Over the years at Sweet-Apple we’ve been responsible for installing, managing and remotely supporting a number of OS X Server installations for clients in and around Bath and Bristol. A good number of those were running on XServe, Apple’s rack-mounted server chassis. Earlier this week Apple announced that from January 2011 they would no longer be selling the XServe. It marks the end of an era of sorts, during which Apple tried half-heartedly to break into the lucrative server market.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about the XServe. The G4 and G5 models had any number of stupid hardware omissions. Chief amongst those was the lack of a video card. Have you ever tried using Apple’s Remote Diagnostics on a “headless” XServe? Stupidly and unnecessarily complex. Fine if you’re in a large organisation with dozens of XServe’s racked up, a complete nightmare for small workgroups. The utter stinginess of supplying 3 slots and caddies for hard disks, but failing to provide the hard drive interface was breath-taking. You couldn’t just slot in a hard disk, you were forced to pay way over the odds buying an Apple drive ‘module.’
But the biggest problem for most of my customers was simple. Noise. XServe’s can be dreadfully noisy, and not every office has a server room.
So what machine should you choose for running OS X Server. The Mac mini makes a perfectly decent cheap OS X Server, but for creative workgroups I’d be more inclined to got for the MacPro solution. Not only do the dual ethernet ports allow you to do connection bonding and get fantastic network performance, but the PCI slots let you stick in an E-SATA adapter and get terrifically fast external storage. Plus the 4 internal drive bays can let you make a pretty tasty internal RAID.
If you need assistance installing, configuring or supporting OS X Server, give us a call.