Friday, October 17, 2008

Computer Hardware for Education Review: Apple Xserve

Apple servers have come along way since introducing its first OS X Server back in 1999 I was lucky enough to work with one for about 6 months. Now here at IUSB we purchased our first Xserve back in 2005 it opened a whole new world of networking Macs to me. I have always believed Apple manufactured superior hardware even before the advent of OS X. I installed Yellow Dog Linux on a Power PC based Mac and I had a solid, robust server.

The new Xserve is as much an engineering work of art as much as it is a solid server platform. We currently have three Xserve's running on campus, the first two are PowerPC G5 processor based and our latest model is loaded with an Intel Quad Core Xeon processor and 3TB of disc space. This server is hosting our own Open Directory and supports computer settings, print queues and access to network storage for nearly 100 Macs.

What also makes this Xserve such a solid performer is its operating system, OS X Server 10.5 Leopard. This robust UNIX based 64 bit OS is top notch and relatively easy to get setup for a novice, but powerful and configurable for any UNIX/Linux guru. The Xserve hardware is a bit more expensive that your traditional PC based server hardware; however the performance on our exisiting 4 year old server has proven that the Xserve is a worth-while investment.

The OS X Server management interfaces consists of Server Admin, Work Group Manager and other tools. SO if your institution is in the market for a new server that can do it all, look no further that the Apple Xserve, you will not be disappointed.

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