What happened to Xserve?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by teeg, Aug 11, 2014.

  1. teeg macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2014

    What happened to Xserve systems?

    From what I remember it seemed like :apple: phased them out and had Mac Pros designated as server capable machines.

    Are Xserve systems viable for anything anymore? They seem to be dirt cheap on eBay currently. What sort of use could someone find for one?
  2. iBug2 macrumors 68040

    Jun 12, 2005
    Other than putting them inside a glass display as a collectors item, none. :)
  3. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008

    Is a good explanation of what happened to xserve, basically not selling enough.

    OSX Server has been dumbed down to the point where makes a good home server for managing homes with increasing numbers of iPhone/iPads and other mac's, it certainly won't be displacing Windows Servers in the Enterprise.

    Apple has focused more on getting Macs to work in Windows environments at the front end as opposed to take over the back end as well. Seems to be working for them and they don't need the extra work of trying to compete at the back end, where slimmer, lighter etc isn't important.

    The xserve is still capable server and if have the early 2009 then supports Mavericks. There are a couple of people here that use them still for impressive home environments, where they can have them racked and away in the basement where the noise and rack isn't an issue.

    For a lot of people though a mini with an external disk system will do the job and if necessary buy two.

    If you are looking for a home server to run OSX Server on then not a bad thing, could hold a nice central itunes library, profile manager to manage the iOS devices, serve quite a few AppleTV's dotted around the house. Provide RADIUS Server for the the Airport Extremes Wifi Authentication, Central Management for the Mac's in terms of updating etc, software installation rather then individually on each Mac etc, central file store.

    Makes a nice home vmware environment as runs vmware esxi 5 and allows to virtualise OSX without any modifications.

    They are still capable boxes however Apple doesn't seem interested in the Server market and the mini server does for many of the requirements for many people, so isn't worth it too Apple to continue to develop the rack mounted server
  4. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    The biggest reason the Xserve existed was computing cluster deployments. When that market failed to buy much Apple gear, Apple pretty much gave up.

    For IT the Xserve was always a quandary. It was really great gear. Seriously great, rock solid, reliable gear. But it never got Boot Camp so it couldn't run Windows Server (which would have been awesome, it would have made a better/less expensive Windows Server than anything you could have bought from Dell at 1U with that sort of power.) On site support did not exist. Little bugs in OS X that hurt uptime kept them from being used for bigger use cases. We in particular had a lot of software side SAN problems.

    If you can find a 2009 version, they're still pretty great machines. Just make sure you have a closet to put them in, as they get loud. If you have the power bill and some pretty serious server needs, they are still a great fit.

    I've been hoping the Xserve comes back. The on site service agreement with IBM finally fills the hole that Apple never filled when it came to service. OS X Server has slowly been regaining some power user features (and tools like Workgroup Manager continue to be supported.) Mac management is getting better, and so is iOS device management from a Mac or Windows server.

    Apple had a lot of ways they could have increased sales into IT. Again, if they let them run Windows, that would have helped a lot. IT likes to keep hardware consistent, so if you could order a big pile of Xserves and deploy them into any use case that would have been awesome. But I think in the end they were really a machine for use in computing clusters. Steve Jobs really had a thing going for a while with Macs in scientific computing.
  5. greenmeanie macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2005
    I personally think they knew they couldn't compete with the Data Centers and Linux.
  6. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    If they had supported Boot Camp, that wouldn't have mattered. I think Linux shops would have gladly bought them as Linux boxes. They were very price competitive.

    Also, if they had built more iOS server services earlier on, it would have helped the Xserve. They could have sold the Xserve as an rack mounted out-of-the-box iOS server solution. Given enterprise deployments of iOS, that would have served them well.

    It's also worth pointing out Windows Server cannot entirely replace OS X server. While Macs can do things like bind to Active Directory domains, you still need an OS X Server sitting between you and AD to provide the full feature set of Mac management. So the lack of a rack mount OS X server is still a sore point.
  7. elvisizer macrumors 6502

    May 29, 2003
    San Jose
    they're officially supported for VMWare ESX, that's about all I see them being used for these days.


    No one uses apple's management tools any more, not even apple- they use JAMF internally.
    The biggest management platforms for OS X these days (JAMF, FileWave, etc) all can run on Windows servers. Even apple software update servers can be run on Linux/Windows servers these days.
  8. quackers82 macrumors 6502

    Mar 13, 2014
    Yes they do, i for one do, have over 100 Macs and over 100 iPads being managed with Apples Profile Server, wish Xserves still existed as we would be using them instead of a Mac Mini.
  9. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Not to mention there is no Netboot/Netrestore outside of OS X Server, and you aren't going to have much fun doing that off of a Mac Mini unless you have some enterprise grade storage hooked to the thing.
  10. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I don't know about you guys, but after Snow Leopard Server, just about every iteration afterwards has been a piece of junk. SL was actually a good piece of software (and it cost a pretty penny too), but they seem to have dumbed it down way too much in subsequent releases.

    Anyways I run a few Windows servers now. All very reliable.
  11. elvisizer, Aug 14, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014

    elvisizer macrumors 6502

    May 29, 2003
    San Jose
    yeah, you're right, I should've said almost no large organizations use it instead of no one. I forget about the smaller orgs sometimes, sorry! :eek:

    there definitely IS net boot outside of OS X server
  12. beaker7 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 16, 2009
    I still have 2 Xserves at work running the last usable version of OSX Server, 10.6
  13. PureLife macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2014
    Interesting niche product

    Was a great fit for a Mac-Centric leg of the network. Audio/video/Content creation, etc. But Apple is a company centered around consumer and end-user needs, not the backend of network, data-centres, etc. They could not keep up with the speed of evolution in the enterprise.
    Just look at their current line up of products and you will see where they are concentrating their efforts.
  14. artherd macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2013
    They are/were great machines. Equivalent to a 1U 2009 Mac Pro, which is (still) a VERY capable dual-processor Xeon machine. Kicks the snot out of any mini including today's.

    Don't buy them on ebay, leave them for me. I have half a dozen.
  15. AidenShaw, Sep 15, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2014

    AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    The XServes compared well with entry-level Dell and HP servers.

    They looked rather weak compared to the mainstream Dells and HPs. (WTF, no embedded hardware RAID - you waste a PCIe slot if you want RAID?)

    It was also very limiting that the Xserve was 1U only. The big boys usually have very similar systems in 1U and 2U form factors. The 2U systems have 2 to 3 times as many PCIe slots, more disk slots, often more DIMM slots for more RAM - and usually just a few hundred dollars more than the 1U systems. The Xserve didn't have a 2U option - and that hurt it.

    The people buying enterprise servers are looking at lifetime cost of ownership, not rock bottom purchase price. The Xserve was rather lacking in that regard.
  16. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    I don't think it was a bad choice to not do built in hardware RAID. A lot of Xserve configs were attached via Fiber Channel to Xserve RAID boxes, which meant you didn't need to buy a RAID controller for each machine.

    I never saw the DIMM slots or the PCI-E slots hurt the Xserve for a lot of deployments, but I could imagine that might be more of a problem for high performance computing where you might want to add a GPGPU or a lot of memory. For most Xserve deployments where they acted as storage servers, caching servers, wiki servers, etc, the PCI-E slots and the RAM just wasn't important. Maybe if you were serving up huge web applications, but I don't think that was the XServe's target market anyway.
  17. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    Makes sense, since Xserve's wouldn't have been deployed for applications that they couldn't support! ;)
  18. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    True. :p

    The official RAM limit was 48 gigs, which was still a very large amount for back then. At least for a lot of deployments.

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