Apple Mac servers: Why they still makes sense

“I run a small business. I value privacy, for myself and my customers,” E. Werner Reschke writes for T-GAAP. “Giving all my personal and company data to a Cloud owned by some other entity — whether Apple, Google, Microsoft or Yahoo! — has always made me nervous. Maybe I’m über-paranoid, or maybe I’m crazy like a fox.”

“I’m probably über-paranoid, but even Tim Cook is stating that we should be. Losing Liberty is a slippery slope that starts slow at first and before you know it, it is gone,” Reschke writes. “I’m using liberty here in the sense that your media tastes and purchasing habits should not be known by one entity, and therefore make it difficult to know who you are or what you like and dislike without actually knowing you — but instead by knowing your profile. Frankly I would prefer to live in a world that is nothing like the movie Minority Report, where advertisements are customized to you by a sensor recognizing your optics as you walk by.”

“If Apple wants to continue acting on their values of privacy, their next step should be to reinvigorate server efforts for customers,” Reschke writes. “This isn’t about Apple bolstering iCloud service. This is about delivering server solutions that can be installed and deployed as walled gardens for their customers.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It seems like there’s room for a bit more robust, customizable Mac mini server, but it doesn’t seem as if Apple is all that interested (we won’t even bother dreaming of a modern Xserve). Admittedly, it’s a minor market that wouldn’t move the needle outright, but it might have some benefits for Apple down the road.

32 Comments

  1. It is a better idea to use a LINUX server, rather than a mini or even apple serve. That is probably the reason that apple dropped the product. . They were under sold by a competitor and couldn’t maintain profitability. It was just sad that they wrecked apple server to the point where it was useless.

    1. Agreed. Linux is the obvious choice for running any environment where servers are actually needed. No need for resource hogging processes like GUIs on a server. The MacMini server and Apple’s server app do come in handy for a few applications (Looking at you JAMF). But overall, it’s just not a market that Apple can “own”.

      1. Apple has specialized in “reducing the pain,” so that does leave a server as a possibility. The volumes may be insufficient for Apple, though.

        Still, a modular Mac/Server may be a possibility in the future as we do more and more things at home.

      2. This may be true, if your are absolutely ignorant about computing and unwilling to expend any effort learning. Otherwise, Linux is a great choice. It is actually easier to install most server apps on Linux than on Mac. And you run less of a risk being damaged by Apples arbitrary decsion to classify you as a marginal tree hunger user and deprecate whatever apple software you were sucked into relying on

        1. WRONG, this is what you propeller heads don’t seem to understand. Let me break it down for you. Ordinary people are never going to invest time in “learning” linux

          Small business owners need to invest time and effort into running/growing their business, managing the money, their services, their products, advertising, etc, etc. NOT wasting time “learning” Linux. What an ignorant goal.

          That was the point of Apple Server, with a small amount of reading the official documentation you could be up and running.

          As a computer geek, I’m tired of computer geeks declaring that ordinary people need to become computer geeks, NO They do not. They need to focus on their core competencies and enlist professionals when professional grade help is needed.

  2. Apple need to dedicate more attention to mac server.

    Yes, I understand that 99.2% of apple’s customers will never need a server.

    But us small business users who don’t want to hire an IT staff if we don’t need to, rely on mac server to manage all of the other Apple products that we buy.

  3. Security and stability of server are the key. The cost is the 3rd most important issue.

    If an Apple server has superior security, then they should make Xserves again.

  4. I’d like to see a small Apple Mac server for file/print/email and maybe a small website. In addition such a sever could have client images so deployment of new Macs or updates could be lightening fast and management of software licenses could be a snap. Take it out of the box, plug it in and go. Wouldn’t that be great? Tagline: “buy a Mac, put it on your desk and be working in 30 minutes”.

    Apple could easily make a box like this and charge $2500 for this. Companies with 3-50 employees would love it. 🙂

    1. Um..dude, they had one. It was called the Mac Mini Server, sold for $999. Came preloaded with OS X Server. They cancelled it. So even $1500 less than you want it for, it wasn’t working for Apple. It’s a drag as a ton of small businesses run on macs and there’s no suitable solution for them right now.

        1. 10.6 is solid.

          I mistakenly upgraded hardware and when I had all my problems with server 10.9+, I tried to downgrade to a lower server OS but couldn’t because the hardware wouldn’t let me.

          Very frustrating.

  5. I think Apple should definitely reinvigorate this area of their business. A properly equipped Mac mini can be a great small office server. I’ve setup several of them over the years. Normally, I use a Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID. If Apple ever wanted to try to get into the enterprise market, I think that they should build their product on top of CentOS. Not Ubuntu. Ubuntu is nice, but I think it’s lousy as a server.

  6. I can definitely see why you’d want to get rid of a GUI on a server OS. I’d say Apple should have a server platform with no/minimal GUI (shutdown, open local terminal, etc) that can be virtualised.

    The controlling of the server can then be done from any client computer with a GUI program.

  7. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? IBM servers running an Apple OS/server, petabytes of storage, virtualization, and backed by IBM hardware support. The ability to support mac’s and ipads natively. My God, it’d be a think of beauty…
    That’d roll over enterprise and crush the competition. And then make a lighter version to replace all those crap windows server shops. 10 years later, it’ll be “microsoft? isn’t that that little niche company?”

  8. I guess the argument is that Apple sees the server room moving to the cloud. The only problem with that is that they don’t have a decent cloud services offering. Google’s business offerings are better, and they suck. Management of Google’s services just plain sucks.

    Dropbox is the clear winner in SAAS for most small to medium sized businesses. But that leaves out services, Calendaring, Wiki, Web hosting and so on.

    Thing is though, as Apple drifts to consumer gadget company, away from consumer IT company, they’re losing touch with a lot of the people who’ve pushed, proved, badgered, evangelized, and cajoled people into just giving their products a try.

    I worry that they will miss the unsung sales force that’s been out there all along. The guys who were the firsts to show up with Apple portables. The ones who brought in the iPods first and so on. Those folks were motivated by their experience with Apple’s IT products.

    1. And the second problem with Apple’s “move to the Cloud” approach is that even if they get their own side of the service sorted out acceptably, there’s the entire ISP in the middle, which carries other ramifications:

      a) Isn’t free or cheap (monthly subscriber fee to ISP)

      b) Increases System Performance Latency (“ping” travel times, no matter how ‘fat’ the pipe is)

      c) May shutdown operations due to ISP imposed bandwidth caps (mitigate with even higher monthly fees to ISP)

      d) Can bottleneck @ ISP (pay for bigger pipe)

      e) Can bottleneck @ Apple (pipe size at Apple + other customers)

  9. If your a Xcode developer you have to use an apple server for its Xcode server continuous integration capability. It’s a shame though they got out of the server market –

  10. For many purposes, they don’t need specialized hardware, but make the server software better and more reliable without cutting services. I have been repurposing my old Macs to run as servers when I replace them. Works well and extends the usable life of them. Still have a 2009 Mac mini running as my media server on my TV and records/watches shows great and servers as my Time Machine backup.

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