Apple Xserve Server Hits The Spot

Xserve is a rack-optimized 1U server that runs Mac OS X Server 10.2, which includes an unlimited client license. That, combined with easy setup of networked computers, makes Xserve one of the most administrator-friendly servers on the market. The Unix-based Mac OS X Server offers great scalability in a small package.

One or two G4 processors and DDR memory power the Xserve. A 2-Mbyte external L3 cache supplements each processor's internal 512-Kbyte cache, thus enhancing the efficiency of each chip. Two separate PCI subsystems support two 64-bit 66MHz slots and one 32-bit 33MHz slot. A built-in copper Gbit NIC provides fast I/O, and Apple installs another Gbit NIC,copper or optical,in the 32-bit PCI slot.

The Xserve uses ATA hard drives with four separate ATA controllers to make up a 400-Mbits-per-second data path. A controller for each drive eliminates competition among them, and the four drives can provide as much as 480 Gbytes of storage.

The Xserve has a two-piece design with a sleeve that mounts in a rack, while the 1U server slips in and out of the sleeve. That way, a unit can be serviced on top of a table or workbench instead of in a rack. The unit's subsystems can all be swapped without using any tools. Xserve's front panel features load indicators for both processors, NIC link lights and hard-disk health indicators.

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The server comes with a one-year warranty, and an optional three-year plan includes 24x7 telephone and e-mail support, plus same-day on-site service in any major city. Resellers can avoid downtime with an emergency parts kit that contains most of what would be needed to fix an Xserve.

The Xserve with Mac OS X Server also offers solution providers lots of useful software, including an e-mail server with Web mail support, a wide array of file services, FTP, Apache's Web server and WebDAV. The unit can also be configured as a multimedia server capable of broadcasting video and audio.

Though pricing starts relatively low, a loaded Xserve containing two CPUs, 2 Gbytes of memory, four hard drives and dual Gbit NICs costs $9,900.