Why Apple axed Xserve, and how it can reenter the sever market



  • Reply 61 of 101
    lmaclmac Posts: 206member
    There's an easy answer why it happened: they weren't selling well.

    If that's the only explanation, then the MacPro is next to go. Our university bookstore sold less than 5 last year, and they had record sales of Macs.
  • Reply 62 of 101
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

    I agree with almost everything you say -- except ZFS.

    I envision a home server as providing: mass storage, consolidation, staging, streaming and serving files/content to multiple computers, iPads, iPods, iPhones and AppleTVs in the home or small business.. It would also provide TimeMachine style backup locally and to the cloud (syncing and staging).

    What we'd have is something like:

    $150 - 2 Server Modules @ $75 each

    $400 - 2 2TB HDDs @ 200 each

    $100 - 4 Power supplies @ $25 each

    $100 - 1 Enclosure


    $750 4 TB Home Server

    Everything would be hot-swappable -- The Server Modules and Power Supplies would be expendable (recycle or Green dispose).

    Uhm... perhaps you and I have a different idea of what the "Home" means in Home Server, but the average home does not run their computers like an IT department. This will never sell as a "Home" product. Only geeks who like to play IT at home will buy this. The Mac mini server is as close as what the average consumer needs, and even that's overkill.

    What Apple needs is to make Home Server software - iTunes, and iPhoto server. Store all the media there, and let the clients use it from various machines, user accounts from around the house. Right now keeping iTunes and iPhoto in sync across multiple machines and user accounts is a nightmare.
  • Reply 63 of 101
    Originally Posted by DerekCurrie View Post

    Much as I like Dan Dilger, I don't agree with this one at all.

    Apple has just wiped out its credibility selling Mac OS X Server into the Enterprise market. Having wiped out their Enterprise efforts now on two occasions, it's over for good this time.

    There is no way Apple is letting Mac OS X Server loose on gawd-knows-what 100s of different 'PC' hardware combinations unless they can conjure up a license with either a virtualization software vendor or a hardware vendor whereby Apple provides NO hardware issue support, ever. Good luck seeing that happen.

    Apple just signed an agreement with Unisys to provide enterprise sales and support. I wonder if that is relevant?
  • Reply 64 of 101
    Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post

    It runs fine in vCenter on a Cisco Blade Server as well. Does Apple Support it? No, but do I need them to support it? No.

    If you are a legitimate business, then you don't run your server infrastructure illegally. This is not an option until Apple allows it.
  • Reply 65 of 101
    Originally Posted by lmac View Post

    There's an easy answer why it happened: they weren't selling well.

    If that's the only explanation, then the MacPro is next to go. Our university bookstore sold less than 5 last year, and they had record sales of Macs.

    And how many xserves did they sell? MP sales must be much much higher than xserve sales, not to mention that MP is the logical choice for many users running pro apps (unless they're planning on abandoning those too, which I don't think is likely either). Not to mention that few if any college students would want or need a MP, they are a box for people doing professional work (and probably some rich hobbyists).
  • Reply 66 of 101
    lmaclmac Posts: 206member
    Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

    The Cube didn't fail because of the economy, it was just an ill-conceived product that got the fate it deserved. It probably would have sold great at half the price, but it was extremely uncompetitive in terms of value, it either needed to be much cheaper or much more powerful. Basically, the price was jacked way up because it prioritized form (aesthetics) over function.

    Agreed. Nice machine, priced too high.
  • Reply 67 of 101
    Originally Posted by Daniel001 View Post

    Interesting article, although Apple have probably already determined their server strategy, and it's probably not this.

    Yeah, I doubt Jobs will let them go this route anytime soon. It also wouldn't make any waves without licensing for virtualization, most people only like the idea of an OS X server to compliment a larger corporate environment, if they are a smaller shop they'll just opt for a Mac Mini.

    My hope is that Apple will really start taking some of the business side of things seriously & really improve their server tools for management. Right now if you do anything beyond basic management you have to buy 3rd party solutions and that is even for a fully Mac shop.
  • Reply 68 of 101
    Seems to be a bit of confusion over what Mac OS X Server is and how it is different than XServe. XServe was merely the 1U Rackmount server from Apple. OS X Server is the server OS that can be installed on many Apple machines.

