Apple Removing Useful Features from MacOS Server...

redheeler

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Original poster
Oct 17, 2014
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If there was any question Apple no longer cares about the server market, this pretty much makes it official.
MacOS Server.png

The appeal of these features in the MacOS Server app (and before it Mac OS X Server) was always the integrated GUI, and not having to install / start / config each service separately through Terminal or editing config files. For those who don't care about the GUI, a Linux-based OS has always been the way to go. Very disappointed with Apple's decision to drop these features.
 

casperes1996

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Jan 26, 2014
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You get newer versions when you directly acquire the Open Source projects though, and macOS is a lovely Unix environment to work with. Doesn't bother me too much if I'm honest. Though I get your point, since there's no reason to get Server then, since all these projects work just fine with macOS (standard, non-server)
 

redheeler

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Oct 17, 2014
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You get newer versions when you directly acquire the Open Source projects though, and macOS is a lovely Unix environment to work with. Doesn't bother me too much if I'm honest. Though I get your point, since there's no reason to get Server then, since all these projects work just fine with macOS (standard, non-server)
By "For those who don't care about the GUI, a Linux-based OS has always been the way to go", my point was that for anyone looking at getting a Mac (such as a Mac mini) specifically for use as a server, while previously you could make the argument that MacOS Sever is much easier to configure / use, now there simply won't be anything to justify it over a lower-cost generic PC running a Linux-based OS. Macs (especially Mac mini) clearly don't make up a big enough percentage of Apple's revenue for them to care, and consequently they see Mac-related projects like MacOS Server as bothersome and taking up too many resources.
 

casperes1996

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Jan 26, 2014
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By "For those who don't care about the GUI, a Linux-based OS has always been the way to go", my point was that for anyone looking at getting a Mac (such as a Mac mini) specifically for use as a server, while previously you could make the argument that MacOS Sever is much easier to configure / use, now there simply won't be anything to justify it over a lower-cost generic PC running a Linux-based OS. Macs (especially Mac mini) clearly don't make up a big enough percentage of Apple's revenue for them to care, and consequently they see Mac-related projects like MacOS Server as bothersome and taking up too many resources.
To be honest I think Apple has better terminal utilities too, like diskutil. So I’d still call it easier to configure and maintain.
 

Anonymous Freak

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Dec 12, 2002
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Yeah, the writing has been on the wall for a looong time. The discontinuation of the Xserve was just the first step. They don't even offer a "Server" version of the Mac mini or Mac Pro any more. The "Server OS" just became an app that you install on top of the main macOS a few versions ago - and has become less and less "Servery" every revision.

Their reasoning is sound, though - you really shouldn't be waiting on Apple to update all the open source programs, you should get security updates immediately for them. But at the same time, the ease-of-management through their nice Server.app UI is nice for smaller environments.

To me, the most worrying removals are "NetBoot/NetInstall" and "AirPort Management." The latter, I take it means the complete discontinuation of AirPort base stations. The former is worrying because that strikes me as a sign that they're not just giving up on being used as a server, but also as an enterprise competitor for workstations! NetBoot/NetInstall is a core method for provisioning new workstations/laptops in enterprises. To me, that signals a complete withdrawal as an "enterprise system."

Also, they better not even charge the $19.99 they've been charging with all these removals.
 
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TriBruin

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Jul 28, 2008
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To me, the most worrying removals are "NetBoot/NetInstall" and "AirPort Management." The latter, I take it means the complete discontinuation of AirPort base stations. The former is worrying because that strikes me as a sign that they're not just giving up on being used as a server, but also as an enterprise competitor for workstations! NetBoot/NetInstall is a core method for provisioning new workstations/laptops in enterprises. To me, that signals a complete withdrawal as an "enterprise system."
With macOS 10.13, Apple has made imaging next to impossible. Firmware updates are now rolled out as part of macOS updates instead of through Software Update. If you try and image a Mac with a macOS version greater than the currently installed version, the macOS will likely fail. (For example, if you want to upgrade a Mac Lab to 10.13 from 10.12, you would have to run a standard macOS upgrade to 10.13 and THEN reimage all the Macs with your custom image. Not very efficient.)

Apple has basically stated that imaging is dead and DEP/MDM deployments are way of the future.
 

redheeler

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Oct 17, 2014
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The latter, I take it means the complete discontinuation of AirPort base stations.
+1 for a very accurate prediction. ;)
Also, they better not even charge the $19.99 they've been charging with all these removals.
I'm surprised they're still charging the same price after all the removals as well, as I'd expect it to be higher like it was with the 2016 MacBook Pros. Who doesn't want fewer ports for more money?
 
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Analog Kid

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Mar 4, 2003
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Their reasoning is sound, though - you really shouldn't be waiting on Apple to update all the open source programs, you should get security updates immediately for them. But at the same time, the ease-of-management through their nice Server.app UI is nice for smaller environments.
For small/home offices and hobbyists, though, updates through the App Store is a much more secure and reliable way of staying up to date than installing and tracking the individual packages.

