Apple frees Mac OS X Leopard Server to run in virtual machines

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
A clause in the license for the latest server edition of Mac OS X will let the software run outside of a fully native environment -- and developers are relishing the prospects of supporting virtual Macs for the first time.



The small but significant extension contained within the new software agreement (PDF) is the first sign that Apple is no longer insistent on a one-to-one ratio for Mac OS licenses to Macs, as it was with Tiger and all previous versions of the operating system. In the updated usage terms, a theoretically unlimited number of licenses can be in use as long as they remain valid.



"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."



The agreement does not extend to the regular Leopard client and still requires a full paid license for each virtual machine, a move meant to discourage law-abiding users from running a multi-license copy of Mac OS X on a single computer.



Even with this restriction, the modification is already considered a watershed moment for Apple's efforts in business by its professional customers and those writing virtual machines, including Parallels developer SWSoft. The latter's Director of Corporate Communications, Ben Rudolph, notes that the ability to run one or more extra copies of Mac OS X on an Xserve computer could be a decisive factor for switching some Linux- and Windows-based server environments to the Mac.



Many of these businesses need to separate programs from the main operating system in the event of a malware infection or a crash, or else need a sandbox to test new software without buying an entirely separate computer. This is already commonplace with Virtual PC, VMware, and similar tools on most operating systems, but until now has been impossible with Apple hardware. This will change in the next several months when SWSoft intends to release Parallels with its first instance of Mac OS X virtualization support, Rudolph says.



"It is important to note that we?ve already begun the steps necessary to technically enable this new policy and Leopard Server is an important part of our Parallels Server roadmap," he explains. "We know from many of you that the 'holy grail' of Xserves is to run multiple, isolated, near-native instances of OS X Server on the same box, at the same time. Couple that with the ability to run Windows and Linux next to those instances of OS X via Parallels Server, and you?ve just made Xserves even more compelling for enterprises large and small, even non traditional Apple shops."



This has prompted speculation that Apple may be pressured to upgrade its Xserve rackmount system, which (along with the Mac Pro) has largely been left untouched since its debut in August of last year. Each virtual machine consumes a large amount of bandwidth, memory, and processor power, with more cores and memory often directly linked to more simultaneous copies. An eight-core or greater system could be essential to gaining a foothold in a business market that relies more and more on virtual operating systems, according to technology analyst and columnist John Welch.



"Apple doesn't yet make a box that's big enough to be an effective VM server for more than a handful of VMs if they're heavily loaded," Welch warns.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A clause in the license for the latest server edition of Mac OS X will let the software run outside of a fully native environment -- and developers are relishing the prospects of supporting virtual Macs for the first time.



    The small but significant extension contained within the new software agreement (PDF) is the first sign that Apple is no longer insistent on a one-to-one ratio for Mac OS licenses to Macs, as it was with Tiger and all previous versions of the operating system. In the updated usage terms, a theoretically unlimited number of licenses can be in use as long as they remain valid.



    "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."



    The agreement does not extend to the regular Leopard client and still requires a full paid license for each virtual machine, a move meant to discourage law-abiding users from running a multi-license copy of Mac OS X on a single computer.



    Even with this restriction, the modification is already considered a watershed moment for Apple's efforts in business by its professional customers and those writing virtual machines, including Parallels developer SWSoft. The latter's Director of Corporate Communications, Ben Rudolph, notes that the ability to run one or more extra copies of Mac OS X on an Xserve computer could be a decisive factor for switching some Linux- and Windows-based server environments to the Mac.



    Many of these businesses need to separate programs from the main operating system in the event of a malware infection or a crash, or else need a sandbox to test new software without buying an entirely separate computer. This is already commonplace with Virtual PC, VMware, and similar tools on most operating systems, but until now has been impossible with Apple hardware. This will change in the next several months when SWSoft intends to release Parallels with its first instance of Mac OS X virtualization support, Rudolph says.



    "It is important to note that we?ve already begun the steps necessary to technically enable this new policy and Leopard Server is an important part of our Parallels Server roadmap," he explains. "We know from many of you that the 'holy grail' of Xserves is to run multiple, isolated, near-native instances of OS X Server on the same box, at the same time. Couple that with the ability to run Windows and Linux next to those instances of OS X via Parallels Server, and you?ve just made Xserves even more compelling for enterprises large and small, even non traditional Apple shops."



    This has prompted speculation that Apple may be pressured to upgrade its Xserve rackmount system, which (along with the Mac Pro) has largely been left untouched since its debut in August of last year. Each virtual machine consumes a large amount of bandwidth, memory, and processor power, with more cores and memory often directly linked to more simultaneous copies. An eight-core or greater system could be essential to gaining a foothold in a business market that relies more and more on virtual operating systems, according to technology analyst and columnist John Welch.



