Apple’s new rackmount server, the Xserve, will be “a big deal” to all of us, tech columnist David Coursey writes in his latest
Even after leaving Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ “reality distortion field,” the columnist remains impressed with the server and with its potential for improving Apple’s future and making Unix, finally, a tool for the masses because of the following reasons:
Xserve is important to Apple’s installed base, and allows the company to pick up some of the money it’s been leaving on the table by not having a server offering. “Many schools, for example, which use tons of Macs, have been buying someone else’s servers simply because Apple didn’t have one of its own,” Coursey said. “Not anymore.”
Pushing into the server market makes tremendous sense, now that Apple is using a Unix-based OS in all its products. “Building the Mac interface atop Unix was the hard part,” Coursey said. “Bringing that ease-of-use to a server is like icing on the cake.”
Xserve will be very important in biotech, entertainment and creative production. “Apple can offer those markets both desktops and servers that run the same operating system and are, compared to what customers have been using, very attractively priced,” Coursey said.
Competitors will copy the physical design of Xserve, especially its ease-of-use features. “People in the Unix apps and tools business will now be asked why their products aren’t as easy to use as Apple’s,” Coursey said.
It’s a “tremendous offering” for small business, especially those that currently run Unix-based or Windows-based vertical apps. “If developers really maximize the potential for power, stability, and ease-of-use, an Apple-based system could be much better than a Windows version of the same thing,” Coursey said.
“I don’t think Xserve alone will change the prevalent ‘sure, they make great products, but who cares?’ attitude which, coupled with the company’s own history of mistakes and missteps, has made it all too easy to ignore Apple,” the columnist writes. “But I do think the advent of Xserve is a pivotal event both for Apple and in the history of Unix. At the very least, it will let Apple pick some low-hanging fruit, of which there’s enough that Apple could make itself a tidy pile of money. This is a Unix server for the masses, from the only company yet to make Unix a mass-market desktop OS, too.”