's server platform without the now discontinued Xserve.

VMware's plans for the next release of vSphere, as discussed in February at the company's Partner Exchnge conference, have been detailed in a posting by Virtualization.info, including mention of support for Mac OS X Server.

The vSphere product allows companies to build a private of public cloud of pooled infrastructure, offering enterprise planners more flexible capacity management than if they were required to allocate dedicated hardware to every server instance.

The product also helps data center managers to automate disaster recovery plans and monitor and manage performance while accurately reporting the costs needed to provide IT services.

By pooling server hardware, VMware says businesses can reduce their requirements of power, cooling and server storage, cutting energy cost by as much as 80 percent.

Formerly named VMware Infrastructure 4, the cloud-enabled vSphere platform is built upon the company's core virtualization hypervisor called ESXi, which runs as a low level microkernel OS on actual server hardware, and facilitates flexible, virtual deployment of guest OS virtual machines on top, moving around virtual images to use available hardware as necessary.

The product currently supports Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Oracle Solaris 10, as well as enterprise versions of Linux from RedHat, SUSE and Ubuntu. By adding support for Mac OS X Server, VMware will give its enterprise customers an option for virtualizing the deployment of Apple's server features without having to dedicate rack space to Mac hardware.

While Apple has backed out of the dedicated server hardware market, first by discontinuing the Xserve RAID and then by terminating its Xserve rack mounted server, it continues to develop its Mac OS X Server product, with the next major version adding the formerly premium server features to the standard edition.

Mac OS X Server includes WebDAV-based calendar and contact management, easy to use wiki services for building group collaboration tools, and under Mac OS X Lion Server 10.7, will incorporate expanded support for iOS mobile devices, including WebDAV file sharing for iPhone and iPads, expanded Push Notifications for messaging services, and a new Profile Manager that provides setup and management features for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac OS Lion computers.
post #2 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

While Apple has backed out of the dedicated server hardware market, first by discontinuing the Xserve RAID and then by terminating its Xserve rack mounted server, it continues to develop its Mac OS X Server product, with the next major version adding the formerly premium server features to the standard edition.

This part I haven't figured out yet. There is apparently two separate versions in beta right now. Lion and Lion Server.

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post #3 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

This part I haven't figured out yet. There is apparently two separate versions in beta right now. Lion and Lion Server.

There isn't, actually, only Lion. Lion Server is now an application suite included with Lion, for free.
post #4 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbarriault View Post

There isn't, actually, only Lion. Lion Server is now an application suite included with Lion, for free.

Because Im sure it will now be mentioned, the first Preview of Lion had the server installation along with it. If you choose to install Server you did have to be connected to the internet to allow that install to occur. Im not sure what it verified or DLed.

Preview 2 was a little different. There is still just the one installation for the OS but the server tools are a separate download from Mac App Store. I assume they combine them for the final product.
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post #5 of 34
Any news on the next version of VMWare Fusion?!
post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbarriault View Post

There isn't, actually, only Lion. Lion Server is now an application suite included with Lion, for free.

Ok thanks. I saw the other download but I have not messed with server since I don't use that (any more). Good to know. It is interesting about VM supporting it. I wonder how Apple feels about it.

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post #7 of 34
I need to look through the Lion EULA again but I don't remember seeing any change to the requirement that even OS X Server has to be run on Apple hardware. VMWare has respected this before so maybe this announcement (if there was a real one and not just someone guessing) come with Apple's blessing to run OSXS on ESXi hardware. Of course, I don't want to see OSX running on any Dell hardware but would accept seeing it run on HP or Sun (Oracle) built servers.

I'd really rather see Apple build their own server hardware again and license VSphere on it.
post #8 of 34
How would one go about installing Lion on VMWare? Doesn't the installer check specifically for the right hardware? Currently VMWare vSpere 4.1 presents plain-vanilla BIOS, not even EFI...

If Apple was smart (and sometimes they are), they would release an OVF template of Lion server. If Lion doesn't have the hardware check, that would open up the OS to other hardware solutions as well.