    "Apple doesn't yet make a box that's big enough to be an effective VM server for more than a handful of VMs if they're heavily loaded," Welch warns.



    the $2,999.00 xserve with only 1gb of ram, no on board raid, only an 80gb HD will need to do a lot better and $999 for a 3 PORT raid card?? You can get high raid cards with raid 5 and 6 with lot more ports for that price.
  • Reply 2 of 50
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,306member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    the $2,999.00 xserve with only 1gb of ram, no on board raid, only an 80gb HD will need to do a lot better and $999 for a 3 PORT raid card?? You can get high raid cards with raid 5 and 6 with lot more ports for that price.



    Your thinking is short sighted here Joe. A Server has many functions so typically no pre-built config is going to work out. Apple doesn't ship 0/0 configs so they have to have the bare minimum RAM and HDD to ship a working unit. If I'm going to connect to external Direct Attached Storage then the internal storage mean very little beyond housing the OS



    The RAID card "does" support RAID5. The current Xserve wouldn't support RAID 6 because you need a minimum of 4 drives for the double striped parity. Also keep in mind this RAID card doesn't use a PCI Express port so that's still open to accept Fibre cards or whatever else you need to run.



    The Virtualization of OS X Server is a good move on Apple's part. Next year there will be 16 Core 2-socket servers that appear to the OS like 32 logical processors. Now you will be able to virtualize multiple Server OS X version across this hardware. Couple that with the doubling of PCI -Express bandwidth and you some some very nice server consolidation features coming.
  • Reply 3 of 50
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Also keep in mind this RAID card doesn't use a PCI Express port so that's still open to accept Fibre cards or whatever else you need to run.



    You might want to explain that, since the card is required to occupy the top PCI Express slot, slot #4.
  • Reply 4 of 50
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,201member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Many of these businesses need to separate programs from the main operating system in the event of a malware infection or a crash, or else need a sandbox to test new software without buying an entirely separate computer. This is already commonplace with Virtual PC, VMware, and similar tools on most operating systems, but until now has been impossible with Apple hardware. This will change in the next several months when SWSoft intends to release Parallels with its first instance of Mac OS X virtualization support, Rudolph says.



    I'm no server guy and I can understand the test environment argument but given the lack of malware and general crash resilience of OSX (apps aside) how significant is virtualisation to the server market outside of Windows? I always thought multiple servers were a necessity of Windows' original instability & insecurity and virtualisation was a way to consolidate physical resources whilst maintaining the logical benefits - assuming that the resource partitioning isn't hard & fast and allows resources to be redistributed on the fly. Surely with OSX & LINUX some form of system level resource management in the form of application/task prioritisation should suffice as running multiple OS instances must have some kind of overhead.



    From my, somewhat simplistic & theoretical, point of view OSX seems to be behind the game it doesn't have to play in the first place. Have I got this wrong or is the purpose of the exercise to curry favour with enterprise?



    McD
  • Reply 5 of 50
    mimicmimic Posts: 72member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by McDave View Post


    From my, somewhat simplistic & theoretical, point of view OSX seems to be behind the game it doesn't have to play in the first place. Have I got this wrong or is the purpose of the exercise to curry favour with enterprise?



    McD



    Yes, i would like to know this as well. Can someone give a real world example why this is needed? If you have to increase the processors/ram/bandwidth anyway, why would you not just purchase another box? There has to be some overhead running in VM mode?



    sorry in advance for the ignorance \
  • Reply 6 of 50
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,596member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by McDave View Post


    From my, somewhat simplistic & theoretical, point of view OSX seems to be behind the game it doesn't have to play in the first place. Have I got this wrong or is the purpose of the exercise to curry favour with enterprise?



    McD



    While I know less than you about it, I would imagine that having two or more Mac OS X operating systems running on the same machine would be an advantage for numerous reasons. Maybe one OS instance acts as an Email Server, while another a Web Server, while another a file server.



    You can get more power from each virtual OS instance as opposed to having one machine run the all the services. It seems you can only get so much out of a computer, due to OS constraints (OS overhead), at one point in time. Having three separate instances of an OS running, you can get more performance and isolated security out of them because the OS has more resources to dedicate on the software side. Basically, I think that software is always behind hardware speeds allowing for this type of use to be valid.



