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Thread: A sad day......

  1. #1
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    Exclamation A sad day......

    Death of the Xserve.

    A very sad day. Why you ask? Nobody uses them you say. Won't affect me....right?

    Maybe not.

    When Apple introduced the Xserve, it was a new day in the IT world for folks that wanted to roll out and support Mac workstations, or a mixed platform. Before that, the IT crowd could - correctly - say: "Apple isn't serious about enterprise or IT; they don't even make servers." And then they did. And the design and spec continued to slowly and steadily improve, and they were adopted and used at companies and institutions big and small.

    Never more than a small niche? True. But important for companies rolling out Macs and depending on Mac tech like NetBoot, and NetInstall, Open Directory and more. Some larger school districts and universities have hundreds of Xserves. Apple just told them they don't matter.

    I personally interact with a company that has hundreds of Macs - only Macs - and about a dozen Mac servers, and lots of code writtten specifically to run their whole business on OS X Server. Sure, they can still use Minis or towers.......but they have don't have redundancy, spare parts kits, and they don't fit in racks! They are stunned by today's news.

    The trickle down affect I fear is that Apple has slowly built a reasonable IT back end system, each year better than the year before......and now they just ripped the foundation out. What's next? Will they drop the Server OS, or perhaps some of the features thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Mac work stations depend on?

    I saw a mail list post today from a university with 200 Xserves. What should they do now? Switch to Windows? Linux? They are not going to roll out 200 towers as servers, and 200 Minis will phyically fit, but just not an option to the IT world. Not gonna happen.



    So what's next......?
    Last edited by unclemac; 11-08-2010 at 09:31 AM.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  2. #2
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    Ain't that the truth. Wonder what is happening in Cupertino. Dropped the XRAID.... now dropping the XServe makes it look to me like Apple is going full tilt into the flea market crap.

    Reason I don't go to MacWorld any longer is it started looking and smelling more like a flea market every year. Waste of time unless you like colored covers for an iPod or iPhone. Scary.

    Now, if Apple is dropping IT from its list, that bodes ill for anything better than consumer junk. Death from the top of the line down?

    I'm with you Matt. This sucks.

    R
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  3. #3
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    When they dropped the Xserve RAID, I didn't panic. A bit sad, but it made some sense.

    When they introduced the RAID box, there was very little in the market. It made sense to roll it out, as it helped remove a bottleneck: Mac friendly cost effective enterprise storage. 3 years later, the world changed, and there were many options, and Apple did not need to sell storage to enable enterprise use of Apple servers.

    Not so with the Xserve. No real replacement, and certainly no third party options. Storage was an enabler, not the foundation. Xserve was the foundation to IT Mac use.



    but.....
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

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    What is next?

    Apple says nothing at this point (tower and Minis, which won't cut it).

    But....I am am optimist.

    How about (dreaming):

    1. A micro blade system. Apple has perfected the thin, small, and green. Roll it into a micro blade system, not unlike Minis that plug into a case that has unified storage, something like this but smaller, leaner, and Mac like.

    2. a newer leaner, cheaper model. Think i3 or i5 iMac in a a 1U case, with storage slots and redundant power and NICs. HELL, THE IMACS ARE 1U THICK NOW. Forget the 12 way high end xeons. Most Mac servers don't need that much CPU. They need rock solid, fast I/O (disk options including SAS and SSD), redundancy for uptime, and oh yeah, fast repair turn around (Most folks don't realize, but no tools required to swap a logic board on an Xserve!). So i3/i5/i7 options with storage options starting at something like $1599. Sell buckets of them, right now.

    3. Go big. 10.6 Server is a great OS, with noticeable improvements all around. $499 for unlimited clients = great pricing structure. Not going to build enterprise hardware? Fine. License and support VM appliances through VMWare, Oracle VM, Citrix XenServer or.... Server OS has licensing built in, so why not? Before today, one would expect Apple did not allow virtualization on third party hardware to promote Apple hardware sales. Now that they don't have rack hardware.....why not?

    4. Go really big. build their own virtual server OS, with a bare metal OS like Parallels Server (who also was gutted today).


    .....Then I wake up.

    I really hope there is something coming down the pipe, even if it is linked to 10.7 Server and we don't see it until next summer. This cannot stand as is, without much pain and consequences.
    Last edited by unclemac; 11-08-2010 at 07:40 PM.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

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    I can't get a song out of my head....





    (at least they had an excuse, they were doing some serious drugs baby)
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

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    Yes, true, true.

    But hey, it is possible. Way back when, some of us server jockeys lamented that there was the Xserve, but nothing else. Great for the rack, but too much/wrong shape for the lower end of SMB. For years dreamed of the lower end tower like machine....even a Mini with Server pre-loaded. Not the best choice because of limited hard drive space.

