InfoWorld: With Xserve, as usual, Apple knows something that its competitors don’t

“As usual, Apple knows something that its competitors don’t, and after three weeks with Apple’s new Xserve and OS X Server Tiger 10.4.8, I know it, too. Apple is taking a road that pundits will likely insist will lead Apple nowhere: It is doing a server appliance play, but not of a flavor that the market’s seen before. While trends, or rather, the analysts who proclaim them, are pointing to the triumph of software as a service, outsourced applications, consulting, node-locked operating systems and other pay-as-you-go approaches, Apple is piloting a rocket-powered sled in the opposite direction,” Tom Yager reports for InfoWorld.

Yager reports, “Apple is going to sell complete server platforms that buyers purchase, operate themselves and actually own. Seriously. The customer pays the advertised price for an Xserve (starting at $2,999) and gets a server loaded and pre-configured with a server software suite (PDF) that alone meets the needs of the majority of Intel x86 rack server buyers. There are no subscriptions, no priority update service fees, and no client, device, mailbox or CPU licenses. None of the services is grayed out pending your purchase of an unlock key. Xserve has no try-and-buy, no time bombs and no trip wires telling you that you need to upgrade from Express this or that to Professional this or that. Xserve never phones home to beg for Apple’s permission to use the server software already loaded on your system. And if Apple played the slick pricing games that its competitors do, Xserve’s advertised price would be $2,000, with a one-item selection menu on the Buy Now page that reads ‘OS X Server, unlimited users (+$999).'”

Yager reports, “Xserve is far better than the commodity server that the Intel x86 market expects. But what really blasts Apple’s competition is OS X Server. The present Tiger (10.4) release is more than a match for much more expensive commercial Linux, and far more capable out of the box than Windows 2003 Server. Early next year, OS X Server Leopard (10.5) will transform Apple’s already industry-leading Xserve, including the model reviewed here, into an unimaginably feature-rich native 64-bit server platform. And guess what? When you buy it, you’re done paying for it, and all of the services you have to buy, build or rent with Windows, Linux or pay-as-you-go service outsourcing, are installed on every Xserve’s boot drive. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer Xserve’s buy once, run forever approach.”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Computerworld: Hands on with Apple’s new dual-core Xeon Xserve – October 26, 2006
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. Configuring an Xserve is easy as pie, apart from one thing…


    I can’t stress how important this is, failure to do so will render so many services unuseable, such as Kerberos, Open Directory etc.

    My Xserve ROCKS! Wouldn’t use anything else!


  2. With all the increase in digital devices and multiple computers in homes, along with the impending release of iTV, I wonder how long it will be before we see and iServe? An iMac like home server which come with everything you need to operate a real network at home for people who have no clue about services that you may or may not need activated. With the volume of stuff we’re gonna be keeping it’s gonna get to a point where having multiple external firewire drives on various machines is gonna get impractical.

  3. MSFT relies on IT personnel to perpetuate the junk that they produce. MSFT’s partners do the same thing. With IT dependent on their certificates to make a living, they are not about to recommend anything other than MSFT.

    Apple’s approach, throughout its product line, is to empoer the user and eliminate the need for IT personnel. As CEO’s become more technically literate they will realize that Apple is the better choice. That literacy will come from their home computer, a newly acquired Mac.

  4. All I can say is wow!

    Seems that Apple has a few rockets being ignited under it these days, and although I knew xserve was good, this is all new to me…

    So what has Apple got going for it:

    1. OS X Leopard – full 64 bit computing, top notch security and virus free

    2. Market leading notebook, desktop, power pc and server hardware designs

    3. Market leading software titles at consumer and professionals levels

    4. iPods and iTunes and iTunes store

    5. A new fullscreen video iPod plus we know not what else yet

    6. A new iPhone

    7. iTV – set to fully integrate Apple Mac into the home

    8. It has cool, it has positive press, and it has momentum just as others have stalled.

    (Memo to self: call broker before close of play today)

  5. I have seen first hand the IT drain on corporations for years. Not because they were necessary but because they were built-in. The IT department recommend systems that require their presence and thereby perpetuate their own jobs. Microsoft has done a masterful job of ensuring that their software is purchase over and over, not because it is superior, more efficient, cost effective or powerful, but because it ISNT any of those things. Microsoft makes software that is complicated, buggy and requires teams of highly trained IT personnel. Additionally, their software tends not to play well with others. Now add an entire industry set up to educate and certify professionals who know only MS software and you have a built in bias toward maintaining MS’s software in the enterprise. After all, who would want to recommend systems and software that they were unfamiliar with, may not work nicely with their existing systems and may very well cost them their jobs?

