The server for everyone: Apple’s OS X Lion Server could redefine server computing

“Everyone is talking about the iPad, but Apple is also quietly on the verge of redefining server computing. Long the domain of data center experts, Apple is taking the server operating system and integrating it into the desktop – it’s ‘the server for everyone,’ according to Apple,” Jon Brodkin reports for Network World.

“Mac OS X 10.7, also known as ‘Lion,’ will be sold on the Mac App Store starting in July for about $30 for the desktop OS,” Brodkin reports. “t the same time, Lion Server will be sold as a $50 add-on to the desktop operating system. Initially Apple indicated that they would be part of the same package, but the pricing model is still a huge departure from previous versions.”

Brodkin reports, “Snow Leopard Server, the current version, sells for $500 for software only or as part of the $3,000-plus Mac Pro Server. Lion Server, on the other hand, is cheap enough that a MacBook user might consider the purchase.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Apple should pick a large corporate/enterprise partner like Oracle, HP, or IBM and allow them to run OS X as a virtual server.

    Then they wouldn’t be selling Mac OX based servers, only servers with the ability to run it as an add on. More market possibilities for Apple, more profits for both Apple and the partner, and more flexibility and options for enterprise customers.

  2. Hold on a second there MDN. Facts are one thing, hyperbole quite another. Lion Server isn’t even going to redefine Apple’s NC data center server computing much less dominate the world. 

    When your own corporation isn’t eating its own dogfood it’s quite another thing to expect anyone else to consume it. Lion Server might make a difference in some small dark corner of computing but it’ll be a niche product, no more than that. Apple saw to it by exterminating Xserve. 

    1. Apple and Microsoft do not make Server software capable of handling the vast amounts of data that will be flying around NC in the fall.
      Companies like EMC are much better at that sort of thing.

      1. Why? Built-in UPS, thrifty on power consumption, easily deployed, easy to set up redundancy. Can be used for rapid, convenient deployment at, for example, a construction site trailer for housing FTP and file server for management of drawings. Or at disaster sites for use by workers. Or as servers at booths for a trade show or convention. Or as easily moved servers for a travelling training programme. Or in any scenario where access to material from multiple machines is desirable but one doesn’t have control over or guarantees covering general internet access…

        A current MacBook is more than sufficient unto such a purpose and quite possible makes more sense than a traditional box.

    2. Server software as apple is referring to it (for managing a network of devices, users and software) is very different from the stuff needed to build a robust cloud solution. That’s a completely different beast. A custom beast. And one I bet apple wrote a lot of the software for. Maybe not the OS or the protocol stuff (webservers load balancing yuck) but the sure as he’ll wrote the applications that will make a difference to users.

    1. To think… Some 20 years ago one could spend $800-$1,000 for a copy of SCO Xenix or Interactive UNIX. When Sun’s Solaris was available some years later for $250 it was a real bargain; today it can be had for pocket change.

      In fact the only personal OS that remains expensive today is … Windows.

      1. Solaris can be downloaded for free!

        Big Iron Unix for free… unbelievable.

        I’m actually surprised considering ‘Pound you in the @ss for cash’ Oracle owns Solaris now.

    1. M$ tried to buy market share twice for IIS against Apache. After each money-dump, their share went up to the high 30% range. And each time, it wore off. Now IIS is down to 17% and Apache is back up to 65%. (See Netcraft.)

      M$ failed to gain any traction in the “home server” market with their media hub program. Now Apple is coming along and taking this market out from under them, too.

      The M$ cash cows are starting to look like ground beef.

      1. My brother has a friend working on the server side of things, who stated flat-out that Microsoft doesn’t care what server software hosts their stuff, so long as it appears to be Microsoft’s server software. He seemed fairly matter-of-fact about it, so it didn’t seem like he had an axe to grind – so if this is true, then Microsoft’s already low numbers vs. Apache are still artificially inflated. Ouch.

        1. That makes no sense, you can’t run IIS on anything but windows. The best you might be able to do would be to port over ASP.NET apps to run on Mono with Linux but I’ve never seen any major success stories here, at least not anything big.

          For web serving personally i prefer PHP on Apache and I used to be a big ASP on Windows Server supporter back in the day.

            1. True but you could also run Apache on Linux virtualized on Windows Server using HyperV. I’ve seen it done a few times. I don’t consider those virtual Linux servers to be really be ‘running Windows’. Its just Linux on a virtualized stack that happens to have a Windows hypervisor.

              if you have a website running IIS you are still running it on Windows. I know MS gets paid for licensing when you install Server 2008 on the Xen Hypervisor! 🙂

  3. I think the story has it wrong…. you can upgrade to the Lion Server IF you have Snow Leopard SERVER already installed. Not if you have Snow Leopard.

    1. No. Lion server is an add on. I run Snow leopard on my MacBook Pro, but it was an easy upgrade to lion server DP4. Install lion and then lion server as add on.

  4. Funny.. I was sure I could buy a Mac pro for $2500…. Not $3000
    And you can get it on a mini for $1k.

    I’ll wait till it’s out, but I’m sure I won’t need the server upgrade myself. But $50 add on… Thats CHEAP.

    Did apple get lodsys approval though? 😉

  5. AAPL tanking. I must be right about just how WOW! it all was (not). Also – may have been better if Steve had not taken the stage yesterday. More talk all over the Mac world (and beyond) about the post-Jobs era. The big question is and has always been: will Apple work without him. Like everyone around here, I love him (not worshipful love like MDN) and there was no one on that stage yesterday that who is any different from any tech exec in any tech firm anywhere.

    1. APPL always goes down after a presentation. It’s called profit taking, in that it always ramps up before the presentation as well. It’s just day traders and stock manipulators pulling their usual shite. Using a momentary stock price to assess these announcements is really, really stupid.

      Stock trends are measured in years, not hours, not days, not weeks, and not even months…but years.

  6. “… and there was no one on that stage yesterday that who is any different from any tech exec in any tech firm anywhere…”

    Except these guys work for Apple .. which gives them a lot more Job-security than those guys up in Redmond who spend their time ducking chairs .. instead of making stuff people actually want !

  7. Yea But… Yeah But… What about MSFT & Skype? They should merge the the two names… MicroSkype TM. I’ll trademark that BITCH! Micr O Cloud! Thunderstorms over the Blackberry fields in Canada! Oh Dolly I’m HOT Today! CAN YOU IMAGINE THE EXEC BOARDS!!!!!!! ?

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