Apple’s new Mac Pro as a server platform?

“Since the discontinuation of the Xserve in 2011, Mac-friendly IT administrators have not had server hardware from Apple that would fill the Xserve’s enterprise niche,” David Morgenstern reports for ZDNet. “Mac minis have a place (and Apple sells a version with Server preconfigured), but are not very powerful, particularly if you are running all of the services available in OS X Server. The previous Mac Pro was powerful, but its bulky tower configuration and awkward size made it impractical to mount in a rack.”

“The new Mac Pro offers a processor used in servers by Dell and other server makers, doesn’t generate a lot of heat, and sits in a diminutive 10-inch by 6-inch cylinder.,” Morgenstern reports. “You could fit 9 new Mac Pros in the space taken up by 3 Xserves, roughly one-third of the space. But how would you store them in a rack?”

MacStadium’s “Mac Pro POD will hold 270 servers in a 12 square-feet rack,” Morgenstern reports. “The cylinders are placed on their sides (a k a horizontal orientation), which brings its own share of questions. However, an Apple Technical Note says that sideways is okay as long as the exhaust of one unit doesn’t blow into another.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Today is Martin Luther King Day in the U.S. and the markets are closed. As usual on such trading holidays, we will have limited posting today.

Related articles:
A power user’s guide to OS X Server, Mavericks edition – December 10, 2013
OS X 10.9 Mavericks Server: Big changes for developers – November 1, 2013
Apple’s new Mac Pro may find work as successor to Xserve – January 9, 2014


  1. Why pay for the graphics cards if you don’t need it for a server. Unless they could be used for graphics rendering or for additional CPU processing it does not really make any sense.

    1. Agreed. Apple is building billion dollar server farms all around the world. When Apple dose a big upgrade like they did for the iOS 7, Apple’s servers were able to smother networks all around the world. So, is Apple making there own server blades and they will get back to offering them to everyone else when they get caught up with their own personal server backlog?

      These and many other UNASKED AND UNREPORTED QUESTIONS may someday be asked or known! For now, Apple is doomed is the story line and know one will step up to say they are wrong! (Yes Tim and the Apple board, I am still calling you out on this.)

    2. How about…….

      It costs less than an Xserve, fits in a 1/3 rd of the space, is way more powerful, consumes way lower power and you get two graphics cards for free.

      1. Sorry, but you don’t get the graphics cards for free, and few servers can justify having them at all.

        Also, by the time you replace or adapt all your server racks to mount the new cylinders where the X-Serves used to reside, you could have purchased another backup HP-Linux server.

        Face it, Apple has screwed a lot of companies that relied on Apple for their networking. With a company with Apple’s resources, it makes no sense not to allow a conventional form-factor server that just works better.

        If Apple wanted the new Mac Pro to be a server, it would be advertised and designed as such.

        1. Are you intentionally misconstruing what i said or are yu just that dumb?

          Sorry but you DO get them for free if the cost is less than am Xserve.or would you rather they charge as much as an Xserve AND take out the graphic cards?

          1. You’re comparing apples to oranges, my friend. Apple hasn’t made the Xserve in so long, it’s not even comparable to current hardware. Apples “server” product is the Mac Mini, and it’s not competititve with the mainstream server products. Even Apple itself does not use them to run its businesses.

            If TODAY you want to purchase a server, go ahead and compare the Mac Pro to a dedicated Linux server or a Mac mini. You will see that the Mac mini doesn’t cut the mustard, and the Mac Pro is a desktop workstation with a higher price and higher graphics capabilities than one practically could want. doggonetoo was correct in that the Mac Pro is NOT the best value as a server, largely because of the excess GPU, but also because of the odd mounting problems and the connectability issues (no fibre channel, etc).

            Please adopt thicker skin instead of lashing out at those who know a thing or two about servers.

            1. For home use people should buy the Linux server because the Mac Mini doesn’t cut the mustard?

              Is that your professional advice?

              Also, do you really think people who begin using a Mac Pros for a server farm would actually attempt to rack them?

      2. The thing is that it doesn’t have any redundancy in Ethernet ports, power, fans or hard drives. I’m sure that if the server business was strategic for Apple, they would come up with a nice product that would fit server and data centers needs

  2. They already have the software in place to offload work to those GPU’s. Soon enough someone will make a Super Computer out of them Ala Va-Tech. The issue I see right now is Apple may not be able to make enough of them in a timely manner.

    They make them fast enough for the job but can they make them fast enough to fill the role … (;

  3. And as Apple ramps up production I do see them with the opportunity to offer other variants down the line.

    Dual CPU / Single GPU / redundant power supply … server variant

    (((Lord forbid they make a model for gamer’s a-la headless iMac that doesn’t use laptop parts.))) Granted I suspect someone soon will, if they haven’t already, Benchmark these current models for games.

    1. “Granted I suspect someone soon will, if they haven’t already, Benchmark these current models for games”

      Yes, some have already done so, and the results are ax expected: the workstation-class cards are not producing framerates one wants to see in demanding games.

