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First Look: Mac OS X Lion Server

updated 11:00 pm EDT, Mon June 6, 2011

Now available for individual users

Mentioned earlier today as part of the overall announcements at WWDC, Apple will be releasing Mac OS X Lion Server as well as the client edition through the Mac App Store in July. The Server version contains extra features not found in the standard release, including iCal, Mail and Wiki servers, Xsan support, iPad file sharing, push notifications and more. Individual licenses will be sold for $49, a $19 premium over the price of the client edition.

The core of the Server version of OS X is the actual server app as well as the profile manager. The server app includes the setup assistant, along with local and remote adminstration, monitoring of how the server is performing, and e-mail alerts for software updates or if problems occur. The program controls features and services including users and groups, wiki services, web, calendaring, contacts, chat, VPN, file sharing and Time Machine.

Profile manager creates and administers user accounts, including PIN and password policy configuration and restrictions. Changes in policies can be pushed automatically over the air, and can be managed from any modern web browser as well as the app itself. The Profile Manager also features a self-service web portal that allows permitted users to remotely lock or wipe devices that are lost or stolen without having to notify the administrator first.

Lion Server also adds wireless file sharing to iPad by enabling WebDAV -- making it possible for for users to access, copy and share documents on the server from any of the iWork applications as well as other common file types such as PDF and ePub files, images and others. All push notifications are integrated into Apple's service, so it can be used for notifications ranging from new e-mail to calendar invitations, iCal changes or updates to contacts.

The program also includes new third-generation versions of Wiki Server, iCal Server and Mail Server. The Wiki Server allows users to create wikis and websites collaboratively by creating a download repository that can be accessed by users who all have the ability to download, change and upload files, as well as host podcasts, images and video. The included People Browser allows collaborators to share outside of the wiki itself, and there is also automatic e-mail notifications when a page has changed or a new comment added.

The iCal and Mail Server apps allow families or companies to share schedules, to-dos and community e-mail addresses. The iCal Server allows multiple users to access the same calendar, while the Mail Server offers users the chance to search the content of message attachments, including Microsoft Office files and QuickTime videos, standard image and document formats as well as PDF. New in this version is a refreshed webmail service with a modern design that supports both Rich Text and HTML messages, multiple languages and threaded message listings.

Finally, the Xsan file system support leverages OS X Lion to be able to access an attached or networked Xsan volume. Lion Server includes the Xsan Admin application, which now allows case-insensitive Xsan volumes that act like normal Mac volumes. It also supports multi-pathing and failover technologies, making Xsan usable with most Fibre Channel RAID storage arrays.

Lion Server is expected to be released simultaneously with OS X Lion sometime in July. Like Lion, users must have a Mac with an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor to run Lion Server. Pricing beyond individual licensing has not yet been announced.

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    App store?

    Really? They're also going to pushing their server product through the app store? Yeah, that'll really impress those guys in the enterprise.

    Actually, how can they do this at all in the enterprise, client or server? Can't imagine companies needing to sign up for iTunes accounts just to install an OS.

  1. chas_m



    Reading comprehension

    You lack it.

    Both the keynote presentation and the article say that the individual license of OS X server is available through the App Store. Doesn't say anything about enterprise versions, though I have to point out that in point of fact, Microsoft has been handling their server software this way for years. Not that you'd know that, of course.

  1. Drash

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What's with the tiny pictures?

    Finally something I actually want to see in some kind of detail, and still the tiny photos- big enough to take up a ton of space but always too small to actually read the stuff on screen they're showing. What gives - do you not try and read your own output?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Reading comprehension

    Both the keynote presentation and the article say that the individual license of OS X server is available through the App Store. Doesn't say anything about enterprise versions,

    So, the problem isn't reading comprehension, it's the lack of information from Apple to the enterprise on how they plan on handling such things. Yeah, that's so much better.

    though I have to point out that in point of fact, Microsoft has been handling their server software this way for years. Not that you'd know that, of course.

    Really? So to get Server 2008, one uses the Microsoft app store to download it as an upgrade to 2003? I didn't realize that. Oh, right, because that's not what is done, is it.

    If you mean enterprise licensing, yes, I know that. I also know MS actually tells their customes up-front what their plans are, not just mention parts of them and keep the rest secret for later. But that's probably because MS actually cares about the enterprise.

  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969


    actual cost

    Your comment about the cost is misleading. Lion Server is an additional $50 so $80 total. I also read the requirements on Apple's web site and it says Lion Server requires an existing OSXServer installation. I emailed Apple about this because this sounds like the $50 is simply an upgrade price to an existing OSXServer license, not for a new one.

    If the editor of this article is at WWDC, it would be nice if they could ask Apple if my understanding is correct. I hope it isn't but if it isn't, then Apple's website needs to be altered.

    As for enterprise licensing, what's the problem with $50/server? This cost wouldn't even get you the documentation for a W2008 server much less any client licenses. I work for a government contractor and because of this insignificant cost, I would presume we'd look at getting it added to our Apple contract. From what I've seen, this is for an unlimited client version and the combined cost is less than the cost of Leopard client so it's a no brainer. As for having to use the App Store, we'll see what Apple has in store for corporate/government users. I'm sure we'll get information on how to purchase a multi-user license, receiving a special redemption code that allows multiple installations. It wouldn't be that difficult for Apple to arrange this capability. The Lion installer is a full-blown installer file, which can be moved to other computers.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: actual cost

    As for enterprise licensing, what's the problem with $50/server?

    Well, you just said it wasn't $50/server. It's $50 for upgrade price, which is nothing. Then again, I'm not sure how much was added to warrant the time to upgrade in the first place (sorry, I'm in the "if it works, don't fix it, unless fixing it actually makes things better" camp).

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