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Apple's latest Leopard Server seed packs some punch

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Apple is distributing a new pre-release versions of its next-generation server operating system software that packs significant boosts to flexibility and stability, but also carries enough problems to put off any expectations of a near-term release, AppleInsider has learned.

Offered in conjunction with the new client build distributed to testers last week, Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Server build 9A344 represents the first pre-release server edition of the upcoming OS to make its way into developers' hands in 2007.

Testers experienced with this latest version said that its changes are more substantial than those of its mainstream sibling and revolve around substantial reworkings of the workgroup import process and Server Admin utilities, amongst other enhancements.

Network operators now have the option of bringing in one or more groups to an Open Directory domain while keeping their entire user lists intact, people familiar with the software say. Those part of the larger corporate directory can also be added quickly for limited access to calendaring and file sharing tools. Automatic binding and setup of clients for the network's service are also said to be much improved.

Those familiar with the software add that the Server Admin utility has been graced with a much-needed overhaul of its front end, with special attention given to the DNS configuration pane as well as tweaks to controls for calendars and VPNs. IT managers can now set up hierarchical admin levels that give some clients partial administrator access, and have the choice of setting up multiple iChat hosts or location-based web realms.

Other fixes and improvements made since the last 2006 release reportedly include Portable Home Directories, QuickTime Streaming Service, and Xgrid. NetInstall has allegedly seen a fix that allows the creation of new app images directly from DVDs.

In spite of the enhancements, there are too many glitches in the new build to suggest that Apple has entered the late stages of development. Crucially, Apple Remote Desktop is broken, as are basic functions such as logging into the FTP server or editing several elements in the Directory tool. Even disconnecting from the network while connected to the Leopard Server system could trigger a hard system lock, those familiar with the software say.

Apple is said to have warned users only to update Leopard to 9A344 using the Erase and Install option and has issued multiple workarounds for broken or missing implementations.
post #2 of 25
Sounds promising! It seems as if it has some nice new features for larger corps with techies who like GUIs in particular.
post #3 of 25
Server Admin has needed a stable front end since it's inception. What seemed ridiculous was having to go down to command line and change host records because of limitations in the GUI. Why is there a GUI for a service even present if it can't be flexible? I hope Apple has big plans for Leopard Server that they are keeping "top secret".
post #4 of 25
Review the first sentence.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by crees! View Post

Review the first sentence.


AI wastes too much brain power on their headlines to worry about grammar.

"Apple's latest Leopard Server seed packs some punch"
post #6 of 25
Indeed it does sound promising.

Does it sound like it is shaping up enough to be compelling to all those 'Windows-dominated' corporate IT organisations? Do people think this may just be the killer version that gets at least a foot in the door in such companies?
post #7 of 25
Furthermore, Apple server in it's current existence is still not ready for prime-time in a corporate network. It can be made to work well in "corporate-like" scenarios, but still does not have the back-end structure to succeed in a Windows server market.

Apple really doesn't have a (public)roadmap specified on how to enter the corporate world. I can only hope that they are working on some bigger projects in the background while the "OS X Server" plays in the foreground.
post #8 of 25
Apple's foray into the corporate world will move ahead slowly but surely - much slower than their march into the home and living room, though.

Apple has never wanted to compete at the low-end of the spectrum, which is where most of corporate America wants to buy their PC's.
post #9 of 25
I wish there will be the option for removing unused modules, like if I do not the quicktime streaming module, I could just remove that module but if I needed it later, i could reload the module by poppin' the dvd or for a network share
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Reply
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Reply
post #10 of 25
The state of the OS is not as rosy as that for X Code. I hope the release won't be late.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Server Admin has needed a stable front end since it's inception. What seemed ridiculous was having to go down to command line and change host records because of limitations in the GUI. Why is there a GUI for a service even present if it can't be flexible? I hope Apple has big plans for Leopard Server that they are keeping "top secret".

Yes, I really hope 10.5 server is a bit more reliable than ANY release of 10.4 server. I actually went back to 10.3.9 after a while because 10.4 was so bad and ACLs never have worked properly up to the current version (without using terminal). Please Apple, spend some time and make this one work right. Forget the 'top secret' feautures - stability is far more important in a server. I wouldn't even mind if the server was stripped of Leopard's 'top secret' features if that is what it takes to make it rock solid.

On the other hand, Time Machine server would be kinda cool. I'd like if clients could use a network volume for Time Machine backups (assuming Time Machine works well itself). However, I could also see this draining network resources.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyKrz View Post

On the other hand, Time Machine server would be kinda cool. I'd like if clients could use a network volume for Time Machine backups (assuming Time Machine works well itself). However, I could also see this draining network resources.

This would be simple for apple to implement since in many cases admins will setup "roaming profiles" that follow a user from mac to mac... this data is already saved on the server, all you would have to do is dedicate some of your XServe RAID to act as a time machine backup for all user's home directories and viola!
post #13 of 25
While Apple may be successful in selling servers to small business, particularly companies that work with video, graphics, or audio, there's no chance of them being a success in the data center any time soon regardless of how good their product is. Here's a few reasons.

