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.