Apple Unveils Nehalem-Based Xserve Server

The new Xserve servers come in a 1U-high rack-mount server format and can be configured with one 2.26GHz or two 2.26GHz, 2.66GHz or 2.93GHz quad-core Nehalem processors.

They have up to 12 DIMM slots for 1,066MHz DDR3 memory, and for storage capacity supports three hot-plug 160-GB or 1-TB SATA or 450-GB SAS hard drives, or an optional 128-GB solid-state drive.

The new servers include two PCI Express expansion slots, two Gbit Ethernet interfaces, two FireWire 800 ports and three USB 2.0 ports. They support Nvidia GeForce GT 120 graphics with 256 MB of GDDR3 memory.

Also included is the Mac OS X Server v10.5 Leopard operating system with an unlimited client license and the full suite of Mac OS services, including file-and-print sharing, directory services, mail services, and more.

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A couple of Apple solution providers who have yet to get their hands on the new Xserve said the new servers should find good customer acceptance.

Chris Donoyan, president of HomeRun Media, a Los Angeles-based provider of hardware and software to the media and entertainment business, said his company has two units on order. "We expect to be rolling them out to customers with rendering farms," Donoyan said.

Donoyan said that based on his experience with the new Nehalem-based Apple Mac Pro workstations, he and his customers have high hopes for the new servers.

"We saw tremendous improvements in performance when we moved to the Nehalem Mac Pros," Donoyan said. "We are also a warranty service center for Apple. We're not seeing any Mac Pro Nehalems coming in for warranty. Usually, you get a few units in with a new product line. This is a good, solid performer."

George Massoud, president and CEO of IntraServe Systems, a San Jose, Calif.-based solution provider and provider of outside managed IT services, said that Apple servers in general have proven to be good, reliable machines.

The Xserve line is great for customers who want to use both the Mac OS and Windows operating systems, with Windows being run using virtualization software from companies such as VMware, Parallels and Sun Microsystems, Massoud said.

About the only issue customers have with the Xserve line is taking the first step to purchase their first one, he said.

"Customers may love Apple, and want Apple, but they're not always comfortable it's the way to go for servers," he said. "Making them comfortable is a challenge. They may worry that the Xserve may not work with this or that. We have to sit down with them and explain what it will do for them."