Discontinued Xserve: What Could It Mean?

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Just last week Apple announced their intention to discontinue the Apple Xserve, the one Enterprise-class server that Apple developed.  While Xserves were not exactly selling off the shelves, it did come as a shock for those of us who have been working with Enterprise deployments of the Mac into a network.  Many Apple Certified Trainers were upset, because Mac OS X Server represents a significant focus for the Information Technology classes.  But is it really that serious?

In October of 2008 Tom Krazit from CNET news notes the hiring of Mark Papermaster, an IBM chip designer and Blade Server specialist, as a sign that Apple could be developing a blade server.  Apple has been focusing on small, low power computing devices quite a lot recently, and these devices have high processing output with minimal power consumption.  It would be ideal for blade servers, if applied in that direction.

But there are other suppositions that Tom Krazit threw out, such as a focus on better cloud technologies for the Mac platform.  This would also be ideal, as devices like the iPad have proven that, given the proper app, a tablet can do almost everything a workstation can, and is by far more portable. 

But where does that leave Apple and the Servers they currently have?  Well, assuming Apple does not create a reasonable replacement for the Xserve, something like a blade server, they will always have the Mac Mini Server and the Mac Pro Server.  Both would be considered more like a small business or home server, but the technologies built in (OpenLDAP, Kerberos, RADIUS, etc.) all have Enterprise applications. 

So while it's a little concerning that Apple had gotten rid of the Xserve, I'm not fretting too much.  Instead, I'm looking to the future with expectant announcements on more enterprise level support, and in the mean time like to point out that six Mac Mini Servers can fit in the same space as the Xserve did.