“What makes OS X Server 10.6 a perfectly reasonable choice for small-to-medium-sized businesses is new pricing coupled with a custom Mac mini configuration. For $999, you can buy a perfectly speedy office server with a full, unlimited-seat license.,” Glenn Fleishman reports for Ars Technica.
“Before 10.6, Apple charged $999 for its unlimited user license, and $499 for a 10-user version. The 10-user limit, however, applied only to simultaneous logins for certain kinds of services, including AFP (Apple Filing Protocol), Apple’s native file-sharing service. The 10.6 release threw that pricing out the window,” Fleishman reports. “There’s one version of OS X Server 10.6: $499 for an unlimited user version. OS X Server can be installed on nearly any system capable of running the regular version of Snow Leopard (which itself costs $29 for a 10.5 Leopard upgrade version that could be used for a full installation). OS X Server since 10.5 can also be virtualized with one paid license per virtualization; the $499 price makes virtualization cheaper, too.”
Fleishman reports, “By comparison, Windows Small Business Server 2008 comes in two editions (naturally) for either $1,089 (standard) or $1,899 (premium) with five client licenses, and charges $77 or $189 respectively for each additional client license. The premium version includes Microsoft SQL Server 2008 for small businesses, and, because MySQL is included with OS X Server, one could argue the premium version is most comparable.”
Fleishman reports, “The Mac mini Server ($999) is the other development… For $999, you get a 2.53 GHz Intel Core Duo, 4GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 RAM, two 500GB drives, one FireWire 800 port and five USB 2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, and Wi-Fi (802.11n) [plus the Snow Leopard Server operating system].”
Fleishman reports, “In my weeks with the combo, I found much to praise, and many elements improved significantly over the 10.5 release. For a straightforward start-to-finish setup, this combination seems like a steal at the price, despite the problems I found—and especially if you take my advice for tweaking spam-filter settings.”
“As with many Apple products, I would prefer if the experience were less frustrating at points at which the company should have tested and anticipated problems. But overall, Apple has kept most of the rough edges and hidden much of the configuration madness from the potential smaller-office audience,” Fleishman reports. “Because Apple has packaged this offering so inexpensively, combining so many typically separate features into one offering, you can afford a little outside help. The cost will still wind up being far less than using any of the alternatives for what you get in one hardware and software package.”
Full review here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]