Apple Servers Coming to an IT Department Near You

by Bruce Stewart

We've long believed around here that the role of Apple products in IT is poised for significant growth, and this recent item in DigiTimes confirms some serious progress in the server realm. DigiTimes cites IDG numbers that show Apple has shipped 8700 servers in the first quarter of 2007, which represents a very impressive 73% growth in server shipments over the previous quarter and places Apple in the top ten list of server hardware providers.

As Mat Lu points out over on TUAW, that's a strong report demonstrating that Apple is really "moving some iron." Mat also asks an interesting question:
Since the Xserve are now able to run Linux on a par with other machines, it would be interesting to know how many of these machines are running Linux instead of OS X Server.

I'm curious too. How many of you out there are using Xserve boxes, and if you are, do you run Linux or OS X on it?


2007-06-06 10:48:52
not to be a cornball, but.... why would anyone want to run Linux over OSX Server??? That's like putting an American V8 under the hood of a Ferrari or something.
OSX is what is moving xServers....not the pretty silver chassis (which, of course, has its own worthy merits, but...)
Sorry...just one man's perspective. :)
Ben Stanfield
2007-06-06 11:07:42
At my day job, we're using a significant amount (greater than 25, less than 100...I'm not sure how sensitive exact numbers are, so I'll stick with that range) of XServe's for a variety of different of different purposes. All of them run MacOS X Server, including the ones that are part of a computing grid. Some of them use very little OS X Server tools (for example, we have Java Application Servers that have no OS X Services turned on except authentication), and some leverage just about all the available Apple server OS technology.
2007-06-06 11:09:09
I was going to agree with the cornball, but with the XServe Apple have done something truly interesting: delivered the best price for the hardware in question. So why not get the XServe and load up your Linux stuff on it? Better yet -- run your server apps on OS X. What Linux software won't run on Mac OS X as fast as on Linux?
2007-06-06 11:31:12
last i knew mysql was pretty slow on osx in comparison to linux (especially if you're using the default malloc as opposed to dmalloc).
2007-06-06 12:00:34
We use Xserves and we're bringing in more by the end of the month. I run OS X but install lots of additional software via MacPorts. We're an all Apple shop so Xserve's are the natural choice and OS X is easier to work with as the lone IT guy than any Linux would be, save possibly Red Hat Enterprise. And Apple sounds like they are poised to do some really neat stuff with the addition of ZFS to Leopard and potentially an iSCSI initiator.

Windows doesn't have squat on my OS X servers!

2007-06-06 12:54:25
Hmmm... why would I buy an Xserve for Linux? I mean, I just spent the money on an unlimited license of OSX Server the moment I bought the XServe.
If Apple sold the XServe with a standard OSX Client for an $800 discount... then we could have more options.
Wouldn't it be great to have 1u rack mount Mac servers for Retrospect, Filemaker, 4D, etc without paying for the Unlimited version of OSX Server?
2007-06-06 19:35:41
@ Javier're making the assumption that Apple is bumping up the price of XServes by $800 because they include Mac OS X Server (unlimited). That's a huge assumption to make and unwarranted I think. The marginal cost for Apple including OS X Server is pretty close to zero. Their main interest is in selling the hardware. I would be surprised if they saw Mac OS X Server on the XServes as a significant revenue source of any kind other than as an enticement for the HW purchase. IOW, the unlimited aspect of the OS is essentially free. They make a few extra bucks selling it for Mac Pros. Helps defer dev costs but nothing huge.

2007-06-09 06:24:25
Just a couple of days ago I racked up 5 new Xserves. They're all going to be running OSXS and driving Bio Team's iNquiry suite.