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Apple should kill Xserve
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kikkoman
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Feb 27, 2009, 12:25 PM
 
Apple should exit the server hardware business and embrace virtualization. I do not think they can continue to design their own hardware and compete in the enterprise space. I believe they will have more growth potential by allowing OS X Server to run on any virtualization platform. Am I right about this?
     
nonhuman
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Feb 27, 2009, 12:26 PM
 
Do you have any numbers indicating that the Xserve is unprofitable for Apple? Because unless that's the case what you're saying makes little sense.
     
Doofy
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Feb 27, 2009, 12:36 PM
 
Virtualisation is for pansies. Real men need all the resources of the hardware platform under one OS.

Also, xServe is real easy to set up. Why would someone looking to use a server without employing a geek to run it (say, a recording studio or a video production studio) want to be arsed with all the virtualisation stuff which sits between the hardware and guest OS?
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olePigeon
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Feb 27, 2009, 12:43 PM
 
XServe is the cheapest server solution out there outside of Linux. Dell, HP, etc. technically sell cheaper hardware, but Windows is friggin' expensive.

XServe come with a free copy of OS X Server Unlimited Client license. Do you have any idea how much money an unlimited client license of Windows Server 2008 costs? That also doesn't include the annual CALs you have to pay Microsoft for each device on your network just for the privilege of connecting to a Windows server.

XServes are a popular choice for higher education and applied sciences because of the price, performance, and having a full UNIX system.
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kikkoman  (op)
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Feb 27, 2009, 12:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
Do you have any numbers indicating that the Xserve is unprofitable for Apple? Because unless that's the case what you're saying makes little sense.
I don't have any inside data, just my opinion. It should be clear that divesting R&D and manufacturing costs should result in significant cost savings. Allowing virtualization lowers the barrier of entry for running OS X Server. The Xserve is just holding OS X server back from market expansion.
     
Maflynn
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Feb 27, 2009, 12:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by kikkoman View Post
Apple should exit the server hardware business and embrace virtualization. I do not think they can continue to design their own hardware and compete in the enterprise space. I believe they will have more growth potential by allowing OS X Server to run on any virtualization platform. Am I right about this?
Well why stop at the xserve market, why not kill off the mac pro, MB[p] and iMac lines and license OSX for use on other hardware.

If apple is not making money they'll be pretty quick to kill it especially of the prognosis isn't good. Given that basic business concept its conceivable to assume that they're are making some money and while they potentially could see more $$ if they embrace virtualization it may run counter to their business strategy which would in turn weaken their business in the long run, i.e., short term gains at the expense of long term profits.
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starman
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Feb 27, 2009, 12:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by doofy View Post
virtualisation is for pansies. Real men need all the resources of the hardware platform under one os.
qft

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Laminar
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Feb 27, 2009, 12:56 PM
 
Inb4besson.
     
nonhuman
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Feb 27, 2009, 01:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by kikkoman View Post
I don't have any inside data, just my opinion. It should be clear that divesting R&D and manufacturing costs should result in significant cost savings. Allowing virtualization lowers the barrier of entry for running OS X Server. The Xserve is just holding OS X server back from market expansion.
Yes, it's clear that they would save some money in costs by discontinuing the Xserve. However it's far from clear that this savings in costs would be greater than the loss of revenue they get from selling Xserves.

It's also far from clear that virtualization is the ideal server solution for all or most buyers, and most especially the buyers that are most likely to buy the Xserve.
     
kikkoman  (op)
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Feb 27, 2009, 01:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
XServe is the cheapest server solution out there outside of Linux. Dell, HP, etc. technically sell cheaper hardware, but Windows is friggin' expensive.

XServe come with a free copy of OS X Server Unlimited Client license. Do you have any idea how much money an unlimited client license of Windows Server 2008 costs? That also doesn't include the annual CALs you have to pay Microsoft for each device on your network just for the privilege of connecting to a Windows server.

XServes are a popular choice for higher education and applied sciences because of the price, performance, and having a full UNIX system.
I work in higher education for a major midwestern university. We can buy our Dell and HP servers w/o Windows, which makes them less expensive than XServe even when you factor in the cost for a copy of OS X server w/unlimited CALs.
     
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Feb 27, 2009, 01:27 PM
 
I think he admitted as much when he said cheapest...outside of Linux.. If you're buying them naked, I assume you're putting Linux on them.
     
