Apple introduces new Xserve, the most powerful Apple server ever

Apple today introduced the new Xserve, a 1U rack-optimized server that is up to twice as fast as its predecessor* and includes an unlimited client license for Mac OS X Server Leopard. Starting at just US$2,999, the new Xserve has up to two Quad-Core 3.0 GHz Intel Xeon processors for 8-core performance, a new server architecture, faster front side buses, faster memory, up to 3TB of internal storage and two PCI Express 2.0 expansion slots for greater performance and flexibility.

“With the latest Intel processors and no client access licenses, Xserve offers unbeatable server performance and value for under $3,000,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, in the press release. “Xserve’s power, storage and Leopard Server make it ideal for supporting Mac clients and mixed platform workgroups.”

Xserve is configurable with up to two Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5400 series processors running up to 3.0 GHz with 12MB of L2 cache per processor and features a new high-bandwidth hardware architecture, dual-independent 1600 MHz front side buses and up to 32GB of 800 MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM memory for a 64 percent increase in memory throughput**. Two PCI Express 2.0 expansion slots provide up to four times the I/O bandwidth of the previous Xserve to support the latest high-bandwidth expansion cards including multi-channel 4Gb Fibre channel and 10Gb Ethernet cards.

Xserve now includes built-in accelerated graphics to drive up to a 23-inch Apple Cinema Display and a new front-facing USB 2.0 port. Using Apple’s Server Monitor, an administrator can remotely turn Xserve on or off and manage server software from anywhere on the network. Each of Xserve’s three drive bays can be configured with 73GB or 300GB SAS drives or 80GB and 1TB SATA drives, providing a mix of high performance and vast storage capabilities for a wide range of server applications. Apple offers a hardware RAID card option that delivers hardware RAID levels 0, 1 and 5 with 256MB of cache and an included backup battery for up to 72 hours of cached data protection. The Xserve RAID card delivers up to 251MB/s RAID 5 performance*** for the most demanding server workloads, without using a valuable PCI Express expansion slot.

The new Xserve improves energy efficiency with Intel’s 45 nanometer core microarchitecture technology. The processors draw a maximum consumption of 80W, and drop as low as 4W when idle. Power supplies exceed Energy Star recommendations from the US Department of Energy and Apple’s thermal management technology cools the systems efficiently in a wide variety of environments while reducing power consumption.

Every Xserve ships with a preinstalled, unlimited client edition of Leopard Server software, offering true 64-bit support, easy-to-use management tools and support for Mac, Linux and Windows clients. Leopard Server is fully UNIX compliant and extends Apple’s legendary ease of use by introducing over 250 new features, including Podcast Producer, the ideal way to automatically publish podcasts to iTunes or the web; Wiki Server, allowing people to collaboratively create and modify their shared web sites with just a few clicks; and iCal Server, the world’s first commercial CalDAV standard-based calendar server.

The new Xserve is shipping today and will be available through the Apple Store® (http://www.apple.com) and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The Xserve standard configuration, with a suggested retail price of $2,999 (US), includes:
• a single 64-bit 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Xeon processor with 12MB of L2 cache and a 1600 Mhz front side bus
• 2GB of 800 MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM RAM, expandable up to 32GB
• a single 80GB SATA Apple Drive Module
• dual Gigabit Ethernet on-board
• internal graphics
• two FireWire 800 and three USB 2.0 ports
• an unlimited client license for Mac OS X Server version 10.5 Leopard

In addition to the standard configuration, Xserve offers numerous build-to-order options and accessories including: dual 2.8 or 3.0 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors; 80GB and 1TB 7200 rpm SATA or 73GB or 300GB 15,000rpm SAS Apple Drive Modules; internal Xserve RAID card; Gigabit Ethernet, 4Gb Fibre Channel and U320 SCSI expansion card options, and a 750W redundant power supply.

More info: Apple Xserve.

More info: Apple’s Xserve RAID.

*Based on industry-standard SPEC jbb 2005 benchmark tests conducted by Apple in December 2007 using preproduction 3.0 GHz 8-Core Xserve units and shipping 3.0 GHz Quad-Core Xserve units. SPEC is a registered trademark of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC); see http://www.spec.org for more information. Performance tests are conducted using specific computer systems and reflect the approximate performance of Xserve.

**Testing conducted by Apple in December 2007 using preproduction 3.0 GHz 8-Core Xeon-based Xserve units and shipping 3.0 GHz Quad-Core Xserve units. All systems were configured with 8GB of RAM. Results are based on the STREAM v. 5.6 benchmark (http://www.cs.virginia.edu/stream/ref.html) using OMP support for multiprocessor-compiled builds. Performance tests are conducted using specific computer systems and reflect the approximate performance of Xserve.

***Testing by Apple in December 2007 using preproduction 3.0 GHz 8-core Xeon-based Xserve units configured with Xserve RAID card. Testing conducted using Iometer 2006.07.27 with a 30-sec ramp-up, 5-min run, 512KB request size, and 4 outstanding IOs. System configured with the OS and test volume on a single RAID volume. Performance tests are conducted using specific computer systems and reflect the approximate performance of Xserve RAID Card.

