Apple edges back toward the data center: New Mac Pro could indicate renewed push

“Last summer, when I wrote about Apple’s relationship with enterprise IT, I talked about earlier Apple decisions to stop producing its rack-mounted Xserve server and refocus its server platform, OS X Server, on the small business market,” Ryan Faas reports for Computerworld. “Since then, Apple has largely focused on making its consumer-oriented products — the iPhone, iPad, and Mac — as enterprise-friendly as possible. These devices ship with out-of-the-box support for key enterprise technologies like Active Directory, Exchange, ActiveSync, and a wide range of mobile device management (MDM) solutions that can manage both iOS devices and Macs.”

“That strategy makes a lot of sense because it removes the need for a large investment in infrastructure or software dedicated specifically to supporting Apple’s products,” Fass reports. “The strategy also built on the BYOD trend that has reshaped the very concept of how IT handles mobile technology. It’s a strategy that Apple should continue.”

ass reports, “Recently, however, Apple seems to be falling back into some of its old habits and it now looks like the company may be starting to inch its way back to the data center.”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Hell yes. Why do you think it has bled over into the consumer market, with the incessant push to get consumers to subscribe to the “cloud”? Server hardware and software is very profitable.

      But it does take serious commitment since the hardware turnover is slower, and the support needs much greater. Apple hasn’t shown the necessary hardware or software consistency or quality lately. Track record matters.

      Why is this? Well, obviously Cook really likes selling high-volume portables with a walled garden dumbed-down OS. It’s easier, requires no long-term commitment to the customer, and generates plenty of repeat business when consumers drop or lose their gadgets.

      I know, the extremists on this board will claim that consumer portables are way more complicated to build and sell than servers, and way more profitable. Tell us then why Apple buys HP servers instead of creating a superior in-house OS X enterprise server? Doesn’t Apple have enough resources to serve itself?

        1. Profits and margins are different things. But yes, I know very well how to read SEC filings. Let’s just take a random example: Oracle is a $28 billion/year company. Are you trying to tell us that is chump change?

          Large enterprise servers represent a relatively stable, solid, profitable business IF you are a one-stop shop like Oracle or HP or IBM. Commodity server companies with partial solutions are indeed fighting over the table scraps. That’s why they and the gullible consumer rags had to invent the term “cloud” without bothering to talk about little things like accessibility, reliability, privacy, cost, and so forth — things that consumers historically haven’t accurately affixed a price.

          But the article here speculates that Apple wants back in the enterprise market. That would be great, if only Cook pulled his head out of his butt. Adding iPads to an existing corporate deployments seems to be about as far as Cook seems to want to go. When Apple makes such a sale, Apple offers negligible additional computing or storage or IT backbone cost savings leveraging the power and security of OS X — Apple chooses only to offer additional portability to the end users, which MAYBE can save time on some discrete tasks. All the rest of the possible recurring profits, Apple isn’t even in the running.

          Apple is at least 5 years behind a second-rate server player like Dell in having the comprehensive hardware, software, and services that enterprises must have, and nothing indicates that Cook wants it any other way. He continues to buy HP servers and hope nobody notices the irony.

  1. The new Mac Pro is not really cut out to be a server. As much as I am a Mac fanboy, I will not spend $3,000+ for a server that contained two high-powered graphics cards and didn’t fit in a rack.

    With that being said, I am very happy that Apple continues to develop and mature their server software with each new version of OS X. Being able to avoid dealing with a Windows server for a small business that is 100% Mac, is wonderful.

    However, I think Apple needs some hardware with a more capability then the Mac Mini for small businesses to use as a server. In my case I bought a used Mac Pro tower last month to replace my Mini because I needed a new server. In the future, however, as OS X advances, using old Mac Pro towers as servers will not be a viable option.

    Maybe Apple will resurect the XServe to serve small businesses. Or maybe they will offer a Mac Pro cylinder with only one low power graphics card that is priced accordingly. Or maybe they will come up with something totally new to meet this need. The thing is, as more and more small businesses move to the Mac, this need will only grow in the future.

    1. +++

      Couldn’t agree more (from someone who has one new mac pro and has another 2 on order) They are workstations, server hardware is a different animal. This new mac (very specific workstation design) make that line clearer. And high density (i.e. enterprise & cluster) blade servers are an entirely different species. (again as someone who has a rack of servers (render farm))

  2. What, what whattt?
    Is it just me or do these tech journalists who purport to know all about enterprise IT, seem to be making virtually no sense recently.
    Now that I think about it, and remembering that none of them saw the impact on enterprise IT (and dismissed them out of hand) that the iPad would have, I wonder if any of them EVER had any clue at all.

  3. No. No. No.

    Apple’s server software has been dumbed down SO MUCH recently that it is only a shadow of its former self. The new MacPro is round… hard to line them up side to side when there is no “side”. People say the stupidest things and other stupid people believe them. Apple has NO interest in the Data Center, except, possibly to keep the workers entertained with their iPads.

  4. I’ve always thought that Apple should make a bigger effort to go for the SME market if only to give it some insulation from the whims of fashion in the consumer sector. OTOH @Canalys is tweeting:

    “We predicted that when IBM exited PCs it would struggle with x86 servers. If it now exits x86 servers expect a stuggle with storage”

    Doesn’t look as though there’s any money in the large corporate market, but I still think there could be some to be made in the SME sector.

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