It's all very exciting indeed. VMWare owns the virtualization market and this way Apple could continue to creep into enterprise markets...
post #9 of 34
In order to completely replace an Xserve, any virtualization product would need the ability to provide direct access to hardware such as PCI Express cards (SAN connectivity, Audio/Video capture, etc) and GPUs (OpenCL).

Furthermore, VMware should also provide Mac versions of their ESX and VSphere management tools.
post #10 of 34
Virtualization is where everything is going. I hope they do not fight allowing virtualization on hardware.
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post

Virtualization is where everything is going. I hope they do not fight allowing virtualization on hardware.

Yeah right. They just spent a couple years in court over this and now they are going turn around and let people run it on generic hardware. I don't understand.

Maybe:

MacBook with Mac OS X 10.7 = $1000
OS X 10.7 only no MacBook = $1000

Here we go with the serial numbers and the activation BS.

OS X isn't really any better than CentOS for 99.9% of serving tasks. I'm not sure why anyone would want to run it unless they are just Apple fans who only run Apple hardware. They are rumored to be working on a new rackmountable MacPro. This VMWare rumor sounds suspect.

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post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post

Any news on the next version of VMWare Fusion?!

The next version of VMWare Fusion is in beta now. I am testing. Looking good.
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Object-X View Post

The next version of VMWare Fusion is in beta now. I am testing. Looking good.

It better be a big improvement in performance. Parallels just trounces it right now. I liked Fusion's options and some features better than Parallels, however since Parallels 6 came out it's performance (especially in the graphics department) was well worth the move from Fusion 3.1. I rarely need to run anything via Windows anymore but I'm still happy to have that option directly in OSX for the things I do occasionally need to run in Windows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stunkcrunk View Post

VMWare owns the virtualization market and this way Apple could continue to creep into enterprise markets...

I'd agree that VMware owns the enterprise VM market right now. I don't think the same about the consumer market. Also with Virtuozzo & Plesk Panel they are starting to make headway in the enterprise market. A while back a nearly identical article was written about Parallels' Virtuozzo container's adding support for OSX Server which never "virtualized" (pardon the pun, I couldn't resist). I don't see Apple sitting idly by allowing VMware to spoof the TPM and run OSX Server on generic hardware.
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Appleinsider View Post

The vSphere product allows companies to build a private of public cloud of pooled infrastructure, offering enterprise planners more flexible capacity management than if they were required to allocate dedicated hardware to every server instance.

Proof reading fail... sadly I've been seeing this more often on AI.
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by stunkcrunk View Post

It's all very exciting indeed. VMWare owns the virtualization market and this way Apple could continue to creep into enterprise markets...

I doubt it. This offers a good solution to all the people that currently have their networks running off an Xserver praying it doesn't break as they can't buy a new one.

As for gaining new customers it doesn't make any sense. Your going to have to have techies skilled in Linux to look after the server hosting the virtual OS X server as well as techies skilled in OS X server. You might as well just not bother with OS X server and keep your staff costs down.
post #16 of 34
Whoa I'm so happy! Lion Server is now virtualized, not to mention it's free with unlimited CALs! And the next Mac Pro will be really exciting. It will look like a Nextstation pizzabox with 3U height. Here's the picture!

All Mac shops will now have a path to upgrade. One of them is my favorite CNBC! Happy days are back! Oh yeah Oh yeah!






Defender of the Mac,
IronTed
post #17 of 34
Wondering how licensing works. I thought you could only install OS X on Apple hardware.
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post

Wondering how licensing works. I thought you could only install OS X on Apple hardware.

That changed with Leopard Server.

"You may also Install and use other copies of Mac OS X Server Software on the same Apple-labeled computer," the new clause reads, "provided that you acquire an individual and valid license from Apple for each of these other copies of Mac OS X Server Software."

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles..._machines.html
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post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

That changed with Leopard Server.

"You may also Install and use other copies of Mac OS X Server Software on the same Apple-labeled computer," the new clause reads, "provided that you acquire an individual and valid license from Apple for each of these other copies of Mac OS X Server Software."