Art Vandelay
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Feb 27, 2009, 01:28 PM
 
There really isn't that much R&D costs for the Xserve. For the most part, it's just a different form factor of the Mac Pro. Also, they support virtualization of OS X Server Leopard.
Vandelay Industries
     
kikkoman  (op)
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Feb 27, 2009, 01:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
Yes, it's clear that they would save some money in costs by discontinuing the Xserve. However it's far from clear that this savings in costs would be greater than the loss of revenue they get from selling Xserves.

It's also far from clear that virtualization is the ideal server solution for all or most buyers, and most especially the buyers that are most likely to buy the Xserve.
There is greater growth potential for OS X server in a virtualized environment because virtualization is the future of enterprise back end. I don't see how anyone argue with that. If Apple is content with sole departmental servers or the SMB market, then OS X server is never going to maximize it's potential market penetration.
     
kikkoman  (op)
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Feb 27, 2009, 01:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by Art Vandelay View Post
Also, they support virtualization of OS X Server Leopard.
but only on Apple hardware
     
Maflynn
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Feb 27, 2009, 01:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by kikkoman View Post
There is greater growth potential for OS X server in a virtualized environment because virtualization is the future of enterprise back end. I don't see how anyone argue with that. If Apple is content with sole departmental servers or the SMB market, then OS X server is never going to maximize it's potential market penetration.
do you have links or reference material to back up your supposition that there's greater growth potential?
~Mike
     
Doofy
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Feb 27, 2009, 01:40 PM
 
So, can you run Final Cut Server on these crappy Dell/HP servers running a virtualised copy of OS X?

Should Ferrari stop making F430s because the Ford Focus STi is cheaper and has more market growth potential?

Haven't we already worked out that "growth" can be a bad, bad word?
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osiris
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Feb 27, 2009, 01:44 PM
 
I love Xserve - incredibly reliable and easy to set up.
I wouldn't change a thing, except for better Fiber channel support on non Apple devices.
But then, I could just buy a different card.

The rest of the hardware works well - I'm not sure how quality compares to other companies, but a few of my (local network) Xserves have been up for years 24/7.
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olePigeon
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Feb 27, 2009, 01:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by kikkoman View Post
I work in higher education for a major midwestern university. We can buy our Dell and HP servers w/o Windows, which makes them less expensive than XServe even when you factor in the cost for a copy of OS X server w/unlimited CALs.
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
XServe is the cheapest server solution out there outside of Linux. Dell, HP, etc. technically sell cheaper hardware, but Windows is friggin' expensive.
CALs are sold independent of software licenses and are unique to the Windows paradigm; they are renewed annually. You buy an unlimited client license version of Windows, then you buy CALs for each device (PC/Mac/Linux/Apple II/Terminal/Teletype, PDA, phone, printer, etc.) that utilizes Windows services.

OS X Server is bundled with the XServe for free, there is no added cost.
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Salty
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Feb 27, 2009, 01:54 PM
 
But if they kill the Xserve... how will I fulfill my dream of some day owning one for no particular reason?
     
shifuimam
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Feb 27, 2009, 02:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
XServe is the cheapest server solution out there outside of Linux. Dell, HP, etc. technically sell cheaper hardware, but Windows is friggin' expensive.
...except that most enterprise environments don't use Windows or OS X for servers. They tend to use commercial versions of Linux, because the support and licensing is markedly cheaper.

Education institutions can get Microsoft products with site licenses for far cheaper than the normal pricing schemes, so there's little attraction to Apple products. Not only that, but Apple is geared far more toward the end user than companies like IBM/Lenovo, Dell, and HP. You can be nearly certain that those companies do not get the bulk of their profit from individual consumer purchases - they come from the multimillion dollar, multi-year leases that businesses and education institutions create. That also means that they have far better support contracts and tiers than Apple is going to provide.

I've never thought it made much sense for Apple to attempt to get into the enterprise market. It's obvious that they far more value the end user experience in both their hardware and software, and a sys admin couldn't give two shi!ts how pretty the OS or the hardware is, since he's likely going to be managing the majority of his duties from a bash prompt via SSH anyhow. If you're an all-Mac organization, then it might make more sense to use OS X servers - maybe. But even then it could pan out to be cheaper to use a commercial version of Linux like Suse or Red Hat.