25 Comments

  1. This is great machine, unfortunately the main selling point of Server boxes is the processors inside them.

    Since XServers use the same Intel processors as everyone else, there really isn’t much advantage for Apple in this arena anymore.

    The Powermac G5 XServers sold TONS!!!, because it was a bad ass processor and nobody else had them but Apple.

    Server software is all Linux now. It’s cheap, customizable and free.

    Plus the updates and security issues are fixed faster than Apple can.

    Apple relies upon open source components for Mac OS X, Apple doesn’t address the open source security issues fast enough, so it’s rather easy to review the open source security notices and then apply the exploits to Mac OS X.

    So you see, there is no advantage anymore for XServers, Apple should just discontinue them and instead make more consumer level machines to address those peoples needs.

    They will sell a lot more boxes that way.

  2. Anyone who posts on MDN use these babies, and if so, for what?

    The upgrade to the XServe.. does it translate into anything useful for anyone? Was the previous performance of the XServes much of a bottleneck for what most people use them for?

  3. @Marketing Dud

    So you see, there is no advantage anymore for XServers, Apple should just discontinue them and instead make more consumer level machines to address those peoples needs.

    Except that Leopard Server is Open Group Unix 03 certified, and Linux isn’t. That’s a big deal to those of us who maintain server rooms.

    So go back to your iMac and leave the servers to us professionals.

  4. The Steve must be planning something HUGE at Mac World if New Xserves and MacPros are being announced before Mac World.

    @Twilightmoon – I have and use 6 of the previous model XServes in production for Shake Rendering and “Yes” the new model will speed a Shake Render up by quit a bit.
    We also use the Xserves for Final Cut studio rendering and encoding which will get a boost from these new systems.

  5. Except that Leopard Server is Open Group Unix 03 certified, and Linux isn’t. That’s a big deal to those of us who maintain server rooms.

    Big deal to a rather small niche.

    This isn’t a software issue, it’s a hardware one. As one can place any OS they wish on XServers.

    It’s a hardware cost issue, Apple cannot compete, they have no real advantage.

    Do you think a mere per seat license is going to swing the vote in Apple’s favor?

    It’s the server admin’s who chose what works for them. They can’t justify the huge cost of Apple’s hardware, the cost of a license for the OS is nothing if they save millions by going with Dell or HP or someone else who can provide exactly the same hardware as Apple.

    So you go back to your servers and leave the bean counting to us. We cut the checks.

    Game over… ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  6. @Marketing Dude

    Your responses seem to indicate a lack of knowledge of where major corporate decisions are made. As a consultant to many Fortune 500 companies I can assure you that the server admins DO NOT choose the hardware. They make their own recommendations but the decisions are made at a much higher level. Some of my clients are concerned about per seat or client access licenses as that component alone for them is many millions of $’s per year to maintain.

    If they do business with Government departments the security and certification of their infrastructure become contract critical.

    Every Total Cost of Ownership analysis I have seen in the last 4 years has consistently shown the Apple platform to be way cheaper than ANY, I repeat ANY, alternative. The cost of the box itself is just a minor component in the life cycle of a server and data centre installation.

    When you also consider that XServes are well represented in the worlds top supercomputer arrays you realise that this class of machine is significant.

    When you have built a top 500 supercomputer, re-architected the technology for a global data centre, implemented numerous grid’s and otherwise worked extensively (ie more than 20 years) in high availability installations, then you can comment from a position of authority.

    Both consumer and commercial computing are important markets for Apple.

  7. Marketing Dude

    U cant find any comparable ‘pure metal’ server with same price frtom any vendor. The real thing thing is that Apple is CHEAPER than others at the pure server. Plus u get unlimited Leopard server free. It is the CHEAPEST professional server on the market. Linux itself is no matter.

    Check the prices

  8. Personally, I’d love to see Mac OS X Mail/iCal/Address Book come out on the client side for PC’s. Most businesses, as is ours, are Exchange-based. Exchange Server licensing/client licensing are insane. Replacing our Exchange setup with two redundant Xservers would be awesome! If we had the clients on the desktop side, it would be a no brainer to switch!!! Then of course, it would be a slam dunk to integrate mail with the iPhone.

  9. Zolika … “least expensive”, not “cheapest”. The latter suggests a lowering of quality to match a price point – and that is one of the reasons Apples often cost more than “similar” equipment.
    Marketing Dude … check the TCOs, man. The Xserve owns the segment. Not quite as totally as its RAID partner, but by a good bit. What you say about the cost of the hardware is somewhat true … you can certainly get a Linux server (with software) for less. But check out the prices of equivalent hardware. Now check out the cost of gathering and configuring the software. Now check out the cost of maintaining that software and hardware. Both Windows and Linux fall down in the second and third cost zones – even though Windows admins earn significantly less than Unix/Linux admins.
    Dave

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