Apple Discontinuing Xserve in January 2011

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Apple quietly announced that its Xserve rack-mount server will be riding into the sunset come January, 2011. Moving forward, customers will have the option of buying a Mac Pro or Mac mini with Mac OS X Server pre-installed.

The Xserve is Apple’s pro-level server product. It includes Mac OS X Server, three hot-swappable drive bays, an option for a redundant power supply, and takes up 1U or rack space.

Apple leaves the enterprise again

Apple noted “Since its introduction in the fall of 2009, Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server hasbecome Apple’s most popular server system.”

The company will continue to sell its rack-mount server product through January 31, 2011, and will continue to honor warranties and support contracts.

Apple published a Transition Guide in PDF format detailing the options for users that want to move from an Xserve to a different Mac system. The guide is available for download at Apple’s Xserve Web page.

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This makes me a bit sad. Oh sure I never used one, never bought one, heck, I’m not sure I ever actually saw one in person.  The thing is that it’s a pulling back from the enterprise, which is too bad.

I work with Rack Mount servers. When we needed a new server I always pushed (unsuccessfully) for an Xserve. Maybe that’s why they’re dropping the Xserve. After something like 8 years with little penetration maybe it’s time to throw in the towel. Unfortunately, Pro’s and Mini’s just don’t fit (literally) in a rack environment.

We keep using generic hardware running LINUX. I suspect that was the competition that Apple couldn’t match. They targeted Windows Servers when cheap LINUX servers were the real competition.

RIP Xserve.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

To be replaced by rack-mounted iPod Nanos.


I like your thinking Brad, but I think rack mounted iPads might be more appropriate.


This is sad. The first Xserve in our heavily Windows environment was introduced by a vendor of secure email systems, who considered it an ideal platform for moving archived email between systems. There was some distrust at first, especially among the data center managers but they were won over when it it failed to make waves any other way and stayed in place for a year and a half. unfortunately, none were added to it.


Oh, and there is an existing “rack-mount” alternative.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Joe, those are gonna be some huge racks.


Oh, and there is an existing ?rack-mount? alternative.

Interesting but not really. A Enterprise grade server has redundant power supplies, RAID, and front hot swappable drives. Believe me I’ve specked out enough systems to know that’s the base from which the Data Centre folk start. The Xserve fit in. No matter how well it may work, a mini or Mac Pro adapted to rack mount is still not a ‘real server’ in the eyes of those that run the rooms and make the decisions.

Lee Dronick

Joe, those are gonna be some huge racks.

That is why the iPad has a touch screen smile


It seems to be not a bad thing, but in comparison with Xserve it looks little unseriously.


Maybe I’m a little ignorant about it - is this a big deal?

Apple is clearly following their bottom line. They don’t really go after the server market, and as far as I know they’ve really only made inroads to content creators: production studios, ad agencies, publications, that sort of thing. And in recent years, with marketing and ad agencies consolidating and closing shop, publications dying an agonizing death (while struggling to move their content online) and a lot of businesses throwing their working files “in the cloud”, it goes without saying that the well has run dry in the corporate server segment for Apple.

The funny thing is that I’ve long considered the Mac Pro to be server-class hardware built into a work station, minus the built-in admin tools*. So Apple will essentially be selling the same thing, just without the option of a rack form factor.

But, it is kind of a passing of an era, of sorts. Apple may say that they’re not giving up on Macs, but that comes with the caveat that their focus on PC markets is limited.

* If that doesn’t totally make sense, it’s because I’m not a network guy.

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