1) Their service sucks. If I have hundred, potentially thousands, of servers in a datacenter its likely that one or two will break every week. When this happens I want to have an engineer on site, with spare parts, within four hours. As far as I know Apple doesn't offer this option. When you have a lot of anything things are going to break frequently, a big part of the purchasing decision is which company provides support. It's the support that makes the job of your IT team easier. Frankly, I'd prefer a crappy product with great support than a great product with crappy support.

2) You don't know what you're going to get. Every few months I hear stories about Apple "quietly" shipping systems with faster CPUs or unexpected wireless services. This may be great for the consumer, but it sucks eggs if you're a CIO. Without notice you have to requalify equipment, if the CPU is faster on some boxes than others you may need to adjust load balancers or add more memory to the newer CPUs. Spare parts may not work. Unexpected wireless options could open up new security concerns. The list goes on and on. When I order a hundred servers I want exactly what I ordered, any surprise upgrades are not pleasant.

3) You don't know when you'll get it. If I'm budgetting several months or a year in advance I want to know what products a vendor is shipping. Apple's secrective nature helps hype their consumer products, but it's a nightmare for datacenter folk. I want a complete roadmap of a company's offerings at least six months in advance, preferrably a year. I understand Apple will sit down with large customers and, after signing an NDA, provide some details. For me it's not worth the hassle, I can get this information from the websites of IBM, HP, Sun, Rackable, etc.

4) Support for common apps isn't as good as it should be. I want to have Oracle, WebSphere, and other common enterprise applications well qualified and well tested on equipment I buy, I don't feel that Apple is anywhere close to being able to provide this.

Just my two cents.

Cheers,
--kirk
post #14 of 25
Wrong. Apple does provide 4 hour support with Hardware. This comes with the Premimum support package you select when you order your hardware. Service is good is does not suck. Much better then Dell or HP or Cisco for that matter.


"Frankly, I'd prefer a crappy product with great support than a great product with crappy support."

That is the sentiment of eveyone that uses Windows and every other homogonized OS out there.

I agree with your point on knowing what's coming down the road but with Apple everything is a secret.
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stepleader View Post

Wrong. Apple does provide 4 hour support with Hardware. This comes with the Premimum support package you select when you order your hardware. Service is good is does not suck. Much better then Dell or HP or Cisco for that matter.


"Frankly, I'd prefer a crappy product with great support than a great product with crappy support."

That is the sentiment of eveyone that uses Windows and every other homogonized OS out there.

I agree with your point on knowing what's coming down the road but with Apple everything is a secret.

Thanks, I wasn't aware that 4 hour support was an option.

I avoid Windows like the plague, but it still manages to infect most data centers unfortunately. What I really dislike are companies that require a Windows box to manage their hardware, several SAN and NAS providers come to mind, and even Cisco has management tools that only work on Windows boxes. That's just dumb. These days all manaement tools that are GUI based need to be accessible through a browser. The Windows only solutions result in complications to network design (to help with security) and unneccessary trips to the data center just so you can use the GUI. Yeah, I know you can access Windows through Terminal Services, but it's frequently slow and reboots are problematic if you don't have some lights-out management solution available. While production servers probably have lights out management the one-off Windows box that you use to configure some HP SAN once every month may not.

Wow, I'm getting off-topic. Sorry 'bout that.


Cheers,
--kirk
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunbow View Post

Indeed it does sound promising.

Does it sound like it is shaping up enough to be compelling to all those 'Windows-dominated' corporate IT organisations? Do people think this may just be the killer version that gets at least a foot in the door in such companies?

In most respects, Tiger Server smokes Windows servers in terms of price, performance, and ease-of-use; and it also does quite well against Linux servers in terms of ease-of-use and hardware price.

This, however, seems to be irrelevant to enterprise IT. They are trained in what they know, and they don't want to deploy technologies that they're not familiar with.

For the price of a $3-4K Xserve, one gets functionality that one would need to put tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars into to get the same licensing from Windows... and that doesn't even include the price of the hardware. But this sort of argument takes a long time to get through. Apparently.

One nice thing to observe is that something like 40% of Xserve RAID devices are not used on Macs. That is, they are connected to Linux servers... not for any compatibility reason, just because Apple hardware is some of the best out there. One can hope that the same is happening with Intel Xserves, which are some of the nicest Windows/Linux servers available.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by cesar View Post

I wish there will be the option for removing unused modules, like if I do not the quicktime streaming module, I could just remove that module but if I needed it later, i could reload the module by poppin' the dvd or for a network share

I don't understand the usefulness of that request. Currently you can disable pretty much any 'module' or bit of functionality. Physically removing them seems like a lot of complication for a tiny bit of diskspace. Plus if patches come along what would they update? Then when you pulled them back off DVD/image they'd immediately need updating...
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kirksandall View Post

While Apple may be successful in selling servers to small business, particularly companies that work with video, graphics, or audio, there's no chance of them being a success in the data center any time soon regardless of how good their product is. Here's a few reasons.

