Xserve, Apple’s first rack-mountable server, “is the fastest Mac architecture we’ve ever built,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said at yesterday’s press event unveiling the new system. Initial response to the system with the sleek metal case has been positive.
Jobs said during the product’s unveiling that “it’s designed to tackle such I/O intensive applications as digital video, high-resolution digital imagery and large scientific datasets.” It should also be important to the educational market.
“I would see this as being predominately a complementary product for the markets where Apple plays,” Gordon Haff, a server analyst with research company Illuminata, told
. “If you’re Apple, you don’t really want someone bringing a Windows server in if you’ve got the desktop environment sewn up. It will do pretty much all the functions that small servers are used for.”
The size and shape of rack-mounted servers provides a convenient way for storing large numbers of them in a small space. Space issues can be particularly acute at schools, which are, of course, a very important market for Apple, some analysts told IT.world.
“The trend has been more and more toward rack-mount servers,” Haff said. “They are more and more common even in small- and medium-sized businesses.”
One thing that has facilitated the debut of Apple’s rack-mounted server is Mac OS X, several analysts noted. In fact, Jobs pointed this out at yesterday’s press event. The 1U rack-mount server is, according to Apple, designed from the ground up to complement to Mac OS X Server software.
“For a long time Apple really didn’t have an operating system that allowed it to be able to sell a mid-range server. It wasn’t set up for that,” Dan Kusnetzky, vice president of systems software research with IDC, told IT.world.com.
Still, during yesterday’s press event, Jobs acknowledged that Apple isn’t thought of as a business-computing powerhouse, joking that people are more likely to associate the Mac with the USS Enterprise than with enterprise computing. According to
, Jobs said Apple is “humble” as it enters the market, which is filled with products from such companies as Quantum, Hewlett-Packard, Dell Computer and IBM.