I've got a few instances of server running on old Minis doing various jobs and I've found it very useful. For the little tasks where people mostly color inside the lines, Server was quick to set up and deploy...

Anybody know of a reasonable replacement for people that want a single control panel to go to rather than having to learn the arcane syntax of a few dozen files in /etc?
 

hobowankenobi

macrumors 65816
Aug 27, 2015
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on the land line mr. smith.
For small/home offices and hobbyists, though, updates through the App Store is a much more secure and reliable way of staying up to date than installing and tracking the individual packages.

I've got a few instances of server running on old Minis doing various jobs and I've found it very useful. For the little tasks where people mostly color inside the lines, Server was quick to set up and deploy...

Anybody know of a reasonable replacement for people that want a single control panel to go to rather than having to learn the arcane syntax of a few dozen files in /etc?
Several NAS options.

I like Synology, as it is feature rich, and even though it a Linux based OS, no CLI is required. A learning curve, but just as easy IMHO as Server for the CLI-challenged. Lots of hardware choices, and tons of options and features....but you don't have to use any you don't want.

Test drive the interface here.

Chatting about it in more detail here.

Honestly...having run Server OS since 10.2...and actually before server back in the OS 9 days, I can say I am very happy overall with the several Synology boxes I have helped set up and admin. Redundant drives, RAID failover, and great management tools. What's not to like?

And if you don't like it....QNAP is reported to be solid too, though I have not used one in years.

Important stuff NASes don't replace: NetInstall, Profile Manager. But Server still does these as of 5.x, and I would be surprised to see either get pulled. They have become the most important (most unique) features to manage Macs in a large org.
 
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guzhogi

macrumors 68040
Aug 31, 2003
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Wherever my feet take me…
Pretty sad, as I like the single, GUI interface to manage all of it. However, I see Apple going more & more proprietary every year. While there are many advantages to being proprietary, there are a few disadvantages, as well.
 

hobowankenobi

macrumors 65816
Aug 27, 2015
1,479
485
on the land line mr. smith.
To me, the most worrying removals are "NetBoot/NetInstall" and "AirPort Management." The latter, I take it means the complete discontinuation of AirPort base stations. The former is worrying because that strikes me as a sign that they're not just giving up on being used as a server, but also as an enterprise competitor for workstations! NetBoot/NetInstall is a core method for provisioning new workstations/laptops in enterprises. To me, that signals a complete withdrawal as an "enterprise system."
Huh? Not following here...

Who said NetBoot/NetInstall was pulled? They rebranded to just NetInstall....but just a name change. Nice how-to here.

Apple is farther into enterprise than they have ever been. They aren't headed out, they are coming in.
[doublepost=1527272680][/doublepost]
With macOS 10.13, Apple has made imaging next to impossible. Firmware updates are now rolled out as part of macOS updates instead of through Software Update. If you try and image a Mac with a macOS version greater than the currently installed version, the macOS will likely fail. (For example, if you want to upgrade a Mac Lab to 10.13 from 10.12, you would have to run a standard macOS upgrade to 10.13 and THEN reimage all the Macs with your custom image. Not very efficient.)

Apple has basically stated that imaging is dead and DEP/MDM deployments are way of the future.

There is a fairly long history of having to do a firmware update before imaging. Not common, but not unprecedented.

It is unfortunate and inconvenient timing with the Server tool being massaged, streamlined, or stripped down. But not directly related.

I remember having to update every hard drive on every machine when Journaling was added to HFS+ about 10 OSes ago. It was a new requirement, and a PITA to roll out. The stability and ability to recover easily from a crash, hard shut down or panic made it well worth it.

But even if you are right, and this is a new trend, it is not fair to say they can't be imaged, or it is impossible. It may just be harder.
 

Analog Kid

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2003
5,463
3,848
Several NAS options.

I like Synology, as it is feature rich, and even though it a Linux based OS, no CLI is required. A learning curve, but just as easy IMHO as Server for the CLI-challenged. Lots of hardware choices, and tons of options and features....but you don't have to use any you don't want.

Test drive the interface here.

Chatting about it in more detail here.

Honestly...having run Server OS since 10.2...and actually before server back in the OS 9 days, I can say I am very happy overall with the several Synology boxes I have helped set up and admin. Redundant drives, RAID failover, and great management tools. What's not to like?

And if you don't like it....QNAP is reported to be solid too, though I have not used one in years.

Important stuff NASes don't replace: NetInstall, Profile Manager. But Server still does these as of 5.x, and I would be surprised to see either get pulled. They have become the most important (most unique) features to manage Macs in a large org.
Thanks for the pointer. I have a couple Synology boxes in use, but hadn't really considered their "server" features as more than ways to make use of the storage array. Maybe I'll look at it in a new light.

Synology runs a proprietary OS though, right? My interactions with it have been more as an appliance. For the most part I've relied on MacOS Server's main control panel, but I do appreciate being able to get to the BSD layer and having the compiler available to install particular packages.

Hopefully someone sees an opening to create an all-in-one control interface to replace Server...
 
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