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Apple targets SMEs with its first rack-mounted server

Apple Computer is hoping to gain wider acceptance for its products with the launch of its first rack-mounted server, writes Eric Doyle.

Mark Rogers, Apple UK's managing director, said, "The Xserve opens up new doors for us because it is more comprehensive than any of our previous servers. It is rack-mounted, so it looks more serious - and it is."

The Xserve runs Apple's OS X operating system on dual 1GHz PowerPC G4 processors.

OS X is built on the Darwin Unix operating system, which comprises the Mach microkernel and BSD Unix. Despite this Unix core, it will network with a range of desktop operating systems "out of the box". Systems supported include Apple Macintosh, Windows, Linux and Unix, or any mixture of these.

Although the server can be used for general duties, its features have been specially designed for Apple's core graphics and video user base. Xserve supports streaming media and can be supplied with up to 480Gbytes of storage per server and, with capacity for 42 servers in a rack, this means that more than 20Tbytes of storage can be made available.

Rogers said, "Our main targets are small and medium-sized businesses that are looking for high-quality servers, because we think the Xserve will make them look at things in a different light. Look at the price and then compare it with Sun or Windows/Intel servers."

The single-processor tray with unlimited clients costs £2,212, it has 256Mbytes of DDR Ram, a 60Gbyte disc, dual Gigabyte Ethernet, and CD-Rom. A similarly configured dual-processor version with 512Mbytes of DDR Ram costs £2,978.

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