Amongst all the normal media frenzy that surrounds Apple announcing the new “Sandy Bridge” MacBooks, something potentially much more revolutionary slipped out under the radar. No not Thunderbolt/ LightPeak! It’s the news that OS X Lion will include OS X Server straight out of the box, for free.
Having worked with OS X Server since OS X 10.3, I’ve got a reasonable understanding of why this is. Simply put, the current Server Admin tools are too confusing for your average, and even not so average Mac geek. I’ve even been asked in the past by other Mac consultants to help set up OS X Server for them remotely, just because it takes forever to understand how to get even basic requirements like cross platform file sharing configured.
Because of this, OS X Server isn’t selling in the sort of volumes that many imagined it would. When it was launched, it offered a real cross-platform alternative to Windows 2003 Server, and could massively reduce the cost of server licences for small to medium size companies. However, this was more than offset by the additional expense of having to find someone capable of configuring OS X Server to work in cross-platform environments.
My expectation is that Apple will offer a greatly simplified set of Administration tools, to encourage SME’s to switch to Macs. If they can make configuring files, web, email and calendaring services straightforward enough, it could potentially open up a massive new market amongst business users wedded to Windows. However, they really do need to focus on ease of use. I might be happy(ish) wading through a 500 pages PDF just to learn how to configure File Sharing, most people aren’t…
Need help settings up OS X Server? Call us on 01380 830224 and we’ll get things moving.