Apple Servers Square Off

The newly available Power Max G4 server differs from Xserve in several significant features.

Although Apple Computer Inc.s newly available Power Mac G4 Server and its Xserve computer cost the same in their base configurations there are differences between the two models.

The Power Mac G4 Server, a tower-configured server that became available this week from Apple online and retail stores, has at least five significant differences compared with the Cupertino, Calif., companys Xserve rack-mounted server, an Apple spokesman confirmed on Thursday.

The rack-versus-tower form factor isnt the only difference in the servers, Apple observers have noted. The G4 Server does not have Xserves quad-independent drive busses, hot-swappable components, or internal temperature gauges. In addition, the G4 Server also excludes Apples Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology, which is known as SMART. It also lacks the Server Monitor software for performance evaluation available in the Xserve.

Despite the feature shortfall, one customer said he sees advantages to using the G4 Server.

"We are ordering a full-out Xserve, however, I will continue to buy probably [G4 Servers] because I can put in SCSI drives," said Doug Baer, owner of Polar Microsystems, an Apple consultancy and systems engineering firm in Wyndmoor, Pa.

With Xserve, SCSI drives can only be used externally through an adapter card.

Also, "Its easily reassigned back as a workstation," Baer noted, of the G4 Servers form factor.

Baers user group, the Macintosh Business Users Society of Greater Philadelphia, already runs their Web site on the Mac OS X Server software, using an older G4 model.