Mac OS X server, which Apple began shipping in March, represents the company's first serious foray into the corporate server market. Apple hopes that the product will be a major player in the market for hardwaresoftware server configurations that sell for less than the server also provides an early look at the modern os technologies youll find in Mac OS X, the next-generation client operating system slated for release later this year.
Mac OS X Server includes Apple-modified versions of the Mach 2.5 microkernel?a Unix-based OS core originally developed at Carnegie-Mellon University?and the Berkeley Systems Distribution (BSD) 4.4 version of Unix, a popular variant of the Unix operating system. Mach and BSD 4.4, along with the Apache Web server and such Apple technologies as AppleTalk and HFS+, form the basis for Darwin, which Apple is giving away to developers under an open-source strategy (see Apple Goes Open Source with Mac Server ).
Beyond the components in Darwin, Mac OS X Server also includes Apple file services; WebObjects 4.01, Apple's high-end Web production software; and NetBoot, which allows client Macs to boot off the server (see "Apple Introduces OS X Server," News, April 1999). Although based on Unix, the server has a Mac-like user interface that Darwin will not include.
A software-only version of Mac OS X Server sells for $499; Apple originally announced that the price would be $995. Apple also offers a $4,999 version bundled with a 400MHz Power Mac G3. The latter includes 256MB of memory, two 9GB hard drives, and a four-port Ethernet hub.
Apple's targeted customers include small businesses that are hoping to establish a cost-effective Web presence and education customers looking for an inexpensive and easy way to administer Mac-based networks. Competitors in this space include PC vendors, such as Dell and Compaq, that bundle their hardware with Windows NT, Netware, or Linux server software. Low-end configurations of Sun Microsystems' Solaris servers also compete for small-business customers, although these systems typically sell for more than $5,000.
June 1999 page: 28