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Apple-endorsed XServe replacement in the works?

updated 11:55 pm EST, Fri January 28, 2011

Active Storage to take wraps off "solution" Feb 1

A third-party company headed by a former Apple executive may be preparing to step in and offer a replacement for the XServe -- one that even has Apple's blessing, reports say. A post at 9to5Mac points out that Active Storage, run by former Apple executive and server technologist Alex Grossman, has a "countdown" timer set to just after the final day of XServe availability, and a draped 1U rack-mounted product apparently waiting to replace it. Grossman himself was one of the people responsible for bringing the XServe to market eight years ago, and the new mystery product is billed as "not an alternative ... a solution."

Apple has already started recommending third-party replacements for its discontinued server products, for example featuring Promise Technology's VTRAC RAID servers to complement its own XSan storage software. It would not be inconceivable that Apple would formally endorse an offering from another company -- particularly one run by former Apple engineers -- to fill the gap created by the discontinuation of the XServe. Active Storage makes a point of marketing its expertise in serving the "professional Apple user."

The mystery server will likely run a webmin variant with Darwin, the report says, and claims that Apple itself is using the servers in some of its enterprise datacenters. If Apple could also be persuaded to allow virtualization of Mac OS X Server on non-Apple hardware -- such as this mystery server or products from other companies -- the loss of the XServe would be a much more minor event and could even revitalize Apple's reputation within the Mac IT community. [via 9to5Mac]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Salty

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Licensing OS X?

    Could this be the beginning of Apple licensing OS X? Probably not on consumer hardware, but what about allowing it on other boxes? That'd be huge! It would allow me to dream of owning a Mac server again :D

  1. jfgilbert

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No need to dream

    You can get all the goodness of a Mac server in a mac mini for about a grand, including the license.

  1. skipwiley

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Dont be surprised

    Larry and Steve are old friends, so I think there will be an Apple/Oracle alliance using the Sun server hardware that was acquired in the Sun takeover.

  1. DoctorGonzo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    3rd party OS X Server hardware makes sense

    Apple doesn't like to do the whole Enterprise thing. Which is to say, the notion of public product roadmaps and utter predictability go against their entire MO. Which isn't to say they don't see the value of Enterprise hardware, but low-margin, niche businesses that demand an entirely different approach than the other 99% of their other products is kinda a drag for them.

    I know they abhor licensing OS X, but this is a special situation, and isn't going to threaten their bottom-line in any appreciable way. Mac OS desktop clones hurt Apple because they were cannibalizing the company's bread and butter. Apple doesn't make much from server hardware, and they'd probably rather invest their R&D dollars to something with a much-higher ROI.

    I can imagine Steve essentially saying "Ugh, you want to deal with this? Fine. It makes our lives easier. Pay us X amount per unit sold, and we'll supervise your QA operation."

  1. facebook_Darryn

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2011


    comment title

    I have to agree with DoctorGonzo. Apple's biggest mistake was getting into the server market but they needed to sell Mac OS X Server somehow and so a physical server made sense. It doesn't now so a third party server running Mac OS X Server makes sense.

    However, I think Mac OS X Server is going to change role shortly with a more consumer orientated setup with media sharing, file sharing, iTunes sharing etc all based around the iPad. It seems to make sense given that a home server for allowing iPad access to data using Back To My Mac would be a big benefit to the home environment.

    We'll see I guess.

  1. Climb AZ

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I agree with doc too. I didn't think they were not going to have a server and I was wondering who was going to receive Apple's blessing :)

    Yes, the Mac Mini is fine for home setup though I think Apple's missing the mark there and can make a better "Home Media Server". There's a lot of cool third party stuff out there to fill in but I would love to see an Apple solution for this.

    Yes, for the enterprise, licensing OSX server makes good sense for the reasons doc says but I would like to see more than 1 server setup (2U, more than 3 drives, redundant power, more network available) I would especially like to see virtualization available. I would be excited to see this running ESXi or Apple Server OS on a vmware vshpere environment. I think so many companies would give Apple a good look when they can easily add a Mac Server to their setup.

    A good move I just hope they go all the way with this and there's more Mac servers out there.

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mac OS licensing do exists

    MacOS licensing actually existed very very long ago under the radar. Even before the consumer versions of Mac clones area. I used to work for a newspaper company back in the early 90s. They have a couple of very fast third party Mac towers running Mac OS 7.5 at a blazing speed that even faster than the latest PowerPC Macs that ever existed. The towers are $20,000 each. The towers run on 68040 chips (no idea how many of them in a single motherboard). But the tower itself is very high, almost same height as a regular desk and almost the same depth as a desk.

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