Home > Mac OS X > Top Ten Myths and Misconceptions About Mac OS X Server Top Ten Myths and Misconceptions About Mac OS X Server Submitted by estherschindler 2008-08-26 Mac OS X 19 Comments Think you know the truth about Mac OS X Server? Find out as Ryan Faas counts down the top ten commonly held myths about Apple’s server platform. Warning: while it’s a decent article, it will make you click through 10 pages to get the 10 reasons. About The Author Adam Scheinberg Vice President, Information Technology at Massey Services, Inc • President, Board Member, The Mockingbird Foundation • All Things Web, Umphrey’s McGee • Web Developer • Father • Foodie • Music Snob • OS enthusiast Follow me on Twitter @sethadam1 19 Comments 2008-08-26 12:51 pm vermaden Great … but you are still bundled with Apple hardware because of EULA, which makes virtualization “allow” useless really. It would be usefull if it will just be allowed, not allowed ONLY ON APPLE HARDWARE. 2008-08-26 3:18 pm glarepate While your issue is presented as if it were serious and unfairly restrictive it is both freely and easily solved. You may protest against this, seemingly unfair, situation by refusing to use the software on the basis of disagreeing with the EULA. There are in fact a [significant] number of alternative packages that are available under less restrictive licensing. The real issue here is restricting yourself unnecesarily to certain specific software. This restriction is one of your own choosing and is easily defeated by making a more rational choice instead of voluntarily locking yourself into it. My issue is one of substance and is much more fundamental as well as widespread: I object in principle to the use of silicon in computing. It is unnatural and discriminates against carbon. I only accept computing based on carbon devices!! No one is offering carbon based [machine] computing. It is posited that carbon-based devices will be available once the development of diamond strata progresses. This is simply a cover-up for further anti-carbon discrimination. The price will be prohibitive, locking most users *out* from access to carbon-based computing and even once it becomes affordable it will still be controlled by the manufacturers and will not be able to be implemented by those seeking freedom from silicon-based machines. Only those willing to support and subsidize these restrictive and unfair manufacturers will be able to participate in non-silicon [machine] computing. If you wish to be taken seriously you must be willing to take on issues of actual substance and not just content yourself with complaining about verbiage that is extremely easy to circumvent. Please adjust your scope [of action] accordingly if you wish to be respected. 2008-08-26 9:01 pm segedunum While I can’t be sure what all that garbage means in relation to the original post, the bottom line is simple. Mac OS X Server has very poor support for virtualisation because you can’t run OS X Server on another host OS. This means that putting it into a mixed environment of Linux, Windows and other operating systems that are already virtualised on VMware ESX, Xen or even KVM is going to be impossible. Like it or lump it, that’s where your server OS needs to run nowadays. OS X Server is thus restricted to Mac only server environments, and there are precious few of them. In view of that, the majority will take the route provided by the only decent point made in your post (via the scenic route): Don’t use OS X Server as a host or as a guest, and don’t use OS X Server full stop. 2008-08-26 12:59 pm project_2501 here it is all on one page: http://www.informit.com/articles/printerfriendly.aspx?p=1232367 2008-08-26 1:17 pm Nossie Thanks! Now, if like the Amiga history it actually warranted x pages then fair enough BUT 10 pages does not MEAN a decent article Two to three pages would have been more than enough thanks 2008-08-26 1:27 pm No it isnt “Get the facts”, the Apple way. 2008-08-26 2:26 pm Nossie see above for the perfect example of a bigot. There is no controversy over the points made in this article … e.g As of Leopard, OS X Sever IS Unix. Go flamebait on digg, you’ll be wanted there. 2008-08-26 2:28 pm Piranha Interesting read. May give me a reason to ‘hackintosh’ up one of my systems, or run in a virtualized environment for fun (at home) My biggest peeve, coming from an OSX user, is the fact that there is NO Remote Desktop client for Windows to connect to a Mac. I know you can use VNC, but we all know how ‘great’ vnc is compared with Windows RDP and OSX’ Remote Desktop. Microsoft can go out of the way to make a client for mac to connect to Windows, so why can’t Apple? 2008-08-26 2:45 pm Nossie I have RealVNC client on linux connecting to vineserver on 10.5 server and it’s PDQ even on a modded 450mhz G4 cube. It used to be sluggish with the old RVNC but for some reason its actually quite usable now. My gripe with OSX server is that most of the remote monitoring stuff is reserved for apple xserves… which sucks ass. Am I right you can get a headless attachment for G4/G5 mac pros? maybe that adds that feature back in. To be fair other than the dashboard widget, most of the remote monitoring software that doesnt work wouldn’t be usable outside a rack — a good chunk of it does. I did once setup a clustered Xgrid system of different flavours but gave up after I couldnt find anything to run on it other than a sample calculation 1x G4 450mhz cube 1.5GB ram leo server acting as head and then the below as nodes 1x 1.8 ghz athlon XP running windows XP (1GB