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles..._machines.html

I thought vSphere didn't run on "Apple-labelled computers"?
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdc View Post

I thought vSphere didn't run on "Apple-labelled computers"?

I misread ddawson100s post to assume that he didn't think OS X Server couldnt be virtualized. Mea culpa.
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post #21 of 34
There is a lot of unwarranted jumping to conclusions here.

First, vSphere 5 will only support Mac OS X Server on Apple-labeled hardware; vSphere 5 (aka ESXi) simply now runs on certain Apple hardware.

Second, since Lion Server is now a "part" of Lion, it is not yet known whether the Lion/Lion Server EULA will allow any form of virtualization at all.

Lastly, with the Xserve now gone, there really isn't any hardware suitable on which to even deploy this solution in an enterprise datacenter environment.

(And yes, I do know a bit about this topic...)
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yeah right. They just spent a couple years in court over this and now they are going turn around and let people run it on generic hardware. I don't understand.

Maybe:

MacBook with Mac OS X 10.7 = $1000
OS X 10.7 only no MacBook = $1000

Here we go with the serial numbers and the activation BS.

OS X isn't really any better than CentOS for 99.9% of serving tasks. I'm not sure why anyone would want to run it unless they are just Apple fans who only run Apple hardware. They are rumored to be working on a new rackmountable MacPro. This VMWare rumor sounds suspect.

OS X Server provides more than just file sharing.

Also, I think it is hypocritical for Mac fans to demand Mac desktops and laptops in the workplace, then turn around and dismiss the Mac IT people who would prefer to run OS X Server by telling them "well, you should know how to run Linux anyway".
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yeah right. They just spent a couple years in court over this and now they are going turn around and let people run it on generic hardware. I don't understand.

Maybe:

MacBook with Mac OS X 10.7 = $1000
OS X 10.7 only no MacBook = $1000

Here we go with the serial numbers and the activation BS.

OS X isn't really any better than CentOS for 99.9% of serving tasks. I'm not sure why anyone would want to run it unless they are just Apple fans who only run Apple hardware. They are rumored to be working on a new rackmountable MacPro. This VMWare rumor sounds suspect.

In short, it's excellent.

Of course, the iOS Ecosystem is the obvious reason people will run it, under a service warranty contract that covers from bumper to bumper their needs within the entire OS X /iOS Ecosystem in an Enterprise that has decided to deploy thousands of these iOS devices.

Having CentOS and OS X on our back end I'll be sure to discover 10.7 and iOS Services to their fullest. I sure won't be deploying WebDAV services from CentOS to the iOS devices.
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

OS X Server provides more than just file sharing.

Also, I think it is hypocritical for Mac fans to demand Mac desktops and laptops in the workplace, then turn around and dismiss the Mac IT people who would prefer to run OS X Server by telling them "well, you should know how to run Linux anyway".

1) I dont get how your first sentence addresses anything mstone stated.

2) Its not hypocritical for anyone to see a difference between client and server versions of OSes and their associated HW and costs for different tasks. Its silly to expect that those that feel Mac OS X is the best option for a task should therefore think OS X Server is also the best option for a task.

3) Apples business model of being the sole HW maker for their OS means it will never be ideal for the majority of client machines used in the enterprise.
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post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveschroeder View Post

(And yes, I do know a bit about this topic...)

vSphere 5 on Mac OS hardware? Curious idea, indeed. I share your desire to see the licensing and technical tweaks to allow it on non-Apple hardware. I'd love to see the desktop version but if just the server version that's clearly a step in the right direction. I'm humbled, Dave Shroeder, by your activism and thanks a million for taking the time to create an account to post the info.
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yeah right. They just spent a couple years in court over this and now they are going turn around and let people run it on generic hardware. I don't understand.

Maybe:

MacBook with Mac OS X 10.7 = $1000
OS X 10.7 only no MacBook = $1000

Here we go with the serial numbers and the activation BS.

Nooooooooo!!

