As Liam argued yesterday, Apple is aiming for the consumer market these days, which is why it should come as no surprise that it would discontinue its Xserve enterprise server. The rack-mountable Xserve will no longer be available for purchase as of Jan. 31, and Apple has no plans to produce a new model in the future.
Apple does assure customers that any Xserve already sold up until that day will be fully supported, however. So your warranties, AppleCare, etc. will all be taken care of. And for those customers concerned about not being able to use OS X to run their servers, Apple has some “transition options,” which it details in a .PDF released specifically to address the Xserve end-0f-life.
Cupertino offers either the Mac Pro or the Mac mini as viable alternatives for use as servers, when installed with Snow Leopard Server. In the document, Apple describes the advantages of each alternate setup, and even provides comparative performance benchmarks. The Mac Pro, it maintains, is more powerful than the Xserve, though it doesn’t support rack mounting, obviously, and it also draws more power.
The Mac mini, on the other hand, is laughably underpowered compared to the Xserve, though it can be made to work with server racks via third-party hardware brackets. And, it’s much much cheaper, obviously. Apple also points out that mini is in fact currently Apple’s most popular server option.
Xserve’s demise will probably come as a disappointment to a few dedicated enterprise and small business customers, but it’ll free up resources and time that Apple can then devote to its continued consumer market expansion. I certainly won’t miss it. Will you?
UPDATE: Apple now offers a “Server” configuration of its Mac Pro desktop, which includes one 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor, 8GB of RAM, two 1TB hard drives and an ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card with 1GB of dedicated RAM. It also comes with an unlimited-client license of Mac OS X Server.
Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):