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Apple to drop Xserve after January 31

updated 07:50 am EDT, Fri November 5, 2010

Xserve gone Jan 31 in push to Mac Pro, Mac mini

Apple today sent notice that it was phasing out the Xserve. The rackmount server will be discontinued as of January 31, 2011, and the currently available 160GB, 1TB and 2TB Apple Drive Modules will ship through the end of 2011 or until stock runs out. The company plans to honor AppleCare warranties and will have repair parts for up to seven years in California and five years in the rest of the world.

The servers will still have "useful service" after the transition, Apple promised.

Apple didn't give a reason for the decision to drop the Xserve, but it suggested that the Mac mini and Mac Pro were viable alternatives for most customers. The smaller of the two desktops was much more energy efficient and was thin and small enough that two of them could fit into the same 1U rackmount as an Xserve with a mounting kit, Apple said. It was also more more efficient for groups with 50 or fewer people or that only need one service pushed to a larger number.

The Mac mini is now Apple's "most popular server platform by far," according to the company.

Mac Pro systems were still an option for those who needed raw power and were overall faster, with more room for storage and expansion.

At the same time, Apple acknowledged that both of the alternatives left in February might not meet the needs of some server operators. Neither supports lights-out management for remote control when powered down, and the two lack redundant power supplies. Platform-specific problems also exist, such as the single Ethernet and less accessible internal storage of the Mac mini as well as the larger size and power consumption of the Mac Pro.

The switch away from the Xserve could create problems for businesses that have come to depend on the servers for their work. Apple originally introduced the Xserve in 2002 with G4 processors as a way of letting smaller companies and compute clusters move to the Mac instead of having to use another platform and then frequently incompatible server software. In moving to the G5, it quickly gained a reputation for supercomputing and was even key to one of the top supercomputers in the world through Virginia Tech's System X cluster.

Apple moved the Xserve to Intel Xeon chips in November 2006 and had mostly been keeping it updated in sync with towers, but in the past year it has been slipping behind. The company has been gradually steering away from trying to provide an entire solution itself and has already phased out the Xserve RAID storage hub.


By Electronista Staff


  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2009


    doesn't make sense

    The mini server doesn't replace the capabilities of a full-blown Xserve and a Mac Pro doesn't have the rack density. Apple used Xserves in their Cupertino data center so what are they going to use now? What's going into the new data center? Are they going to build their own server and not market it? Does this also mean the end of fiber channel accessories and Xsan?

  1. nsissrq

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2010


    well that's just fantastic...

    no redundancies (save for multiple HDs in the Pro), can't rack mount them, minis can't run an Xsan. who's idiotic idea was this? as a Mac admin with multiple Xserves over multiple locations running our company, this really pisses me off. we were going to upgrade one or two next year... guess that's not going to happen.

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2009


    more info has statement. There's also a transition guide found in the link in the banner on this page. I guess vendors will have to bring out their rack-mount products again for the Mac Pro, both a 6U model and a 12U tray. I had an older Mac mounted in a rack but at that time the handles (top and bottom pieces) could be removed and replaced with rack-mount parts. The latest Mac Pro doesn't have the same design so it looks like a simple tray is all that can be used. I guess Apple wants everyone in the cloud and doesn't want to make it easy for customers to create sizable server farms on their own from Apple products.

  1. burger

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2000



    I don't have any clients I would sell a Mac Mini to as a server solution without any redundancy. Not to mention I cannot connect anything to it, like a tape backup or fiber/sas/scsi array.

    Putting a full size Mac Pro in the rack is going to suck, and still offers no redundant power supply option.

  1. Marook

    Forum Regular

    Joined: May 1999


    This kills...

    OS X Server, Final Cut Server, Podcast Producer and then Final Cut Pro... guess they just killed the backbone of the ecosystem that feeds the iPod/iPhone success!

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    I guess they weren't making enough money

    from selling them. Apple prefers to sell hits instead of taking massive losses. How many businesses were buying that stuff, anyway. I'm sure no major corporations wanted some Apple server when they could just go and buy some HP server. Too bad. Not that I expect Apple products to be accepted by IT administrators regardless of what Apple does. The Microsoft Windows mindset runs too deep.

  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002



    work in a large government agency and every rack space unit is a cost. so i have 5 xserves and pay a monthly fee for 5 units. now what the h*** am i going to do? our group sure as h*** can't afford the unit's 5 pro's will cost. and a mini sure as h*** isn't up to the task.

    this blows.

  1. Oneota

    Professional Poster

    Joined: May 2000



    This is the worst news I've read in awhile, and considering that Republicans just won a whole bunch of elections, that's *really* saying something. This is just completely awful.

  1. mgpalma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2000


    License to a third party perhaps?

    Much like the demise of the Xraid system this is bad news. Instead of updating that product they dumped it and offer the Promise storage units. Maybe they will license out to one vendor the job of selling Mac-based servers? I know, probably not. But like was mentioned earlier, Apple has a data center now, what are THEY using???

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2009


    mini blade rack

    Twelve new mini's fit within 5U. Build a blade-type docking backplane and you're set. That's $12K list for the Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz, dual 500GB, 7200rpm drives with 4GB RAM. Get five base-configuration Xserves (quads) for $2700 each (just the 160GB boot drive) for a total of $13,500 and by Apple's admission you have a product (mini-blade) that costs the same and performs at 25% of the Xserve. Where's the value?

    I know, add some drives to the Xserves and it costs more but is still much more powerful.

    Went to check prices on Mac Pro and they have a server version listed that closely matches the Xserve but includes 2-1TB drives, all for $3K. These still would take up 6U so they are 6x the effective cost of an Xserve. Rack space costs money as well.

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