mem) 1x 2.2 ghz amd FX53 running linux (2GB mem) 1x 2.4 ghz macbook pro (2gb) running leo client So I’d say that was pretty scalable… another example would be that American Uni that bought an Xgrid of 1024 nodes … ( I cringe at the thought of that powerbill) 2008-08-27 9:20 am tyrione I have RealVNC client on linux connecting to vineserver on 10.5 server and it’s PDQ even on a modded 450mhz G4 cube. It used to be sluggish with the old RVNC but for some reason its actually quite usable now. My gripe with OSX server is that most of the remote monitoring stuff is reserved for apple xserves… which sucks ass. Am I right you can get a headless attachment for G4/G5 mac pros? maybe that adds that feature back in. To be fair other than the dashboard widget, most of the remote monitoring software that doesnt work wouldn’t be usable outside a rack — a good chunk of it does. I did once setup a clustered Xgrid system of different flavours but gave up after I couldnt find anything to run on it other than a sample calculation 1x G4 450mhz cube 1.5GB ram leo server acting as head and then the below as nodes 1x 1.8 ghz athlon XP running windows XP (1GB mem) 1x 2.2 ghz amd FX53 running linux (2GB mem) 1x 2.4 ghz macbook pro (2gb) running leo client So I’d say that was pretty scalable… another example would be that American Uni that bought an Xgrid of 1024 nodes … ( I cringe at the thought of that powerbill) How the hell do you create product differentiation amongst hardware vendors if your own software tools run on competing hardware solutions? Thinking does a body good. 2008-08-27 8:53 pm Nossie I’m not sure I understand your point … or how relevant it is to my original comment BUT To “create product differentiation” amongst vendors you’d oh I dont know… create different products? I’m neither for nor against xserves only being able to do this or that, I just wanted to check it out anyway. You might also wonder why I’m running it on a 450mhz cube… maybe that’s because I never bought it? Apple is changing its strategy now by buying out that semiconducter manufacturer… this will help prevent competitors reproducing x feature on their generic boxes (quicktime on a chip?) but the truth is, since Apple switched from PPC to Intel they have pretty much lost ALL their “product differentiation” to generic IBM compatibles the only thing that is left is the OS and the apple brand name. In the olden days… manufacturers created better products to create differentiation between competitors. Now the same OEM makes the same product and gets stamped with a different badge… A bit like buying compaq ram for Ã‚Â£2000 or crucial/micron ram for Ã‚Â£200 Same memory… been tested more but your average customer doesn’t care… and at Ã‚Â£200 you could buy a box and keep some spare. So… maybe you are right *shrugs* only the xserve head can control/monitor multiple nodes via hardware… but for the majority of people, who the f–k cares? especially when there are scary open source versions of xgrid etc etc. I’m not saying btw that xserves are crap…. I was almost thinking of buying one but couldn’t justify the cost a rack would save spacewise. (I bought a mbp instead) But neither can the majority of large datacentres (most of which house beige box pcs) because real estate since the dotcom bust has made DC space extremely cheap to buy. 2008-08-27 4:58 am openwookie It’s called ‘ssh’ 2008-08-26 2:35 pm unoengborg My problem with Apple as a server has nothing to do with the technical qulity of hardware or software. In fact, the hardware is excelent, and the software is quite OK once you get used to it. My real problem with Apple as a server is that they have a really bad track record on supporting older systems, and that they often doesn’t provide any real upgrade paths when changes are made. I’m of course thinking of A/UX that was replaced by a special version of AIX with no upgrade path whatsowver, then that AIX was dropped with no replacement what so ever. In later days there have been changes in e.g. mail systems and java that could cause problems if you have made some add on solutions that comems from some other place than apple. Servers normally have long lifes and people plan to use them for 5 to 10 years or more, but Apple seem to think different. 2008-08-26 11:11 pm jeffsters Yeah…A/UX, (1988-1995) is a reason to be concerned. uh huh. A/UX wasn’t aligned to the core OS. OS X Server IS OS X! Anyway, there is no relationship today to the Apple of 1988 and making a decision is the same as saying you wouldn’t go with Microsoft because they did the same, over the same period, with NT Server. Your comment makes totally NO SENSE. Sorry! 2008-08-27 6:10 am unoengborg Now, just like back in the A/UX days Apple is about making the coolest, greatest, best designed thing you can buy for money. As coolness fades over time Apple drops support. We have more resent examples if you like. When MacOS-X was launced Java was the coolest thing around and was promised to be a premium development platform for MacOS-X. Look at the situation now, just a few years later it takes forever to get the latest java for MacOS, and when you get it, you only get it for the latest hardware. Then we have the iPhone, that was upgraded with new software, that made iPhones with non Apple modifications unusable. From a technical point of view this have very little to do with servers, but have a lot to do with how Apple works as a company. You could argue that Apple treats their server customer different, but my experience from actually running Apple servers of