Servers: Goodbye, Xserve. Hello, MacPro
Apple is saying “goodbye” to their 1U rack-mounted server, otherwise known as Xserve. Since 2002 Apple has provided a sexy aluminum pizza box for all those who wanted it, but now, after 8 years, Apple thinks enough is enough. January 2011 is your last chance to buy one. Then, If you want a Mac server, Apple is offering the low-end MacMini Server, and now, the new Server-configuration of the MacPro. For some perspective on where Apple is headed with this, read on…
Apple has never been afraid to kill something off in the pursuit of something new, which is part of the reason they’ve always been so cutting edge. Mac OS 9, the PowerPC, the first iPhone, all of them have either been dropped in future software updates, or unsupported all together. But why Xserve? With Apple finally making moves into the business and enterprise space, why drop the one thing a data center loves more than anything — the rackmount?
Honestly, I’m not sure. Apple’s official statement is that…
“Mac Pro systems deliver performance and expandability equal to or surpassing Xserve….[and] the Mac Pro tower form factor can be deployed in an office environment on or under a desk, or in a data center environment on a shelf in a rack with two units per 12U.”
Not exactly the model of efficiency in space or aesthetics. Two towers sucking up rack shelf space, or heating your feet under a desk doesn’t sound sexy or Apple-like at all. The good news, however, is that Apple will continue to support the Xserve user base, and of course, honor warranties.
So Apple’s plan? This blogger thinks simply that Apple has something new up their sleeve, but it’ll take a while. I have a hunch that the Xserve isn’t exactly flying off the shelf, and during the interim between now, and the ‘next big thing’ a bunch of MacPro’s correctly configured will perform as Apple said — equal or better.
The ‘next big thing’ could be a server that redefines what a 1U rack-mounted unit should be, or better yet, Apple could be working on offering an entirely new server solution. It may be overly optimistic, but this blogger believes that Apple’s recent business relationships with Ingram Micro and Unisys have the potnetial for Apple to re-examine what they can offer in a server, and maybe — just maybe — the ‘new Xserve’ will be something groundbreaking.
Or maybe Apple just isn’t making money from Xserve at all. But we can dream.
Either way, if you want the last pizza box Apple will ever make, you have ‘till January 2011 to buy one. Check out the MacPro Server “transition program” here where Apple helpfully explains how to configure your MacPro or MacMini for transition from an older Xserve system based on your needs.