WRT virtualization, it certainly is the future of serving, both for small and larger businesses. Large businesses can afford massive hardware that costs thousands of dollars, but it's still cheaper to buy one server with sixteen processor cores than to buy sixteen separate servers. Small businesses don't need that kind of power, so they can buy one server with four or eight cores, which allows them to run different applications on different cores and different discrete environments. Hell, boyfriend and I are upgrading his desktop to a quad-core so that we can run his gaming server and a web server on two separate cores and environments, leaving him two cores for his own personal computing stuff (gaming, game development, etc). That's only costing him $230 for a processor upgrade, whereas building two separate boxes to serve game and web content would be, at minimum, $400 per box (his game server is very resource-intensive and requires beefy hardware to run well).

Not to mention that virtualization for web hosting is beyond fantastic - I love, love, love having my own Linode with complete godlike control. Shared hosting is incredibly stupid when you factor in things like added BS fees for extra email addresses, SSH/SFTP support, etc.
     
kikkoman  (op)
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Feb 27, 2009, 02:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
So, can you run Final Cut Server on these crappy Dell/HP servers running a virtualised copy of OS X?
Say what you want about Dell/HP desktops and laptops but from my experience the Dell server stuff is solid. When there were problems the support has always been excellent. Also we are talking about real virtualization here not like Parallels Workstation or VMWare Fusion. We use VMWare ESXi, hypervisor overhead is about 5% so I am confident that it would have at least the CPU resource to run FCP server .
     
Maflynn
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Feb 27, 2009, 02:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by kikkoman View Post
the Dell server stuff is solid. When there were problems the support has always been excellent.
That's where have to disagree with you, I've dealt with support from apple, dell, HP and other vendors and by far the worst of the lot was dell. Perhaps they've improved since the last time I used them but my experience with them has been less then stellar.
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Feb 27, 2009, 02:20 PM
 
And what hardware would you run your hypervisor on? iMacs don't rack well.
     
kikkoman  (op)
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Feb 27, 2009, 02:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
That's where have to disagree with you, I've dealt with support from apple, dell, HP and other vendors and by far the worst of the lot was dell. Perhaps they've improved since the last time I used them but my experience with them has been less then stellar.
The dealing I've had with Dell enterprise support has always been stellar. I don't think Apple offers the same level of support for larger institutions like they should. On the otherhand, my interactions with Dell consumer support has always been abysmal but Apple is very good in this area.
     
kikkoman  (op)
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Feb 27, 2009, 02:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
do you have links or reference material to back up your supposition that there's greater growth potential?
Virtualization opens doors for OS X server that were closed before. It's a new avenue for sales revenues. It's not a question if virtualization will take over it's just a matter of when. When that happens Apple better take another look at their strategy, the sooner the better.
     
shifuimam
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Feb 27, 2009, 02:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
That's where have to disagree with you, I've dealt with support from apple, dell, HP and other vendors and by far the worst of the lot was dell. Perhaps they've improved since the last time I used them but my experience with them has been less then stellar.
Depends on what level of support you have. Consumer support is hit or miss, as is small business. Education/government support is unbelievably good, as is the dedicated support line that comes with the huge contracts and lease agreements corporations sign with companies like Dell.

I'm talking about phone support here. Onsite support is not under Dell's direct control - they contract that work out to local companies.
     
Doofy
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Feb 27, 2009, 02:48 PM
 
Here's an interesting factoid for all y'all:

Over 80% of companies in Europe employ four or less people (including the owner).

That's 80% of companies not likely to be employing a geek to set their VMWare up.
Easy to use standalone server boxen will be where it's at.
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besson3c
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Feb 27, 2009, 02:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
do you have links or reference material to back up your supposition that there's greater growth potential?
Reality. Virtualization is all around us, it is indeed the present and future of server infrastructure. The cost savings and numerous other benefits are just too overwhelming to ignore (as has been discussed here in the past). If Apple doesn't jump aboard this train they will be missing out, plain and simple.

I don't think that Apple should necessarily ditch the XServe, but they need to find some sanctioned way to allow OS X and OS X Server to run in a VM on any hyperviser without an expensive licensing fee, or else they will be missing out on anything behind small business, as kikkoman has been saying.
     
besson3c
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Feb 27, 2009, 02:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
So, can you run Final Cut Server on these crappy Dell/HP servers running a virtualised copy of OS X?