1) Their service sucks. If I have hundred, potentially thousands, of servers in a datacenter its likely that one or two will break every week. When this happens I want to have an engineer on site, with spare parts, within four hours. As far as I know Apple doesn't offer this option. When you have a lot of anything things are going to break frequently, a big part of the purchasing decision is which company provides support. It's the support that makes the job of your IT team easier. Frankly, I'd prefer a crappy product with great support than a great product with crappy support.

If you have hundreds, even tens, of servers in a serious datacenter, you're going to have spare parts lying around. Apple sells spare parts kits for all their servers. Buy a few. This way, you're down for a few minutes, and when Apple comes along they just give you a nice new spare.

Quote:
2) You don't know what you're going to get. Every few months I hear stories about Apple "quietly" shipping systems with faster CPUs or unexpected wireless services. This may be great for the consumer, but it sucks eggs if you're a CIO. Without notice you have to requalify equipment, if the CPU is faster on some boxes than others you may need to adjust load balancers or add more memory to the newer CPUs. Spare parts may not work. Unexpected wireless options could open up new security concerns. The list goes on and on. When I order a hundred servers I want exactly what I ordered, any surprise upgrades are not pleasant.

This only happened with the Mac mini. Not exactly what I would call server equipment.

Quote:
3) You don't know when you'll get it. If I'm budgetting several months or a year in advance I want to know what products a vendor is shipping. Apple's secrective nature helps hype their consumer products, but it's a nightmare for datacenter folk. I want a complete roadmap of a company's offerings at least six months in advance, preferrably a year. I understand Apple will sit down with large customers and, after signing an NDA, provide some details. For me it's not worth the hassle, I can get this information from the websites of IBM, HP, Sun, Rackable, etc.

Agreed! I'm really hoping that the Xserve RAID comes out with 1 TB drives soon now that they can be had for only $400.

Quote:
4) Support for common apps isn't as good as it should be. I want to have Oracle, WebSphere, and other common enterprise applications well qualified and well tested on equipment I buy, I don't feel that Apple is anywhere close to being able to provide this.

I didn't even know that Apple supported any of those
post #19 of 25
I'm pretty sure that Oracle is fully qualified for OS X. After all, Oracle uses Xserves in their own data center, and the CEO of Oracle sits on Apple's board.

Additionally, Macs run Apache, MySQL, and PHP just fine (and dang fast), along with every other major open source environment. Running those means that Macs run most of the major applications such as SugarCRM, Nagios, and all that other good stuff enterprises like to chew on.

In many regards, the only difference between OS X and any other flavor of Unix is that with OS X you have the option of doing some things in the wonderful Mac GUI.

--
Long list of beers.
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheToe View Post

I'm pretty sure that Oracle is fully qualified for OS X. After all, Oracle uses Xserves in their own data center, and the CEO of Oracle sits on Apple's board.

Additionally, Macs run Apache, MySQL, and PHP just fine (and dang fast), along with every other major open source environment. Running those means that Macs run most of the major applications such as SugarCRM, Nagios, and all that other good stuff enterprises like to chew on.

In many regards, the only difference between OS X and any other flavor of Unix is that with OS X you have the option of doing some things in the wonderful Mac GUI.

--
Long list of beers.

It is fully qualified, but he doesn't sit on Apple's board anymore.

I believe Sybase is as well.
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregmightdothat View Post

Agreed! I'm really hoping that the Xserve RAID comes out with 1 TB drives soon now that they can be had for only $400.

Can you supply a link to these $400 1TB drives?!?!?
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by soward View Post

Can you supply a link to these $400 1TB drives?!?!?

Hitachi Shatters Capacity Record with World's First Terabyte Hard Drive

Quote:
Hitachi's DeskstarĀ® 7K1000 will begin shipping to retail customers in the first quarter of 2007 at a suggested retail price of $399 (USD), or 40 cents per gigabyte.

They're not out quite yet I guess.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by soward View Post

Can you supply a link to these $400 1TB drives?!?!?

$408...
http://www.pricewatch.com/hard_drives/1tb.htm
http://www.pricewatch.com/hard_drives/
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyKrz View Post

I actually went back to 10.3.9 after a while because 10.4 was so bad and ACLs never have worked properly up to the current version (without using terminal).

Apple should let users configure ACLs on Mac OS clients without having to use the terminal. I frequently run into this situation: One Mac is shared by multiple users, and each user needs full read/write access to a certain shared folder on that computer. By default, a file can only be modified by the user who created it. All other users can only read. As a result, the users are constantly reconfiguring permissions every time someone adds a new file. and other people need to edit that file. Apple's current "solution" for people in this situation? Buy Mac OS Server and install it on the client machine.
post #25 of 25

Sorry, all those are external cases holding multiple drives. So by that definition Apple is shipping a 7T drive!

AFAIK both seagate and hitatchi have announced 1T drives, but there are none currently in the channel.
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