    That is how I see it. Maybe an knowledgeable person in IT can correct me and my misplaced ideas. I don't think I am doing a good job explaining though but VMWare and Paralells have white papers on this and they do a better job of describing why it is helpful.



    I think it is a good thing. I just wish they didn't put a license per OS instance and just said, one copy of OSX per physical machine. Now that would be killer.
  • Reply 7 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aplnub View Post


    I just wish they didn't put a license per OS instance and just said, one copy of OSX per physical machine. Now that would be killer.



    One license per instance = must have a valid license for each running copy. I think we're on the same page here but "one copy of OSX per physical machine"? That's exactly what it used to be and what they're moving away from to allow for virtualization.



    Why is virtualization important? Because it allows you to move logical resources quickly amongst physical resources in the event something goes wrong. It can be used for redundancy, load balancing and many other "good" things. You can image servers (that don't store data anyways) so they can be replicated or moved to other machines. It allows you to isolate problems in your overall infrastructure easily and you can take down/replace an instance without disrupting the other services being offered on that platform (web, email, ftp, database, etc).



    It's more secure and less vulnerable for web-hosting companies to offer virtualized shared hosting because changes in one users account aren't affected by other users and therefore doesn't affect other users - just their instance of the OS.



    The biggest benefit to a small developer/or company like me is that I can use 1 physical server to run what appears to be multiple single-purpose servers. The beauty in that is that I can start off with one physical server to host my entire system but as the application, user base and/or load increases I can then move those instances on to other servers.



    For example, let assume I'm building a complex website. I start with one instance of OS X for Apache (to serve the pages) and another instance for a MySQL server (to store data). Later when the site gets busy I can move the instance with MySQL to another physical server to eliminate the load off the first server. I can then install another instance of OS X running Apache on the first server for load balancing/redundancy (not the best solution but it works) and be able to serve more pages faster while the MySQL server just feeds data to both Apache instances. If one of the instances of OS X went down on the first server I would still be serving web pages. So from the users perspective the site might seem slower but the don't notice any downtime.



    In short, it allows me to have dedicated instances of a server so I can pretend they're separate and later when I need to I can actually make them seperate with very little effort in comparison.
  • Reply 8 of 50
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,596member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iGuess View Post


    One license per instance = must have a valid license for each running copy. I think we're on the same page here but "one copy of OSX per physical machine"? That's exactly what it used to be and what they're moving away from to allow for virtualization.



    Yes, we are on the same page and I see the fault in my words. I did a horrible job of describing that. What they are doing, is killer.



    I just wish I could do a better job of describing how running two virtual servers is less load on each OS compared to running everything in one OS. Eventually, the OS can't take it and is overloaded not due to hardware constraints, but due to OS constraints.
  • Reply 9 of 50
    bwikbwik Posts: 562member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iGuess View Post


    In short, it allows me to have dedicated instances of a server so I can pretend they're separate and later when I need to I can actually make them seperate with very little effort in comparison.



    Very interesting post. Thanks for the details. bwik
  • Reply 10 of 50
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,982member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    the $2,999.00 xserve with only 1gb of ram, no on board raid, only an 80gb HD will need to do a lot better and $999 for a 3 PORT raid card?? You can get high raid cards with raid 5 and 6 with lot more ports for that price.



    Actually, Apple's XServe's with their software licenses are considered to be much cheaper than Windows based models. The more clients served, the cheaper it gets.
  • Reply 11 of 50
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,982member
    Both aplnub and iGuess have most of it down.



    The other big reason is that larger servers, which the XServe is not, often have a number of cores sitting idle. By virtualizing the OS, all cores can be put to work.



    This is a problem with expensive models. Businesses don't like to have part of their hardware loafing around (or their flesh and blood employees either).



    To me, this could mean that Apple might be coming out with the 2U server business has been asking for for years now. One reason why more Xserves aren't in larger businesses is because there is no upgrade path. It's cheaper, and more space and power efficient to have one large server than two small ones.



    As far as the 3 drive limit, it's just not that important. Business with more capacity needs will use models such as Apple's XServe Raid witch is very popular, even with businesses without Apple's XServes.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    You might want to explain that, since the card is required to occupy the top PCI Express slot, slot #4.



    What are you smoking?















  • Reply 13 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aplnub View Post


    I just wish I could do a better job of describing how running two virtual servers is less load on each OS compared to running everything in one OS. Eventually, the OS can't take it and is overloaded not due to hardware constraints, but due to OS constraints.