Should Ferrari stop making F430s because the Ford Focus STi is cheaper and has more market growth potential?

Haven't we already worked out that "growth" can be a bad, bad word?
As has been discussed, you could build VMs that will run Final Cut Server way, way, waayy faster than your fastest Mac Pro if it were legal and possible to virtualize OS X. It all depends on how much hardware you want to throw at it, but there is no upper limit. Right off the bat a VM cluster will typically be attached to a SAN, which is much faster than SATA.
( Last edited by besson3c; Feb 27, 2009 at 02:59 PM. )
     
besson3c
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Feb 27, 2009, 03:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
Here's an interesting factoid for all y'all:

Over 80% of companies in Europe employ four or less people (including the owner).

That's 80% of companies not likely to be employing a geek to set their VMWare up.
Easy to use standalone server boxen will be where it's at.
Maybe, but it depends, doesn't it? Will these companies be running their own servers at all, or will they be using a commercial hosting service? Will the server be used for more than just simple file sharing? There are lots of variables here...

Even if all you run is one service on one server, it may *still* make sense to virtualize. This way you get snapshotting, and a painless upgrade to future hardware - just take your image with you. It will take a number of years before Joe sixpack admin has experience with virtualization and this becomes a common skill set, but it will get there eventually. Where the biggest gap exists now is something to bridge consumer friendly products like VMWare Fusion to enterprise products like ESX that run on clusters attached to SANs. I don't see any reason why this gap won't someday be filled, though. If I were Apple or Microsoft, it may not be a bad idea to start thinking about providing their own VM hypervisors.
     
Doofy
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Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
As has been discussed, you could build VMs that will run Final Cut Server way, way, waayy faster than your fastest Mac Pro if it were legal and possible to virtualize OS X.
You're missing the point a little Bess. Creative companies hate having little geek dudes (as required to run VMs) in their buildings because it destroys everyone else's mojo. They just want shiz which works without geekery.
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besson3c
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Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
You're missing the point a little Bess. Creative companies hate having little geek dudes (as required to run VMs) in their buildings because it destroys everyone else's mojo. They just want shiz which works without geekery.
True, but isn't this just a matter of time before this just becomes a part of computing culture? Years ago it would have destroyed mojo to have somebody provide people with internet access and help with using the internet in some fashion. Nowadays it's pretty much expected that you know how to use the internet and an Office type package (it's not terribly impressive anymore to list that you know how to use Internet Explorer in your resume The point is that we're constantly pushing the envelope in terms of what skills are common and expected, this will eventually get there just like anything else.

Even if it doesn't, there is still the possibility that the creative company would outsource this stuff somewhere else to be managed remotely, and even if for some reason you have to exclude creative companies with the whole VM thing, there is still a lot of potential business that remains elsewhere.
     
MallyMal
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Feb 27, 2009, 03:20 PM
 
I have a first generation G4 Xserve that is still trucking along after being in the co-location center since 2002. I have had zero hardware problems for all this time. However, my complaint is that Xserve/OS X Server really isn't the best route for web hosting. The hardware is a bit too expensive if all you want to do is virtual hosting. And the problem with hosting with OS X Server is that there really aren't any good control panels for it. I was hoping that Apple would start building-in a web hosting control panel so that your clients could easily admin their email and stuff like that...but no such luck.
     
besson3c
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Feb 27, 2009, 03:30 PM
 
Not to come across the wrong way, but what is the point in applauding the reliability of the hardware in an XServe? Apple is just using common commodity parts that you could easily find elsewhere, you are just paying for the convenience of Apple making this choice for you. This is really no different than buying from Dell or anybody else though, and there are never any guarantees that particular hardware will outlast other hardware...

What matters more is the service, support, warranty, and all of the other stuff that you pay for.
     
shifuimam
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Feb 27, 2009, 03:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
True, but isn't this just a matter of time before this just becomes a part of computing culture? Years ago it would have destroyed mojo to have somebody provide people with internet access and help with using the internet in some fashion. Nowadays it's pretty much expected that you know how to use the internet and an Office type package (it's not terribly impressive anymore to list that you know how to use Internet Explorer in your resume The point is that we're constantly pushing the envelope in terms of what skills are common and expected, this will eventually get there just like anything else.

