This morning, Apple quietly announced that it was discontinuing the XServe – which is the high-end server for XSAN and other networks – on January 31, 2011.
For folks that need servers, Apple recommends that you use either a new version of the MacPro or the MacMini. (Personally, I am a huge fan of the MacMini for servers, I have three of them running here in the office and they work great for us.)
There are lots of ways to interpret this move, but the most obvious one seems to me to be the best. Apple has never been a “Big Iron” company. Years ago, Apple needed hardware that met the needs of the large enterprise because no one else was offering products that supported Macs. Which is why we first saw the XRAID and then the XServe.
Today, that need is no longer there. There are a large number of companies that provide state-of-the-art hardware that support Macs, PCs, and Linux systems. With the continual shift toward supporting “open standards,” as opposed to proprietary software, Macs are included in more systems than ever before, by companies that specialize in creating server-based hardware. Apple has never been successful in this market, and, today, they don’t need to be.
Creating gear targeted to this market leads to an Apple weakness, not a strength. Which is why, over the last year, we have seen Apple discontinue first the XRAID, and now the XServe.
There is a lot of conversation going on now about whether this means that Apple is no longer interested in the high-end. I received several emails this morning essentially saying that the days of Final Cut Studio – as another high-end application – are numbered.
That may be true, but I don’t believe it.
At its heart, Apple is a software company. They create great hardware so they have someplace for their software to run. For me, the signs still point to significant upgrades to the entire professional suite. Probably not as fast as we all would like, but I suspect the wait will be worth while.
Let me know what you think.
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