    I can see the logic in what you're trying to describe but remember that each virtualized OS has a greater amount of overhead as well. At the operating system level (the virtualization engine) each instance is given a set time with the processor and other resources. With multi-core processors this isn't so much an issue because the processes can run in parallel (or seemingly so - I'm haven't gotten indepth with Intel's multi-core architectures). The only main issue with most multi-core architectures today (from my understanding) is the way they share resources (memory, I/O, etc) because they can't be accessed simultaneously by the separate cores. Am I wrong?



    So although the theory that you can lessen the load on each instance of an OS by spreading the load along multiple instances with the same purpose holds true...it's impact on the hardware resources are more severe.



    Virtualization allows you to grow. As melgross pointed out it also allows you to fully utilize the hardware because each instance of the OS puts more demands on the hardware. It helps keep critical components separate for portability in case of excessive load or trauma. It's the Object Oriented approach to network design and web development. The objects physical location is irrelevant. It helps bring things down to their most simple form (single-purpose) and makes them easier to manage.



    Of course as with any technology the intended design is not always the only mode of operation. Virtualization is a technology which allows for more flexibility and I for one am glad Apple is supporting it. Enterprises will love it. Now they just need to take on Exchange/Blackberry Enterprise Server and they'll find a new home amongst more business customers. I am waiting for the day when Apple provides the perfect integration between Desktop, Server and [wink wink] the iPhone so I can tell all my Microsoft fanboy friends where to shove their Windows Mobile DoodooPhone.
  • Reply 14 of 50
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    That is one big ass screen shot.
  • Reply 15 of 50
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,306member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post


    You might want to explain that, since the card is required to occupy the top PCI Express slot, slot #4.



    From the config page



    Quote:

    RAID Card

    Enhance storage performance and data protection by configuring your system with the Xserve RAID card and multiple SAS or SATA hard drives. The Xserve RAID card replaces the built-in SATA/SAS controller board and does not use a PCI Express slot. Please note that when you select the RAID card you must choose either all SATA or SAS drives in drive bays 1 through 3.



    I guess what I'm saying is that the card doesn't require using up "another" PCI slot since I have no idea what type of card the SATA/SAS base controller is.
  • Reply 16 of 50
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,306member
    Also here's a good selling pont of virtualization.



    iGuess has covered the flexibility of running virtualized NOS well enough.



    So lets say I'm trying to sell a potential client on Virtualization. Not only do you talk about the flexibility that iGuess speaks of but you also establish that with server consolidation you get to piggyback on expensive LAN and WAN links.



    Think about about now. Sure you could add more physical servers but each server then requires additional ports on your switch, additional HBA for SCSI or Fibre cards additional lights out cards for server diagonostic/remote access, additional rack and cooling space.



    With Virtualization I just sell a beefed up server I add my expensive HBA knowing that all OS will use it (so I go large here with 4Gb Fibre and fast SAS HBA) I add the Lights Out managemeent because I only have to do that per server and not per server OS.



    The cost savings become quite significant. This is why Blade Systems are desired. You reduce rack footprint, you reduce management costs and wiring costs. Your costs for implementing failover reduce as well.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by McDave View Post


    Have I got this wrong or is the purpose of the exercise to curry favour with enterprise?



    McD





    Yea, maybe they are trying to spice things up a bit.
  • Reply 18 of 50
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    From the config page







    I guess what I'm saying is that the card doesn't require using up "another" PCI slot since I have no idea what type of card the SATA/SAS base controller is.



    Thanks. I've been hyped about the new a la carte availability of the Mac Pro RAID card, which requires slot 4.
  • Reply 19 of 50
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    I can't imagine a scenario where I would want to run multiple copies of OS X on the same box. When I think of virtualization, the notion of having OS X, Windows and Unix all running on the same server might be more appealing.



    In terms of maximizing resource utilization as Mel mentioned, I prefer to have plenty of reserve capacity to handle unpredictable demand rather than trying to squeeze the last bit of performance out of a given machine.



    The new blade server concept is quite attractive because the servers are discreet machines which can be serviced/upgraded without bringing down the entire complex, unlike a virtualization environment. The one down side to IBM's blades is the installation expense for 220v power requirements, but that aside I like the management benefits of the shared chassis consolidation.



    But without more compelling benefits, I would not see our business being significantly enhanced by OS X virtualization.
  • Reply 20 of 50
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,982member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by McDave

    Have I got this wrong or is the purpose of the exercise to curry favour with enterprise?



    McD



    Your term " curry favor" is way out of place.



    The correct interpretation, is that they are finally, after several years, delivering a product that medium, large business, universities, and government have been telling Apple they need.



    This is supplying a product that they should have been supplying.



    Offering potential customers products they need for their business is simply the proper way to do business.
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