    I'm confused how you can be so confused. Apple even said its biggest Server seller is the Mini Server. Killing the XServe in no way ends Apple's server offerings.
  • Reply 69 of 101
    Originally Posted by lmac View Post

    There's an easy answer why it happened: they weren't selling well.

    If that's the only explanation, then the MacPro is next to go. Our university bookstore sold less than 5 last year, and they had record sales of Macs.

    Mac Pros are not typically sold to students. How many XServes did your university bookstore sell last year?

    All of this is silly. Nobody outside of Apple knows how much it costs to maintain and upgrade the XServe product line, and nobody outside of Apple knows exactly how many units did sell.
  • Reply 70 of 101
    Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

    Maybe... but I think Apple would be able to hide the underlying implementation from the user.

    Well, If anyone could do it would be Apple. Hey, They are able to market TimeMachine/TimeCapsule and users don't feel they need to know how it works.

    When Apple first announced TimeMachine, I assumed it used ZFS internally -- but it doesn't. I poked around a bit to see what it was doing, and how -- and was satisfied. I suspect most users don't go any farther than the settings and the app itself -- never looking at the file structure.


    Then again, the main idea I was thinking of for ZFS was swapping out drives with drives of greater capacities (WHS or Drobo style) which on further thought is actually something that would confuse mainstream users.

    i.e. It would make more sense if your iHome 2TB Module failed that it would direct you to purchase another iHome 2TB Module from the Apple Store.

    I think the way that could be handled is tell the user that the content manager:

    -- uses HDDs in size-increments of 1 TB

    -- moves your stuff around for speed and backup

    -- always keeps enough free space, in its back pocket, to replace your biggest / or smallest drive

    -- any time you (or the system) wants to replace a drive, you can use the same or bigger size-increment.

    ... Or just tell 'em it's magic!


    Although I like your idea of a modular server (like your own personal Blade Server!) I'm not sure non-tech types could get their heads around it. They need to be able to replace HDD modules, so they should be able to add server modules as well... I'm just not sure I like the idea of needing to buy certain components to make features work properly.

    It might be better to simply include the hardware needed to provide a list of functionality to a certain number of devices and leave it at that.

    Then again I change my mind on how they should do the hardware weekly!

    Well, you could do it either or both ways

    What we'd have is something like:

    $075 - 1 Valet (was server) Modules @ $75 each (without power supply)

    $100 - 1 Valet (was server) Modules @ $100 each (with power supply)

    $200 - 1 2TB HDDs @ 200 each (without power supply)

    $225 - 1 2TB HDDs @ 200 each (with power supply)

    $050 - 2 Power supplies @ $25 each

    $100 - 1 Enclosure


    $750 4 TB Home Server

    Though, I have about 30 TB of LaCie HDDs: some 1-TBs, but mostly 2 TBs -- and the external brick power supplies fail on these all the time.

    I didn't specify it, but the enclosure would have something like 8 bays (odd number). You might even allow 1u, 2u and 4u modules.

    I assumed that the "Valet" (was server) module would be roughly equivalent to an AppleTV in CPU/GPU, RAM SSD storage -- less anything thing not needed (HDMI, USB, etc.)

    You could add whatever number and types of modules that make sense to your needs.

    This would include: SSD modules; Airport router modules; AppleTV modules; Home Control modules; Security modules, etc.

    And, of course, you can have multiple enclosures.

    As the kids grow up and play sports, you start making a lot of home movies -- you might want to add a "Processor" module (with whatever CPUs and GPUs that make sense).

    Then processing and rendering of those home movies can be distributed among any free CPU, CPUs, RAM, SSDs within the system (including the Valets).

    Apple already has most of this software running on Mac OS X and some of it on iOS OS X.


    That said, the list of functionality is pretty much agreed upon by everyone I talk to. Media/iTunes storage and streaming, shared TimeMachine and data sync between all devices and the cloud.

    If Apple can nail that functionality (regardless of the hardware ) they'll have a wining product on their hands.

