Apple Discontinues XServe

Posted on by Larry

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.


7 Responses to Apple Discontinues XServe

  1. Larry, Point taken. I myself run a Mac Mini for server needs.
    As it relates to Final Cut, I’m on edge also about what’s next. The end
    of the year is close and 2011 will begin. And so we will what Apple does. In the mean it’s probaly best to embrace other products
    just incase FCP is no more, I too don’t want ro believe it will happen
    only time will tell.

  2. Larry:

    This has happened to me once with the XSan ….(4 units to be exact…)

    I have ten XServes now that will have potential sparing issues once the supply of parts dry up (and the cost to get them increases…)..

    I hope the hardware I have to manage holds up for a while and doesn’t have any failures… finding parts might be difficult or impossible as time goes on.

    Rodney – DCFCPUG Leader

    • Larry says:


      Good point – don’t wait too long to replace your XServes or the spare parts will be very hard to find. This does NOT mean you need to replace everything today, however.


  3. rodrigo says:

    Hi Larry, maybe your are right, but it was a long road to convince people to turn to apple solutions, and now what?

    we just have bought 10 xserves in our University, also final cut server and, we paid for it on wednesday. what if FCP is finished? do you know any software editing project different from premiere or media composer? as an IT guy i feel in a crossroad…under a truck!

    its clear that apple is pushing efforts towards consumer side abandoning pro.

    its a shame but is time to move on



    • Larry says:


      Don’t confuse the hardware with the software. Apple has never made much, if any, money from gear like the XServe or XRAID. It’s focus has always been on software.

      I am sorry that they discontinued a product you just purchased. I would be very miffed if I were in your shoes.

      However, my personal feeling is that Apple is not abandoning the high-end professional side of the software market, just getting out of hardware lines that no longer make sense.


  4. David Sallak says:

    As per usual, you’ve done a good job separating hardware from software. FCS will live, it runs on nearly every computer Apple makes. Xserve was a niche product, and Apple’s moving on from that niche.

    Other companies make great open-source-derived shared storage for FCP editing. Customers that require enterprise-quality companies to stand behind shared storage products will find a better alternative to Xsan, given that Apple has decided to end the component that is the specific qualified MDC for Xsan.

    All things change. SANs are an old idea, and there’s better ways to manage data for shared FCP work. It’s time to take advantage of Apple’s shift, and look around at the many cool new shared-edit storage technologies out there.

    David Sallak

    ACSR, Xsan 2 Certified
    But now works for Isilon…..

  5. Karim Gawish says:

    I’m afraid that during all this gadget attention apple will be more interested in upgrades to iphone, ipad more than anything else. Products offered for the professional market are shrinking.
    I hope FCP don’t follow shake 🙁

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