Even if it doesn't, there is still the possibility that the creative company would outsource this stuff somewhere else to be managed remotely, and even if for some reason you have to exclude creative companies with the whole VM thing, there is still a lot of potential business that remains elsewhere.
Exactly.

Virtualization is already far, far easier than it used to be. Take a stab at VMWare Workstation if you don't believe me - there are wizards that walk you through everything, and drivers are available to virtualize pretty much any hardware. Copying files between virtual machines and host OSes is as easy as drag and drop. As virtualization becomes more and more common, it's going to become more and more user-friendly, just like anything else.

Home networking used to be a scary concept. Now everyone does it. Hell, using an ISP outside of AOL used to be scary. Then the Internet revolution happened, and AOL tanked. It's only a matter of time, really...

If you're talking about a business that is so anti-tech that they don't want any geek type available for IT support and server maintenance, then they're probably not serving anything beyond file sharing themselves...or else they're still on Windows NT 4.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Not to come across the wrong way, but what is the point in applauding the reliability of the hardware in an XServe? Apple is just using common commodity parts that you could easily find elsewhere, you are just paying for the convenience of Apple making this choice for you. This is really no different than buying from Dell or anybody else though, and there are never any guarantees that particular hardware will outlast other hardware...

What matters more is the service, support, warranty, and all of the other stuff that you pay for.
This is accurate as well. I always laugh a little when people insist that Apple's hardware is superior to other providers. I started laughing even more in the aftermath of my epic clamshell mod project, in which it was made pretty clear that the internals of Apple's offerings are no different than any other manufacturer. You can bet the house that HP and Dell's rack-mount servers use the same components as Apple's hardware.
     
MallyMal
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Feb 27, 2009, 03:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Not to come across the wrong way, but what is the point in applauding the reliability of the hardware in an XServe?
Just setting up my situation.
     
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Feb 27, 2009, 03:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
Haven't we already worked out that "growth" can be a bad, bad word?
Only the wisest of us have realized this. Growth, can be very bad and should not always be sought.

I involuntarily cringe every time I hear a person spreading the gospel of growth after I saw the lecture on exponential growth. The kind we are taught is holier than the scripture.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY

part 1/8 -- good stuff and certainly makes one think (it is not as boring as you might at first believe)
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Feb 27, 2009, 04:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Education institutions can get Microsoft products with site licenses for far cheaper than the normal pricing schemes, so there's little attraction to Apple products.
Office costs roughly $90 a seat. iWork costs $1.25 a seat ($250 for 200 seat license.) I think people are just so engrained with Office they don't know there are viable alternatives.

Ironically, when Office 2007 & 2008 came out, the only program in our school that couldn't open the new Office XML format was Microsoft Office. Pages, Numbers, and Keynote had no problem opening up the the new Office formats. They even do a better job at opening and converting the new format than Microsoft's own translator. Hell, even TextEdit could open the new Office XML.

Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
You can be nearly certain that those companies do not get the bulk of their profit from individual consumer purchases - they come from the multimillion dollar, multi-year leases that businesses and education institutions create. That also means that they have far better support contracts and tiers than Apple is going to provide.
Apple contracts through the same support companies that Dell, HP, et al contract through, offering 24/7 onsite support. To manage localized, onsite support, it generally ends up being the same company doing support for all the big companies in the immediate area.

Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
It's obvious that they far more value the end user experience in both their hardware and software, and a sys admin couldn't give two shi!ts how pretty the OS or the hardware is, since he's likely going to be managing the majority of his duties from a bash prompt via SSH anyhow. If you're an all-Mac organization, then it might make more sense to use OS X servers - maybe. But even then it could pan out to be cheaper to use a commercial version of Linux like Suse or Red Hat.
OS X is UNIX which is functionally identical to Linux. Every aspect about OS X Server is manageable by either the Terminal or the GUI; that means you can just SSH in and manage/configure the server. The GUI just makes it a lot easier. Because OS X is arguably easier to manage and set up than Linux, you can save money on support costs (which is where Linux companies make their money.)

Unlike Linux, OS X runs the major productivity suites from Adobe and Microsoft. You also only have one company you need to call for support for both hardware and software. No, Open Office and GIMP are not even close. Linux also has some serious usability issues as a desktop OS.