      For example, here’s a small benchmark compilation for X-Plane:

      The new MP is roughly on par with a previous-generation Mac Pro with last year’s nVidia GTX670, and is greatly outclassed by a high-end 2012 iMac, never mind the 2013 ones.

      1. Are you guys really that dense or are you just trolling?
        The new Mac pro ” is greatly outclassed by a high-end 2012 iMac”
        Really and you don’t see that as a (severely) flawed benchmark? Then you are an idiot

        “Lord forbid they make a model for gamer’s a-la headless iMac that doesn’t use laptop parts”

        Looking at the components I see Haswell desktop CPU’s
        Apple did go to mobile GPU’s after 2010 but I can tell you the reason for that as our family iMac’s (2010 27″ i7) Radeon 5750 (desktop) throws far more heat than the i7 does. GPU companies (Particularly Nvidia) don’t understand that in this century the metric is performance/watt.
        When I look at the graphics that the iPad air can manage (on almost no power) it really shows how backward traditional “Gamerz” centric companies like Nvidia have become.
        So the fact that nvida can’t make a thermally reasonable desktop GPU says more about nvidia than it does about Apple.

        1. Don’t be so goddamn obtuse and then accuse others of trolling. Here, I’ll all-caps it for you so you don’t miss the point of my comment:

          THE BENCHMARK IN QUESTION MEASURED GAMING PERFORMANCE, in response to a (quoted!) question about GAMING BENCHMARKS. FOR GAMING, the new Mac Pro’s WORKSTATION-class GPU performance is outclassed by the iMac.

        2. And guess what, while we’re still on gaming specifically, superior performance/watt means jack when you’re in the game and not getting good frame rates. No the benchmark is NOT flawed, it measured exactly the niche it set out to measure.

          No one claimed the new Mac Pro was for gaming, but a question was asked about it, it was answered objectively and truthfully. Too bad, so sad that this offends your sensibilities.

  4. The new Pro is designed for graphic/video/scientific work. If you wanted them for video or scientific servers, I think that might work. Otherwise the graphics capability would be wasted.

    I suppose you could throw out the graphics cards and install more Xeon CPUs.

  5. This wall-o-Mac-Pros has been reported before in the news. I’ve seen a concept drawing. It looks workable, but it’s a bit odd. Clearly, it’s not what the new Mac Pro was designed for.

    Let’s face it. Apart from the Mac Mini server offering, Apple isn’t selling serves these days. Then add the fact that Apple’s neglect of OS X Server software has been showing since 10.5. And yes, a lot of larger businesses, schools, etc., got left out in the cold. Smaller businesses will find the Mac Mini Server to be just fine.

    1. I’ve been pointing out this obvious truth on these forums for years, but the typical MDN fanboy plugs his ears, praises Cook, points to App store earnings as sign of company health, and declares that all other computing companies on the face of the planet are inferior in all aspects — then they whip out the juvenile “troll” label.

      Apple under Cook has screwed its small business and enterprise users by focusing almost exclusively on iOS and dumbing down the capabilities of Macs in a consumer push. That direction reeks. Apple has the talent and capability to profitably serve the business customers it once did. Sadly, Cook instead pulled the rug out from under their feet. There is no real Apple solution to replace an Xserve today. Companies have no choice but to use Windows or Linux servers because Apple turned its back on them.

      1. I never know which ‘Mike’ I’m typing to. But at least one ‘Mike’ has indeed been VERY troll around here from time to time. There is nothing ‘juvenile’ about real trolling. It’s sadism. It’s deceit. It’s NOT welcome around here ever. Very few Mac users go around the net, outside of Mac specific areas, FUDing and trolling Windows, Samsung, Android users. We are the kinder fanatics and I like it that way. We keep our hatred for the haters within Mac specific areas. When there are exceptions I discover, I give them a clout, just as I let any other trollers a clout. /rant

        As for the rest of your comments, I have to agree! Note that the abandonment of large server users was a decision under Jobs, NOT Cook. But clearly Cook has not repaired the situation, except to revamp the Mac Pro into a very lovely modern machine.

        As I pointed out, small businesses will do fine with the Mac Mini server. But it’s no replacement for the Xserve. Equally, the current version of OS X Server is barely worthy of the name. It’s annoying, buggy, dumbed down, degraded compared to OS X Server 10.4. We’re left to wonder why.

        So thanks for being the ‘good Mike’. Much appreciated.

  6. The new Mac Pro is a great machine. But why does Apple not put it in a mountable rack, takes some graphics power away as it is not needed in a server, puts some HD bays in it as this truly is needed in a server. With minimal development costs there would be a brand new and exiting server.

    1. Because it’s a workstation not a server. It is a nearly perfect workstation but (in it’s present form) would make a poor server cluster.
      Almost nothing about the mac pro would be useable in a blade server except the components. The vertically oriented cylindrical construction & case, the triangular unified core heat sink the huge (and virtually silent) turbine like fan (it like a turbine is hybrid axial/centrifugal) all are groundbreaking in a workstation and all virtually unusable in a blade server

      So your question becomes why doesn’t apple make a blade server, and that has been asked and answered ad infinitum.

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