Computerworld: Hands on with Apple’s new dual-core Xeon Xserve

“I recently got a walk-through from Apple officials of the company’s new Intel-based Xserve, and then — again, courtesy of Apple — I got to actually take one for a test-drive. I can say from the start that this stylish piece of hardware represents a significant improvement over its predecessor, which itself offered amazing value and high-powered performance. Apple went to great pains to deliver design and performance improvements that are evident on first look and use and will be welcomed by data center managers,” Yuval Kossovsky reports for Computerworld.

Kossovsky reports, “The OS X server software included is a 100% native, 64-bit unified operating system with many of the included applications — like MySQL and Java Application server — also bumped up to take advantage of the 64-bit processors.”

“Pricing is still a bit lower than what you would expect for such a loaded machine, but it’s not cheap: As equipped, the Xserve would cost $9,971,” Kossovsky reports. “Remember, Leopard server is expected to be out in early 2007, so when buying a new Xserve be sure to get the operating system maintenance plan to guarantee you’ll get the new server operating system at no additional charge when it emerges from its lair. The plan costs $999 for 36 months.”

“Two of the major gripes that data center managers had about earlier Xserve models involved power redundancy and lights-out management capabilities. “Apple listened closely to its customer requests and delivered on the most-requested features,” said Doug Brooks, product manager for server hardware at Apple. The dual power supplies are load-sharing and hot-swappable, and a second power supply is included in the Xserve emergency parts kit in case it’s needed,” Kossovsky reports. “As for the lights-out management, it’s for real this time. Apple has incorporated the IPMI standard into its management interface, which allows the CPU to be monitored and controlled remotely by any IPMI-compliant device and software package, such as HP OpenView.”

“I think the new Xserve should deliver on all of the performance improvements expected in Apple’s move to an Intel Xeon dual-core processor, plus some incredible storage options. Data center managers will be pleased to know that they can integrate the Xserve into their standard monitoring packages and be confident of reliability with redundant power supplies,” Kossovsky reports.

Full review here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
InfoWorld: Apple’s Xserve Quad 64-bit Intel Xeon ‘has no better in the sub-$5,000 category’ – October 25, 2006
Apple’s Xserve Quad 64-bit Intel Xeon to ship in mid-November – October 25, 2006
InfoWorld: Apple’s Xserve Xeon ‘perfectly designed’ – October 17, 2006
Apple not planning specific cluster node Xserve – August 17, 2006
Apple shows off new Xserve with Quad 64-bit Intel Xeon processors at LinuxWorld – August 17, 2006
Bear Stearns: Apple’s new Mac Pro, Xserve pricing well below comparable Dell systems – August 09, 2006
Apple introduces Xserve with Quad 64-bit Intel Xeon Processors – August 07, 2006


  1. “but it’s not cheap: As equipped, the Xserve would cost $9,971,”

    Sure you can buy a PC for $500 and run it as a server, but how much does a ‘server’ PC cost from IBM, Dell or HP – the killer feature being the cost of the Unix guru to run Linux or the per-user cost of Windows Server. MacOS Server is UNLIMITED and in the documentation recommends over 10,000 users per box. How much would a 10,000-seat copy of Windows Server cost? Much more than $9,971 !!!

  2. “Will Apple start to make headway into the big-iron market?” Slowly. Very Slowly.
    “Will the Xeon Xserve enable more supercomputers?” Unlikely. While the Core 2 Duo based chips are much, much better at floating point than the earlier Pentium chips, they still are not much greater than the capabilities of the old G4s and G5s. Only time will tell though. Don’t expect a Mac based cluster to crack the top 5 any time soon.

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