InfoWorld reviews Apple Xserve: All of the advantages of big iron Unix, made simple and affordable

“While Apple’s latest Xserve uses the Intel Harpertown quad-core, Core 2 Xeon CPU, it is in all other regards the glorious antithesis of a PC server. With Xserve, Apple designed and engineered everything in-house, from the logic and firmware to the chassis and OS and admin tools. Support issues are not finger-pointed out to Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, or GNU. Like your feature requests, your support tickets can land on the desks of the engineers who created what you’re using. Xserve is built and supported to run not for one or two years, but three years, five years, and beyond. If you think I’m having you on, try to find a bargain Xserve on the refurbished market,” Tom Yager reports for InfoWorld.

“You expect the best of everything when you buy a proprietary big iron Unix server from IBM, HP, or Sun with a base of $20,000. If you want big iron Unix server features from a 1U x86 rack server with an entry price around $3,000, or $5,000 with eight 64-bit processor cores, you take your business to Apple. And unlike the big iron Unix servers, Xserve can consolidate your Windows, Linux, and even OS X servers through Parallels or VMware virtualization,” Yager reports.

“Consistency and continuity are hallmarks of Apple designs… The Harpertown model is significantly enhanced but not reworked,” Yager reports.

Read the full review here.


  1. “If I’m not otherwise engaged next Thursday morning, I just might spend my economic stimulus check to enter the PC server business. I could go shopping for a wholesale 1U bare-bones rack server, with my primary criteria being that it boot DOS from a floppy and require you to take your server off-line to change basic system settings. I’ll stuff that two-socket black box with RAM, CPUs, and disks; charge you for your choice of Windows or Linux; and unless you’re buying these things by the gross, stick you with desktop-grade support. Since I had no involvement in your server’s design and engineering, I’ll rely on BIOS and driver updates from my volume motherboard supplier. I’ll selectively pass these on to you, flagged with warnings about how they may render your system unusable if you misapply them, until my supplier stops issuing them. Don’t worry, you’ll have a solid year before that happens.”

    This is why Macs should not be cloned. This guy is spot on. As a professional system builder, I know exactly what he is talking about.

  2. Tom Yager consistently gets it!

    MDN often disagrees. However, I suspect that the folks at MDN don’t have a lot of corporate IT background.

    Yager writes InfoWorld, which is aimed at the corporate IT crowd. Apple is making more and more progress in that market, and without trying. That lack of trying causes problems and potential problems when it comes to corporate IT adoption of Apple products. Yager calls it like he sees it.

  3. Fly in the Ointment is really an idiot, BSD performs really well even under crushing loads (that is why it is generally favored over linux for high load applications) there are things linux does better, but effectively managing under crushing loads is not one of them.

  4. I sent this review last night to a customer who is on the verge of signing off my proposal to swap them from Windows Server to XServe, mainly to show that my evangelism isn’t a Don Quixote ’tilting at windmills’ thing.

    What’s amazing is that – due to all the hoops you have to jump through to install Windows Server 2008 and the new version of Exchange – I was able to deliver a fully-soundproofed rack environment, multiple UPS systems (one with extended runtime) and two 10Gbe capable 3Com switches for less than the bare-bones Windows proposals from myself and a competitor.

  5. After having just installed XSAN #4 for our company, I can say that Leopard and XSAN 2.0 are amazing!
    Promise RAIDs spank the “old” Apple units.
    They just did a leap-frog, and now Apple is heading towards enterprise-worthiness.

    Bah-bye, MS.

  6. I ♥ my Xserve.

    @ Fly in the ointment… read what qka said. Also, don’t forget that Mac OS X 10.5 is UNIX03 certified. If I need a system that “just works”, part of that is that it is stable (development-wise) enough to meet a relevant, industry-accepted, specification. Linux, LSB notwithstanding, doesn’t yet.

  7. @qka

    You’re a fool. Linux is POSIX complaint and OS-X has it’s own APIs too (Cocoa and Carbon). What Linux doesn’t have is;

    A gimped file system (HFS+)

    A special version of DTrace that has been tinkered with my Apple “Enginners” (special as in my cousin Simon the retard is special)

    Outdated open source components that allow it to be hacked in 2 minutes by anybody that knows what they’re doing.

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