    Yep! And anything purchased/provided through the iTunes store (apps, A/V, Movies, TV Shows, music, etc).. Wouldn't need to be backed up on the cloud -- the cloud already has a "single copy" that everyone shares. The cloud just needs to store a "token" for each user that says he has access to that item for his devices.

    So, all the cloud-involved activity becomes very streamlined.


    Personally I'd love to see iHome manage profile synchronization between iPads as well - so if I pick up any iPad in the house it has my configuration. Same goes for the wife and kids. That's more of a v2 thing though.

    Exactly! Except that feature has business/enterprise implications as well: doctors and nurses at the nurses station; students at a lecture; attendees at a meeting; waiters in a restauranrt...


    Finally I really really hope they don't call it a "server". iHub, iCenter, iHome, Apple Unity, iCentral, iPivot, iCasa, iMesh, whatever... just not "Apple Home Server" or "iServer".

    I agree! maybe: iGotIt


    EDIT: I forgot to mention the ability to activate/sync iDevices over Wifi. The iHome should allow for the possibility of a desktop/laptop free home.

    That's it! you also need a multiple-device recharging station.

    When can I place my order?

  • Reply 71 of 101
    Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

    Thanks for the link, Solipsism. Dvorak - LOL. How can a man who's been wrong as frequently as he has remain in print all these years?

    Back on topic, on the desktop nothing can compete with Apple's unique integration of hardware and software. But on the server? Like the article says, there style doesn't matter and Apple would be up against free Linux and cheap hardware - if it were up to me I'd rather not see them try to compete at the commodity level. It's not how they've been so successful, and even if they were is that what we want to see from Apple, a commodity machine?

    I'm with the other posters who see greater opportunity in home servers. Now THAT's a place where Apple can compete, very well.

    I mostly agree... except enterprise, as well as the home, needs a solution to manage its iDevices.

    Originally Posted by Firelly7475

    Personally I'd love to see iHome manage profile synchronization between iPads as well - so if I pick up any iPad in the house it has my configuration. Same goes for the wife and kids. That's more of a v2 thing though.

  • Reply 72 of 101
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,357moderator
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    This year, slightly more than half of all Mac sales were desktops rather than portables. The majority of those machines were iMacs and to a lesser extent, Mac minis. The Mac Pro is a relatively small market, and the Xserve is even tinier.

    That doesn't sound right. Q3 2010, Mac sales were 3.472 million = 2.468 million laptops + 1.004 million desktops. So at least in the latest quarter, the ratio was >70% portable vs <30% desktop (same as the rest of the industry really) and that doesn't take into consideration the iOS devices which outsell the Mac line 3:1. XServe sales would be a minute fraction of the overall sales.

  • Reply 73 of 101
    Originally Posted by kwatson View Post

    Shame on you, that not allowed according to the OS X Server licensing terms - i.e. illegal.

    Not illegal, just not supported.
  • Reply 74 of 101
    Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

    And how many xserves did they sell? MP sales must be much much higher than xserve sales, not to mention that MP is the logical choice for many users running pro apps (unless they're planning on abandoning those too, which I don't think is likely either). Not to mention that few if any college students would want or need a MP, they are a box for people doing professional work (and probably some rich hobbyists).

    They had to sell 8,000 a year to make the division profitable, not once did they sell 8,000 a year, they largest sales year they had was 2006, the year Virginia Tech installed 1,100 cluster nodes in their System X Supercomputer.

    There seems to be a lot of Chicken Little going on here, with a lot of the sky is falling, do you when they discontinued the Cluster Node? Do you remember when the Xserve RAID disappeared? Hardware is not where they want to be, we'll see this continue in Virtualization. Enterprise is not going away for them especially with a massive influx of iPhones and iPads being used in enterprise. Apple does not NEED to compete in the server hardware market. It seems like everyone thinks that with this announcement, Apple is somehow hurting.
  • Reply 75 of 101
    Originally Posted by filburt View Post

    This really says it all. Aside from pretty hardware and Mac OS X Server's configuration tool, there's nothing particularly unique about Xserve. A competent admin can put together a Linux rack with necessary tools for significantly less.