That would be a deal-killer for me. No activated software, no how, no way. Ever. CS2 was the end of the road for me, and unless/until Adobe changes their tune on that, it's the last $ they'll ever get from me. I'll continue to use it until it doesn't run on my hardware and then switch to one of the (somewhat less-capable) competitors. Fortunately, my needs are not so sophisticated as to absolutely require Adobe tools.

Don't even get me started on Windoze activation crap. I have no problem purchasing valid OS software, but then I hack it to avoid microsoft reaching their damn fingers into my machine. Obnoxious beyond belief.

On the more optimistic side, activation really doesn't seem to be Apple's mindset. I hope Steve has laid down the law that writing good software is the road to success, not saddling it with bullshit hurdles that do nothing but annoy the paying masses. Fortunately, as long as OS X requires Apple hardware, there's far less reason to believe they care about activation garbage.
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post #27 of 34
Mac OS X specific apps: Final Cut Server, Open Directory, Podcast Producer, iCal server, etc...

FreeBSD is a better choice then Linux on the server end. Too bad Apple hasn't ported apps over.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

OS X isn't really any better than CentOS for 99.9% of serving tasks. I'm not sure why anyone would want to run it unless they are just Apple fans who only run Apple hardware. They are rumored to be working on a new rackmountable MacPro. This VMWare rumor sounds suspect.
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveschroeder View Post

There is a lot of unwarranted jumping to conclusions here.

First, vSphere 5 will only support Mac OS X Server on Apple-labeled hardware; vSphere 5 (aka ESXi) simply now runs on certain Apple hardware.

Second, since Lion Server is now a "part" of Lion, it is not yet known whether the Lion/Lion Server EULA will allow any form of virtualization at all.

Lastly, with the Xserve now gone, there really isn't any hardware suitable on which to even deploy this solution in an enterprise datacenter environment.

(And yes, I do know a bit about this topic...)

Dave,
Your comment infers that VSphere runs on Apple hardware. I tried finding information on that at VMWare and couldn't. Is that what you're saying? If so, which Apple hardware can I install ESXi on to? I thought this was a low-level, hardware-based OS that required modifications to the server to run.
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by z3r0 View Post

Mac OS X specific apps: Final Cut Server, Open Directory, Podcast Producer, iCal server, etc...

FreeBSD is a better choice then Linux on the server end. Too bad Apple hasn't ported apps over.


The Apple specific uses you mention are the the tiny fraction of a percent I allowed in my unscientific guesstimate. I can see a very small Mac centric office using iCal but most medium to large enterprise organizations are using Exchange and Outlook. Fortunately iOS work perfectly with those services. Also really big enterprise customers have a variety of servers for different tasks. I don't see them running jsp, php or Oracle on a Mac OS X Server mostly because there is no point. SAP, Oracle and other heavy weight applications are not usually supported on OS X even if you can get them to run on it.

I like CentOS better because it has official support being an exact copy of a very well hardened version of Redhat ES. FreeBSD I view as mostly an enthusiast distro of UNIX. My second choice would be Solaris.

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post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

I sure won't be deploying WebDAV services from CentOS to the iOS devices.

What sort of DAV services to you currently offer?

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post #31 of 34
Don't read too much into my post. Using publicly-available information, it can be deduced that:

1. vSphere 5 supports Mac OS X Server 10.6 (Snow Leopard) as a guest OS.

2. Since the EULA for Mac OS X Server 10.6 (Snow Leopard) only allows for it to be run on Apple-labeled hardware, it can be inferred that vSphere 5 itself therefore runs on Apple hardware. This is not a massive engineering undertaking, and can be done without Apple's knowledge or blessing. Of course, the death of the Xserve kills any realistic enterprise datacenter applications.

Please also note that nothing is said about Lion/Lion Server; only Snow Leopard Server.
post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveschroeder View Post

Don't read too much into my post. Using publicly-available information, it can be deduced that:

1. vSphere 5 supports Mac OS X Server 10.6 (Snow Leopard) as a guest OS.