Also, anyone worth their money that knows Linux is not going to get a job in K-12 school district making $20/hour when they can get three times that amount someplace else. The University might be different altogether. If you have a great support staff already, you can't get any cheaper than Linux.
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besson3c
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Feb 27, 2009, 04:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
This is accurate as well. I always laugh a little when people insist that Apple's hardware is superior to other providers. I started laughing even more in the aftermath of my epic clamshell mod project, in which it was made pretty clear that the internals of Apple's offerings are no different than any other manufacturer. You can bet the house that HP and Dell's rack-mount servers use the same components as Apple's hardware.
Of the same class... HP does offer enterprise class stuff while Apple offers stuff that they often very disingenuously call "enterprise class" when it is really small business entry level stuff. If Apple's stuff were truly enterprise class it would be priced accordingly.
     
shifuimam
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Feb 27, 2009, 04:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
Office costs roughly $90 a seat. iWork costs $1.25 a seat ($250 for 200 seat license.) I think people are just so engrained with Office they don't know there are viable alternatives.
I don't think that $90/seat is the same for every company. Different educational institutions, at least in public higher education, negotiate different rates. Not all do per-seat licensing. For instance, any student at any of the Indiana University campuses can download Office Enterprise for free and install it on as many machines as they like. The license is only limited to active students, but because it's a site license and not individual serial numbers, neither IU nor Microsoft have any control over how many copies of the license exist at any given time.

Apple contracts through the same support companies that Dell, HP, et al contract through, offering 24/7 onsite support. To manage localized, onsite support, it generally ends up being the same company doing support for all the big companies in the immediate area.
I don't doubt that onsite support all comes from the same people, especially in smaller towns where one company supports multiple areas (the onsite support Dell uses in northern Indiana covers a fairly large portion of the state). But onsite support is only part of the package. The accidental damage coverage that companies like Dell and HP provide is very attractive to higher ups designing the next iteration of a hardware lease, because it guarantees functioning hardware for the entire duration of the contract. Apple doesn't provide this. I have no idea what Apple's enterprise phone support is like, but things like turnaround times for advance RMAs also matter. As Besson said, it's more about the service and support than the hardware.

OS X is UNIX which is functionally identical to Linux. Every aspect about OS X Server is manageable by either the Terminal or the GUI; that means you can just SSH in and manage/configure the server. The GUI just makes it a lot easier. Because OS X is arguably easier to manage and set up than Linux, you can save money on support costs (which is where Linux companies make their money.)

Unlike Linux, OS X runs the major productivity suites from Adobe and Microsoft. You also only have one company you need to call for support for both hardware and software. No, Open Office and GIMP are not even close. Linux also has some serious usability issues as a desktop OS.

Also, anyone worth their money that knows Linux is not going to get a job in K-12 school district making $20/hour when they can get three times that amount someplace else. The University might be different altogether. If you have a great support staff already, you can't get any cheaper than Linux.
Universities are definitely different, particularly public institutions. I also know the senior sys admin at University of Indianapolis (a private liberal arts school), and he's managed to convert nearly everything to open source, including eschewing Exchange in favor of Zimbra. He's also a hardcore Linux fanboy and has a lot of pull in the IT department.

I'm not going to deny that OS X is very very similar to Linux in many ways - after all, it's just another flavor of the UNIX framework. However, your points on Office and other file format compatibility are moot. Most servers aren't going to need to open a Word file directly, and a file or web server doesn't need to support a certain file extension in order to serve that file to an end user.

Linux and OS X are about equally functional for me as an OS. Yes, OS X can run Photoshop, but I despise using any Adobe application in OS X. Same goes for Office. I can easily use Linux or OS X for email, chatting, downloading, and browsing without much difficulty. It is easier to get hardware working properly in OS X, but that's mostly because Apple so severely limits what internal hardware is compatible with the operating system.

I wouldn't say that OS X is easier than Linux to setup on a desktop system. Both have installation wizards, and OS X is going to continue to lose points with me as long as Apple continues to force me to provide my personal contact information before I'm allowed to boot into the OS (I'm aware it adds this to address book for my convenience - that doesn't change the fact that it shouldn't be mandatory; if it's not, I haven't seen a clear way of bypassing that part of the installation process). Linux versions like Ubuntu are really pretty easy to use when accomplishing basic tasks. In fact, if you threw an old lady in front of both OSes without using them before, she might end up finding her way around in Ubuntu faster than OS X.

