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July 22, 2011 / David Bleeker

Apple’s radical new Mac server strategy

The first app made for Lion to hit the App Store is a real eye-opener: Mac OS X Lion Server, costing $49, a tiny fraction of Snow Leopard Server’s $499 price tag. With that, Mac OS X Server as we knew it is no more. To sweeten the deal, Apple is throwing in Xsan, the SAN software Apple used to sell for $999. With Mac OS X Lion Server, a Mac Pro with a Fibre Channel card becomes a scary-fast, bulletproof distributed storage server for Mac networks.

Sounds like a steal, but it’s also a move that raises prickly questions. Critics will point to Lion Server’s drop in price, the abolishment of node-locked licensing, and simplification of the administrative GUI as foreshadowing Apple’s departure from the server market. The $49 price tag doesn’t mitigate the risk of implementing a server platform that’s in decline.

Lion Server looks nothing like a last gasp. It appears instead to signal a shift in mission. [read more]

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