2. Since the EULA for Mac OS X Server 10.6 (Snow Leopard) only allows for it to be run on Apple-labeled hardware, it can be inferred that vSphere 5 itself therefore runs on Apple hardware. This is not a massive engineering undertaking, and can be done without Apple's knowledge or blessing. Of course, the death of the Xserve kills any realistic enterprise datacenter applications.

Please also note that nothing is said about Lion/Lion Server; only Snow Leopard Server.

Interesting leak noted at virtualization.info. Frankly, nothing is final with any product until the product is released so I'm not counting on anything until it's official. Knowing the potential road map is definitely interesting.

I'd like to see a licensing change from Apple. I can imagine it's possible that some Apple hardware meets the HCL and would meet some data center requirements (enough RAM, CPU and drives) but it's certainly risky committing to Apple on vSphere until Apple either 1) allows the flexibility of Mac on non-Mac hardware, (best) or 2) partner with VMware to certify hardware for potential vSphere customers which means non-Mac OS on Apple hardware. (acceptable)
post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

I need to look through the Lion EULA again but I don't remember seeing any change to the requirement that even OS X Server has to be run on Apple hardware.

My VMware rep came in and gave a talk to the company about ESXi5.0 and mentioned that this limitation was still in force until Apple decided otherwise. He said ESXi5 runs on Xserve hardware and possibly on other hardware, he didn't have the final platform list with him, but it wasn't on *all* Apple hardware, just on a select set of Apple hardware that ESXi5 had drivers for. He said that making Snow Leopard Server run on non-Apple hardware required Hackintoshing it (he didn't use that term but that's what he meant) and that VMware did not support such violations of Apple's license.

It's all in Apple's court. If they want to officially support the ESXi virtual hardware platform, the VMware guys will be happy to accomodate them. If not... well. VMware can't *force* them to do so.

BTW, I just have one question: Why? Linux has better performance for server tasks than MacOS because, well, it's been optimized for that, while MacOS has been optimized for UI responsiveness. That's one reason why Linux sucks as a desktop OS -- it just isn't optimized for that use, as a result its UI is clunky, slow, and has irritating pauses and delays when the OS is under any load at all. But if you want to serve a bunch of web pages or shuffle huge amounts of email from point A to point B, Linux blows MacOS out of the water on the performance tests I've seen, mostly because MacOS doesn't handle multithreading I/O on high-performance hardware as well as Linux does (it appears that MacOS single-threads disk I/O, for example, while Linux will give you one thread per Apache process when you do the VFS kernel call to grab a page out of the cache, and while fetching data from disk is pretty much single-threaded by the nature of a disk, most-used data generally ends up cached in Linux). Not to mention the disgustingly slow HFS+ filesystem... if you're streaming large files to (or from) customers, XFS makes HFS+ look like a Model T racing a modern Corvette, it was specifically designed for that application (streaming large files) and it shows.

Which doesn't make MacOS Server a bad OS for home or small office use where its ease of administration will make it more useful than Linux for many (especially in Mac-centric environments), just makes it a poor match for the vSphere cloud concept, which is all about optimizing server tasks via server consolidation and managing server instances across a datacenter. I just don't see the point, and when I pressed my VMware rep for a use case, he didn't have one either.

Oh yeah, regarding a new VMware Workstation/Fusion -- there was no update on that. He was focused on ESXi 5. The implication was that updates to Workstation/Fusion/Player would happen sometime after ESXi 5 is officially release because currently all of their efforts from engineering all the way to sales reps are behind the ESXi 5 release project, either getting out bugs or training on it or writing materials for marketing it or whatever. You'd think that VMware has enough thousands of employees that they could do two things at once, but apparently not...
post #34 of 34
The vSphere 5 official stuff has confirmed what badtux said. This article raised everyone's hopes for nothing. It's just the first time vSphere has supported Apple Xserve hardware. Kind of late to the party. Very odd, considering it was already defunct.

It should be supporting Mac Pro Servers. They've got a bit on the logic board which identifies them as a Server rather than a workstation. The Mac mini Server has one too. This is just an ID bit though. Anyone with AASP access can use the software which sets the server bit.
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