- May 7, 2007
Yeah, it didn't sell well because it performed terribly compared to PC x86-64 servers of comparable hardware, primarily because OS X had such terrible latency issues pertaining to databases.That isn't my understanding of the situation.
Basically the X-Serve was a product that didn't really sell particularly well - especially in consideration of their total bottom line, less than a fraction of a single percent, all the way back in 2009. And it was coupled with the fact that Apple wanted X-Serve to be a product that was also fully supported by Apple at the enterprise level - meaning expensive service contracts: expensive to sell, but also expensive for Apple to maintain. And again as a product that didn't sell well and didn't add significantly to their bottom line, they nixed it.
However, the server version of macOS has been available since then. And there are admins that still prefer to work with Apple hardware to do server duty even though it's often not with server grade hardware. There were brackets made for the 2009-2012 Mac Pro. There was a rather hilarious sideways mounting system for the cylinder. And there is also a multi-rack made for Mac Mini's. Apple themselves sells a rack version of the new/current Mac Pro.
Kind of hard to support something that severely underperforms.
You are correct, the MacOS (and OS X) Server suite has been available, but outside of light workloads and deployments, no serious sysadmin would ever seriously consider it for databases or heavy workloads, and especially not in an enterprise setting with Apple's current non-enterprise grade hardware options.
Again, just because their current offerings can be used as a server doesn't mean that they should.
I'm sure there are many individuals using Mac Minis and other models as servers, depending on the service and function.While I have no commentary on how fast macOS server does with different workloads: I can say with certainty that there are those that are still working with Macs in server environments today. In fact I know a server admin at a fairly well known University that still uses Mac Server for all of their Mac deployments.
Even an OG Raspberry Pi can be used as a server, but that doesn't mean it will perform well.
If we are talking SMB file sharing and printing, yeah, even a decade old Mac Mini can handle that with ease, assuming an average workload.
For databases and heavier server workloads, though, the XServe fell flat because of the kernel latency issues with OS X, not because of the PowerPC/x86/x86-64 hardware itself.
Perhaps the kernel latency issues have been fixed in MacOS, and it has been over a decade since anyone has used an Apple enterprise-grade solution with OS X for comparing workload performance tests or production work.Side commentary: I haven't brought this up on the forum, but I'm thinking Apple is actually uniquely positioned to re-enter the server market. If they can make a competitor to Amazon's Graviton Systems but sell them to everyone, they'll have a big market to sell to. The big question of course will be how well its OS works in the server environment. Or alternatively they could enter the web service world and never sell those processors but do what Amazon does and pickup hosting and service contracts for continuous income.
Apple isn't stupid. I'm 100% sure they have at least thought of these things. I'm uncertain though if they feel like they want to make it a part of their core strategies or not as they diversify their income streams.
I do see that Apple is now offering a rack mount Mac Pro, albeit with the older Intel CPUs, though that seems more like a use-case scenario for studio workloads and less so for server workloads.
With the M1, and now M2, you could be right about their hardware becoming competitive again in enterprise, assuming MacOS is up to the task.
With such a low TDP, it will be interesting to see what happens when proper power and cooling solutions are provided to their new ARM offerings, and how they will perform compared to modern competing x86-64 and ARM solutions.