    Comparing Xserve to Windows Server is rather silly. Most organizations don't need Xserve's spec and you can build very capable server for about $1000 (minus software), such as Dell PowerEdge R-series (and you can buy RAM and hard disk for much less elsewhere). Although CAL for Windows and related products are very pricey, most of Mac OS X Server's features are based on free open source apps that runs on Linux (and installed on many Linux server distros, minus pretty admin UI).

    I have seen this Linux argument over and over, but it is not a valid argument from a business perspective. I am an IT Director and have had to deal with cleaning up Linux Sys Admin nightmares more than once. Yes, the Linux OS is technically free, but Linux Sys Admins have a tendency to set up such wonky, customized, Rube Goldberg situations, that IT Departments are held hostage to the specific Admin that helped to architect their infrastructure. As a Director, would I rather spend $500 to have a standardized set of software architecture from which any reasonable Sys Admin can work, or to save that piddly amount, would I rather have to have my system maintained by the one person who has built an custom, one-of system that leaves that Sys Admin entrenched in my business. If only one person can run your system and that person gets hit by the proverbial bus, you're screwed. Linux rarely makes sense in real world view. That's why Sun still exists.

    OS X Server NEEDS to be ported to other devices. It's a great move for Apple from a strategic business standpoint also. First, it keeps their existing clients happy. While admittedly not many in number, clients like the NFL and Stanford's new Med School, parts of eBay, etc. are big names that Apple should maintain positive relationships with. Second, this would give Apple a much better platform to be competative with MS in the workplace with. Make no mistake, Apple and everybody under the sun want iPads in the workplace. Their only major hinderence in that quest are excessively Windows-centric MSCE based Sys Admins who regularly fight with executives and users to keep Apple out of their little realm. If Apple discontinues OS X Server in the business community entirely, they are just adding fuel to the fire that they don't take businesses seriously. If Apple has HP and Dell offering OS X Server on on a 2950 etc., are they going to put Microsoft out of business? No. But, they send a message that they take business seriously, they give HP and Dell a strengthened position in their negotiations with MS over licensing, they give a vastly easier to use server system to small and medium businesses, and they avoid the inevitable MS Pad device that authenticates only to Windows servers and does not allow authentication to iPads.

    Apple needs to continue to have a server offering that if it does absolutely nothing else, it must be able translate AD to OD for iPad authentications in the future. Maybe MS will play nice and allow iPad authentication on Windows Servers, or maybe they won't, but that's an awfully big maybe with a serious potential risk for the future of Apple.

    And let's face it, MS, Google, and Adobe, even when it has been in their own best interest to support their Apple based clientele, they have still tried to screw Apple out of the business world. I doubt they have learned that this practice isn't good for them in the long term. Apple, and Steve specifically, you have been burned by these guys before, please don't put yourselves in the position to where they hold all of the enterprise cards.


  • Reply 76 of 101
    haggarhaggar Posts: 1,568member
    Originally Posted by dec1994 View Post

    The lack of a rack mountable and redundant hardware platform for OSX Server will most likely cause companies wishing to support OSX to look to other server platforms for network services that will run on those platforms. Fortunately, the cross platform integration ability of Mac OS X has only improved over time and is actually quite good these days. Directory integration, client management, and file sharing all work very well with other server platforms. It is a little less clear what will happen with the Mac specific server technologies such as netboot/netinstall and SUS.

    Every time I look at the MacWindows.com website, I see postings related to Active Directory binding issues. And since 10.6 was released, I now see postings about slow SMB browsing issues. Furthermore, Mac clients still leave .DS_Store and other "dot files" when connecting to Windows servers. Those are some reasons why IT admins might want to set up separate Mac OS Servers for their Mac users.

    Apple also touted the fact that by making both the hardware and software, finger pointing between different vendors would be reduced. So the desire by some IT admins for a complete hardware and software solution from Apple is legitimate.
  • Reply 77 of 101

    Ya' know...

    It wasn't too long ago (the era of mainframes) when the IBM's, Burroughs, RCAs, NCRs, GEs and ALWACs...

