CNBC’s primary network storage?  Apple Xserves with dual 15TB Xserve RAIDs and Apple Xsan

“Last week, I visited CNBC’s headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.,” Lucas Mearian blogs for Computerworld.

MacDailyNews Note: Mearian told us all why the iPhone is a ripoff back in January.

“What surprised me as I was touring the IT infrastructure with CNBC’s director of digital production and broadcast technology, Gary Kanofsky, and graphics engineer Rich Tallmadge, was one of the broadcast giant’s storage area networks. It was an Apple Xsan – one of the few I’ve come across in my travels. Most corporations simply don’t trust Apple enough — primarily because their infrastructure is Windows and Unix — to put it in their data center, much less to use it for primary network storage,” Mearian writes.

MacDailyNews Note: Actually, Xsan is the SAN file system for Mac OS X Server which is an Open Brand UNIX 03 Registered Product. Mearian was looking at racks of Apple Xserve units which were serving as Xsan metadata controller(s) and/or acting as “NAS heads” (file servers for the shared storage pool) and a grioup of Apple Xserve RAID units which can each currently hold up to 10.5TB of storage.

Mearian continues, “But here was an Xsan in an enterprise that has a data center with 600 racks of equipment supporting hundreds of servers and editing stations and more than six television networks, including MSNBC, Bravo and Sci-Fi. I just have to note that Tallmadge is one of those Apple converts who — like many of us have experienced at one time or another in our careers — covertly evangelizes for Steve Jobs, professing the immense usability and effectiveness of Macs over PCs. But while CNBC’s graphics design team does mostly use Mac (40 Mac editing stations to be exact), there are a couple of PCs attached to the Xsan, proving that it can indeed support Windows.”

MacDailyNews Take: There’re a LOT of misconception out there about Apple, obviously. People like Mearian, who don’t even know what they’re looking at, all have, uh… interesting opinions about Apple and the company’s products, usually based on myths and ignorance. They’re amazed to see Apple logos on machines doing what they consider to be “real work.” They’re shocked that the Mac clone-gone-bad “Windows” can network with Macs. They’re flabbergasted that someone would choose Apple Macs, Xserves, Xsan, etc. Lucas, you weren’t being “covertly evangelized,” you were simply waking up when confronted with reality. Surprise! Windows sucks, by the way; always has. And those CNBC’ers who are stuck using those couple of attached PCs are either pissed they can’t use Macs or blissfully ignorant accountants. Give it time, Lucas. You’ll figure it out soon, probably right after you realize that Xsan is a box of software not rack-mounted hardware.

Mearian continues with something of actual value, a video in which CNBC’s Tallmadge shows off CNBC’ Apple hardware and discusses why he chose Apple for his primary SAN:

Direct link to the video via YouTube:

Mearian’s article is here.

Learn more about Apple’s:
Xsan: Enterprise-class storage area network (SAN) solution; share files and volumes up to two petabytes (2PB)
Xserve RAID: Storage solution with up to 10.5TB in 14 hot-swap drives
Xserve: Quad Xeon 64-bit server with with Mac OS X Leopard Server
Mac OS X Leopard Server: A native 64-bit rock solid UNIX foundation upon which you can build a business


  1. “At least they have to good sense to use Windows and support George W. Bush.”

    There’s nothing like a surprise test of the gag reflex.

    I wonder if the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has upgraded to Vista yet?

  2. I remember reading sometime back that Teflon (polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE) is in just about every creature on earth. It has even been found in Antarctica. That means we are ALL part of Teflon Don; a multi-celled experiment gone horribly wrong. Is that a disgusting thought, or what?

  3. We encountered only two issues with our XServe/XRaid over its three years of use: one internal hardware failure (replaced the next day) and one software failure involving NFS sharing of a multi-gigabyte share (fixed in a patch update). But for me as a tech the biggest problem was that it was TOO DAMN RELIABLE. I mean, how can one gain any expertise if the thing just keeps running? Set it up, configure it, go on to something else. What a concept!

    I’d consider buying a used Xserve for my home lab just to get more experience with it, but for the issues of noise and its FCC Class A rating.

    Personally, I think Apple’s got great potential for the back office.

  4. Randian,

    We all make grammatical and punctuation errors once in a while. I know I sure do. No one is perfect; that would be rather scary.
    Oh, and recently this site added semi-colons to sentences in a couple of my posts. I know I didn’t do it myself. Very strange.

    If you want to chastise Teflon Don, do so because he and his father (Dupont Don) have contaminated our planet with their vile chemical essence. Now that’s something to get pissed off about.

  5. There is a lot of misconception regarding Apple in the enterprise. Xserve, Xsan and Xserve Raid are making their way into the computing infrastructure of many companies. The writer of the story is probably pretty far removed from the the day-to-day grind of systems administration and doesn’t get a chance to see a lot of what’s going on in the trenches. You could walk into many companies and see what is described in the Computerworld story. These companies are not as big as CNBC and wouldn’t rate a mention in Computerworld. The tide is slowly turning in the world of enterprise IT toward the use of more Apple products.

  6. MDN is not hosted on Xserves. I find that hypocritical in regards to this piece being published.

    They are hosted on Linux servers: Apache/2.0.52 (Red Hat)

    This info is easily obtainable from a multitude of internet sources.

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