Apple turns to Xeon for Xserve

A new quad-core Intel server with multi-terabyte, hot-pluggable drives will help Apple compete in the enterprise space
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

On Monday, Apple took another step into the mainstream server market with the launch of the Xserve for Intel.

This new Xserve is a 1U form factor server that offers up to 2.2TB of storage. It uses the X Server Tiger OS and contains two 64bit, dual-core Xeon processors running at up to 3GHz. It also offers PCI Express, independent 1.33GHz front side buses with 4Mb of shared L2 cache and fully-buffered DIMMs.

Apple launched the product at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday. According to Philip Schiller, Apple's senior marketing vice president, the new Xserver had "a redesigned hardware architecture, and an unlimited Tiger Server client access licence".  Apple's 1U server now offers the best price/performance on the market, he said.

Apple launched its first Xserve product in 2002, when it was based on IBM's PowerPC G4 processor. It upgraded to the G5 processor at the start of 2004.

The new Intel-based server, Apple said, offers up to three times the memory bandwidth and twice the storage bandwidth of the Xserve G5.

Apple also claims the system has advanced thermal management capabilities that "take advantage of the low power of the Intel processors, running as low as 65W".

Easier system management and lower power costs are key features for IT managers these days and the system also has quick deployment rails for rack mounting, a new lights-out management system that lets administrators control the hardware from a remote location, and Apple's Server Monitor software and Remote Desktop agent.

The Xserve also comes with a pre-installed, unlimited client edition of Apple's Tiger Server software. Tiger Server integrates over 100 leading open source projects and standards-based software applications.

The Xserve is scheduled to be available in October 2006 and the base level configuration will cost $2,999 (£1,573). This will include two 2GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors with 1GB of 667MHz DDR2 ECC FB-DIMM RAM, a single 80GB 3Gb/s SATA Apple Drive, dual Gigabit Ethernet on-board, internal graphics, three FireWire 800 and two USB 2.0 ports.

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