Apple’s new rackmount server, the Xserve, “makes it cheap and simple to network Macs — great news devotees who thought switching to a PC was their only option,” Charles Haddad writes in his latest
Byte of the Apple
“Think of Apple’s new Xserve as a metallic Band-Aid, stanching the flow of Mac users to server-based networks driven by Linux or — gasp — Windows,” he writes. “As server-driven computing has taken hold in schools and offices, Macs have increasingly been out of sync. Not surprisingly, growing numbers of frustrated Mac users in offices and schools have abandoned the platform. The Xserve should make many of those who are considering jumping platforms think twice.”
Haddad praises the server’s features and price. In fact, he said that one information technology (IT) manager told him that, “I can buy two of these babies for what it would have cost for one comparable IBM server.”
“Mac renegades” in PC-dominated IT departments have been “salivating” at the prospect of a strong Apple server product to pitch to their bosses, Haddad notes. However, he still thinks getting the Xserve accepted will be an uphill battle in most cases.
“For one thing, Apple has been out of the server business for five years,” he opines. “And before that, it went in and out of the market, which eroded confidence in the company’s ability — and staying power. Today, there’s little institutional support for Apple. Most IT managers have been trained on Windows machines. And Microsoft has done a good job of persuading IT managers that the Mac OS isn’t serious business.”
He thinks the Xserve’s biggest potential market is schools, an area where Apple still holds the lead. Schools struggle with how to join all their computers together and “the powerful, relatively inexpensive, and easy-to-use Xserve could be the glue they’re looking for,” Haddad says.