resent date tells me different. Backward compatibility is still not their strong side, at least not compared to vendors like IBM or Sun. 2008-08-26 11:42 pm thavith_osn A/UX had a short-ish life back in the late 80’s to mid 90’s. AIX support on Apple servers was even shorter and was dropped around the time Jobs came back. I don’t remember AIX on a Mac at all (though I did use it a lot on the IBM machines, great Unix), but I do remember A/UX. I guess what you are trying to say is that if the server business fails, then Apple will just drop OS X Server based on history. I think it’s a little different now, but I guess theoretically, it could be dropped, as could any OS. I say it’s a little different now in that… 1) their desktop OS is now *nix (back in the 90’s it wasn’t, A/UX was a completely different OS that needed a separate team with separate skills to maintain. 2) things aren’t as tight as they were for Apple back in the 90’s. If a product was bleeding, Apple really felt it then, more so than now. 3) Apple seriously wants to get into Enterprise, the iPhone and Snow Leopard (and Leopard to a certain degree) are examples of this direction. OS X Server and XServe are pivotal in this. 4) Cost of development is much lower now. Due to Apples reliance on *nix, the development process for OS X is a lot of what OS X Server uses. Using Open Source software is another great way to get quality software without the expense of development. Apple can pretty much just concentrate on the bits that differentiate it from others. This is basically what the Linux distros do. 5) Comparing the Apple of the 90’s to today is probably a little unfair. So, yes, concern that the Server might be dropped is theoretically possible, but I would have to think highly unlikely. Edited 2008-08-26 23:44 UTC 2008-08-26 2:42 pm kaelodest Sure the “article” reads like poorly written Ad Copy – And Ryan F usually writes better. However OS X server is still heads and shoulders over windows. I have been using Apple HW as servers since ASIP (AppleShare IP) and with a few minor clinkers in 10.2 svr I have had no issues. I have also run YDL (Yellow Dog) and when I got smart – – Debian on some of the same HW but for ease of use and set up once and go OS X is the bomb. Yes it is a poorly written article about a system that is the bomb. IMHO The days of the I.T. superhero are numbered. There really should be no reason to emacs through miles of .conf files in /etc/var – -/etc/wherever and then do it again somewhere else and then have a patch overwrite what you fixed or to have to build \ compile your own software. Sure I can do that. Yes I enjoy it – – Not nearly as much as playing with the wife and family or catching up with friends and such. I enjoy being a Mac Specialist far more than any of my Windows SysAdmin friends do. I have deployed it in SoHos and Group homes for underprivileged youth and for Federal Gov’t Services. Except for a patch here or there (maybe quarterly) they are very very high uptime. The unfortunate thing is that it is really under marketed. Really really under marketed but until you sit at an OS X Console then you just dont get it. P.S. yup I beat up on Ryan Faas a little and that was more coffee than him. But he sounds like a kid who just got his first piece of pu**y – 2008-08-26 2:58 pm yanik typo: Think you the truth about Mac OS X Server? 2008-08-27 12:06 am Auzy Actually, turns out it was VERY expensive for a lot of people. On 10.5.0 and 10.5.1 (i think even later), there was a bug, where the software update server redownloaded the data over and over again. There are numerous accounts online of this happening, and it really has ruined a lot of small businesses (in at least one case, it downloaded 300GB, and cost $9000). And in terms of requiring a specialised skill set, it does. The reality is, almost everything in OSX server is buggy. Maybe they have finally fixed it (10.5.3 was the latest we tried before switching to windows server instead), however, last I heard, the only way most people are actually getting stuff to work properly, is by using third party programs. Also, the RAID is buggy we found. By pulling out a harddisk from the raid set and putting it back in, weird stuff happened… My experience is that Leopard server, is NOT server-worthy software. Most school admins I speak to still are too scared to bother trying using Apple’s functionality. To give you an idea of what didn’t work when 10.5.0 was released: – File sharing worked intermittantly – The Apple fax modem kernel panicked a lot of xserves (so no fax service) – Open Directory/Kerberos I personally believe was responsible for problems in many cases – Caldav wouldn’t work at all for most people. – Apple Software update server provided no feedback, and since the network monitor in most cases was broken, every restart downloaded 10GB, and not many people realised until it was too late. – Netboot rarely worked – The DNS config tool had serious issues. It only worked with Apache out of the box. For businesses out there considering a new server, I strongly advise AGAINST OSX server. Apple has shown that they have no interest in releasing a stable server off the bat, instead preferring to simply ensure it is released in parallel with OSX client. Evidence of Apple’s lack of care for server, is that, 10.5.1 didn’t even fix ANY of servers problems, despite the forums being flooded by annoyed admins. I quit my job over OSX server. I was unwilling to administer a server where we needed 3rd party software to allow anything to work reliably.