    Low and behold, Apple did it. They cranked up the RAM, pulled the optical and added a second HD, and although still lower end 2.5 HDs, a viable solution. And they have sold. Well. Drop an SSD or two in, and you jump from the slowest to the fastest I/O in the SMB market. I've done if for multiple customers, and they rock. Perfect for DB servers, Web servers, anything that doesn't need TBs of storage. Even a great B/U server with attach FW 800 storage.

    So yeah, they try stuff. They change course. They listen.

    Perhaps not as much as we want, but......it can happen.

    They should offer SSD options in the Minis as a stop gap. They could also add an eSATA port tomorrow. I know it is unlikely, but they could if they want. The could drop in Light Peak first half of next year. Not rack mount, and not full PS redundancy, but an intermediate step.

    So, in a nutshell, are they out for real.....is there something up their sleeve......or will they bow to pressure and change direction?

    Oh, and here's a thought I offered at the water cooler to smiles and chuckles. You know that facility in NC that's about to pop? What will Apple run in there? 100,000 Minis?

    Or, they need every Xserve they can build for the next 18 months!

    Seriously though, Apple is Apple's biggest enterprise customer. What will they use???

    Hey, I always blathered on about how Apple should'a bought Sun for a song and been in the thick of enterprise with the best X86 hardware and Unix OSes in the world. Now that Oracle owns Sun......and Steveo and Larry are tight......does that mean something? OS X Server gonna run on Sun/Oracle hardware?

    Why not???

    Ladies and gents here is your next Xserve.
    Last edited by unclemac; 11-08-2010 at 08:36 AM.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

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    The saga continues, which is very good news. On line petitions, letters, and hand wringing. All good signs.....clearly I am very insightful and cutting edge. Or I have a keen awareness of the obvious.

    An Apple Distinguished Educator and University Executive Forum member, Dave Schroeder of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has penned an open letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs in reaction to the recent announcement of the ending of XServe sales. In it, Schroeder asks Jobs to extend the 2007 loosening of virtualization rules on OS X Server and allow it to be virtualized on non-Apple hardware. Without such a move, says Schroeder, the loss of the XServe will force a transition away from Apple server technologies, which will have "a significant negative impact on many major campus initiatives which impact your products and services, including iOS mobile development, campus-wide lecture capture with Podcast Producer, our iTunes U presence, our campus IP TV network, and … critical services to Apple clients that allow those clients to exist alongside other platforms."

    Schroeder's letter acknowledges that sales "in sheer units" was a deciding factor in discontinuing the XServe, but points out that small datacenters of XServes often support "hundreds and thousands" of customers. He also makes mention of Apple's response (later deleted) that other server technologies or software like the XSan or OS X Server are not affected by the XServe decision. But because datacenters have to plan far in advance for their future needs, any dropping of support on a particular product like the XServe forces an immediate reconsideration of support for Mac OS X Server, since it currently cannot be run on non-Apple hardware.

    "We and many other organizations already have a virtualization environment which can take any Intel-based operating system -- except Mac OS X Server" writes Schroeder. "All that is needed to allow the next version Mac OS X Server to run in this environment is a license change, and minor technical changes."

    "Without server-class hardware or the ability to run in our enterprise virtualization environment," he continues, "we lose the ability to run Mac OS X Server in our datacenter environment in any form."

    Schroeder also argues that XServes cannot really be fully replaced by other machines, even the recent addition of a new server configuration of the Mac Pro. "While it is possible to rack mount a Mac Pro with third-party hardware," he continues, "it is a non-starter because of the lack of dual redundant power supplies, management capabilities, and spare parts kits, to say nothing of space considerations."

    Schroeder reminds Jobs in the letter that he has spoken to the CEO and to Apple Vice President of Software Technology Guy "Bud" Tribble on previous occasions and that the need for virtualization was critical and growing rapidly. Schroeder proposes what he calls a simple solution to the issue: "Apple should allow the virtualization of OS X Server in non-Apple virtualization environments, with a commensurate license and pricing model."

    "Steve, Apple may not be an enterprise company, but Apple has long been an education company," Schroeder concludes. "As I look around campus now, this is clearer than ever. Today, many academic institutions have mirrored successful and established enterprise practices to provide robust, supportable, and cost-effective IT solutions. This means that running Mac OS X Server on a Mac Pro or Mac mini is not an option at an enterprise level. Virtualization is an option, and it doesn't require Apple to develop or support any hardware. Please allow us to keep supporting your users."



    Read more: http://www.macnn.com/articles/10/11/...#ixzz14quC3zUi
    Last edited by unclemac; 12-07-2010 at 10:25 PM.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

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    I like the part about the MAMA and PAPAS!
    Something I understand!

    goodby, h

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    I just switched to Xserves for my workstations. Not too good future, this sucks!

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    Not sure what else to say.....there has been a large amount of teeth gnashing in the IT community. Send Steveo an email and complain!

    I still think something is coming....maybe not a server replacement as we might expect, but something.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

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    I still think something is coming....maybe not a server replacement as we might expect, but something.
    You would sure think so.

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    Missed this earlier. I agree with his sentiment all around. No angry rant, but hits all the points.

