ZDNet columnist Bill OiBrien has written a piece singing the praises of Appleis Xserve and Mac OS X Server. Mr. OiBrien focuses on network issues, and has not been very vocal about the Mac market in the past. Todayis article touts the power and price of Xserve in unequivocal terms. From the piece:
Apple has recently started shipping a server. Rather than your average Mac box with a "This is a server" label, Appleis Xserve is a G4-powered (thatis PowerPC for the uninitiated), rack-mounted, Mac OS X- (a Unix derivative) controlled, hell-bound for glory, purpose-built server. The full specs, straight from the Appleis core, run like this: Dual 1GHz PowerPC G4s, up to 2GB DDR SDRAM, two 64-bit 66MHz PCI slots (plus a third combination PCI/AGP slot), dual Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire and USB ports, and four Ultra ATA/100 Apple Drive Module bays.
Forty-two Xserve systems will fit in an industry standard 8-foot rack, providing up to 630 gigaflops of processing power from up to 84 processors. And thereis room for about 20 terabytes of hot-pluggable storage to be installed in that 42U rack. Doesnit sound very Apple-like, does it? Sounds more like an HP or Dell product with a hint of IBM thrown in--although Apple is quick to point out that "Xserve is the industryis first 1U dual processor RISC server. Not even Sun or IBM offers such phenomenal processing power in such a small package." Perhaps all that laughter we heard when Apple declared its G4-based computer a "supercomputer" subject to Federal export interdiction seems a bit misplaced now. It gets better.
Even more important are his comments regarding Mac OS X licensing, something that has gone largely unnoticed by non-Mac oriented publications:
Considering the included management tools Xserve is priced competitively, but thereis one other thing that may make your budget sing those folksy songs of the sixties: Xserve has an unlimited-client license--whether for tens or thousands of clients. These days, when Microsoft is considering a subscription plan for its desktop software, Appleis magnanimous licensing is almost more remarkable than Apple producing a competent server for the rest of us.
Read the full article for more information; itis a good read, and includes additional commentary about Mac OS X, Apple, and Xserve.