by Michael Handler, Videomaker correspondent
Apple introduced and formally launched Xserve, its new high-speed server product, May 14. It is a powerful Unix-like platform that operates with the ease of a Mac, and uses the OS X as the software backbone. The primary markets will be education, business creative, bio-tech and video. The servers will work
very well for video-on-demand and in media-rich environments. The unit is
rack-mounted and can work together in clusters, by remote management
with a very innovative monitor interface. This is a true data center
box, and it should be interesting to see how it does in the marketplace.
Some corporate users were there along with Steve Jobs to tout the new units,
namely Oracle and Clear Channel.
This is not a consumer unit, nor does it hold much interest for home or even
business users of commercial video and camcorders. But it should elevate
Apple’s position in Corporate America and in the markets listed above.
Xserve’s 1GHz PowerPC G4 processors each have 2MB of Double Data Rate (DDR) L3 cache, and Apple says Xserve is the first 1U server to use DDR SDRAM memory with up to 2GB capacity. Xserve offers up to 480GB of storage on up to eight hot-plug ATA/100 drives, and networking with standard dual Gigabit Ethernet ports. Xserve includes an unlimited user license to Mac OS X Server software, offering users a combination for file/print service, video streaming, database applications, computational clustering and Web and mail serving.
Two standard configurations of Xserve are expected in June. A setup that includes a single 1GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 256MB DDR RAM, four 60GB hard drives, dual gigabit Ethernet, CD-ROM and Mac OS X server with unlimited clients will come with a list price of $2,999. The dual 1GHz G4 processor Xserve, with 512MB DDR RAM and eight 60GB drives will have an MSRP of $3,999.
Additional specs from Apple:
— single or dual 1 GHz PowerPC G4 processors;
— 2MB DDR L3 cache per processor;
— three PCI slots, two of which are 64-bit, 66 MHz PCI slots for high performance I/O-the fastest ever in a Mac(R);
— up to 2GB of DDR high-performance memory running at 266 MHz-the first DDR main memory in a Mac;
— software RAID mirroring for protection of important data and RAID striping for additional performance;
— a VGA graphics card that supports headless booting and enables easy connectivity to industry standard cross-platform devices;
— an optional AGP 4X graphics card to connect displays, keyboards and a mouse for “Mac-in-a-rack” solutions;
— three 400Mbps FireWire(R) ports with two accessible on the back panel and one on the front panel for quick access;
— two USB ports, one DB-9 serial console port and an optional Ultra3 SCSI card for connecting to external storage and backup devices;
— an optional fiber Gigabit Ethernet adapter;
— Mac OS X Server software featuring QuickTime(R) Streaming Server, WebObjects and the latest advancements from the Open Source community such as Apache, Samba, PHP, MySQL and Tomcat; and
— Native protocol support for AFP over TCP/IP, SMB/CIFS, FTP and NFS enables easy integration into existing Mac, UNIX or Windows networks.