Analysts say the Xserve alone won’t be enough for most IT executives to bring Apple in out of the cold, according to an EarthWeb
On Tuesday Apple announced the Xserve, which CEO Steve Jobs said is “designed from the ground up as the perfect complement to Apple’s UNIX-based Mac OS X Server software,” an ideal addition for businesses and educational institutions. The new server occupies 1U of space (or about 1.75 inches) in a standard 19-inch equipment rack. It incorporates single or dual 1 GHz PowerPC G4 processors, each equipped with 2MB of Double Data Rate (DDR) L3 cache. Apple claims that the new Xserve is the first 1U server to use DDR SDRAM memory with up to 2GB capacity.
Apple-friendly enterprises (schools or companies with graphic arts needs, streaming media or content creation, etc.) are expected to “eagerly welcome” the new server, the article said. But in other cases analysts feel Microsoft has knocked Apple and its Mac operating system far enough out of the enterprise arena that most IT executives won’t even consider the Xserve since it’s not geared to function as a general purpose server, EarthWeb reports. Plus, they’ll be hesitant to add yet another platform to their networks.
“It’s certainly conceivable that some people will find this more attractive for certain, narrowly defined roles,” Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata, told EarthWeb. “But for the general enterprise, there will be a large burden to overcome. They don’t, in general, like to bring in a lot of specialty products because it gives them different vendors to deal with and a new interface to understand. I see this server in environments that already have an Apple presence.”
Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at IDC, told EarthWeb that the server is designed to be a platform for media services, and isn’t aimed at database or application services. He thinks that the Xserve will benefit Mac users who have used their desktop as a sort of server.
“When Windows took over the desktop, the Mac desktops and Mac servers went away,” Kusnetzky told EarthWeb. “Apple no longer speaks to the people who are doing typical IT work in most companies. Microsoft speaks to them. Apple doesn’t have anything to talk to in the enterprise.”
But, wait, all isn’t lost. Apple could painstakingly work its way back into enterprise contention If the Xserve is the beginning of a strong enterprise-related product line and not just a single shot, Tim Deal, an analyst with Technology Business Research, opined.
“Customers with an ongoing relationship with Apple will obviously be the early adopters,” he told EarthWeb. “People outside of that purview will wait for credibility to build. Apple has to fight the perception that it’s not for the enterprise — that it’s only for schools and digital video and graphics.”
Deal sees the Xserve as a “pretty straightforward” product and sees no reason why it wouldn’t be comparable to any other product from Dell or IBM in that server range. But he admitted to EarthWeb that many IT executives may never get over their prejudice against Apple playing a serious role in their networks.
Still, Haff believes it may take some time and a lot of convincing, but that Apple could become a network consideration. “The bottom line here is that there just may be some potential,” he said.