REVIEW: The well-priced Apple Xserve rack-mount server has been significantly upgraded and is now among the first servers to run the latest generation of quad-core Intel Xeon processors, code-named Nehalem. However, the bundled Apple OS X operating system, while feature-rich, makes the Xserve most appropriate for use in departments where users work on Apple Mac clients.
Xserve rack-mount server has been significantly upgraded and is
now among the first servers to run the latest generation of quad-core Intel
Xeon "Nehalem" processors. However, the bundled Apple OS X operating
system-while feature-rich-makes the Xserve most appropriate for use in
departments where users work on Apple Mac clients.
Organizations that want to take full advantage of Intel's new 5500 family of
Xeon processors, and the extensive virtualization features in particular, should
consider using hardware platforms that don't mate the hardware and operating
That said, the Xserve is competitively priced.
Click here for a look inside the upgraded
The system I tested was configured with two 2.26GHz quad-core Intel Xeon
processors, 12GB of RAM, two 1TB SATA (Serial
ATA) 7,200-rpm drives and dual 750W power supplies. The server, which also came
with a rack-mounting kit, is priced at $5,278 at Apple's online store.
This compares favorably with a similarly equipped $6,109 Dell PowerEdge R410
that includes more drive space but lacks an SSD
I priced out the Dell PowerEdge R410 without an operating system because it
can run a variety of Windows and Linux OSes and pricing will vary widely.
For organizations that can use the Xserve platform, the unlimited client
access version of the OS X Server operating system will likely result in cost
savings as IT managers can skip buying CALs (client access licenses) to keep
Even with the latest computing capabilities provided by the Nehalem
processors and its very favorable pricing, the Apple Xserve may represent the
best of the previous
generation of computing platforms.
Without a type-one hypervisor (virtualization running on bare metal instead
of on top of an operating system) to take advantage of the hardware optimizations
provided by the new Intel Xeon processor family, the Xserve starts the race
from several paces behind competing hardware. Changes in 2008 that allow OS X
Server Version 10.5 to run in a virtual machine in an OS X Server environment
help in this regard, but cannot make up the virtualization deficit entirely.
When virtualization isn't a paramount concern, and especially for
organizations with concentrations of Mac users, the Xserve will likely fit