Feeds

Deliveries for final Apple Xserves stalled to April

Because 'hardly anyone was buying them'

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Apple is killing off its Xserve rack-mounted, Xeon-based servers on January 31, but if you thought you could go for one last rack refresh today and get a reasonable delivery, you're about to get your second Xserve-related unpleasant surprise.

The first one, of course, came in early November last year, when Steve Jobs decided he'd had enough of the Xserve business and put it on death row. At that time, Apple told customers they had until the end of January to get an Xserve, and the company produced an alternative server plan involving Mac Minis or Mac Pro workstations with Snow Leopard Server. Because Apple upgraded the Mac Pro with the latest six-core Xeon 5600 processors and the Xserves were stuck at the old quad-core Xeon 5500s, the Mac Pro actually offers a performance advantage. But the Xserve could have been updated with the same faster processors last March - and wasn't - and the Mac Pro is a big ol' fat workstation, not a skinny 1U rack box. No matter what options you take, the Xserve is a real server with real peripheral expansion aimed at real server customers.

So you want one last Xserve drop while you can still get it.

Your second surprise is how long this is going to take:

Apple Xserve shipping notice

Yup, you are going to have to wait at least nine weeks to get your hands on an Xserve, and possibly longer if orders pick up today, tomorrow, and next Monday. (After that, Apple will stop taking new orders for Xserves, but will take orders for 160 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB disk modules for the servers through the end of 2011.)

There's no chance that Apple is going to reverse its decision on the Xserves because Steve Jobs has left Cupertino for medical reasons or because demand for Xserves has suddenly (some might say predictably but all would agree temporarily) exceeded supply. It's all about the numbers over the long haul.

French online magazine Mac Generation questioned His Jobsness about the reason for the death of the Xserve back in November, and the site posted this response from Jobs: "Hardly anyone was buying them."

Apple has not given out shipment numbers for Xserves in many years, but six years ago when the boxes were getting some traction, it was only 13,000 units per quarter and even though it was doubling, you need to be selling 10 times that to be a player and nearly 100 times that to be a leader.

While I would be the first to argue that the same intense and clever design philosophy that Apple has brought to its early PCs and its later consumer products is desperately needed in the server racket, Apple is raking in as much revenues each quarter as IBM these days, and is more profitable. Apple doesn't need a server business right now, and it doesn't seem to want one even if it could shake things up if Jobs put his mind to it.

If Jobs comes back to Apple and the company realizes it is going to need millions of servers to reach its cloudy application aspirations, don't be surprised if we see a Yserve or an iServe. Or better still, an Aserve, since it is far more likely that Apple will back ARM RISC processors the next time around. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?