There's also the fact that a small business that just wants to run an intranet website and active directory (a Windows domain, etc) isn't going to go with OS X. It's just not worth the extra hassle to get that kind of stuff set up. If you're more advanced and want to run a large data-driven website, there's no reason to go with OS X when any version of Linux can run Apache, PHP, and MySQL just as well. If you're running non-open source technology like ASP.NET or ColdFusion, you're also more likely to go with Windows, since those are specifically designed to run most easily on IIS.

I think that OS X server is just a niche product. Apple should stick to what they do best - end user/consumer hardware and software. Their business model just isn't created to support enterprise architecture, and I get the feeling Stevie purposely designed it that way.
     
besson3c
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Feb 27, 2009, 04:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
OS X is UNIX which is functionally identical to Linux. Every aspect about OS X Server is manageable by either the Terminal or the GUI; that means you can just SSH in and manage/configure the server. The GUI just makes it a lot easier.
Until you need to leave the confines of Apple's comfortable little bubble, then that ease of use and all of the virtues of the GUI go right out the window in a hurry.

I'd be cool with the hybrid GUI/CLI approach if the GUI doesn't break when you make changes to config files in the terminal, and if you could actually use the terminal for everything. Requiring VNC for things is *not* functionally identical to Linux in its design and approach.

Unlike Linux, OS X runs the major productivity suites from Adobe and Microsoft. You also only have one company you need to call for support for both hardware and software. No, Open Office and GIMP are not even close. Linux also has some serious usability issues as a desktop OS.
I'm not sure what this has to do with running servers?
     
Laminar
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Feb 27, 2009, 04:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Both have installation wizards, and OS X is going to continue to lose points with me as long as Apple continues to force me to provide my personal contact information before I'm allowed to boot into the OS (I'm aware it adds this to address book for my convenience - that doesn't change the fact that it shouldn't be mandatory; if it's not, I haven't seen a clear way of bypassing that part of the installation process).
Ever tried command-Q?

     
besson3c
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Feb 27, 2009, 04:40 PM
 
Laminar: that registration thing that comes up on a brand new Mac with no prior OS is not easily quitable.
     
OreoCookie
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Feb 27, 2009, 04:43 PM
 
Huh? How about choosing Register Later? Has worked every time for me.
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olePigeon
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Feb 27, 2009, 04:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I'm not sure what this has to do with running servers?
It doesn't, that was intended for the desktop.
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Laminar
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Feb 27, 2009, 05:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Laminar: that registration thing that comes up on a brand new Mac with no prior OS is not easily quitable.
The screen that pops up when you first start up a new Mac asking for your name, address, etc.? Have you ever tried Command-Q?


But hey, what do I know, I've only set up countless brand new Macs and never once had to enter any type of name or address into any of the setup screens.
     
voodoo
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Feb 27, 2009, 05:53 PM
 
Laminar is right, there's no problem quitting the registration app. I did it last time I set up my new iMac.
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besson3c
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Feb 27, 2009, 07:21 PM
 
Very well, I stand corrected!

     
goMac
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Feb 27, 2009, 09:55 PM
 
What's wrong with XServe? The hardware is great, it works out of the box, and the support is decent.
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OreoCookie
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Feb 28, 2009, 05:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by kikkoman View Post
I work in higher education for a major midwestern university. We can buy our Dell and HP servers w/o Windows, which makes them less expensive than XServe even when you factor in the cost for a copy of OS X server w/unlimited CALs.
You should realize by then that hardware cost is by far the cheapest part of the equation. Our local admin half jokingly said that it's cheaper to buy a postscript color printer rather than have him figure out how to configure Solaris to use our OfficeJet K550 (with different settings, obviously, for different media). My university's server network is (mostly) based on Sun hardware and Solaris. We have tons of Sun Rays, etc. etc. They're not cheap, but they are very reliable. The most expensive part of the equation is the team of experienced admins that have to fend off spam and hack attacks from China, etc. (The main guy really is that stereotypical BOFH, the guy you'd rather not talk to, even if you have a good reason to do so.) Although we also employ hardware from all types of manufacturers (say, AlphaStations, Dell servers, XServes, etc.), every department can buy what they prefer, basically.

Plus, the solutions that work worst (our new university management system from hell that spits out 8 MB files for your browser's perusal!) were started on Windows. Call me prejudiced

I really fail to see your point: if Apple makes a profit making their XServes, and I assume here they do, why should they stop making them?
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