I went to the first-ever MacTech conference this year (doubtless something I’ll be able to tell the grandkids about.) In addition to seeing most of my usual WWDC posse, I got some metaphorical cold water dashed in my face when on Friday, November 5th, Apple announced the end of the XServe as of January 31st, 2011.
Interestingly, this tied back neatly to something really important that Andy Ihnatko, MacTech’s keynote speaker, had made a particular point of saying in his keynote address. To sum up, Apple doesn’t care about you. Really, they don’t. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though it may affect you adversely. They care about A) making cool stuff that’s well built and easy to use, B) selling you that cool stuff and C) making sure they can continue to do A and B. Did I want the XServe to continue? Yes. Do I know that the decision to stop making it was driven by business considerations as opposed to “Muhahah! Let’s screw over Mac IT!” The answer is also “Yes”.
For those of you thinking dark thoughts of me at this moment, a little disclosure. Probably one of the reasons that I’m a little dispassionate about it at this point is that I recently switched jobs and I’m more desktop support-focused and less server support-focused. My server needs (mostly for the Help Desk’s use) can be filled if need be by a Mac Mini server running OS X Server.
What I’d like to see, now that the XServe is on the chopping block, is Apple allowing virtualization on non-Apple hardware for Mac OS X Server. More and more enterprises are going in that direction of virtualizing their server OSs wherever possible, and Apple has been a notable holdout in only allowing it on Apple hardware. Allowing it on non-Apple hardware (like VMWare’s ESX solution) would be a huge step in the right direction. It’d help make sure that OS X Server still has a place in the modern datacenter while allowing Apple to get out of the business of enterprise hardware. I think that would be a good thing. I hope Apple sees it the same way.
However, Apple doesn’t care about me.