    I left the MS IT career field some time ago but in my personal time I still manage the IT resources for two (admittedly small) non-profits. We have a couple PC’s that are limited use and single purpose only. All the rest of the organizations are all Mac based. I have told them that I will continue to support them so long as they stay Mac based (not a difficult decision for them as they have “seen the light” so to speak) as they take very little of my time. I would not have the time to maintain similar sized organizations that were PC based.

    I do believe that larger and larger organizations will begin to see the light as well as Apple keeps doing well and gaining visibility and the cost of IT keeps going up. I also think Vista will help a great deal as well. Once the ball starts rolling in that direction I think it will become Apple’s game to lose.

  6. IT’s will still have jobs. We have 2 so one covers the other on vacations, sick, etc. And most people do not want to worry their pretty little heads about doing updates or why a printer isn’t working, a client can’t ready their PDF, why their e-mail isn’t working today (even if the fault is out of the buiding somewhere) or researching the best new software options, and/or new ordering new or replacement pieces and parts of hardware options as needed.

    At least with Apple IT’s they can function as IT’s, but yet be given other duties as well, (so we don’t sit around bored most days with nothing to do). However, we don’t do Windows.

  7. “If this is such a great idea, why hasn’t this been the standard business model? “and “What has changed that now make this new idea so uniquely convincing, formidable, and liberating?”

    Jus’ askin’.

  8. BOOYAH IT_DOLLAR_SUCK, the world works the way you have described it. the world lost about 50% of it’s productivity potential when windows and the microsoft blood sucking business model won the pc war. it killed the central computer-distributed terminal model by offering a better value proposition to businesses needing technology to move up the productivity food chain. once in the windows model, all involved lost sight of better opportunities as they chased the bottom line. as long as the bottom line was adequate, no one had the courage to challenge the cash engine. the world is pretty much made up of mostly short-sighted people. this human flaw, plus the fear of losing their jobs made the cost of re-entry for the mac, too high in the business market. microsoft’s monoply is not based on superior technology, but expoiting the human flaw.

    the whole industry built around the microsoft blood sucking model is just part of the same tunnel vision value chain. no one should be surprised at the proposed zune model. it’s just an unashammed copy of ipopd/itunes wrapped around the same old blood sucking model. fortunately, this time, there is a viable alternative model and when some of the pundits catch wind of the similarities, they will be writing stories about how the past could have been so much brighter if there was an alternative to 20 years of microsoft’s blood sucking tactics.

    apple’s strategy is not to take microsoft’s model on head on. that would mean the man on the street can understand a higher level of consciousness than making sure you get your next paycheck. heck, most of them cannot even understand apple’s cute commercials. apple’s strategy is to win the consumer war and leave the low margin, cut throat business industry for the vultures. they are taking the high ground.

    that whole industry, as tom yager’s article suggests, is moving to a service based model. microsoft has hired allied van lines to more their blood sucking model over to services. that’s what they do as a company, they do not make products, they just refine blood sucking. that’s fundamentally what differntiates apple from microsoft. always has and always will. unfortately, you and i actually pay for this stupidity in mainstream companies, whether they be you on-line trading partner, a bank, walmart, your local olive garden or supermarket, have built the cost into the products you and i buy. the dark side of me sees that microsoft will actually cause more damage to our country that any holy war, by making us less competitive as the global developing global economy finds it cannot afford the blood that microsoft demands and either goes open or on a good day, buys a bunch of xserves. btw, have you noticed that stealing from big us companies in developing foreign economies is not seen as a crime there?

    many of our best run new economy companies were started my foreign students who got their higher education in the us. is it much of a stretch to see it happening off shore. where would we be if google started in indonesia? the only thing that made it happen here is the availability of capital. as our balance of trade and economy becomes vulnerable to the globalization, the capital won’t always be here.

    in today’s world, a generation is all it takes to reshape the landscape.

    mw: england…in their day it took 10 generations

  9. Now if Apple could just make the server management software usable for the non-programmer, just like many appliance software out there, then it would sell much better.

    Have used OX Tiger server for a year and cannot penetrate certain functions, since the learning curve is just too steep.

    BTW, I manage many other servers out there for many years.

    So, Apple get with it!

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