    Note: The graphics display (oscilloscope), keyboard/printer (Friden FlexoWriter) and the special key/switch panel for God knows what!

    The ALWAC III-e was one of the first computers to use an "8-bit Byte" and this weirdo numbering scheme called "Hexadecimal".

    Everyone else used fixed binary words (usually with Octal or Bi-Quinary lights) to display data. Later, IBM used variable-length BCD (Binary-Coded Decimal) -- with WordMarks to delineate instructions and GroupMarks to delineate records. And GroupMark / WordMarks for -- I could tell you, but then I'd have to...

    These computer manufacturers leased their computers to the customers for many thousands of dollars per month.

    The Operating Systems and Applications like Databases, Communications, etc. also were leased.

    The leases included 24/7 1-4 hour (or onsite) repair, maintenance, parts, installation of software updates, etc.

    I remember in 1978, still working for IBM -- IBM offered an Application Programming Framework called CICS * -- roughly equivalent to PHP or ColdFusion. The Entry Version of CICS leased for $3,000 per month (about $15,000 in today's dollars). This version of CICS had over 30,000 installations world-wide. You do the math.

    The inside IBM joke was that CICS stood for: Consistently Ignore Customer Satisfaction.

    In 1979 , I was demonstrating VisiCalc running on an Apple ][ to someone in enterprise (AIR, Fairchild or Coherent).

    He was quite impressed!

    He asked: "How much does VisiCalc cost?"

    I answered: "$99 Dollars"

    He asked: "A month?"

    That was the defining moment for me -- Within a few months, I quit my 16-plus-year Job at IBM and went into the microcomputer business full time.

    Today, I guess, all that is changed. Maimframes [sp] are mostly history. Enterprise IT buys desktops, laptops and server hardware -- and sometimes contracts for installation, maintenance, repair, etc. services or does them in house.

    Then, along comes this disruptive force -- this tablet.

    Q: How much does it cost?

    A: $500.

    Q: What happens if it breaks or needs repair?

    A: You throw it away and grab another one!

    I wonder if the established ecosystem is about to change... "Again?"

  • Reply 78 of 101
    Originally Posted by l008com View Post

    Who makes these absurd, confusing, impossible to comprehend timeline charts that keep showing up on ai? They are the worst visual references I think I've ever seen in my whole life. You'd be better off just listing off all the stats in text, than whipping up theses disasters.

    I like the charts please keep making them appleinsider. They're very interesting and informative. I don't usually comment but thought i'd respond just to make sure you're not actually going to be influenced by this persons comments.
  • Reply 79 of 101
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    In the market the Xserve was attempting to address (rack mounted servers), nobody cares too much about how the equipment looks or how attractive the server software it run is. Most servers in such an environment are managed remotely and collectively rather than being navigated using a standard desktop GUI.

    Well… I am a designer who is asked to do IT work for a couple of small business and, being a Mac guy through-and-through, was glad to spec Xserves to do file sharing and host FileMaker files. We have an Xserve G5 and a newer one with an Intel processor.

    I'll be the first to tell you that I don't really know how to manage a server, but from my experience, Apple gave me the best shot of being able to figure it out on my own.

    I definitely appreciated the 1U form factor, the GUI interface, and the pretty hardware. It kind of sounds like I'm in the minority (when it comes to IT server people), but I was a fan.
  • Reply 80 of 101
    z3r0z3r0 Posts: 238member
    Yep, Apple really missed the opportunity to buy Sun. OS X Server could be running on one if these right now:

    Sun Fire x4170

    Sun also had the support infrastructure in place along with solid engineering. They only lacked marketing. It would have been amazing to see it happen. Now their tech is slowly being torn apart at Oracle. It's a shame.

    Originally Posted by karmadave View Post

    Wow! This is interesting. I wonder how long it will be before Larry Ellison gets a cease and desist letter from Steve Jobs.

    Seriously though, I think this is a great way to support multiple development environments on a single hardware platform.

    I also think it would have been a lot more fun and interesting if Steve had purchased Sun instead of Larry...

Sign In or Register to comment.