    Still waiting Apple.....

    What will you be running in that massive structure in NC Apple? Can we run that hardware too? Without switching to Oracle servers??
    Last edited by unclemac; 12-07-2010 at 10:27 PM.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

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    Thanks Uncle, Keep us posted.

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    This story isn't dying, which is a great indicator.

    This is juicy - yes, telling me what I want to hear:

    So, what is everyone doing? CNET quotes the Enterprise Desktop Alliance who say about a third of Xserve shops will be migrating to other hardware within the year. We’ve heard that Apple has been sending out reps to quell the exodus.

    One Apple Enterprise shop we’ve spoke to said that Apple’s System Engineers have been on a campaign to assure that Apple has another solution in the pipeline beyond what they’ve announced. There wasn’t an exact timeline of release but there was an indication that when the Xserves ran out, the new product would be released. That means a new Enterprise product could be ready in February.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  15. #15
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    Another one: CNNMoney


    Xserve customers' reaction was, unsurprisingly, a mix of confusion and frustration.

    "It's making many, many people upset," said Paul Chernoff, IT director at Washingtonian.com, which runs two Xserves to support a website and 72 Macs. "I don't think Apple handled this very well in terms of understanding the needs of enterprise customers."

    Four months is insufficient notice for businesses that will now need to completely rethink their server infrastructure, he said. Plus, the timing is unfortunate. Apple made the announcement close to the end of the year, right when IT departments are scrambling to finalize their budgets for the next year.

    Apple representatives declined to comment on the company's Xserve cancellation, and the response business buyers had to the move.

    IT gurus say that the way Apple went about killing off the Xserve is a symptom of a broader problem: Apple has a communication gap with its enterprise customers.

    "Apple doesn't understand that talking to businesses about IT-related things is not the same as doing it with consumers," said John Welch, IT director at the Zimmerman Agency, a digital marketing and PR firm. "With consumers, when they don't hear anything and all the sudden -- ta da! -- they get a new iPhone, that's great. For us IT guys, that's a nightmare. We hate that."

    Most enterprise customers weren't surprised by the Xserve announcement. Their comments ran along the lines of "that's what you get for dealing with Apple."

    "We have to take a detour, and that's disruptive," said one IT manager in the entertainment industry, who asked not to be identified because his company remains an Apple client. "But that's Apple's whole business philosophy: In the end, it's always beneficial to the end-users but not always beneficial to the enterprise."
    Another option:

    Read it somewhere else, and kind of stating the obvious: The MacPro is the same form factor as the previous G5, making it an ancient design by any tech standard. So, we might see a new MacPro that is modular. If they shrink it a bit, it could be rack mountable. HDs may not be hot swappable unless in the front, and it might be a challenge to get redundant and quite power supplies tucked inside.......but totally doable. HP and Dell have been doing if for years for their entry level servers. Tower form factor that can be easily bolted on rails, and be rack mounted.

    Biggest reason not to? HP and Dell have been doing this for years. Apple rarely follows others......unless they can bring something new and significant to the table.
    Last edited by unclemac; 12-07-2010 at 10:40 PM.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

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    Thanks Uncle

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    Another tidbit today:

    More gossip about the NC mystery building, and OSes that will be run.
    We’ve come across an interesting Apple job listing today noting the different operating systems which power Apple’s North Carolina data center. The most interesting system mentioned is Mac OS X. With Xserves on the way out is Apple really stacking the place up with Mac Pro/Mac Mini server machines? Not bloody likely!
    My hunch too. OTOH, could be that Macs are work stations and group servers, not the big guns, especially considering everything listed:

    Our data center environment consists of Mac OS X, IBM/AIX, Sun/Solaris, and Linux systems. Though this position is focused primarily on Red Hat Linux and Oracle Enterprise Linux, you should also understand SAN, RAID, file system, and IP networking technology.

    Hell, that could even be a smoke screen. Sun/Oracle......no shock there. Linux runs nicely on anything, + a bunch unixy graybeards should be expected too. The IBM gear is a bit of a head scratcher, but on a project as big as this might be, perhaps diversification is important, or simply IBM has a deeper hardware line to pick from, especially SAN and storage.

    ......Honestly, I think the location looks more like a factory than a data center:

    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  18. #18
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    I do like the bit they link to about virtualizing the Server OS.

    Would be even better if there were more options, but vSphere would be a great start.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  19. #19
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    Default Aha!!

    This could be it:

    Active Storage

    The back story.

    These guys are solid. I once saw Grossman at Storage class an MacWorld.....years ago, and he was squared away, savvy, and professional.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  20. #20
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    So... Unc, is it good news or bad?

    Apple is coming out with a new OS - as they always do. This one, Lion, is due out later this year. Lion is going to integrate Server into the standard desktop OS version. When the user does the install he can choose whether to implement server or not.

    Does this mean Apple is lowering Server's importance in the greater scheme of things? Or is Apple raising its availability and hence it visibility?


    R
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

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